Both DC Comics and Marvel have published thousands of storylines fans want to see on the big screen. Additionally, there are a lot of comics that make fans wonder what the publishers were thinking. Whether it’s for their explicit content or the insensitive way they tackle serious topics, some stories were particularly controversial at the time of publication.
Even if both DC and Marvel fans are eager to have their favorite arcs adapted into a mature universe, these comics take it too far when it comes to uncomfortable topics. Thankfully, both companies know better than to bring these terrible options for a live-action adaptation into the spotlight.
10 Iron Man’s Addiction To Alcohol Was Too Sad
In 1979, David Michelinie, Bob Layton, John Romita, Jr., and Carmine Infantino created “Demon in a Bottle.” It was a nine-issue story in The Invincible Iron Man that follows Tony Stark as he deals with his alcoholism. After his armor malfunctions, things keep going wrong for him, including his reliance on alcohol to forget his problems.
Bob Layton revealed the team wanted to create a story where alcoholism was “the bad guy instead of Doctor Doom or somebody like that.” However, this arc definitely makes for an uncomfortable read. While it ends on a hopeful note and even serves as a cautionary tale, it also portrays Tony Stark at his most vulnerablewhich is hard pill to swallow for fans of Iron Man.
9 Green Lantern’s Girlfriend Became A Plot Device
Green Lantern #54 by Ron Marz features one of the most shameful moments in comics history. When Kyle Rayner, aka Green Lantern, arrives at his apartment, he finds the corpse of his girlfriend, Alex DeWitt, stuffed in a fridge by Major Force. This heinous crime reduced Alex to a mere plot device for Kyle’s heroics, and fans noticed.
What resulted was the creation of Women in Refrigerators, which is a website that analyzes how the comic industry often puts female characters in traumatic situations—rape, murder, torture—to inspire the male characters’ arcs. Since Alex DeWitt has already been established as one of the most anti-feminist moments in comics, Warner could never use it as inspiration for a movie.
8 She-Hulk Was Involved In Eros’ Trial For Sexual Assault Charges
In She-Hulk #6-7 by Dan Slott and Will Conrad, Starfox hires Jennifer Walters’ legal services after a woman accuses him of sexual assault. According to the victim, the Eternal used his psionic powers to force her into sleeping with him. Despite the premise, She-Hulk agrees to become Starfox’s lawyer.
Having experienced something similar herself when they were Avengers, She-Hulk ends up convinced of Eros’ guilt. However, the beginning of the trial doesn’t paint her in the best light when she still defends the indefensible. Since She-Hulk: Attorney at Lawis supposed to be a comedy series, it’s unlikely Marvel will adapt this shameful storyline anytime soon.
7 Wonder Woman Became The Justice League’s Secretary
Wonder Woman is an icon now, but she had a hard time earning her colleagues’ respect in the past. When she first teamed up with the Justice Society of America (a super team preceding the Justice League), the all-male group appointed her as an honorary member. They did this by asking her to become their secretary, despite her being one of the strongest DC characters at the time. The worst part is her acceptance of this offer.
Since this sexist event, which took place in All Star Comics #8, Wonder Woman has come a long way. In fact, she’s one of the most important characters in the DC Universe. Accordingly, no filmmaker would give her a role below her fellow male Justice League members anymore – not in the comics and not in the films.
6 Carol Danvers Was Raped By Her Own Son
During Avengers #197, Miss Marvel goes through an unnatural pregnancy that only lasts a couple of days. She then gives birth to Marcus, who grows into an adult man in a matter of hours. As it turns out, Marcus impregnated Carol to secure his own existence.
This ridiculous storyline deals with rape and incest like they’re nothing. Additionally, he tries to make it look like Carol’s pregnancy is a good thing. For instance, her fellow Avengers congratulate her, almost unaware of what’s really happening. All in all, it’s a very bizarre situation Marvel Studios would never acknowledge.
5 Steamboat Was An Offensive Racial Stereotype
Originally published by Fawcett Comics, Steamboat Bill (aka Steamboat), was an African-American food truck owner who played the role of Captain Marvel and Billy Batson’s valet. According to his creator, CC Beck, he was made to appeal to African-American readers. However, he was depicted as a dim-witted racial stereotype.
As of 2022, the world is still dealing with racism. However, people have actively started to condemn these kinds of stereotypes in media. If Shazam! Fury of the Godswere to include Steamboat, they’d have to be very careful. Accordingly, it would be better if the character was forgotten.
4 Spider-Man Gave Mary Jane Cancer
Spider-Man: Reign is a Spidey story kids shouldn’t read. Created by Kaare Andrews, it’s a four-issue series set 30 years into a dystopian future. Peter, now an elderly man, is a widower after Mary Jane died of cancer due to her exposure to Spider-Man’s radioactive sperm.
In addition to this morbid detail, Spider-Man: Reign features what the fandom calls “the nude panel,” in which Peter’s genitals are exposed while he sits on his bed. Considering how important it is to keep this character as the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, Spider-Man: Reign will never be adapted.
3 Superman Was Forced Into Porn In Action Comics
During Action Comics #592-593, the villain known as Sleez kidnaps Big Barda, the wife of Miracle Man, to keep her as a sex slave. When Superman attempts to rescue her, Sleez brainwashes him and forces him and Big Barda to star in an adult film. It’s only when Miracle Man shows up—close-up of his horrified face included—both characters snap out of it.
This short but strange story taints how fans see Superman—the respectable and noble hero turned into a victim and put in an extremely vulnerable position. This goes against everything Warner Bros would like to convey when it comes to the Man of Steel.
2 Even Stan Lee Criticized Fury MAX
Fury, by Garth Ennis, centers on a retired Nick Fury as he tries to stop Rudi Gargaring, the former Hydra agent. Like most Garth Ennis comics, Fury is an explicit story. The comic depicts Fury having sex with prostitutes and killing various characters in gruesome ways, including a scene where he strangles a man with his own intestines.
Ennis himself has admitted Fury is one of his favorite stories, but the comic was widely criticized. Even Stan Lee condemned its violence at the time. Given its macabre nature, Disney Studios would never agree to adapt Fury. Their priority is to keep things PG-13 in the MCUso they’ll steer clear of Marvel’s edgiest stories.
1 Jason Todd’s Death Divided The Fandom
After his debut in Batman #357 as Dick Grayson’s successor, Jason Todd created a rift in the fandom. While many fans loved him, others despised the new Robin. After DC held a telephone poll to decide his future in the comics, fans decided it was time for him to die, which played out in A Death in the familyy.
Since then, Jason Todd’s death has been retconned and his character has grown up a lot. However, fans still can’t believe DC killed him in cold blood, especially considering the option to do so only narrowly won the poll. Given this, the DCEU chose not to include this storyline. Instead, they made a small reference to it during Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.