It's one thing to dress up like Stan Lee for Comic-Con; it's another thing to dress up like Stan Lee, and then stalk Stan Lee. Someone, somewhere out there, has used a work sick day to mourn the loss of Captain America. Right now, there's a dude in the lighting section of your nearest Home Depot with a sick Batman logo tattoo on his calf. We bet your neighbor has the coolest, most secret Batcave you've ever seen. What we're saying is that fandom can run the gamut from the bizarre and illegal to the "Luke Cage and Chill." However, when fandom goes to the extreme, it can often become combustible.
Never underestimate the true zaniness of, let's say, a Batman or X-Men fan. Comic book fandom can change some people's lives (and even their faces) or make them go crazy and lash out. Fiction is the yin to fact's yang -- the characters and storylines are not real, but they are a reality to many. A few of those may take it a little too far. Don't believe everything that you read, kids. There were times in our history where fandom went a tad over the line, and there were times when it went way over the line, past the end zone, through the crowd and out of the stadium. Here, we countdown 15 times fandom went too far.
15 ANTI-TONY STARK BUILDS IRON MAN-LIKE SUIT
An anti-Tony Stark – an inventor from England, whose end goal is actually not weapons manufacturing – has invented a $250,000 prototype Iron Main suit, for no other reason than for the sheer fun of it. In Vancouver, Richard Browning, of Gravity Industries, showed off wearable jet propulsion technologies at the TED conference. The dude told the audience he drew inspiration from Iron Man. In fact, according to Salon, the suit is so expensive, it is not ready for the mass market.
A YouTube video of Browning’s progress is incredible. This guy has enough money to strap an exoskeleton with six turbines to his body, literally propelled by jet engines on his forearms and calves. He has a HUD and even fuel bags on his back, which Browning uses to fly and glide through the air in the video. According to Salon, he can fly for 10 minutes at about 5mph. Our question is: Who just has spare jet engines lying around? This guy could at least be investigated as a potential James Bond villain.
14 XTREME JUSTICE LEAGUE
We've got to hand it to the s0-called Xtreme Justice League: While your name reminds us more of a pro wrestling-related group than a legit gang of people from San Diego donning original homemade superhero costumes, you’ve got some great monikers: Spartan, Light Fist, Mr. Xtreme. We can’t decide if our most favorite is Fallen Boy or Midnight Highwayman.
Think, Mystery Men without Casanova Frankenstein. Think, Kick-Ass without the ass kicking. Think, Batman without all the dead parents. Xtreme Justice League is a group of real people with fake names, who, according to a 2014 article by The Mirror in UK, actually patrol the streets of San Diego, making citizen’s arrests, hugging the homeless, shaking hands with teenagers and promoting volunteerism. Some have even thrown hands to fight a little crime!
13 SCULPTOR MAKES REAL-LIFE DESTRO MASK
Destro has, and always will be, badass. He’s a weapons supplier with a steel mask for goodness sake. Plus, if you were a fan of the early action figure and comics series, you’d know that he can really rock a red-lined coat -- on the figure, the red oddly resembles the sides of the cobra’s hood in the COBRA symbol. See? Destro is the true head of COBRA, after all. He also had gaudy ruby necklace and rocket-launching wrist bands, just in case you still doubted his baller nature. And yet, even with all of these, Destro was all about that mask.
We would cherish and display (and, yes, wear) a Destro mask, should one ever come across our way by happenstance. (Baroness Cosplayers, get ready to swoon). Californian Jeff Birch went one step further and sculpted a real-life, wearable fiberglass chrome-painted replica, produced as a moldmaking and casting project and supported by the Smooth-On company, which makes sculpting products.
12 FANS TRASH FANTASTIC FOUR
It seems that, no matter what, 20th Century Fox just cannot do what Marvel (and Sony) can when it comes to comic book business. The studio has owned the rights to the Fantastic Four franchise since 1986, and three movies later (technically, four, if you count Roger Corman's 1994 flop), the franchise has fizzled faster than a wet Johnny Storm. Three strikes. You’re out, Fox.
Speaking of The Human Torch, Michael B. Jordan played him in Josh Trank’s latest shot at the superhero team. Some clobbered the casting, supposedly because Jordan is a black actor and the comic book Johnny Storm is white, according to a 2015 article by The New York Daily News. It didn’t help Fox’s cause that Trank would go on to later trash the film, sending a Tweet that would ultimately cost the film upwards of $10 million. Trank claimed his version was better, but we’ll probably never see it.
