Pregnancy is objectively one of the most difficult situations a person can find themselves in. The concept of another person growing in one’s belly is so familiar yet strangely alien that it can inspire as much fear as a galaxy-conquering supervillain and as much happiness as a sudden and half-explained resurrection. These emotional extremes are exaggerated when they happen to comic book superheroes, characters that already exist on the far ends of the emotion spectrum. After all, it’s hard to fight crime with a bulging and vulnerable stomach. But pregnancy is as unpredictable as it is harrowing and even superheroes are subject to the whims of nature and nature.
Sometimes, things don’t go as planned. Sometimes intimate games and sexual frivolities, as well as established and consummated relationships, can result in screaming, uncontrollable little bundles of joy. If there has ever been a symbolic indication of how heroes are as human as the civilians they protect, it is how easily they too can fall prey to unexpected conceptions. And it happens often enough that the wide variety of pregnancies in comics have led to some of the craziest, convoluted, controversial, and most sentimental stories ever produced in the medium. Here are some of the most extreme examples.
The West-Allen family is one of most deceptively complex in the history of comic books, due in most part to speedster time-traveling shenanigans. Iris is a living paradox, having died in the future and her infant self being sent back in time as a result. Before the Crisis on Infinite Earth" event, Barry Allen uses his powers to see Iris in her home timeline of the 30th century.
Because Barry knew Iris would not live long in her time and because Iris knew Barry would die in "Crisis", the two spent a month completely enamored with each other, resulting with the birth of Don and Dawn, better known as the Tornado Twins. Both would go on to have their own time-traveling adventures which cause even more paradoxes and bring to life alternate versions of the West-Allen clan, none of which could have been planned by the original couple.
Perhaps the most famous unplanned pregnancy in comic history, Jessica Jones accidentally became pregnant through a literal booty call with Luke Cage. She and Cage hooked up periodically, though their relationship was platonic and Jessica even started dating Ant-Man, Scott Lang, for a time. However, after another traumatic bout with the Purple Man, Jessica revealed that she was pregnant and it wasn’t Scott’s.
She reunited with Cage who supported her decision to keep the baby. She moved in with him and the two experienced the most basic of superhero pregnancies, which was still more complicated than the average. Soon after their daughter, Danielle, was born, the two were wed and remain a Marvel power couple to this day, all because of a late night of drinking, texting and forgetting to use a condom.
One of the most instantly iconic character created in the modern era, Harley Quinn also has the distinction of being one half of the most abusive relationship in all of comic lore. It’s so one-sided and controlling that it’s almost hard to believe that Joker ever actually cared for her enough to have sex with her. But in the Injustice comic line, Harley stops fighting Black Canary when she learns the recently widowed hero is pregnant, revealing that she accidentally had a daughter by The Joker.
Knowing Joker wouldn’t want a child and it wouldn’t be safe in his presence, Harley gave birth in secret. She gave the baby, who she named Lucy, to her sister to raise before returning to The Joker’s side. After almost a year of being away, Harley was both humored and devastated to learn that Joker hadn’t even noticed her absence.
An example of opposites attracting, Beak and Angel met as young mutants in Professor Xavier’s special class. After Angel kissed Beak on a dare, the two fell in love and their romantic interludes soon resulted in an unplanned pregnancy. Though they were initially concerned their sexual escapades would earn them both an expulsion from the school, their worries were quickly assuaged and were given widespread support by the mutant community.
Due to their unique mutations, Angel gave birth via pods, which gestated in a shed before hatching a flock of chicken-like babies. After their birth, Angel and Beak were given a small cabin on the school grounds to raise their children. A regular pregnancy is frightening enough as it is, but laying eggs because of your boyfriend’s weird genes must have been a terrifying ordeal.
Back when they were both freelance assassins and not associated with any particular political ideology or pathological need for vengeance, Mystique and Sabertooth hooked up while on an assignment in Germany. Though it was just a fling, it was enough for Mystique to get pregnant. She carried their unexpected child to term, but was severely disappointed to discover that he was fully human.
