Now here’s something you don’t see every day: a bloke taking his arm off and attacking the Hulk with it!

Hulk #236

Machine Man

It’s okay, it’s not as bad as it looks. The guy in purple — as opposed to the green guy in purple! — is Machine Man. This fun, if not potentially macabre, little scene is from Incredible Hulk #236 and is is the third of a four part tale that bridged the gap between Kirby’s Machine Man run and the Ditko revival of the following year. Art by Sal Buscema, with words by Roger Stern.

Several years later, at another publisher, a similar scene occurred — though this one was played strictly for laughs…

Arm Fall Off Boy

Hmmm… Yep. DC, too, have a super-hero who can take off a limb and beat people up with it: Arm Fall Off Boy.

Appearing none too frequently — okay, just the once — Arm Fall Off Boy put himself forward for membership of the Legion of Super-Heroes at one of their open calls. Unsurprisingly, the sight of a guy pulling off his own arm and brandishing it as a weapon was sufficiently disturbing to Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy, et al, that his application went no further.

For once, there was a character who might actually be telling the truth when he says, “My hands are registered as deadly weapons..!”

From Secret Origins #46 (1989), art by Curt Swan and Ty Templeton.

I suppose we could ask the perennial comic fan question at this point: Who would win in fight between Machine Man and Arm Fall Off Boy? I guess we’ll never find out.

Hulk sequence ©2011 Marvel Characters, Inc

Secret Origins sequence ©2011 DC Comics