11 RYAN REYNOLDS BUTT TATTOO
There’s an 18-year-old dude out there with Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds’ name etched into his ass... in red and black Comic Sans font, no less. A Twitter user and Deadpool fan named Dustin said he would tattoo Reynolds’ name on his butt if the actor liked his Tweet. Reynolds did, and two weeks later, history was made. According to an interview in Us Magazine, the teen doesn’t regret his decision; not one butt... err, bit.
The magazine interview should have gone farther, in our opinion: Did you get the tattoo before or after seeing the film? What happened if the movie sucked? Did you consider a Van Wilder tattoo, or perhaps “Ryan Reynolds” written in Blade Trinity font? Alas, we may never know, but you have to give this guy credit for his commitment. He's sure got some cheek!
Colin Furze looks nothing like Wolverine: One is a short, burly, raven-haired mutant Canadian, and the other is a slim British inventor and world-record setter who made, among many other contraptions, real working, piston-activated Wolverine claws. Now, these aren't the adamantium variety Wolvie uses to snikitty-slice his foes, but it's probably the closest we'll come to them in our boring real space!
In a YouTube video, Furze cuts, mills and welds rectangular frames for each forearm, complete with a pneumatic design to extend and retract the claws via a pressurized trigger in the palm of each hand. He’s wearing true-to-form Wolverine claws and slashing targets, barely breaking a sweat in his short-sleeve button-up shirt and tie. This guy is Doc Brown geek meets Tony Stark chic.
9 KAL-EL CAGE
Nicolas Cage and crazy go together like Joker and Harley Quinn. The famous actor is known for his range of crazy on film, be it Face/Off, Vampire's Kiss, The Wicker Man, Ghost Rider, or Bad Lieutenant. Cage’s craziness doesn’t limit itself to celluloid, though, as he can be just as zany in real life. For instance, would a sane man name his son Kal-El? The actor did just that on his son’s birthdate in October 2005.
According to People, Cage’s wife wanted something more unusual than his first choice, so he went for Kal-El, Superman’s Kryptonian name. He said it stood for something good and American. Unfortunately, Kal-El Cage is too young to be a journalist like Clark Kent. And we don’t think he has any superpowers, yet. If he did they’d come in handy one day … to steal the Declaration of Independence!
8 JOKER BOY
“Do you wanna know how I got these scars? … Joke’s on you, these are actually tattoos.” That phrase probably runs around the mind of an individual named Mischa, who calls himself “Joker Boy.” This proud father, in an attempt to hide his pain from his youth, got the Joker Chelsea smile and black eye sockets, a la Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, tattooed on his face.
According to an interview with Tattoodo.com, Joker Boy is often called a “fraud” by the Batman fanbase – Heath Ledger was the real Joker (and the best one, as we all know). The article did not say where Mischa worked, but with a face like that, he should be buying the closest toxic waste plant and investing in purple suits.
7 JOKER RATON
The Joker obsession doesn’t stop at Joker Boy. There was a Heath Ledger-meets-Jared-Leto Joker arrested in Ft. Lauderdale in June of 2017, but his grin looked like it came from a Halloween sticker out of a 25-cent grocery store toy machine. The 29-year-old man was arrested twice in about a week, once for reportedly pointing a gun at traffic -- it's not a Magnum at a Batwing, or a machine gun at a Batpod, but it’ll do.
He told the court that he was a “celebrity” in jail, according to CBS News. Fittingly enough, for a part of his jail time, this Joker was in the psych ward. Ft. Lauderdale is Gotham City, and this dude is their Joker. Psych ward? Check. Green hair? Check. Smile? Check. Black eyes? Police involvement? Check. Check. Makes you wonder if the town has a Harley Quinn with a bad dye job.
6 ADAMANTI-MUM RAGE
Back in 2012, a Utah teen was hit with a felony aggravated assault charge by authorities for going berserk with Wolverine "claws" on his best friend/roommate, who was allegedly sleeping with the assailant's mom. A news story from KSL.com stated the teen used knives and other sharp objects to craft the claws in the alleged attack. The roommate was stabbed in the head, but luckily survived. Yes, we said he was stabbed in the actual head... with homemade claw knives. He also suffered wounds to his hands, arm, and thigh.