In her disgust, she gave him up for adoption, though it is hinted that she kept tabs on her boy as he grew. The boy was Graydon Creed, notorious anti-mutant activist. When he discovered he’d been abandoned by his birth parents because he wasn’t a mutant, it planted the seeds of hatred that would grow into a hardline view against all mutants, his parents especially. Mystique would eventually kill him because of the unexplained time-travel nonsense that the X-Men are known for.
One of the best characters to come out of the '90s, Stephanie Brown took up the mantle of Spoiler to ruin her criminal father’s crime sprees. After helping Batman and Robin take her father down a few times, she decided to become a full-time hero. Though Batman was characteristically hesitant to trust her, Tim Drake was more receptive and the two slowly became close friends, both harboring secret crushes on one another.
A wrench was thrown into their romance when Stephanie learned she was pregnant by her ex-boyfriend Dean, who had left Gotham in the prelude to "No Man’s Land". Fortunately, Tim was there for emotional support, even going as far as to take her to Lamaze classes under an assumed name. Ultimately, Stephanie gave her baby up for adoption and continued her life as Spoiler, eventually earning Batman’s respect and openly dating Tim.
Despite fighting against each other when Arsenal was a part of the Teen Titans, an older Roy Harper and international assassin Jade Nguyen eloped when Harper was on an undercover mission. Their mutual affections were more than skin deep and Harper abandoned the mission, considering himself incapable of turning in his beloved Cheshire. Unbeknownst to him, their brief but passionate romance had surprisingly conceived a child, Lian Harper.
Her parents tried to provide a positive family environment for her, but Cheshire eventually returned to evil, forcing Roy to raise Lian by himself, though with assistance from Green Arrow and Black Canary. Though it could have been a touching story of a single dad successfully raising a daughter in a superhero environment, Lian was later killed by Prometheus and sent her father into a psychotic spiral.
If anyone got the shortest end of the stick in "Crisis on Infinite Earths", it was Power Girl. Her simple origin of being Superman’s cousin was rewritten so that she was actually descended from an Atlantean royal mage who had thrown her through space and time, implanting false memories of Krypton in her mind. Her pregnancy was by way of immaculate conception.
Her unborn fetus gave her strange new powers and even occasionally spoke to her. When it was born during the "Zero Hour" event, it was revealed that Power Girl’s Atlantean grandfather, Arion, had impregnated her with a mix of his DNA and that of a demon to create a perfect warrior. Her baby aged rapidly and became full-grown in a matter of months. Eventually, he left his mom, took the name Equinox and helped destroy his demonic father before vanishing into thin air, never to be seen again.
Tigra is an anomaly of a hero. Her soul is divided into human and cat segments, permanently at odds with each other and giving her a severe case of Halle-Berry-in-Catwoman syndrome. She hooked up with Hank Pym, which led to a very unplanned pregnancy. Even wierder, the Hank she’d been having sex with wasn’t Hank but rather his Skrull impersonator during the "Secret Invasion" event.
When it was born, the baby was deemed perfectly healthy despite being born inside of three months and being covered in leopard print fur. Hank determined that the baby was his biological son and agreed to raise it if Tigra were to die. However, Tigra decided her child would be safest being raised by the society of cat people that had given her powers in the first place. Considering Norman Osborn was hunting the baby down at the time, it was probably a good idea.
Despite originating under the Icon title, Raquel Ervin was the protagonist of the series. She was a street-smart juvenile with high aspirations who stumbled onto the secret identity of the titular Icon, an alien superhero. Armed with an inertia belt which allows her to control kinetic energy, she began life as a teenage sidekick. It was not long afterwards, however, that she learned she was pregnant by her ex-boyfriend, a petty thief named Noble.
