A BookLikes community page for Quirk Books, an independent book publisher based in Philadelphia. We publish 25 strikingly unconventional books every year. Learn more at QuirkBooks.com.
What does your favorite superhero wear into battle—body armor? Protective gauntlets? Some kind of sissy utility belt? Pfftt…why not fight crime in a bike helmet and knee pads, Caped Crusader? No, the truly dedicated hero doesn’t waste time zipping up a full-body costume when there are crooks and henchmen to punch. Those who completely commit to the lifestyle know that the only way to confront the forces of evil is the same way you came into this world: naked and howling. While complete nudity is a dealbreaker for characters pursuing mainstream success in the masked hero game, here are a few shirtless, skin-baring superheroes from The League of Regrettable Superheroes who are proud to let their beach bodies shine.
Amazing Man: As hyper-macho and bare-chested as a Muscle Beach lifeguard, John Aman earned his nom de guerre the hard way: by biting snakes to death. Raised as an orphan in what is arguably the most hardcore Tibetan monastery on Earth, Aman had to earn his graduation cap by enduring physical trials ranging from “surviving a square dance with angry cobras” to “literally just getting stabbed repeatedly.” (It’s hard to imagine the Dalai Lama is down with this.) However dire his training, it left the young man with Herculean strength, invulnerability, and the power to disappear into a cloud of green mist, which comes in handy against villains who hate green mist.
Captain Truth: This costumed crimebuster boasted an amazing array of powers, including fight, super-strength, and an indomitable spirit. Those all pale when compared to his most impressive quality, though: his flamboyant fashion sense. Clean-limbed and probably pretty chilly during his night patrols, the Captain decked himself out in an mostly-tangerine ensemble consisting of patriot boots, flared gloves, a flowing cape, bathing trunks and—the piece de resistance—a musketeer’s hat, complete with oversized feather. Despite his potential to set the fashion world on fire, this underdressed D’Artnagnan only ever made a single appearance.
Brother Voodoo: Jericho Drumm gave up a promising medical practice in New York upon hearing of his brother’s murder. Returning to his native Haiti, the promising young psychiatrist soon abandoned his state-accredited education, transferring what credits he could to pursue his deceased sibling’s career as the Caribbean’s Houngan Supreme. For the most part, a dearth of voodoo-related menaces has kept this Marvel Comics hero out of the limelight. Nevertheless, Brother Voodoo has managed to stick around for more than four decades without losing his muscleman physique. He remains a reliable 4th-stringer, awaiting his chance for a cameo in the nextAvengers movie or Agents of Sheild episode—bare-footed, bare-shouldered, and barely hiding his impressive six-pack behind a v-shaped swath of cloth.
B’Wana Beast: Jungle guide and conservationist Mike Maxwell got a little too close to the wild countryside he’d sworn to protect when his plane crashed atop Mount Kilimanjaro (I guess it was bigger than it looked). As luck and the fact that it’s the beginning of his story would have it, he finds a hidden cave. Inside it await stalagmites, stalactites, a trusty gorilla sidekick, a strange serum which grants him weird powers, and an enticing jungle-action ensemble which seems to come from the pages of a fashion magazine coedited by Lady Gaga and Tarzan. At least his leopard-skin-lined, bug-eyed helmet serves a practical purpose, allowing Maxwell to communicate with animals (pretty much a default ability for jungle-themed superheroes). But the striped loincloth and animal-print briefs clearly favor flair over function. And let’s not even mention those boots…