What is it, pray tell, that calls us to superheroes and comic books from the very beginning of our short lives? Is it the colorful costumes, the secret identities, the thrilling stories or the awesome merchandising? It could be any of the above, I guess...maybe a couple or all of them, but I´ll tell you which is the real dealbreaker: Super-powers! The ability to fly, to scale walls, to run faster than a speeding bullet...you name it! Not only as kids, but also as adults. Otherwise, why are all of these Marvel & DC movies tearing the box office in two? We would all like to know what it is like to be special by having one of these awesome powers...But what about the OTHER guys? Who are the LAMEST superheroes of all time?

I´m sure seven out of seven polled will give out a different answer (in my case, I would just love to have Spider-Man´s powers to crawl walls), but I am sure NOBODY would want to have the powers of our Legionnaire hero from the first picture: MATTER EATING LAD (Adventure Comics No. 303; 1962). His claim to fame? He can EAT (yes, eat!!!) through any material. (And at super-speed, nonetheless!) Pretty handy to have around in case of: landslides, cave-ins, earthquakes and hot-dog eating contests. What were Jerry Siegel and John Forte thinking? I know the Legion of Superheroes has like 3 trillion heroes, but...come on...

However, when I mention the dude on the picture to the right of your screen (DOOR MAN) I think you would wish you had the powers of Matter Eating Lad. Created in 1989 in the pages of the West Coast Avengers, of all places, this guy has the uncanny ability to teleport oneself (and someone else), but only as far as the next room (therefore the name: door...man...Jesus Christ!) Well, if you are escaping from Doctor Doom´s Doombots you better hope his mansion doesn´t have too many rooms! Believe it or not, we have stellar creator John Byrne (of X-Men, Alpha Flight, Fantastic Four fame) to thank for...No, thanks. 

OK, let´s just say mutant genes, radioactivity or nuclear explosions gave you some powers. You wake up the next morning and you are COLOR KID (Thank you, "Legion of Substitute Heroes" No. 1; 1985)!!! Now, thanks to being struck by a ray from another dimension you can...change the colors of objects...or people. Prettttty useful!!! Or racist, if you use it right. Or wrong. Or even better...Not! And please don´t even get me started about the one time Infectious Lass (we´ll learn more about her later) exposed him to Granderian Gender-Reversal Germs, transforming "him" into "Color Queen" for a short while. (Note to self: investigate if DC Comics Publishing House was located next to toxic fumes during the whole 80´s)

Maybe this hero was inspired by the first color-inspired superheroine, Rainbow Girl!!! If you had read "Adventure Comics" No. 309 way back in 1963 you would know. (Also, you would be at least 60 years old today) This unimpressive member of the "League of Substitute Heroes" was created by Edmond Hamilton and John Forte (this name keeps popping up!) and wields the powers of the mysterious emotional spectrum, "resulting in unpredictable mood swings" accroding to Wikipedia. Politically incorrect much? Anyhow, she was able to tap red (anger), blue (hope) and green (willpower). Wait, aren´t these exactly the same colors of the Green, Blue and Red Lantenrs? Incredibly enough, she made an uneventful comeback during DC´s "Blackest Night" event just before "The New 52". Longtime GL writer Geoff John clarified that this character "does not fully understand her powers and uses them more for fun". Yeah. Like she was going to save the universe with pinks and blues.

They say a picture speaks more than a thousand words. What can I say that could possibly explain the creative process behind the superhero above: "ARM FALL OFF BOY"? First: the name. Outrageous. Even if your powers are...(I can´t help laughing out loud, sorry guys!!!) literally RIPPING your limbs OFF and using them as CLUBS!!! I thought he was from those zany 60´s but Curt Swan brought him into DC universe continuity in 1989 in "Secret Origins" No. 46 (Please keep his origin a secret!!!) Even funnier was his failed attempt to become part of the "Legion of Superheroes"...he got so nervous he LITERALLY fell apart in pieces!!! (Thanks, guys, I really needed a good laugh)

By the way, who is this handsome boy on the right of your screen? Don´t recognize him? Good, because if you did this would totally be the wrong article and I don´t think you ever dreamt of having his powers (unless you were playing hide-and-seek): STONE BOY, yet another substitute Legionnaire (those crazy DC 60´s...this time "Adventure Comics" No. 315) has the ability to transform his whole body into stone, but of course was rejected when his power was deemed too static to accomplish anything positive. He did show up one more time, in a one-shot "Legion of Substitue Heroes", more as a comic relief than anything. Basically, he was stuck in the ground for most of this story after being dropped from a great height. Hard times, hard times...

In the "Five Years Later" Legion continuity, Stone Boy is shown to have gained the ability to move while in stone form.

Just in case you´re thinking, it hasn´t just been DC with the monopoly on crazy in the powers department. Just like the Distinguished Competition in the 60´s and their gazillion superpowered beings, the House of Ideas had to come up with a whole goddarn bunch of powers to give all the mutants filling the top-selling "Uncanny X-Men", "New Mutants", "X-Force", "X-Men", "Excalibur", "X-Factor" and whatnot during those crazy multi-covered 90´s. That´s how we got: "Cypher" (see picture above) and "Maggot" (pun not intended...picture to the right). Just to give two of many examples of powers you would NOT want to have. Or maybe you would, but if you were to have powers, WHY settle for the lamest? Cypher (Doug Ramsey) has the most amazing of powers: he can understand ANY language, be it from this planet or beyond, computer language or not. Amazing! Problem? No powers, really. That´s why he´s dead. What about "Maggot"? Sounds more like a supervillain or self-deprecating individual to say the least, nothing heroic about this guy or the two...maggots he´s got running up his sleeves!!! Ewww!!! Wanna know more about his secret origin? Japheth never quite grew at the normal rate of his other siblings, suffering from terrible stomach pains and requiring special food...Boring! To sum it up, let´s just say he survived cancer, was saved by Magneto from trying to commit suicide and carries his digestive system on his sleeve (LITERALLY, ONCE AGAIN!). Don´t ask me to tell you the nicknames of his slugs. OK, I´ll tell you anyway: Eeny and Meany. Oh. My. God.

In part 2 of this article you will learn more about great characters such as Bouncing Boy, Jazz, Madame Fatale, Red Bee and many other great hits (Please refer to the amazing publication "League of Regretabble Superheroes" for more of these amazing heroes) Maybe, in a way, it´s good after all that suuperheroes and superpowers are just part of our fantasy world...I wouldn´t want to go around the world ripping off my arm every time somebody pisses me off...or eating through bedrock every time I get trapped in a landslide. Or such.