Superman is more than a comic book hero. With multiple movies, decades of TV shows and cartoons, and more action figures than people on Earth, the Man of Steel is an icon known the world over; he's a billion dollar industry all on his own.
Sadly, like so many others who started off small, the fame seems to have gone to the Kryptonian’s head. From time to time, Supes gets caught doing things that won’t set a good example for the children of the world. Sure, he still saves people all the time, and yes he is still a true blue hero who believes in truth, justice, and the American way, but every now and then, the guy gets cranky, and when he does he tends to take his anger out on his friends.
It may not be nice to focus on the less than admirable things the big blue boy scout has done, but sometimes, when we mere humans do something wrong, it helps to remember that even the greatest heroes screw up too. So, to help you deal with the guilt of forgetting to buy milk or leaving your six month old home alone when you went to get Taco Bell, here are twenty of the meanest things Superman has ever done.
20 Random Acts Of Jerkiness
Sometimes, Superman just messes with people for no other reason than because he can. While these acts don't lead to any real physical or emotional pain like so many other acts of jerkiness we'll cover, they sure fit a Biff Tannen style of bullying.
Want to go to the swimming hole on a hot day? Not if the Metropolis Marvel is around! Don’t want your offices flooded? Better keep the address secret from Superman - sorry I meant Superpest! He clearly enjoys being mean! Superman gets a childlike glee out of ruining people’s days. I mean, I kinda get it, when everyone around you is so much weaker than you, it has to be hard not to bully them a little. It seems that from day one, Superman was a real tool. I wonder if he tortured animals when he was a kid. Oh wait… he did… ugh
Superman is a real tool.
19 Thanks, Pal!
We’ve been told for ages that Jimmy Olsen is Superman’s pal - it's even in the name of Jimmy's comic - but their relationship is a real weird one. I would go so far as to say that Superman actively hates the redheaded newsie and wants nothing but to see the kid tormented to the point of insanity. I mean, I don’t know about you, but when my friends give me gifts I don’t set them on fire no matter how much I may not like what they got me.
I also don’t go around adopting my friends and making them call me dad, but Superman and Jimmy do their own thing I guess. All the same, maybe Jimmy should talk to a therapist and get some advice about how to get out of such an abusive relationship. Imagine those couples counseling sessions... Jimmy crying while Superman sits all angry and the therapist thinks about the book sales that will come from it all.
18 Take The Money And Run
We all know that Superman loves Lois Lane, but as we've seen with Jimmy Olsen, the big guy shows his love in the most horrible ways. Maybe he's still trying to work through the death of his entire planet. Or does he suffer from abandonment issues?
Whatever it is, not only does Superman seem to love torturing Lois, but he also appears to want her to be left with nothing. Here he is taking Lois' entire life savings for the crime of her keeping a secret from him. Based on the amount of bills in that box, and considering Lois is one of the most famous reporters in the world, the woman had buku bucks to lose, and Supes happily took it all.
I wonder what Superman used the money for. Maybe he needs it for the Fortress of Solitude? I bet the heating bill for that place is crazy.
17 School’s Out
As a boy, Superman had a problem with authority; I bet Ma and Pa Kent heard "You're not my real parents!" all the time. More than the elderly farming couple that raised him, teachers were a real bother for young Superboy, but I think we all felt that way a few times during our school days.
Imagine going through your rebellious teen years and having the ability to fly, see through objects, and lift battleships over your head! What do you need to understand the Pythagorean theorem for if you could take over the whole world in an hour?! What purpose is there in learning about the laws of physics when you can break them? Why listen to Mrs. McDonald drone on about O'Henry when bullets bounce off your skin?
Still, Superboy didn't need to go around kicking desks apart and giving the other kids bad advice. I bet he forced Pete Ross to smoke too.
16 Tonight There’s Gonna Be A Jailbreak
Growing up in Smallville, Superboy didn’t have much to do, so from time to time he would get into a little trouble. Nothing too crazy, just the normal kind of small town farm boy hijinks like tractor races, some heavy petting with Lana behind the malt shop, and the occasional prison riot turned into a jailbreak.
Well, the jailbreak may be a little more than what most kids his age were up to, but you can’t blame him! He was a growing boy with hormones raging through his super-powered body! All of those new feelings and super strong hairs growing out of weird spots, the poor kid was just trying to find himself.
Sadly, Ma and Pa Kent couldn't really punish the boy - after all, he could vaporize them with a look - so he never learned that being a jerk was a bad thing.
15 Force Of Habit
I don’t know which is meaner, that Superman is punching Wonder Woman in the back of the head, or that he’s so emotionless about it. He has the same look an older brother has when he hits his sibling out of boredom during a long car ride - there’s no reason for it, and no real pleasure is derived from it, but being a bully is just so ingrained in Superman that sometimes he just punches people without thinking. It's like muscle memory, but for the jerk muscle that only Kryptonians have.
Look at Supes' face; his lackluster expression says it all - his heart isn’t even in it anymore. He’s just being mean because it's all he knows now. Part of me feels pity for him, like how you end up feeling bad for Draco Malfoy. I mean, he's still a real dick, but he's a dick I feel sorry for.