We probably wouldn't be cool with any of our friends pulling a Stifler's Mom situation on us either, but we certainly wouldn't think of murdering the person. This Utah teen reacted otherwise. Did the roommate resemble Sabretooth? Does mom look like Jean Grey? Is his dad really Brian Cox? Reports remain vague.
5 HYDRA-CAP DEATH THREATS
"Hail Hydra." With those two words being uttered by Captain America in Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, Marvel writer Nick Spencer changed the world. As is now widely known, Spencer made Steve Rogers into a Hydra sleeper agent. He also inadvertently made himself into a target for death-threats. According to mass opinion of comics fans, Captain America, the symbol of the Red, White and Blue, was now a Nazi.
In April of 2017, Marvel released Secret Empire, written by Spencer, which deals with the aftermath of the Hydra reveal and fallout from Avengers: Standoff! In May, Spencer Tweeted that he was getting 9,000 Tweets per second following the reveal and received a significant amount of death threats online. So, you know, not too menacing. Some fans shamed him for ruining Jack Kirby and Stan Lee's legacy. One simply wrote "die." Whether the person really meant it or was blowing off steam is unknown, but either way, not very cool.
4 SUPERMAN SUPERFAN
Back in 2013, a Filipino man and Guinness World Record holder named Herbert Chavez, 39, made the news by becoming a real-life Superman. He has that curl, the chiseled chin and the blue eyes. Granted, he looked more like the plastic toy version, but still, not a bad attempt. According to The Huffington Post, Chavez, who makes Superman costumes in his dress making shop, spent 300,000 Pesos ($22,500 American) and more than 30 years to transform himself into Superman.
Part of that transformation included lightening his skin to look Caucasian. According to the article, he is getting abdomen and butt implants, as well. Chavez is also known worldwide, according to Guinness, as having the largest Superman memorabilia collection, numbering into the thousands. He has become a walking, talking, fictional iconic superhero, going the extra mile to go up, up and away!
3 DAN SLOTT DEATH THREATS
Life's hard enough on a creator, especially in comics. It's not necessary to have death threats involved. No one needs to die over an author's fiction. And yet, Marvel writer Dan Slott (Arkham Asylum: Living Hell, Avengers: The Initiative, She-Hulk) was the bane of many a Spider-Man fan in 2012 when the ending to Amazing Spider-Man 700 leaked. According to a feature by Gizmodo, Slott called the police for protection in the ensuing melee.
Comics are fiction, and fiction finds a way of reinventing itself again and again. As a true comic book fan would know, when it comes to death in comics, there's usually a resurrection on the horizon. Heck, Spider-Man -- Peter Parker himself --has already died and been resurrected more than once! The funniest thing about all this is that's exactly what happened a few issues later, right after one of the most compelling character runs in recent memory: Superior Spider-Man.
2 HOMEMADE BATCAVES
Batman superfan Chris Weir, in Middletown, Delaware, spent $150,000 to turn part of his home into the Batcave. You'd think the best part about it is the secret button, hinged under the jaw of a bust of William Shakespeare, which opens the secret entrance to the cave. Or perhaps you might dig the 120-inch Cinescope screen in his home theater. What beats them all for us, though, is the Batsuit from The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises illuminated in a corner.
Then, there's the $2 million Batcave, which was under construction in 2012 in Greenwich, Connecticut, complete with a Tumbler, 180-degree screen, secret exits, Batcomputers and an elevator. Over in Australia, a man had the underground garages from The Dark Knight reconstructed below his home. There's even a tennis court hiding an underground entrance. Is all this insane? Absolutely not. If we had the money, we'd do it in a heartbeat.
1 MAN BODY-MODS HIMSELF TO LOOK LIKE RED SKULL
A Venezuelan named Henry Rodriguez cut off his own nose and tattooed his eyes in his macabre journey to turning his face into Captain America's No. 1 enemy and one-time HYDRA leader, The Red Skull. Rodriguez also modified his facial muscles and brow with subdermal implants, and tattooed his eyes and face to resemble the nefarious nazi. The implications in such a transformation notwithstanding, many commenters thought he was just doing an awful They Live cosplay.
Of course, we can't knock Rodriguez for his extreme passion for something he loves, though we of course disagree with the subject of that love. Interestingly, his surgeon told The Guardian that Rodriguez, who is married with one child, underwent "extensive psychological and physical tests" before he got his tattoo. Apparently, it is still a work in progress.
Which fandemonium moments impressed (or distressed) you the most? Let us know in the comments!