DC Fails by Vedang Lata

Image source: https://www.upi.com/

“I am Snowflame! Every cell of my being burns with white-hot ecstasy. Cocaine is my God – and I am the human instrument of its will!”
– Snowflame

In New Guardians #2, Steve Englehart and Cary Bates introduce us to a Columbian drug dealer who manages to gain superhuman strength, speed, immunity to pain and pyrokinesis, whenever he snorted cocaine. Cocaine. The character was introduced in October 1988 and was killed off in October 1988, in New Guardians #2.

The DC Comics roster includes some of the most popular superheroes and supervillains of all time out of which several characters have been used to build the DC cinematic universe. But, there still remain a few instances that manage to remind us that not every superhero and/or supervillain deserves that kind of praise and critical acclaim; or, that getting rid of them in a Columbian drug war was perhaps the best decision.

Mitchell Mayo, who is better known as the “Condiment King” is a villain who uses a variety of condiments to create nuisance for Batman and Robin. In some cases, he can also cause anaphylactic shocks. Although in his defense, he was used as only as a comic relief character and was initially introduced as a stand-up comedian who had been brainwashed by The Joker. But that does not change the fact that the creators, Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, figured that mustard and mayonnaise was a worthy opponent for the world’s greatest detective.

Introduced during the Bronze Age of Comic Books by Tony Isabella, Black Lightning is a schoolteacher who acquires electrical superpowers from a power belt and uses them to deal with the criminals in his city. However, the superhero who was ranked 85 in IGN’s Top 100 Comic Book Heroes was initially introduced along with a white racist who used to turn into a black superhero under stress. The character who was named “Black Bomber” was described as “an insult to practically everybody with any point of view at all”.

Poetic justice is a rather peculiar thing, but still remains something that needs to be admired. Perhaps, this was the target idea of a 420-pound man who spent his time trapping and killing dogs and welding them to people’s faces. His name was Dog Welder. Let’s just leave it at that.

Out of all these characters, one stands out: Danny the Street. He was a sentient life form who took the form of an actual street. He communicated through signs and billboards and shops and had the power to reconstruct himself and take any form that he chose, while also being able to teleport. He is a rather important but unknown character from the DC roster because, well, he did not really have a lot of comics or movies to his name; but the idea that he represented was something that set him apart from everyone else. Danny the Street became a street to help the people who are disregarded and tossed out by the society, and who feel like they don’t have a place to go to. Danny enjoyed cross-dressing, organizing drag shows, and helping people feel accepted. In 1990, creating a character like this was a challenging thing to do, even though the cross-dressing and the drag shows came later. Danny the Street was, perhaps, one of the many characters in the DC universe who did not save lives from impending doom and supervillains, but he did what the other superheroes couldn’t pull off – being a home for the outcasts, and the ones that were not considered to be a part of the society which, in my perspective, is an achievement.

Dallas Buyer’s Club was one of the most critically acclaimed movies of 2013. It centered around AIDS and how Ron Woodroof, after being diagnosed with the disease, managed to smuggle in drugs from other countries that would help him, and the people who were battling it. The film starred Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto and was an absolute masterpiece. I wish the same could be said about Hemo-Goblin who was a vampire created to assist a white supremist group, who drank AIDS infested blood and bit non-whites. Perhaps not the best work of creators Steve Engleheart and Joe Staton.

From Batman v Superman and Justice League, to supremist vampires and evil mayonnaise, DC seldom fails to surprise the massive fan base that is has gathered over the years. This gives them reasons to celebrate characters like Harley Quinn and Flash and at the same time, read about people who use their powers as a dancer to create sound waves like Vibe: a break-dancer who danced for justice and was thankfully, killed off after a few appearances.

“I wanted to put a reference to masturbation in one of the scripts for the Sandman. It was immediately cut by the editor [Karen Berger]. She told me, “There’s no masturbation in the DC Universe.” To which my reaction was, “Well, that explains a lot about the DC Universe.” 
– Neil Gaiman

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