14 Copyright Laws Are Important To Superman
We all know that Superman believes in truth, justice, and the American way, and we all know the American way is to make as much money as you can (which is probably why the Man of Steel took Lois' life savings earlier). Superman's big moneymaker is his brand - that big red "S" - and he's very protective of it.
If Superman sees someone using his trademarked costume without permission, he jumps into action, moving faster than a locomotive. While a regular human lawyer may send you a cease and desist, Superman does things in his own super way. That super way, apparently, includes forced imprisonment, torture, and possibly murder. If the images above aren’t enough to prove it to you, what is?
So this Halloween, if you’re thinking about going as Superman, or anyone in the Superman family, maybe consider someone else. Aquaman has a pretty simple costume to recreate. Maybe, just to be safe, keep away from the DC Comics pantheon all together. For all we know, Superman may act as the lawyer for the whole Justice League.
13 Better Cut Back On The Bat Burgers, Chum!
There’s nothing better for a growing girl or boy than to think that they’re overweight. The teen years are hard enough for us regular folks, but for Dick Grayson, who watched his parents die and now runs around at night wearing short shorts and acting as a human shield for a guy in a bat costume, the last thing he needs is an inferiority complex. Still, with the lightest touch of his toe, Superman made sure that the Boy Wonder would spends years counting his calories and trying as hard as he could to shed those unwanted pounds that don't exist.
And don't think Batman isn't in on this "joke". Look at his face, the only time Batman smiles like that is when people are in pain! You know he makes his Robins stay under a certain weight, and if they don't make it, they need to lose pounds real quick. Dark Knight Detective? More like Dark Knight Dick-tective.
12 Breaking Hearts And Busting Guts
We all love a good practical joke, but what Superman did here isn't funny at all. Telling Lois that he’s in love with her just to instantly pull the “psych!” card and leave her there sobbing… That is the kind of thing that destroys a person. I mean, the old “there’s something on your shirt” gag is a classic, and who doesn’t love “made you look”? But “I love you... just kidding you’re going to die sad and alone” is just too much. He may as well have dumped pig's blood on Lois while he was at it and gone full Carrie.
Perhaps Superman's most horrible power is his ability to give people super psychological damage. Between Jimmy, Robin, and Lois, Superman is leaving behind a trail of broken people who only wanted his love and respect. We can only imagine what kind of horrors he would put his own child through.
11 No Respect For Authority
As we saw before, when he was the Boy of Steel, Superman had little respect for authority figures like teachers. As an adult, he took it to the next level when he went around slapping world leaders. And when I say "slap" I mean "Superman slap". Check out JFK in that second panel - he's out like a light!
Maybe this is the way to solve war? If every country hates and fears a single man, they will come together in harmony in order to fight that evil jerk. Maybe Alan Moore saw this and came up with Watchmen?
And before you stand up for Superman because Kennedy has a room full of Kryptonite, think of everything we’ve already looked at. Look at the wanton meanness of Superman and imagine being the leader of the free world - you would want to be ready to take this big jerk down too! If you're not convinced that Kennedy was right, see what happens in the second half of this list then decide.
10 Even The Highest Authority
No matter what your thoughts are about religion, I think we can all agree that people should be able to practice their faith without being persecuted. Clearly, Superman feels differently and he isn't afraid to show it. I'd bet that the idea of anyone believing that there is a higher power than Metropolis Marvel himself set old Supes off.
Then again, maybe Superman believes in a higher power. Maybe he prayed for something to happen and God didn't come through for him. Knowing Superman, he probably asked God to make all of Lois' hair fall out or to turn Jimmy into a skunk boy and when it didn't happen, Big Blue turned his back on the church.
If you’re wondering why Superman’s guardian angel hasn’t kept him from doing all these horrible things, here’s a good guess... Punching an angel… I don’t know how you come back from that one.
9 Random Acts Of Destruction
From time to time Superman gets real mean. Like, evil mean. Here he is randomly destroying a mining site where even he admits he has no plan (though he was smart enough to wear a different disguise for that one) ripping apart the train tracks to cause a massive accident, and finally dive bombing into Metropolis like a Kryptonian nuclear bomb, looking to kill as many people as he can.
Why Superman?! Why would you do this!? Was Starbucks out of your favorite blend? Did Robin catch on to your weight trick? Are you pi**ed that Ben Affleck beat you up? Or that Captain America out-grossed you at the box office? Whatever it is, we can work it out without resorting to mass murder! Please, for the safety of everyone and everything in the galaxy, get some help! Maybe all you need is to learn some relaxation techniques.
8 That’s A Fine How Do you Do!
If you ever see Superman hanging out on the corner in your city, no matter how much you think he’s your friend, do not - under any circumstances - run up and say hello to him. Superman’s method of saying hello includes shattering your skull with his fist and I'm willing to bet he'll try to blame you for the whole thing. He'll claim you startled him or some such nonsense - like we don't all know he has super hearing and would have totally known you were coming up to him.
Just don't risk it. Maybe shoot him a text if you're worried he'll get angry that you ignored him. Better yet, get out of town. We know the guy likes causing horrendous amounts of destruction, and if he's in your city, that can never be a good thing. Don't even bother packing. Just grab your wallet, get in your car and leave.
