10. Smart Hulk
While most of the characters on this got changed cosmetically, Hulk’s makeover came in the form of an IQ upgrade. Everyone knows Hulk as a big dumb green guy who likes to smash things and has a poor grasping of grammar, but during the late ’80s and early ’90s, he went through some severe personality shifts. At one point Hulk even started dressing like a Rat Pack member and called himself Mr. Fix-It. But the most severe change came when Hulk got rid of the bowl cut in favor of a comb over, started wearing a lot of blank tank tops, and packed an intelligence equal to his bench pressing skills.
9. Lex Luthor
Pretty sure at least part of the reason Lex Luthor hates Superman so much is because Supes has a nice head of hair while Lex is stuck looking like Mr. Clean. But all that changed in a storyline from the Death of Superman era where Luthor discovered he was dying of cancer from Kryptonite exposure (guess that’s what happens when you spend most of your life using space rocks against your rival). Luthor’s solution was to get himself a clone body he could put his brain in, complete with a follicle upgrade. Luthor kept this up for quite some time, with everyone being told that this was just Luthor’s long lost son.
8. Ebony White
The otherwise progressive Will Eisner first made his name with The Spirit, which was a smash success as a newspaper strip. The Spirit was a vigilante who palled around with a wisecracking taxi cab driving kid named Ebony White, who just happened to look like every racial stereotype imaginable. Eisner defended Ebony, saying he was a big hit in the black community and that Ebony was meant as commentary on racial humor rather than a racial joke himself. Ebony became less offensive over time and even opened up the doors for other, less offensive minority characters to appear in the strip, like the solemn Detective Grey.
7. Ollie Osnick
Originally, Ollie Osnick was a poor, chubby nerd who just wanted to be Spider-Man’s sidekick. So he built himself some Doc Ock style arms and went to town. But after a story in the ’90s (noticing a trend yet?) where Ollie’s girlfriend gets shot by some gang members and falls into a coma, Ollie transformed himself into the Steel Spider and beat the ever loving crap out of the gang members. Ollie recently appeared in Thunderbolts, where he was even more muscular and extreme, rocking a black costume and almost singlehandedly taking out the entire Thunderbolts before getting his arm bitten off by Venom. Maybe he should have stayed inside for some D&D with friends after all.
She-Thing began her comics career as a female wrestler looking to become an even bigger star. So she went to some guys running a shady operation that gave people super abilities and wound up getting raped, brainwashed and put on an addictive drug. Seriously. Of course, this made her pretty angry, but things only got worse when she later shacked up with the Fantastic Four, only to find herself turned into a female version of the Thing. But that’s okay, because before too long she went over to the other side, hooked up with Doctor Doom and got turned back into a redheaded vixen. Unfortunately that didn’t last too long as Doom got pissed at her and turned her back into an even uglier She-Thing.
Another tricky Wallering is what’s been done to Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, over the years. Back when Alan Moore was still writing for DC, he penned one of the most infamous Batman stories of all-time, The Killing Joke. In that story, Joker shows up at the Gordon household, shoots Barbara and paralyzes her, then proceeds to molest her and take pictures of the incident, all in a bid to get to James Gordon and thus get to Batman himself. But Barbara bounced back and reinvented herself as Oracle, the main intelligence player for the superhero community. Oracle is the Barbara Gordon the current generation of comics readers likely knows the best, but with their recent relaunch, DC decided to bring back Barbara as Batgirl, igniting a frenzy of debate over which course was correct.
Beak was one of the breakout characters from Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run, a freakish birdman who didn’t have much in the way of ability and was placed in a “special” class at the Xavier Institute. He got together with a similarly “special” mutant named Angel Salvadore (yes, the same one from X-Men: First Class) and with her had a literal brood of mutant babies. But after the company wide crossover M-Day, Beak lost his mutation and became…a Hollywood-like hunk. Him and Angel also paired up in a newer New Warriors as Blackwing and Tempest, using technology to give them special abilities.
Formerly an especially gross and grizzly Morlock, Marrow was most notable for the bone protrusions growing out of her skin, which worked as armor and weaponry as she could take them out whenever she felt like it and grow more. But somewhere along the line, she got together with the Weapon X project and had them turn her into a sexy special agent with no noticeable bone protrusions. Which is how we went from having a standout, fan favorite character who looked completely unique to…yet another anonymous sexy character with no real purpose.
2. Wonder Girl
When Cassie Sandsmark was first introduced in the pages of Wonder Woman, she looked like the main character from Welcome to the Dollhouse. Complete with giant glasses and dorky clothes, Cassie was totally unique and different, a girl heroine who was just trying to do the right thing rather than look the right away. And then before anyone knew it, she had turned into a busty, impossibly proportioned blonde teenager who looked like Power Girl in training.
When Psylocke first appeared in Captain Britain, she was the mild mannered sister of Captain Britain himself, Brian Braddock. Betsy would go on to serve as a government agent and went from blonde to purple hair, but the most serious changes to her character occurred after she lost her eyes to Slaymaster, got kidnapped and sent to the Mojoverse, then received cybernetic eye implants and eventually became a brainwashed agent for the Hand who only escaped after her normal body was destroyed because she inserted her consciousness in the body of a Japanese assassin. So to recap: started as a normal British woman, had a bunch of horrible things happen to her, and then was transformed into a super sexualized Japanese woman with a penchant for wearing impractical thong suits. Sure Amanda Waller was reduced to a size 0, but at least she remained the same race.
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