Everybody knows who Superman is and what he represents. Among all the heroes, he is our best embodiment of hope, truth, and justice. He is presented as our paragon of virtue, and he's often held up in contrast with darker heroes such as Batman who are a bit more flexible when it comes to things like their moral code. However, there are some truly incriminating images of Superman that show just how flexible his own moral code can be! In true comic fashion, some of these horrific images are misleading covers, and the interior story represents Superman secretly working some bizarre, long con to help him catch the criminal of the day.
Some of these images, though, are truly representing the dark side of Superman, from his desire to bend Lois over and spank her butt against her will to his outright racism. As a comics character, Superman has been around for the better part of a century. That makes some of these shameful images really hard to track down. Fortunately for you, it won't take anything like X-ray vision or super speed-reading on your part to find all of the images. All you have to do is keep scrolling and check out 15 shameful images of Superman!
15 KILLING ZOD: EPISODE 1
When Man of Steel came out, a lot of fans and critics spent a lot of time debating the ending. Specifically, people argued about the morality of Superman not being able to find any way to stop Zod without killing him. However, longtime comics fans know that this has already happened!
The convoluted plot involved Superman visiting a pocket universe much like his own. In this universe, Zod and other Kryptonian criminals had gone on a murder spree, wiping out the entire population of the planet Earth! Seeing no other choice, Superman uses this universe's Kryptonite (which conveniently doesn't work on him) to kill them. The morality of this is up for debate, but this remains a great image to shame all of your friends who insist Superman doesn't kill.
14 WORST BABYSITTER EVER
The Golden Age of DC Comics has a reputation for being pretty weird. Superman was at the heart of a lot of this weirdness, engaging in activities that ranged from being utterly impossible to utterly immoral. And on one occasion, Superman (then just a Superboy) proves why you don't want him as a babysitter.
The comic shows a unique dilemma for our future Man of Steel: he doesn't want to wake the neighborhood with this screaming, superpowered baby, but he also doesn't know what else to do. So, Clark does what he always does with his problems and chucks the kid into space! He reasons that the child's power will let him survive, but his decision to isolate the baby in the desolate silence of the void is just as cold as space itself.
13 KILLING LOIS LANE
By now, many comics fans have played Injustice: Gods Among Us. This fighting game takes place chiefly in an alternate reality in which Superman has taken over the entire planet. While the game gives you only a few details about this, the tie-in comic series spells it out in gruesome detail.
The comic starts out happily enough, and Lois Lane finds out that she is pregnant. Later, Superman is zapped with some of the Scarecrow's fear gas -- the twist is that it was mixed with Kryptonite by The Joker so it would affect the Man of Steel. Soon, he thinks he is fighting Doomsday, and tries to contain the fight by taking it to space. However, it turns out that “Doomsday” was actually Lois Lane, and Superman was now responsible for murdering both the love of his life and his own unborn child.
12 50 SHADES OF OLSEN
While Superman took part in a lot of bizarre hijinks in the Golden Age, Jimmy takes the cake. The young photographer was often getting into trouble as he tried to imitate his hero, Superman. In this memorable instance, he was dressing like Superman when the real hero decided to tie him up for his own protection. We get it: it's Superman, and he almost certainly had good intentions. However, the idea of tying up your best friend while they sleep is actually a little odd.
And speaking of weird, the idea that Superman has rope to tie up his sleeping friends that is easily accessible via his “souvenirs” makes it seem like you might want to put that Superman sleepover on permanent hiatus! Otherwise, you might wake up all tied up while Superman introduces you to the unconventional desires he keeps hidden with the other “souvenirs.”
11 WORST DAD EVER
Well, this is awkward: Superman may stop just short of making Lois call him “daddy,” but he's not above playing dad to Jimmy Olsen. This is based on a strange comic where Superman decides to adopt Jimmy Olsen...right before a computer tells him to be the worst parent ever. Apparently, one of Superman's many strange gadgets is a computer that can predict the future, and it has declared that Superman will destroy his “son.”
Superman takes this as an excuse to be an emotionally abusive monster to Jimmy. Later, Jimmy figures out that the computer meant “sun” and that Superman had to destroy a collapsing star named after Superman -- quite literally, his “sun.” So, while all is well that ends well, Superman ensured Jimmy would be in therapy his whole life because the Man of Steel couldn't ask his computer some follow-up questions.
10 H2 OH NO
If you're collecting images of Superman being terrible to people, it's tough to beat this iconic image of Superman pouring out the water Aquaman needs while his fishman friend is dying in the desert heat. Ultimately, the story of this comic ends up being even more insane than the cover. The story involves Jimmy receiving powers from a salty sea captain named Bane (no relation to your favorite masked villain).
Jimmy now has Aquaman's power set, and pretty soon, Superman has taken them to the desert to see who will win. Degrading stuff happens (Jimmy drinks water left from Supes' boots to survive), and Aquaman apparently dies. It turns out that “Bane” is the Proteus of Greek myth, tormenting him some mortals. Fortunately, Aquaman was only faking dead and the real Superman comes to save the day.
9 SUPER RACISM
Superman has served as an icon of equality and diversity for many years now. This is partly because of his Jewish creators and partly because of his background (after all, his is the ultimate immigrant story). However, during the height of World War II, Superman went to some pretty racist places in the name of the war effort.
Now, when we say Superman was racist, we aren't saying that he used coded language, or that this was something buried in some comic strip that no one read. This was actually the cover of Action Comics #58, with Superman telling his readers that buying war bonds and stamps is fun because it lets you “slap a Jap” vicariously. While Superman has remained an icon, this kind of blatant and cringe-worthy racism is a stain on the character that never really goes away.
