10 Embarrassing Comic Book Moments Writers Had To Explain

Spider-Man hating protesters, 1950s Captain America... Marvel has had to retcon some awkward stuff.

Power Girl Boob Window
DC Comics

The weirdest thing about American comics, at least when compared to other forms of sequential storytelling like manga, is that the original writer has VERY little say over what the books are doing now.

Who knows what Bob Kane and Bill Finger would think of, say, the Tom King run on Batman, but DC then and now likely wouldn't care. After all, those two got their paychecks and it's not like they OWN the characters and stories they create, such is the way of work-for-hire.

These characters have also changed drastically in the decades since they first appeared. Different writers and artists always come onto books to keep things feeling fresh and to clean up any potential messes made by previous creative teams... and there've been a lot.

One definite advantage of this model of storytelling is that different writers means different perspectives, meaning that if a writer introduces something that's either problematic or just plain stupid, you can rest assured that in a year or two someone will be along to confront that.

These moments were not only stupid but just so flat out embarrassing for the characters they were attached to, that later writers had no choice but to address them - but not always for the better...

10. Spider-Woman's Origin

Power Girl Boob Window
Marvel Comics

Any fan of Spider-Woman knows the humorous behind the scenes info of Marvel creating her simply to have a Spider-Woman character before anyone else could get their hands on such a marketable concept. However, speed does not equal quality, so when they brought on Archie Goodwin to write up her origin, Spider-Woman's original backstory was... weird. Weird and wrong. Just all kinds of wrong.

Her original backstory? She was a literal spider, whose DNA then went through a round of musical chairs courtesy of the High Evolutionary, who has a bad habit of doing this sort of thing to animals all over the place.

Why Archie Goodwin thought this was a good idea is anyone's guess, but never underestimate what a writer is capable of bringing into this world when under the kind of time crunch Mr. Goodwin must have been. In any event, in literally the very next issue - written by the incomparable Marv Wolfman - it was revealed that Jessica was lied to about this being her backstory, and the series moved on.

And frankly, thank god.


John Tibbetts is a novelist in theory, a Whatculture contributor in practice, and a nerd all around who loves talking about movies, TV, anime, and video games more than he loves breathing. Which might be a problem in the long term, but eh, who can think that far ahead?