Marvel fans who took things too far

Comic book fans are often depicted as anything from man-children forever trapped in their parents' basements to crazed zealots needing better medication. The reality is that comic book fans are no more crazed than any fanatic — fans of pop-music stars have been known to break into stars' homes, sports fans paint their faces or start fistfights with fans of rival teams. A comic book fan might get upset if the latest brawl between Hulk and Thor doesn't go the way he wanted, but he's probably not going to lead a crowd through the streets, tearing down light poles and smashing car windows.

That isn't to say that comic book fandom is completely innocent of extremes. Comic book fans can surely get carried away, and with Marvel reigning supreme on movie screens, the number of fanatics has multiplied. Here are some Marvel fans who took things too far.

It ain't easy bein' green

Bruce Banner, aka the Incredible Hulk, has fought for a cure to his greener half for years without success, and a Brazilian man learned that just a cosmetic impersonation of the Hulk could prove almost as difficult to step away from.

In 2012, 35-year-old Paulo Henrique dos Santos painted himself green and dressed as the Hulk for a running event. He had done this before, but his usual store was out of the paint he'd used previously. Instead, he bought industrial paint he apparently didn't know was used on ballistic missiles and nuclear submarines. Once the running event was over, Santos was shocked to find the stuff wouldn't come out. Even after 20 baths, Santos remained as green as the Hulk. Rather than a bed, Santos was forced to sleep on his floor on top of piles of plastic bags.

It took a crowd of friends 24 hours of scrubbing to finally get the green paint out of Santos' skin. Unfortunately, this was after local media added insult to injury by publishing a picture of his mother scrubbing his arm in the bathroom and erroneously stating it was his girlfriend.

Hail WHAT?

Saying that writer Nick Spencer kicked a hornet's nest when he ended the first issue of Captain America: Steve Rogers with Rogers saying, "Hail Hydra," would be an understatement on par with referring to a hurricane as a "brisk wind."

Those two words, "Hail Hydra" — all-too familiar now not only to comic book fans but to anyone who had seen a Captain America movie or an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – sparked passionate and violent fan reaction. Fans screamed at Spencer over Twitter, claiming that he was a disgrace to Captain America co-creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby and that he'd turned an anti-fascist icon into a Nazi. They called him "disgusting" and "repulsive." And eventually the death threats joined the insults. A Twitter user told Spencer, "Kill.Your.Self." Another wrote simply, "die."

The best there is at what he does, and what he does is drink

In October 2017, during an Australian comic convention, a 28-year-old man dressed as Wolverine was arrested for allegedly playing his part a little too well.

Around 2 a.m., after being kicked out of a pub on Sydney's King's St., the Wolverine fan allegedly attacked two men, injuring one and knocking the other unconscious. Both alleged victims were brought to the hospital while the man dressed as Wolverine was arrested.

One of the witnesses interviewed by police was dressed as the blue Power Ranger.

It was not revealed if the dispute began over an underground cage match or if either of the alleged victims had called the wanna-be Wolverine a "dirty mutie" before hostilities broke out. 

You get what you pay for

You or I might not say a fan was going too far for demanding he get what he paid for, but it's possible a comic book artist might disagree.

In 2009, a poster on the CGC Collector's forum identifying himself as "Wrightson Fan" wrote an angry post titled, "Thanks for NOTHING Bill Sienkiewicz!" Wrightson Fan claimed he'd commissioned a sketch from artist Bill Sienkiewicz — best known for work on Marvel characters The New Mutants, Daredevil, and Legion — two years prior at a Wizard World Texas convention. The fan paid Sienkiewicz $100 up front, emailing Sienkiewicz and his assistant numerous times between 2007 and 2009 to no avail.

Sienkiewicz contacted Wrightson Fan shortly after the post went up, apparently wanting to correct the situation. It took 18 months, but finally in 2010 Wrightson Fan reported he was happy to receive the sketch.

The thing is, Wrightson Fan had not requested any particular kind of sketch. In his 2009 post he wrote that he had asked Sienkiewicz to sketch "whatever he liked."

So some might regard with suspicion the sketch Wrightson Fan finally received: The sketch of a troll with what appears to be a penis for a head. 

Only the worthy

In the fun scene of Avengers: Age of Ultron when most of the other Avengers try and fail to lift Thor's hammer, Tony Stark theorizes that it is the thunder god's fingerprints — not his worthiness — that gives him exclusive rights to Mjolnir.

YouTube science star Allen Pan came close to making Stark's theory a reality.

Pan built a fake Mjolnir that was actually an electromagnet. He filmed numerous Venice Beach residents pulling at the hammer with all their might and failing to even make it budge, only to watch Pan walk over and easily lift the hammer off the ground.

Pan's secret was that the electromagnet could only be turned off by a thumbprint scanner placed in the hammer's handle, which in turn could only be activated by Pan's thumbprint. He will not be called upon to lead Asgard into battle any time soon.

Pan also has videos of a "real" flying Mjolnir, actually a drone, and his own "real" lightsaber. 

He's a menace, I tell you! A menace!

If J. Jonah Jameson were real, a 2017 NYC crime spree allegedly perpetrated by a man dressed as Spider-Man would've made Jameson feel all kinds of vindicated.

