Dennis Culver’s Evil (and Ugly) Supermen of History
Here at ComicsAlliance, we’ve takled about Dennis Culver and his daily sketchblog before, and with good reason. It’s fantastic, not just because it’s a daily shot of Culver’s great artwork, but because he gets into long-running themes that are just pure fun to see playing out every day.
In the past, Culver’s drawn Batman’s villains, the cast of The Wire, and even concocted his ideal version of Batman Incorporated, but over the last few weeks, he’s gone a little more obscure, combing through 70 years of Superman history and bringing readers new designs for all the villains that have worn Superman’s famous symbol, from Bizarro to Superboy Prime all the way down to “The Ugly Superman!” Check out the entire gallery and information on everyone after the jump!Created in 1960, the Super-Menace is one of the more bizarre chapters of Superman’s Silver Age hijinx: A strange duplicate created when Kal-El’s rocketship encountered a “giant space-ship from another universe,” who crash-landed on Earth and was raised by two career criminals. He briefly, uh, menaced Superman as a crook before deciding to abandon his body and exist as pure force.
Not to be confused with Super-Menace, The Anti-Superman was actually Perry White, from a time when he and Commissioner Gordon were exposed to a gas that gave them super-powers and altered their minds, leading them to become evil versions of Batman and Superman. As they are both old men (and smokers), they did not fare very well against the genuine World’s Finest:
Next up is probably the most famous villain to wear the S (or at least a backwards version of it), Bizarro! An imperfect duplicate of Superman created by a science ray, he hates beauty, loves ugliness, and has dialogue that’s a major pain to actually read and write. Hello!
Along the same lines, Bizarro Girl is exactly what it says on the package: A version of Supergirl from Bizarro World, who for some reason once tried to eat Jimmy Olsen.
And finally, competing our Bizarro Trilogy, we have Match, a clone of Superboy (who was himself a clone) who was pretty much the super-powered version of what happens when you Xerox a mimeograph (ask your parents, kids):
Yet another ray — this time one of Lex Luthor’s, natch — was involved in the creation of The Negative Superman! He was the reverse of Superman in both looks and attitude, and as such was a real downer at parties and never let anyone share good news without pointing out the downside. Very rarely invited back to Luthor’s birthday parties.
There have been more than a few characters called Superwoman over the years, but the villainous version drawn here by Culver is actually Lucy Lane, a character that I feel genuine, all-consuming hatred for due to her status as Jimmy Olsen’s hateful, shrewish Silver Age girlfriend.
This dude, however, I love: The Composite Superman, a former janitor who now looks like a Half-Superman/Half-Batman with green skin, but who actually has all the powers of the Legion of Super-Heroes!
Speaking of duplicates and strange stories, The Superman of Earth-A has a backstory so complicated that involves parallel world doppelgangers, time travel and magic. The short version is that the Thunderbolt — a magic genie controlled by the JSA’s Johnny Thunder — gave a crook Superman’s powers on a parallel world, but it worked out okay when he got the smackdown from Dr. Fate and was then rewritten out of existence. Yes: that’s the short version.
The Sand Superman is almost as complex! As the name implies, he’s a sentient pile of sand, energized by a force from another dimension who stole Superman’s powers whenever he acted:
Another stalwart set of the Silver Age, the Superman Revenge Squad were a group of Aliens whose evil plans had been thwarted by Superman in the past, leading them to hate him so much that they decided to dress just like him (except with logos made of Kryptonite).
The Metal Men’s old foe Chemo became Super-Chemo after Clark Kent fell into a vat of chemicals, duplicating his cast-off skin cells and recreating his powers on a gigantic scale until Superman and the Metal Men finally stopped him:
After stolen artifacts gave her super-powers, Dana Dearden became a super-stalker, billing herself as “Mrs. Superman” until Jimmy Olsen started calling her “Obsession.”
James Hetfield is the lead singer of the popular rock group Metallica — oops, sorry, got my notes mixed up. Turns out this guy is actually called “Saviour,” clinging to the idea that Superman is dead because he really, really likes that bloody logo t-shirt.
Despite an uncanny resemblance to Etrigan the Demon, Draaga is actually an alien who was the champion gladiator of Warworld before Superman beat him:
The Cyborg Superman made his first appearance after Superman’s temporary “death,” bt was actually an astronaut turned into a cyborg who pretended to be Superman, then blew up a city, then became a member of the Sinestro Corps to fight Green Lantern and now calls himself “Cyborg Doomsday.” Who says this stuff is complicated?
Oh man. Believe it or not, this guy is not the world’s worst Witchblade cosplayer. He is actually Kryptonian racist from the city of Kandor. And this is his actual costume, which actually appeared in comic books:
And of course, there’s Superboy Prime, whose villainous ways have manifested as both super-powered murder and posting angry comments on the Internet:
Finally, we have my favorite: The Ugly Superman, a pro wrestler saddled with the most unfortunate gimmick since the Shockmster:
As Culver says, he’s not actually a villain, but with a gimmick like “The Ugly Superman,” it’s pretty safe to say that he’s a heel. And he’s got that ten pounds of gold, baby! WOOOOO!
For more amazing art, make sure to check out Culver’s sketchjournal, where new art goes up every day!