When Lois Lane was transformed into a black woman

November 1970’s #106 of Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane sees the intrepid reporter undergo a dramatic transformation for the sake of her journalism: temporarily becoming a black woman. Whilst the intention may have been to speak out against racism, the issue has long since been derided for its stunning tone-deafness, so it’s not a story DC are too proud of today.

When The Punisher became a Frankenstein monster

We all know The Punisher is one of the few Marvel heroes with no qualms about killing – but did you know he was once killed himself, then brought back from the dead? Marvel’s 2009 storyline Dark Reign saw a slain Frank Castle re-assembled and revived by the League of Monsters – hence, Franken-Castle. Unsurprisingly, the character has since returned to his usual, human form.

When Spider-Man’s radioactivity gave Mary Jane cancer

2006 storyline Spider-Man: Reign followed an old Peter Parker, and put a very dark and unpleasant spin on his origin story. As Spider-Man got his powers from a radioactive spider bite, he himself was in fact radioactive – and, through this, he gave Mary-Jane terminal cancer. Worse yet, it’s suggested that intimate contact between them was the root cause of MJ’s illness. That’s pretty bleak stuff.

When Ms. Marvel gave birth to a grown man who became her boyfriend

Another staggeringly creepy storyline saw Carol Danvers (then known as Ms. Marvel) impregnated by a mysterious alien force. Quickly giving birth, her ‘child’ grows to an adult almost immediately – and then Carol feels an ‘unexplainable and undeniable attraction’ to the man who is essentially her son. It turns out the alien, Marcus, has manipulated her into falling in love with him via alien technology. Ew.

When The Joker got pregnant

Ms. Marvel might have become pregnant under strange, sinister circumstances, but that’s still not quite so creepy and weird as the Clown Prince of Crime suddenly finding himself with child. Yes, the Joker re-enacted Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Junior in recent DC storyline Joker: The Man who Stopped Laughing, and the comics world was thoroughly weirded out by it.

The real, original reason Thanos killed half the universe

When Thanos first appears on film at the end of 2012’s The Avengers, you may recall a line about ‘courting Death.’ This wasn’t a figure of speech. In the original Infinity Gauntlet comics, Thanos destroys half of all life to impress Lady Death, a literal personification of death with whom he is madly in love. Unsurprisingly, this was deemed too weird for the movies.

Snowflame – the supervillain powered by drugs

The proliferation of live action comic book adaptations has seen comparatively obscure characters reach screens – but it’s not surprising this hasn’t happened to Snowflame. Introduced in DC’s New Guardians in 1988, he’s a super-villain who gets his powers from a certain class-A drug (there’s a clue in his name). Not only that, but he worships the drug as his god. Only in the 80s…

When Iron Man’s armor became sentient and fell in love with him

Thanks to the Iron Man movies, we’re used to seeing Tony Stark enjoy a close relationship with the AI in his suit – but we might be a bit taken aback if the suit itself suddenly fell in love with its owner. This actually happened in a 1998 run of Invincible Iron Man, and – Stark’s playboy ways notwithstanding – it was a bit much to take.

When Superman fought Muhammad Ali

Comic book fans love huge, unexpected showdowns – but some of those can only work on the printed page. Case in point: the time Superman stepped in the ring with legendary heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali. The 1978 one-off oversized special edition comic book may be a coveted collector’s item today, but it’s not a story we’d anticipate being used in the movies.

Spider-Man’s infamous meeting with a dinosaur man

2015’s Spider-Man and the X-Men #2 boasts a single panel which has become legendary. Battling humanoid pterodactyl Sauron (no relation to the Lord of the Rings antagonist), Spidey asks why the villain doesn’t use his gene technology to cure cancer, to which he explains, “I don’t want to cure cancer. I want to turn people into dinosaurs.” Bizarre; iconic; never happening in the movies.