Once upon a time, only a select few nerds had strong feelings about Rocket Raccoon or Groot. Thanks to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, these characters have become household names. But that doesn’t mean that all have Marvel’s oddballs have gone mainstream. The House of Ideas still has plenty of weirdos in its bullpen, strange characters no one has ever heard of, and popular characters who are even weirder than anyone knew. Meet the weirdest Marvel characters.
As this list will soon demonstrate, the X-Men have plenty of weirdos on their roster. And that makes sense, as the team and its many subsidiaries bring together the mutants of the Marvel Universe. Even by that standard, Doop seems odd. A green potato-shaped figure with no legs, who floats around and speaks in a language indiscernible to most, Doop defies all expectations. Making him even stranger is the fact that the X-Men know Doop to be one of the most powerful mutants alive, even though no one can say just what those powers are.
Throg first appeared when the Asgardian trickster god Loki turned his brother Thor into a reptile. An unusual form for the God of Thunder, to be sure, but Loki transforms people all the time. However, after Thor returned to his usual hunky blond form, a down-on-his-luck football player Simon Walterson (whose name nods to longtime Thor writer Walt Simonson) tried to cheat a fortune-telling witch, who turned him into a frog. Despite his fallen state, Simon showed enough purity to wield a mini-Mjolnir, transforming into Throg, complete with his own hammer Frogjolnir.
Marvel Comics tells readers that mutants appear often around the world and need the protection of the X-Men. But the X-Men roster contains almost nothing but good-looking people with incredible powers. That’s not the case for Beak, whose mutant ability gives him the fragile bones and misshapen appearance of a chicken. Beak came to Xavier’s School for Gifted Mutants looking for a safe haven. However, he soon proved himself to be as brave as Cyclops or Wolverine, standing up against Magneto and later marrying fellow student Angel.
A standout character in the hit movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Spider-Ham is a pig version of the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler. However, Peter Porker is not a pig who got bit by a radioactive spider. Rather, he started life as a spider named Peter, who made a home in the lab of porcine scientist May Porker. When May’s atomic hairdryer malfunctions, it irradiates May and makes her insane for a moment, driving her to bite any living thing in sight, including Peter. After being bitten by a radioactive pig, the spider Peter takes on the form of a pig and takes the name Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham.
Many of the original Marvel heroes and villains have much in common with mad scientists, and researchers who push boundaries and receive fantastic powers as a result. No character takes that trope to extremes like MODOK. The evil scientists of Advance Idea Mechanics (AIM) forced experiments on disrespected colleague George Tarleton, giving him a giant head and brain and immense mental powers. Tarleton adopts the name MODOK (Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing) and establishes himself as the head of AIM, using his brilliant mind to take down Captain America and other good guys.
Super-intelligent primates go with superhero comics like capes and tights, so Mandrill doesn’t earn a spot on this list just because he is a malevolent mandrill. Rather, Mandrill belongs here because he can control people by emitting pheromones, which he often employs on women. When used well, writers emphasize Mandrill’s ridiculous aspects without veering too far into icky territory. However, lesser writers have sometimes made Mandrill a gros, uncomfortable character, making him a tough bad guy to bring into the mainstream.
As his giant muscles and million-dollar smile prove, Maggott fits the X-Men better than his teammate Beak, falling more into the traditional superhero mold. That said, Maggott has a power set that does not seem to lend itself to fantastic fistfights. Maggott’s digestive system mutated into two purple slug creatures that live outside his body. These creatures can digest any substance, which Maggott uses to chew his way out of any difficult situation.
Perhaps the most unlucky character on this list, Forgetmenot’s mutation renders him imperceptible. No one can see him, no psychic can detect him, no electronics record him. As a formidable member of the X-Men, Forgetmenot battled some of the team’s deadliest enemies, even if no one noticed. When the Scarlett Witch used magic to strip the power away from most of Earth’s mutants, people finally took notice of Forgetmenot.