Despite protests from Noble and his mother, Raquel decided to keep her baby and went on permanent maternity leave, giving her belt to her friend to continue the Rocket name. It was only when the alien menace Oblivion attacked Earth that she hired a babysitter and became Rocket once more. Rocket holds the distinction of being the first single pregnant teen mom superhero in comics, with her son Amistad being born in Icon #24 in 1995.
In Bruce Timm’s DCAU, young Barbara Gordon is hinted at having a crush on Batman in Batman: The Animated Series, and distinctly loathes Bruce as an adult in Batman Beyond. What could have happened to cause such a dramatic shift? Well any number of things really, but in this instance, it was an unplanned pregnancy. Barbara and Bruce started seeing each other while Dick Grayson, who Barbara was dating, was away.
When he returned, Barbara told Batman she was pregnant and it couldn’t be Dick’s. After promising not to tell his former protégé, Bruce immediately broke his word and told Dick, sparking fight between the two. At the same time, Barbara was fighting thugs on the streets of Gotham when she abruptly miscarried. The breach of trust on both ends permanently fractured the once mighty Bat-family and left Batman alone in his cave.
Coming from a race of beings who perpetually seek genetic perfection, Ayesha, or simply Her as she was known at the time, could only think of one perfect being to have perfect babies with, namely Him, or Adam Warlock as he was called. When he rejected Her, she decided to implant numerous heroes with reproductive pods to see if they were worthy of carrying her children.
As a near-perfect being, she doesn’t carry her children herself but rather lets her pods effectively impregnate their hosts. Among the heroes she impregnates is Quasar, who is the only one who doesn’t attempt to remove it but rather helps Her fight off Moondragon and Jack of Hearts, not letting his unexpected pregnancy throw him off his game. Her would eventually remove all her pods willingly.
For the majority of her history, Wonder Woman’s origins had closer roots to Jewish folklore than to Greek mythology. She was supposedly formed out of clay on the beaches of Themyscira by her mother, the Amazon Queen Hippolyta, and then given life and powers by the various Greek goddesses. In more recent continuities, however, her origin is much simpler: her mom boned a god.
It is unclear just when Zeus, the king of gods, hopped down to Themyscira and seduced a notoriously apprehensive queen, but considering his lecherous and womanizing reputation, it’s not unimaginable that he could sleep with her. All things considered, Zeus may have expected a child or even planned for one, given his history of siring heroes, but Hippolyta definitely wasn’t planning on having a kid at all, let alone with Zeus.
In perhaps the most head-scratching comic story Marvel ever produced, Carol Danvers once made love to her son, gave birth to her lover and then made love to her son again. Trapped in a limbo dimension, the entity known only as Marcus decided he’d like to visit the earthly plane and kidnapped Carol. He used mind control to make her love him and literally planted a part of his essence in her before returning her to earth with no memory of the event.
Carol’s inexplicable pregnancy took only days and left the rest of the Avengers befuddled. As soon as baby Marcus was born, he aged to adulthood and began to fix the timestream to solidify his place in it. He failed and was banished back to limbo, but Carol was still under his control and left with him. Fortunately, Marcus soon died and Carol was freed from limbo.
Possibly the weirdest and most tragic unexpected pregnancy in comic book history, Multiple Man knocked up his girlfriend Siryn on the same night he cheated on her with their teammate M. To sleep with both women at once, he created a duplicate of himself while blackout drunk, leaving him incapable of remembering who he’d been with and who’d gotten his clone.
When she found out she was pregnant, Siryn decided to keep the baby despite her boyfriend’s infidelity. After nine hard months of a fearful, delicate, body-changing pregnancy, Siryn finally gave birth to a baby boy. Unfortunately, when Multiple Man tried to hold his new son, it was absorbed back into his body, revealing that it was the duplicate that had impregnated Siryn that fateful night. Siryn furiously broke his hand and threatened to kill him she ever saw him again. Can you blame her?
Which pregnancy was the craziest? Let us know in the comments!