Like an impressive headquarters, a super-cool vehicle can really boost a comic character's prestige.
Unfortunately, those vehicles aren't what this Top Ten list is about. In fact, it might be more accurately described as a Bottom 10 list, as I feature what I believe to be the ten lamest vehicles I've encountered in my comic book travels. However, before I get to the list, some clarification. In my book, "lame" doesn't so much refer to a vehicle's visuals (which may or may not be well-designed), but more to its odd or uncharacteristic fit with a certain character. And sometimes...they're just crazy insane.
With that said, let's get to the first five of the Top Ten Lamest Comic Book Vehicles...
The Jokermobile: Considering the Joker's well-documented insanity, I'll cut him some slack and stick his Jokermobile at the top of the list. When the 1950's rolled around, the Joker was changed from a homicidal maniac into a relatively harmless pest who echoed many of Batman's gadgets and vehicles...including a customized car. On one hand, the Jokermobile had an undeniable goofy charm...but on the other hand, it embodied just how far afield the Batman comics of the 1950's and 60's had strayed from their moody and mysterious beginnings.
The Doom-Copter: When Doctor Doom made his debut in Fantastic Four #5 (1962), he appeared over their Baxter Building headquarters piloting this bizarre helicopter. Referred to only as his "plane", the silly shark/jack-o-lantern face on the front seems pretty uncharacteristic of Doom...even here at the very beginning of his long history.
The Invisible Plane: Hands-down one of the strangest comic books of all time, early Wonder Woman stories were packed with all kinds of bizarre and nonsensical elements. One of the most nonsensical was Wonder Woman's Invisible Plane, an unlikely device to come from an isolated society of mythic warrior women. Decades later, a reboot of the character dumped the plane and gave her the ability to fly (not a stretch considering her heritage), but for the first forty-five years of Wonder Woman's history, this unseen telepathically-controlled flying non-sequitur was her primary mode of long-distance travel.
Magneto's Magna-Car: Like fellow arch-villain Dr. Doom, the early Magneto also had a flair for cheesy customized vehicles. Resembling a giant magnet on wheels, the Magna-Car was used to transport Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants to and from their crime sprees. At the time, I'm sure it was a nifty little contraption...but as the X-Men foe grew in complexity over the years, the Magna-Car seems comically out-of-sync with the character we now know as Magneto.
The Flying Batcave: Of all the exotic bat-themed vehicles in the Bat-Garage, there's one vehicle that beats them all not only in size, but in sheer lameosity! Boasting its own crime lab, garage, kitchen, sleeping quarters, and mini-trophy room (with its own giant penny!), the Flying Batcave made its jaw-dropping debut in Detective Comics #186 (1952). In its second (and mercifully last) appearance 11 years later (Det. Comics #318), the Flying Batcave was the location of the Center City Police Convention! Holy Campy Excess, Batman!
Since the fragile human mind can only handle so much horror, that's it for now. Get some rest, clear your minds, then come back tomorrow for Part Two, where I'll cover the final five of the Top Ten Lamest Comic Book Vehicles!