On an alternate Earth, young genius Peter Parker worked in a research lab studying a spider colony. After being bathed in radiation, Peter fell into the colony, which devoured him. However, the process spread Peter’s consciousness across the colony’s hive-mind. In short, Spiders-Man is a group of spiders who think that they are a man. Fortunately for its compatriots, Spiders-Man often wears a traditional Spidey suit. But when the mask comes off, it reveals a teeming mass of spiders.
The MCU Halloween special Werewolf by Night introduced viewers to Man-Thing as a scary but likable mass of grass, not unlike a floral puppy. Readers will find the comic book version of Man-Thing much less cute. After a chemical accident transformed scientist Ted Sallis into the plant creature Man-Thing, he lost his identity and shambled through his new swampy home. Man-Thing has no cognitive abilities and instead responds to the emotions of those around him. If anyone feels fear, then the touch of the Man-Thing burns them, which means a lot of people get turned to ash around the Man-Thing.
11. Ego, the Living Planet
In a brilliant bit of casting, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 director James Gunn picked Kurt Russell to play Ego the Living Planet, the swaggering father to team leader Star-Lord. No one in their right mind would complain about seeing Kurt Russell on screen, but Gunn did veer away from the source material. In the pages of Marvel Comics, Ego the Living Planet lives up to his name because he is indeed a purple planet with a face and a beard. Arrogant with good reason, Ego has an uneasy alliance with hero Silver Surfer.
12. Big Bertha
To be clear, Big Bertha does not make this list because of her plus size. Such characters are rare but welcome, such as the wonderful Valiant character Faith. No, Big Bertha is on this list because she’s an obese person with the power to become thin. Big Bertha uses that power in her everyday life as a successful model. But when she needs to fight crime as a member of the Great Lakes Avengers, she reverts to her natural form to save the day.
To the shame of his son Eugene, Vincent Patilio led a life of crime under the name Leap Frog, employing an amphibious costume to jump away from Daredevil and Iron Man. After serving a fifteen-year sentence, Leap Frog saw the error of his ways and retired from crime, but still felt weighed down with guilt. To help redeem his father, Eugene took the costume and rechristened himself Frog-Man, leaping into battle alongside Spider-Man and the Avengers.
14. Forbush Man
Marvel spokesman Stan Lee overstated his claims of creating characters such as Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four, but he did succeed at establishing a report with fans. Part of that connection came from the inside jokes Lee would make, often referring to a low-level Marvel employee called Irving Forbush. After a time, readers saw Irving in the pages of the satire series Not Brand Ech Comics, in which he took a heroic identity. Donning red pajamas, a blue blanket cape, and a tin pot over his head for a helmet, Irving took the name Forbush Man, fighting the good fight to the best of his limited ability.
15. Armless Tiger Man
German machinist Gustav Hertz did not despair when he lost his arms in an accident in the early 1940s. Instead, he devoted himself to developing his core and legs, preparing to take revenge against all machinery. Also, he became a German Agent, serving the regime by sabotaging American machines.
A premise that goofy can only come from comics’ golden age, and Armless Tiger Man did indeed first appear in an Angel story from 1941’s Marvel Mystery Comics #26. Not content to rest, Armless Tiger Man reappeared every decade or so as a strange but persistent baddie.
Kids love to think about getting powers and debate the merits of super-strength or flight. But if they knew about Slapstick, most kids would choose his power set. Class clown Steve Harmon dressed as a clown on a date to a carnival, not realizing a mystical hall of mirrors could transport him to another universe. As he traveled through dimensions, Steve’s atoms separated and mutated, coming back together in the form of a cartoon clown. In short, Steve transformed into Slapstick, a living cartoon who fights bad guys with giant rubber mallets, anvils, and a wry sense of humor.
17. Mr. Immortal
Mr. Immortal has a power that every superhero wants. Thanks to a relationship with the cosmic entity Deathurge, Craig Hollis cannot die. Every time his life expires, he comes right back to life, as death refuses to claim him. That gift allows Craig to lead the Great Lakes Avengers as Mr. Immortal, but he has no other powers. He has no strength or flight or laser eyes, which means that he loses almost every one of his fights. Still, Mr. Immortal takes the losses well, jumping back into the fray, even if he will get killed again.