8 FLYING INTO YOUR DMS
Those tie-in Injustice comics make it clear that Superman didn't take over the world overnight. Instead, it was a slow, five-year process that involved gathering allies and figuring out who his enemies were. To no one's surprise, Batman ends up leading the resistance, but then Superman made things ugly.
The Superman of this planet saw Batman as nothing more than an enemy and decided to turn the world against his former friend by outing his secret identity. Superman went high-tech to do this, using social media to spill the beans about Batman to the entire world. And while it was a super-effective way of undermining Batman's influence and resources, it's also the stupidest, pettiest thing we've ever seen Superman do. However, we may just be sad that he didn't coin any cool hashtags or include a reaction GIF.
7 SUPER CHEAP SHOT
Perhaps the number one pasttime of comic book fans is debating about who would beat whom when it comes to our favorite characters fighting. However, most of these debates assume that this would be a relatively fair fight. In this particular panel, Superman reminds us that this isn't always the case!
This story is the classic tale of a mind-controlled hero. In this case, Superman is under the sway of a vampire (always vulnerable to that pesky magic), and he takes a cheap shot against Wonder Woman as soon as he can. While the cheap shot is a bad look for Superman, Wonder Woman fans need not worry: she gets up and offers one hell of a fight against both Superman and several supernatural minions before she is finally defeated.
6 HERO FOR HIRE
Oh, man. This is another cover that is about as bad as it can look for Superman. It features our normally altruistic hero suddenly deciding to charge money for his good deeds. The actual comic features this rather extensively, too, with Superman charging countless people for his good deeds before he renders the aid they need! What's the catch?
It turns out that Superman is storing all of this money in a location readily known to the public so he can lure the attention of “Million-Dollar Marvin,” a man who only goes on jobs worth at least (wait for it) one million dollars. So, while Superman had a game plan and ended up catching his man, he still spent a really long time shaking everybody down for protection money like a common thug...all because he was too lazy to just hunt down the criminal. Good job, Superman.
5 FAT SHAMING ROBIN
Of all the sidekicks, it feels like Robin has taken the most crap over the years. It's bad enough that Batman made him fight crime half-naked and wearing bright “shoot me” colors, but as a Robin, you never know when you'll get kidnapped, maimed, or killed. Or, in this case, fat shamed by Superman. The cover to this comic appears to portray Batman weighing his sidekick and making sure that the Boy Wonder hasn't packed on too many pounds to continue doing the hero gig.
Robin watches in horror as the weight climbs up, completely unaware that Superman is actually tipping the scales. Perhaps what is most notable about this is how mundane it is: Superman has countless superpowers, but he has decided Robin is not worth it and is pranking him in the most old-fashioned way.
4 BETTER DIG TWO GRAVES
While Jimmy Olsen and Robin both have their very annoying moments, most people would agree that killing them is a bit extreme. However, that seems to be the plan going on with this comic, whose cover shows the boys being forced to dig their own graves. So, what's really going on? Part of the problem is that Batman went a little too deep undercover and started thinking he really was a mafia boss.
He was coercing Superman into helping kill the two young allies in order to prove his loyalty to the mafia. Batman eventually snaps out of it and Superman pretends to kill the two boys (secretly, he's frying wax dummies) so he can present their hearts as mafia gifts. The “hearts” are actually tracking devices allowing him to track down some incriminating evidence...none of which erases the very real trauma he inflicted on these teenage sidekicks!
3 BYE, LOIS
This is yet another cover that looks pretty bad for our heroes. Here is Lois Lane, tied to a car and apparently hurtling to her death. And here is Superman, cheering her impending demise! So what's the real story, here? As it turns out, this is all part of a ruse in which Lois Lane tries to infiltrate a death cult and get enough evidence for Superman to put him away for good.
In this sense, what appears to be a very ominous cover is just our millionth example of Lois endangering herself for a story. However, the image of Superman cheering his girlfriend's death from just a few meters away is a really bad look for our Man of Steel. If Superman's not careful, he may just be nominated as the next death cult leader!
2 SUPERMAN: MOVIE STAR
In any given list of Superman's most shameful moments, his weird homemade movie has to make the list! Most of the time, Superman is our moral paragon. If anything, his love life is often portrayed as being mild enough to suit his alter-ego, Clark Kent. On one occasion, though, he was forced to do something a bit racier. The plot of the comic involves both Barda and Superman falling under the sway of a mind-warping villain known as Sleez.
Initially, the villain was “only” making Barda do degraded sewer dances and then broadcasting them to his hungry viewers. However, when Sleez has Superman, he figures he is going to use Superman and Barda to make the world's most infamous home video. Fortunately, Superman manages to resist, but the image of him being yelled at by an honest-to-God racy director is pretty haunting.
1 SUPER SPANKER
If the idea of Superman being into weird stuff hasn't sunk in yet, this image might just convince you. It involves a story in which Lois Lane tried to sneak into the Fortress of Solitude and ended up getting spanked like a naughty girl by one of Superman's robots. However, this weird story gets even weirder...
We find out later in the comic that Superman came home, saw she had snuck in, and used his “X-ray impulses” (your guess is as good as ours) to make the robot give her what Supes calls a “well-deserved spanking.” He shows up the next day to make Lois remember her vigorous spanking while he enjoys secret amusement. Overall, this is another dark and kinky moment for our bright and shiny hero.
Got a shameful image we missed? Be sure to sound off in the comments!