Tag Archives: spider man villains

A Vampire, a Jackal, and a Spot All Walk into a Spider Web…

From Marvel.com

October 14 was Spider-Man’s birthday, so I’m celebrating with the second post devoted to Spidey‘s supervillains on TINSTAAFL TUESDAY.  In the post last Tuesday, I explained that combining bad parenting with bad experiments creates really bad villains.

I covered eight of the villains who were created in the 1960s.  I have six more dastardly dudes to tell you about.  All were created after 1970. One in particular was created in 1971 after the Comic Book Authority changed some of the standard guidelines to include more types of crimes and creatures.  (The CBA had that little seal on almost every comic book since 1954 until recently–but that’s another story).

(The 1954 code is an interesting read if you have the time or inclination. It reads a bit like the homemakers’ handbooks–all prim and proper.)

Villains sometimes got their own series. These are two from my collection.

Spider-Man’s villains run the spectrum from plain ol’ bad guys and powerless minions to the evil criminals whose power is political or technical to the supervillains who got transformed by their quest for easy power.  Nothing is easy when it comes to power.  There is no such thing as a free lunch, and these six miscreants prove that point.   It’s worth noting that some of them had perfectly fine upbringings.  Also, Marvel started giving the bad guys more redeeming qualities (even if they didn’t reveal them often) and character development.

Morbius, the Living Vampire

Yes, that’s right.  Vampire. Before January 1971, the CBA didn’t allow them.  February 1971: Enter Dr. Michael Morbius, who had a rare blood disease.  In his efforts to find a cure, he and his assistant combined his bat serum and electric shock to see what would happen.  It gave him blood lust, and his assistant lost a lot of blood.  I don’t know how they didn’t see that coming.

He was the first of many vampires in comics.  He was a sympathetic character–he really was a good guy, but his self-induced vampirism made him go for blood.  At one point, he even promised to drink only bad people.  The tortured, souled pseudo-good guy vampire isn’t as recent as people think.

Morbius, honey, I know you have a good heart beating somewhere in that chest of yours.  Do yourself a favor and quit turning to the really evil villains to help you.  Maybe a job at a blood bank would serve you better.

Hammerhead

Hammerhead started out as a minion.  He was beaten to a pulp and left in an alley to die.  A surgeon (disgraced for good reasons, I imagine) decided to experiment on the gunman’s broken body.  He replaced all his broken bones with steel, which gave his head the hammerhead shape.  He remembered nothing from his past, except that he was a criminal and he liked it.  He even got some other evil-doers to upgrade his steel bits to something even stronger.

Hammerhead, your one redeeming moment was when you tried to save your dying sister–when you finally remembered that you had one.  However, you almost squandered your chance by drinking the special god-like serum yourself.  A bit selfish, don’t you think?  Leave it to Spider-Man to create a new batch to save your sister for you.  He didn’t do it for you.  Just sayin’.

The Jackal

Miles Warren had a normal family life.  He was a brilliant scientist.  Unfortunately, he didn’t have an ethical bone in his body.  He created “people” from animals, until a Jackal-man killed his family.  He fell in love with Peter Parker’s ill-fated girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, when she was his college student.   After she died and his assistant caught him cloning her, Warren killed his assistant.  He made himself The Jackal and then continued to torment Peter Parker/Spider-Man.   He created more clones (Gwen, Peter, himself) that had various levels of humanity and lifespans.

Dr. Warren, you should have taken the medical ethics course more than once in med school.  It’s sad that the only girl you could get to love you was a clone of the original Gwen Stacy.  I read the second clone saga when you tricked Peter into thinking he was the clone.  He was a newlywed no less.  I hadn’t been married long myself, so I really felt for Mary Jane. I wasn’t upset when you fell off that roof to save your Gwen Stacy clone.  I will be ticked off if that was really your clone.  No more clones, please.

Spot

Dr. Jonathan Ohnn worked for the Kingpin to find a way to recreate Cloak‘s powers.  Ohnn succeeded.  When the power failed because of his experiment, he stepped into the destabilized portal.  As a result, he gained the power to transport himself anywhere.