18. Master Pandemonium
In most cases, Master Pandemonium is a standard-issue supervillain, a guy with demonic powers after making a deal with the devil to save his life after a car crash. Those demonic powers involve changing the shape of his arms, which can sometimes lead to some cool looks. But when Master Pandemonium decided to torture Avenger Scarlet Witch by taking away the twin boys she made for herself and her husband Vision, the kids Billy and Tommy manifested on his arms. In other words, Master Pandemonium had literal baby hands, a quality somehow both evil and laughable.
Mad-Cap wears a floppy purple hat, a striped puffy shirt and trousers, bounding into action with unparalleled confidence. One might assume that Mad-Cap’s swashbuckling attitude stems from his superpowers, a complete resistance to harm, received in an accident that bathed him in chemicals. However, Mad-Cap’s uncouth appearance and carefree spirit stem from deep nihilism, an extension of survivor's guilt that stays with him since he survived a chemical skill that took the lives of forty other people. The best Mad-Cap stories walk the line between dark psychological profiles and fun romps, making him one of the company’s more interesting figures.
When most Marvel fans think of short, hairy, Canadian mutants, they think of Wolverine. But there’s a shorter and hairier mutant in the great white north, the man called Puck. Saskatchewan-based gymnast Eugene Judd used his hulking 6’6” frame as a soldier of fortune, whose travels took him to Baghdad. In this ancient city, Judd encountered a cursed sword that gave him invincibility but also shrunk him to 3’6”. Undeterred, Judd continues living a life of adventure by joining the team Alpha Flight and taking the name Puck.
Sam Guthrie has the power to rocket himself through the air, fighting for good as Cannonball of the New Mutants and X-Force. His younger sister Paige has a much more versatile mutant ability, albeit one that manifests in a stomach-churning manner. Paige can change her body to be almost any element, transforming herself into a flaming woman, a metal beast, or a rock monster. However, these forms manifest when she tears off her outer layer of skin, revealing the new version below. As Husk of Generation X, Paige follows in the footsteps of her big brother. Talk about one of the weirdest Marvel characters!
22. Omega the Unknown
Given his name, it comes as no surprise that Omega the Unknown isn’t more popular. Omega has the usual superhero power set, making him a muscle man who flies around punching people and zapping bad guys. However, Omega belongs on this list because of the way writer Steve Gerber deployed him in the series Omega the Unknown in the 1970s.
Despite his fantastic powers, Omega has no interest in doing good, bad, or anything else. He just floats through life, saving the day almost by accident. Furthermore, he has a mystic connection to young boy James-Michael Starling, which remains unexplained. “What is Omega’s deal?” one might ask. “Unknown,” comes the answer.
23. The Orb
The Orb wears a red jumper and has a giant eyeball for a head. That alone would put the Orb on this list, even if he just ran around robbing banks and riding a souped-up motorcycle, as the original version of the Orb did. However, the second version of the Orb goes even further, making the character a man born with an eyeball for a head, which gives him the power to see everything across the universe. The Orb may be the most powerful character in the Marvel Universe, but he’s too silly to do anything about it.
24. Phone Ranger
What makes a hero? Some might say strength and others power, but in truth, heroism comes from the willingness to do as much good as one can. Take A. G. Bell, a telephone repairman who discovers an alien race living inside a phone he tried to fix. Using that technology, Bell can travel through phone lines, allowing him to overhear and thwart criminals as Phone Ranger. Of course, Bell’s first mission ended with him almost dead after taking a shot to the head. But he still continues the good fight, showing up in the background of later Marvel comics. Besides his status as one of the weirdest Marvel characters, we have to wonder: what will he do in an all-cellular world?
25. Big Wheel
Anyone who wants to start trouble on Spider-Man’s turf needs to move fast because Spidey can cover a lot of ground swinging from web to web. Corrupt businessman Jackson Weele meets that need with a giant circular vehicle, from which he derives his bad guy name Big Wheel. Rest assured, Big Wheel’s big wheel does have guns and other weapons, which do give Spider-Man some trouble. But that’s about all Big Wheel can do, other than hope he drives away fast enough.