10 Stupid Attempts At Rebranding Famous Comic Characters

Because whoever thought turning Speedball into Penance frankly deserves the sack.

As with all commercial arts, superhero comic books have always been reflective of the zeitgeist. During the Great Depression of the 30's, Superman arose to protect and inspire the disadvantaged lower classes. During the 70's, the Punisher combatted the country's growing fear of urban crime. These men were heroes for their respective generations. This leads to a dilemma when dealing with older characters; how can Superman be relevant in the world of the Punisher? There's a risk that these cherished properties could lose the public's interest if they don't adapt to a changing culture. The common solution is to make old heroes "hip". In theory, if a creator simply looks to modern culture, he or she can easily find elements to make a hero relevant. In actuality, the new coats of paint given to old standbys are often more garish than gorgeous. While fans desire cultural relevancy, classic characters are so sacred that attempts at 'coolness' are often more offensive than just leaving them be. Unfortunately, the big two comic publishers €“ Marvel and DC €“ don't seem to get that idea, which leads them to attempt rebranding their trademark characters with new outfits, powers, and personalities with little success.

10. Electric Blue Superman

Poor Superman. He pretty much started the business of superheroes, yet he's often considered boring. Writers have tried shaking up the character for years, with efforts including becoming a news anchor and growing a 90's Seinfeld mullet. One of the oddest attempts to revamp the character occurred in 1997 when Superman temporarily lost his solar powers and had them replaced with electric powers. Accordingly, his laser vision was replaced with electric bursts and he could actually 'turn off' his abilities. To start, Superman's biology is solar-based, so he shouldn't be able to 'lose' his powers unless he went through lots of gene therapy. More importantly, turning Superman's electrical powers made him a different character. His powers are so iconic that almost every homage and parody of the character requires the exact same abilities. You can't just swap out his powers like a car engine. The damage to his iconic nature wasn't just in the new abilities either; his powers came with a blue containment suit that allowed him to control them. This led to many fans to call him 'Electric Blue Superman.' Fortunately, this version of Supes had little magnetism with readers.

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