Your first mistake was to work for the Kingpin.  You weren’t a very good supervillain.  It would be handy to travel through portals, but I think it’s a bit odd that you wear them.  You really should clean up your act.

Tombstone

Lonnie Lincoln was born an albino and was picked on in school.  He grew up to be an intimidating guy and was a mean crook.  A former high school classmate, Robbie Robertson, witnessed Lonnie commit murder, so he tried to kill him. Robbie got away with a little help from Spider-Man during a fight at the Osborn Chemical Plant.  In the fight, Lonnie got doused with an experiment chemical, which made him superhuman. Great.  He wasn’t already scary enough.

Hey, Tombstone, you aren’t a superhuman or a supervillain, you’re a super bully.  Filing your teeth into points is not very good oral hygiene either.

All these villains paid a price when they transformed.  Humanity, in some cases, had already been lost, and the transformations took care of the rest.  I hope Spidey had a great birthday that was free of villains and battles!

Did you also notice that women supervillains still haven’t shown up in Spider-Man’s world just yet?  The women start showing up soon after these guys in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  I might cover them another time.

What do you think about these guys or other supervillains?  Do you prefer the villains over the superheroes? 

Bad Parenting Plus Experiments Equals Supervillains

Welcome to another TINSTAAFL Tuesday.  Today it’s all about Spider-Man villains and how they got that way.

In case you don’t already know, Spider-Man is my all-time favorite comic book hero.  I even subscribed to all four Spider-Man comic book titles in the late 1980s until the late 1990s.  I still have them all in boxes in my closet.  I don’t have much room for clothes.

In celebration of Spider-Man’s birthday on October 14, he gets two posts.  Spider-Man has lots of enemies.  So many, in fact, that this will be a two-part series to talk about the ones whose origins can be traced to the use of an experimental drug, substance, or technology.  In all cases, these men were already, um, ethically challenged due to the incredibly terrible or lack of parenting they received as children.

I really want to tell these guys to grow up and look at themselves as the source of their problems, but they are the antagonists who must exist for Peter Parker to exist.  I love what Kristen Lamb says about conflict–no conflict, no story.

Promotional poster of Sensational Spider-Man #34. Art by Sean Chen.

Instead, I’ll just yell, “TINSTAAFL!” at them for being stupid enough to be human experiments in the first place.  There are many, many more villains, but the rest didn’t have superpowers or were minor evil-doers or weren’t created by an experiment gone wrong.  They may have been badly parented though.  That seems to be a big theme in comic books in the 1960s.

These are the ones that were created before I was born and what I have to say to them:

Chameleon

When the Chameleon was first created, he was master of disguise with no special powers.  Due to a terrible childhood, he felt unloved and ignored.  *cue sad music*  That’s really not a good excuse to join a life of crime.

Using a serum so you could make your skin change anyway you want it to?  Gross.  Also, Spider-Man keeps stopping you because you’re not very bright.  Here’s a hint.  When you are impersonating someone and that person’s loved ones talk to you, then you should at least pretend to recognize them.  Duh.  Go, Mary Jane, with the baseball bat to your sad-looking skull!

Doctor Octopus

Another sad little boy with a terrible upbringing, Otto Octavius went from a brilliant scientist to megalomaniac.  A freak accident in his lab fused his four-armed apparatus to his spine.

Doc Ock, you have some Mommy issues that therapy couldn’t help.  I’m not sure what to make of it when Spider-Man clobbered you into a fear of spiders and then let you clobber him later to get over it.  I think I preferred your spider-fearing, gibbering self and Spidey is too good to you.  And still you try to kill him.  *tsk tsk*  I’m still not sure how you get your lab coat to stay on.

 Sandman

When life-time criminal, William Baker, ran into an atomic testing site during a test, he got blasted into smithereens on the beach.  I guess the experiment reactor was powerful because all his molecules fused with the sand.  Great, now a criminal is a super criminal and can make his body into any shape.

