Coming up with a superhuman shtick is hard. Some folks take inspiration from flying rodents, whereas others base their superpowered identities on their vocations, such as quarterback and carny — here are 10 reasons why this is a bad idea.
10.) The Matador (1964)
Manuel Eloganto first appeared in the fifth ever issue of Daredevil. What was his origin story? He was simply an extremely evil matador. The Matador moved his criminal operation to New York City, where he ran afoul of the Man without Fear. Fortunately, the Matador bedeviled the hero with his trusty blindness blanket, which I'm pretty sure was just a normal blanket.
9.) The Sportsmaster (1947)
A proto-DC Comics supervillain, Crusher Crock was a down-on-his-luck athlete who turned to a life of crime during comics' Golden Age. The Sportsmaster excelled at all forms of athletic competition. Is evil fishing a sport? In the Sportsmaster's opinion it is.
8.) Super-President (1967)
James Norcross is the President of the United States. He's also Super-President, Saturday morning cartoon star and metahuman with the power to change his molecular structure. I have no idea what this superpower had to do with being the leader of the free world, but Norcross successfully moonlighted as a costumed do-gooder. This was a bit of a bizarre name, as nobody knew Norcross' secret identity with the exception of one of his advisors. Unsurprisingly, Super-President lasted only one season.
7.) Americop (1994)
Bart Gallows was a former Houston Police Officer who got plum fed-up with all America's crime. He rechristened himself "Americop" and traipsed around executing criminals as if he were Judge Dredd dressed as a crossing guard. Captain America was less than impressed with Americop's vigilante antics, and a decade later, Bullseye lobotomized him with electricity — an ignominious end for Americop.
6 and 5.) Ringmaster and the Circus of Crime (1967)
This motley gang of carnival folk have been stalwart villains in the Marvel Universe. Why? Because everyone likes seeing the Hulk battle an evil human cannonball and rodeo clown with a shriveled, black heart. The Ringmaster has a much more illustrious pedigree. He's fought almost every big-name Marvel villain and once gained godlike powers (courtesy of the Mandarin's power ring)...until the Punisher blew his finger off.
4.) Mr. Muscles (1956)
Mr Muscles was a superheroic bodybuilder invented by Jerry Siegel, one of the co-creators of Superman. Sure, there are plenty of brawny superheroes out there, but very few of them will trade you a gym membership for hard time...but Mr. Muscles will.
3.) Mr. District Attorney (1948)
Mr. District Attorney began as a radio program, but the character soon received his own DC series with ludicrous plots. The man had no given name other than "The D.A." I'm pretty sure such anonymity breaks a half-dozen laws, but hey, he was arresting aliens and dealing with bizarre fly-centric contests on a daily basis.
2.) 8-Ball (1991)
Jeff Hagees was a one-time defense contractor who racked up massive gambling debts as a pool shark. Being a pool shark is rarely a functional vocation, and 8-ball was barely a functional villain — he had a superpowered pool cue that allowed him to fire heavy objects at his foes and ran around with a gang of minions: 6-Ball, 9-Ball, and 11-Ball. If you've never heard of 8-Ball, it probably has to do with the fact that he's very dead now.
1.) NFL SuperPro (1991)
Phil Grayfield was a college football player, sports reporter, and scientist who donned an experimental football suit and became NFL SuperPro, perhaps the most derided superhero in comic book history. Said series author Fabian Nicieza of the hero's editorial origins:
We'd signed a licensing deal with the NFL to develop a property. The writers the editor had used were having trouble finalizing a plot to the satisfaction of the NFL, so editor Bob Budiansky asked me if I could help out. No problem. A co-worker asks for your help, you help them. Simple as that. I offered to write the Special Edition to get the ball rolling. NFL was happy with what I did, so I was asked to write the first few issues of the monthly series. Which I agreed to do if I could get tickets to a Jets game [...] I was handed the concept and character, including his basic origin. I don't know if that was all the NFL's creative work or a combination of Marvel editorial and the NFL. I didn't ask. I just wanted Jets tickets.
Yes, SuperPro's origins also involve a rogue football player mutated by steroid abuse. His allies included The Happy Campers, a set of superpowered office drones whose ranks included Calculator, a Korean actuary whose superpower was being incredibly good at statistics.