The Weirdest DC Character Origins

The movie business has been making a lot of its money on big budget superhero films lately, and some of the most profitable are the origin stories. This makes sense: Even avid comic book readers seem to enjoy learning more about where their favorite characters come from. But not all character origins can be as cool as Spider-Man and Batman — and some are just downright weird.

We’ve already covered some of the strangest character origins in the Marvel Universe, but DC isn’t without its peculiar tales. Some of the most well-known superheroes had very weird beginnings, while other characters you may not recognize. See if you agree that these are the most bizarre origins from DC.

10. The Flash

Comic book cartoon image of The Flash in costume running

The Flash | DC Comics

Fans of the hit CW series know the Flash as Barry Allen, but the first iteration of the character was Jay Garrick. He came about during the Golden Age, and was a nerdy “football scrub,” according to Joan, the object of his affections.

So how did he get super speed? He was doing an experiment in the lab (of course), and accidentally knocked over a vial containing the gases from hard water, which he absorbed. This sent him into a coma for awhile, and when he awoke, he was the Flash!

What’s weird, as CBR explains, is that hard water is really just steam. Which doesn’t really seem like it would lead to the molecular changes needed to give the Flash his powers.

9. Bouncing Boy

Cartoon image of Bouncing Boy laughing

Bouncing Boy | DC Comics

There are some very weird characters in the DC comic book world, and it’s no surprise that their origins aren’t exactly run-of-the-mill. For this particular hero, even his name gives of strange vibes.

Bouncing Boy was an ordinary kid, as WhatCulture.com explains. Chuck Taine was performing his job as courier in Metropolis when he accidentally drank a mysterious serum, mistaking it for a soda. The elastic liquid gave him the power to inflate himself into a human sphere and — bounce around. Seriously, that’s it. Weird character, even weirder origin story.

8. Wonder Girl

Donna Troy as Wonder Girl reaching as she falls into an orange planet

Wonder Girl | DC Comics

Almost every character on this list has gone through several iterations, but few are quite as disjointed as Wonder Girl’s. According to Nerdist, the name was originally attributed to a teenage version of Wonder Woman, but was later given her own completely separate origin story as a solo character.

Donna Troy, Diana’s adopted younger sister, became the Wonder Girl comic fans embraced. But she was later completely retooled, given a separate back story, and when one artist tried to save her, he turned her into some kind of weird clone of Diana’s. Poor Donna is a complete mystery, and practically unknown to many modern day fans. Maybe it’s time the DCEU give her a proper new origin.

7. Chlorophyll Kid

Chlorophyll Kid (center) and four other heroes in the Legion of Substitute Heroes work their powers

Chlorophyll Kid and other heroes | DC Comics

Yes, you read that right. Who is Chlorophyll Kid, you may wonder? Unsurprisingly, his origins have to do with plant life.

According to WhatCulture.com, this odd hero began as Ral Benum, a child from a planet known as Mardru. After falling into a tank of hydroponic serum, he was able to help plants grow at super speed, and can control them in some ways. Though his power is kind of interesting, he sounds pretty pathetic for a superhero, especially when you factor in that he lied and made it seem cooler to the Legion of Superheroes when applying to be a member.

6. Kid Flash

Wally West as Kid Flash in motion

Kid Flash | DC Comics

Another beloved member of the Arrowverse, Wally West, also known as Kid Flash, has questionable origins. And they’re not at all like what you’ve seen on The Flash.

As WhatCulture.com puts it, Kid Flash’s “stupid” origin story is a complete rip-off of his namesake’s. Wally West is the nephew of Barry Allen’s girlfriend, and got his identical powers in an accident exactly like the one his predecessor was in — only it was somehow perfectly replicated at a later date. Talk about an imagination-less reboot.

5. Supergirl

Cartoon comic of Supergirl riding on a horse with a dog and a cat wearing capes flying alongside them

Supergirl | DC Comics

The Kara you know from TV isn’t too far off from the original concept of Supergirl. A young alien girl sent to Earth from Krypton before it was destroyed, who adopted a new persona (with the last name Danvers). In this case, she was Linda Lee.

But like with Wonder Girl, this version of the heroine was killed off, and writers tried to bring her back in very strange ways. As the A.V. Club writes, she was once Matrix, a creation of Lex Luthor’s. After Linda abandoned her post, the simple concept that Kara Zor-El is Superman’s cousin was born, and they’ve primarily stuck with that since.

4. Aquaman

Comic book cartoon of Aquaman walking as people stare at him

Aquaman | DC Comics

Though he now has a major DCEU film in the works starring Jason Momoa, Aquaman is a little different from his fellow Justice League pals. In fact, one of the most intriguing things about him is that he was inspired by a long-lost fishy hero from now-defunct Timely Comics (which later evolved into Marvel).

But let’s get back to the root of the problem — that he’s pretty much a mythological creature that’s existed for a very long time: a mermaid. According to the A.V. Club, Aquaman is simply a boy whose abilities came from his water-based home. Or maybe he’s the spawn of a creature from Atlantis? Who knows. What we are sure of is that he has gotten much hairier over the years.

3. Matter-Eater Lad

Matter-Eater Lad about to consume an iron rod

Matter-Eater Lad | DC Comics

If the characters listed thus far haven’t been weird enough for you, maybe you’ll like this one. Get ready for … Matter-Eater Lad! Wait, huh?

Birth name Tenzil Kem, this guy comes from a planet where they’ve had to evolve strangely due to inedible food, writes LetterPile. And his job is to do exactly what his title suggests: eat substances of all kinds. And by eat, we mean bite into and fully digest. There might be a little use for this guy around, but you can only go so far with this super power.

2. Catwoman

Catwoman in the comics

Catwoman | DC Comics

This character has faced issues both in paper and on screen. She’s a vixen, she’s a villain, she loves Bruce Wayne/Batman, sometimes? Whether she’s Selina Kyle or whoever it is Halle Berry played, Catwoman isn’t usually the pick of the litter.

And it’s no wonder, with such weird origins. As CBR tells it, the masked heroine’s past all comes back to her after an injury. It turns out that she suffered from amnesia due to a plane crash that occurred while she was working as a flight attendant. Apparently the trauma from this led her to become a supervillain — and a cat-themed one, because her father had owned a pet store and she was familiar with the critters.

1. Black Condor

Comic book cartoon image of the Black Condor Richard Grey

Black Condor | DC Comics

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. At least, that’s sort of the moral of the story of Richard Grey, the original Black Condor.

CBR says that Grey was raised by family of birds, after his parents were killed in an attack when he was a child. He wanted to be like them, so he just somehow learned to fly.

Seriously, that’s the gist of it. Oh, then he flew to the U.S., tried to save a senator named Thomas Wright, and when he failed, he simply adopted the man’s persona, which became his secret identity. Pretty convenient that the two just happened to look alike, eh?