Gamma Ray Exposure
Actual Result: Headache, shortness of breath, stiffness in joints, liver damage, loose stool, impotence.
Comic Book Result: increased size and strength, greenish hue to skin
Cosmic Ray Bombardment
Actual Result: Headache, nausea, seborrheic dermatitis, severe skin irritability and occasional lesions, melanoma, poor circulation, overbite, impotence, testicular fusion, sterility.
Comic Book Result: invisibility, rock-like skin, stretchy torso, combustibility.
Radioactive Insect Bite
Actual Result: swelling, pus discharge, incontinence, forgetfulness, shriveling of and/or potential loss of penis (males); Lyme disease
Comic Book Result: increased strength and agility, thematically-relevant powers, depending on type of insect
Robotic Arm Mishap (Laboratory-Related)
Actual Result: dandruff, sleep apnea, paranoia, some blood in stool, resentment, vaginal dryness (women)
Comic Book Result: robotic arms fused to body, megalomania, madness
Toxic Waste Spill (On Child)
Actual Result: itching, marked drowsiness, impotence (may not notice effects until puberty is reached)
Comic Book Result: Blindness, super hearing and balance, increased aptitude in legal profession
Botched Experiment in Creating a Super Soldier (Laboratory-Related)
Actual Result: bedwetting, brittle fingernails, scaling in ears, vertigo, constipation
Comic Book Result: super strength, blurring of moral boundaries, temper outbursts, meandering ambition, cackle
Botched Experiment in Regeneration of Limbs Through Reptile-Based Serum (Laboratory-Related)
Actual Result: eczema, diarrhea, depression, feelings of loneliness
Comic Book Result: transformation into reptile, favorable disposition toward evil
Tom Bligh has published fiction in The Southern Review, Cincinnati Review, Black Warrior Review, Specs, and Improbable Object. His nonfiction has appeared in The Believer, Oxford American, and Five Points. He is the director of creative writing at Mount St. Mary’s University.