The Spider-Man robber allegedly held up an HSBC Bank in the Bronx in April of 2017. Earlier that week, the same Spider-Man, armed with only a box cutter, allegedly tried and failed to relieve an East Harlem Pharmacy of all its painkillers. He left empty handed when the store proprietor told him they didn't have the painkillers he wanted.

Spider-Man seems to be a popular choice for criminals wanting to remain anonymous. The 58-year-old James Parker was arrested in Kansas City after allegedly robbing city residents for years as the "Spider Burglar." In November 2015 a man dressed as Spider-Man robbed a Frederick, Maryland, store, holding the clerk at gunpoint. Surveillance video from 2013 shows a man in a Spider-Man mask and armed with a machete robbing a St. Cloud, Florida, gas station.

Maybe Jameson had a point.

Okay, maybe he isn't so bad

Sure, plenty of real bad guys use the Spider-Man mask to do bad things, but they aren't the only ones using it. In 2015, 62 year old Kevin Gordon-Prior allegedly broke up a brawl between somewhere around 30 or 40 people in Ardwick, a district of Manchester in northwest England. And he did it dressed as Spider-Man.

Gordon-Prior was known around the area as a fixture at local events who would dress up as Spider-Man to entertain the crowds. It was after one of these events — the opening a new community center in Ardwick — when Gordon-Prior saw the brawl start.

According to Gordon-Prior, he called the police to report the fight, then approached the brawlers in full Spidey regalia. He said many of the brawlers were stunned, not knowing what to make of a man in a Spider-Man suit in the middle of the melee. Gordon-Prior said when some of the brawlers looked like they were going to attack him, he stopped them by yelling, "999 — the police are coming!" three times.

By the time police arrived, Gordon-Prior said, all of the brawlers were gone.

Gordon-Prior claimed this wasn't even close to the first time he'd used the costume to stun criminals into better behavior. He claims to have performed over 40 citizen arrests since he was 18.

Two years earlier Gordon-Prior had made news after he revealed the Spider-Man uniform under his clothes to a man who was allegedly abusing a shopkeeper. 

Superior WHAT?

Captain America writer Nick Spencer wasn't the first comic book writer to receive death threats.

When the ending of Amazing Spider-Man #700 leaked online — revealing that Peter Parker, whose mind had been switched with that of villain Doctor Octopus, would die while in the villain's body and that the Doctor Octopus would survive and take up the mantle of Spider-Man – the death threats got bad enough that Slott called the police for protection.

"Death threats and threats of violence are being reported," Slott warned on his Twitter profile. "Insults and vulgarity are being blocked."

Peter Parker would eventually be resurrected and return as Spider-Man of course, but not until about 18 months after the introduction of the impressive series Superior Spider-Man, which featured Doctor Octopus trying and failing to redeem himself in his old enemy's more heroic skin.

With great power comes great SHAMONE!

At the 2009 San Diego Comic Con, shortly after Michael Jackson's death, Stan Lee opened up about the King of Pop's interest in Marvel and Spider-Man.

Lee claimed he and Jackson had sat down once to discuss the possibility of pooling their resources to buy Marvel, with at least part of Jackson's incentive being to get control over film portrayals of Spider-Man.

"I'm not sure whether he just wanted to produce it or wanted to play the role," Lee said. "Our conversation never got that far along." Though Lee did say he thought Jackson would have taken the role if offered.

In 2017 X-Men screenwriter David Hayter revealed that, among others, Michael Jackson wanted the film role of X-Men founder Professor X.

Seeing Red

When you think of the most extreme, hardcore fans and the subjects of their obsession, you probably wouldn't choose Captain America bad guy The Red Skull as the most obvious subject of such intense passion. But if anyone has proven themselves more dedicated to their favorite character than Venezuela's Henry Rodriguez, I don't want to meet them. 

So enamored with the villain who began his life as a subordinate of Adolf Hitler, Rodriguez has undergone facial reconstruction to look more like the arch villain. His transformation includes facial and eye tattoos, cutting off his nose, and subdermal implants in his face and brow. 

The short, sad life of Tommy Hanson

The story of Tommy Hanson is not the story of a fan who went too far. The story of Tommy Hanson is the story inspired by stories of fans going too far. Maybe. 

In1978, NBC produced a Fantastic Four cartoon with a surprising difference: Johnny Storm, aka The Human Torch — hotheaded brother of Sue Storm and eternal mocking torturer of Ben Grimm — was replaced with H.E.R.B.I.E. the Robot.   

An urban legend that still endures states that the Human Torch was given the thumbs down because NBC executives were frightened that some poor kid would watch the show, light himself on fire to be like the Human Torch, and the lawsuits would soon follow. But this wasn't true

The Human Torch was absent from the cartoon because the character was optioned for a solo film that never ended up being made.

Still, John Byrne made good use of the urban legend. In 1985, Fantastic Four #285 was released, sporting a cover with Johnny Storm telling his teammates he was giving up superheroing for good. The comic told the story of the sad social pariah Tommy Hanson who couldn't make friends and whose idol was the handsome and powerful Human Torch. Hanson tries to solve his friendlessness by lighting himself on fire, hoping to become as powerful and popular as the Human Torch. Hanson dies in the hospital, and Johnny Storm is eventually talked down from giving up world-saving after an encounter with the godlike Beyonder.