7 The Old Single White Female Routine
We all tend to look back fondly on our younger years, flipping through yearbooks or old photo albums and wishing we could go back to a simpler time. We could totally ace that history class now, keeping us from missing out on a trip to Six Flags because we have to go to summer school. Or maybe this time we would have the courage to ask out the cute girl from Intro to Greek Mythology.
As much as we dream about it, we accept that we can never live out those high school and college days again. Superman, on the other hand, will do whatever he must to get a second shot at the college life of binge drinking and one night stands, even if it means drugging an innocent student and taking his place.
What did Superman do as this poor kid? Trust me, it was nothing good. After all, if Superman is willing to be such a jerk when people know it's him, can you imagine how much worse he is in disguise?
6 You Got A Friend (Only) In Me!
We already saw that the friendship of Superman and Jimmy Olsen is… complicated to say the least. Making it worse for the young photographer is that Superman refuses to let the poor kid have any other friends.
I think we can all understand the feeling of jealousy that comes over us when our best pal starts hanging out with someone new, but most of us outgrow that kind of irrational thinking by the time we're twelve. We learn that some friendships will only last for a few years, while others never end. We also know that a new friend doesn't mean and old friend needs to leave your life. Superman, I guess, never figured this out. Superman doesn’t even bother trying to get to know Jimmy’s new friend, he goes directly to hitting the guy with a freaking tree.
I fear what would happen if Jimmy ever got a girlfriend.
5 That Settles That
I don't know what Jimmy and Robin did (probably nothing) but no one is going to stop Superman from killing them, not even his best buddy Batman (and we know how Superman treats his friends). Superman has made up his mind, and as far as he's concerned, these two teens need to die and they need to die quick.
We have to praise Batman for at least trying to stop this. The guy knows that his batarangs and smoke bombs are no match for Superman, but the Caped Crusader still gives it the old Gotham University try. Sure, he was down for giving Robin an eating disorder, and he doesn't seem to mind Superman sucker-punching the other members of the Justice League, but murder is a few steps too far for Batman. Or… is this all a trick? Could Superman and Batman be working together to lure the boys into a trap of some kind?
4 Corruption Of The Bat
It looks like Superman has convinced Batman to join in on the evil! The two super friends coming together would be a great thing to see if it didn’t mean they were making Jimmy and Robin dig their own graves!
It is kind of weird that Superman claims to have a code against killing, considering all of the death and destruction we've already seen him cause. Maybe he gave up murder for Lent... but we know he's not the religious type either, so that doesn't seem to make much sense. Could Superman be on one of those two-week cleanses that are so big these days?
I bet Superman knows that the cops can test for powder burns on your hand, so he wants to be able to pin the crime on Batman if things get hairy. Or he could just be lying. The boys think they'll die by machine gun, but in truth, Supes is going to vaporize them with his heat vision. A final joke at the expense of Robin and Jimmy.
3 Maybe That Was Supposed To Be A Direct Message?
First we have to get over the shock that Superman even uses Twitter. I mean, I know the guy needs to stay relevant and all, but I just wouldn’t expect him to be tweeting. More to the point, that he tweets anything other than “drink your milk!” and “respect your elders!” is amazing, but to use the social networking app to reveal the secret identity of his closest friend? Superman, you really play for keeps!
Considering Superman and Bats are murder buddies, this has to feel like a real stab in the back for the Dark Knight Detective, right? You think you can trust a super-powered super-insane serial killer, but here he is screwing you over!
I wonder if Supes tried to convince Batman and the rest of the League that his account was hacked afterwards. If he did, I’m guessing his past actions made it hard for his friends to believe him. You know how the saying goes, Superman; fool us once...
2 Don’t Drive With Superman
Now, we don’t know what lead up to this decision, but I like to think that Superman was listening to the radio when he heard The Smiths' Girlfriend in a Coma and, when Morrissey sang, the lyrics “There were times where I could have murdered her” jumped out at him. At that moment, without listening to the rest of the song, Supes shut off the radio and came up with his plan to kill the woman he “loves”.
How he decided that tying Lois to the front of a truck and driving it off the side of a cliff was the best way to go escapes me. And based on how she’s dressed, I think Superman took Lois from her jazzercise class, which is extra rude.
In truth, this whole thing could have just been the twenty horrible ways Superman has killed Lois Lane, but maybe we'll do that another day.
1 Bye Bye Baby
If Superman ever offers to babysit so you and your spouse can have a nice night out, maybe see if Green Arrow or Hawkman are available first. Heck, Two-Face may be a better choice to watch your kid, unless you want them to be thrown into space.
Luckily, this baby appears to have super powers too, but just how far did Superboy throw him? Is that Saturn back there? And was Superboy aiming for the meteors? That kid is halfway to Raan by now! How is that baby going to get back to Earth? Those poor parents, thinking that they could trust Superboy! We'll never see that baby again!
And I think we know the real reason Superboy threw the baby into space - he is clearly wearing a knock-off Superman costume, and as we saw earlier, Supes is really into protecting that trademark.