Sandman, there were “Do not enter” signs on that beach for a reason.  *shakes head*  You do have some redeeming qualities (you loved your mother), but I still think you’re a little shifty.

Lizard

When is injecting yourself with experimental reptilian serum ever a good idea?  Never.  Just ask Doctor Curt Connors.  While serving as a military doctor, he lost an arm.  He spent years trying to find a way to grow his arm back.

Curt, your first mistake was ignoring your wife’s warning not to do it.  She loved you and accepted you the way you were.  Your next mistakes were the additional experiments that failed to cure you and spawned other creatures.  The first failed experiment that turned you into a psychotic lizard wasn’t enough proof for you?  Sadly, you let Lizard destroy your humanity and turn your son into a little lizard boy so he could live with you in the sewers.  So. Not. Cool.

Green Goblin

Another sad, sad childhood–I sense a theme here, Marvel–for Norman Osborn.  As an adult, Norman owned a chemical company.  After a failed experiment on an employee, Norman found his business partner’s notes about the experimental serum that should increase a person’s strength.  He tested the unstable chemical on himself.  Hmmmm….that’s not going to end well–an already unbalanced man using an unstable chemical.

Norman, quit picking on your son Harry.  He’s a good kid and wants to make you proud, which got him nothing but crazy later because you couldn’t love him for who he was. Mean, mean, meanie pants.

(Mini rant.  In the first Spider-Man movie, the Green Goblin kidnaps Mary Jane and leaves her dangling from the tower.  Spidey has to save her or the trolley full of people, and he manages to save both.  In the comic storyline, that was Peter Parker’s first girlfriend Gwen Stacy, and she died when Spider-Man tried to save her.  Very sad.  I had to get that out.  Mini rant over.)

Scorpion

Mac Gargan was a private investigator who J. Jonah Jameson hired to catch Peter Parker getting the great pictures of Spider-Man.  When he couldn’t do the job, Jameson paid him to take an experimental drug (Don’t do it!) that would give him characteristics of a scorpion.  Goodbye humanity, goodbye sanity.

I suppose in 1964, $10,000 was enough money to turn yourself into a psychotic humanoid-scorpion, Mac.  Then, later, you take on the alien symbiote, Venom?   Mac, you should’ve run at “experimental” (and later at “alien”).

Molten Man

I’m not sure Mark Raxton had anyone in his life to tell him that a life of crime doesn’t pay.  Guess what?  Raxton had family abandonment issues, too.  Yawn.  When he tried to steal the experimental metallic alloy that he helped create (as part of a weapon to be used against Spidey, no less), the stuff spilled all over him.  Ooops.  I have no words for that kind of stupid.

The Rhino

A Russian thug, Aleksei Sytsevich, subjected himself to chemical and radiation treatments conducted by more Russian thugs.  I wonder if he knew their plan to give him rhinocerous-like armor that he could never take off.  Considering that he was chosen because of his lack of intelligence, I’m sure that never crossed his mind.  I hate to think of the chafing under that armor.

Deep down, you really are a softie at heart, so I feel a little sorry for you.  Aleksei, quit trying to change yourself. Experimental treatments that transform your body are not the fast or smart way to strength, power, or money.  You did right when you turned yourself stupid again after your high IQ experiment made you realize that being smarter than your girlfriend was not a good idea.  Stupid wins this time.

Next week, I’ll tell you about the TINSTAAFL Tuesday-worthy supervillains who began to torment my favorite neighborhood Spider-Man in the 1970s onward.  Things start changing when the comic book codes allow certain types of creatures onto the pages.  Stay tuned!

Do you have a favorite supervillain that you love or love to hate?  Would you sacrifice your humanity to have superpowers for any nefarious reasons? 

Also, we’re down to the last few days of Ponyfest12.  Jump over to Rebecca Enzor’s very lovely blog and vote for my Marce pony entry.  I’d love to win a stack of books and a custom-made pony to represent my main character. 🙂