Published April 17, 2019

Show Business is Bad Business: 13 Failed Actors of the Marvel Universe

The siren song of Hollywood often spells doom for Marvel characters…

The Nightcrawler of AGE OF X-MAN: THE AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER seems to have it all. A celebrity of massive appeal, the characteristics that made him an outcast in the main Marvel Universe have made him an icon in this world. However, like some many Marvel characters who have sought the limelight before him, Kurt Wagner seems to be on the precipice of discovering that the bright lights of stardom cast very long shadows.

In order to aid our fuzzy blue mutant friend, has assembled a list of cautious tales to encourage Nightcrawler to watch his back.


Becky Ryan
THE ORDER (2007) #2

Becky Ryan started performance life as a child in beauty contests. From there, she recorded an album at just the right moment to catch the bubblegum pop. Two more albums and an acting career followed. However, by her teens, Ryan already showed signs of unraveling. The pressure of supporting her family, the schedule, and the constant sexualization of her despite her relatively young age took its toll until she could no longer ignore the mental health fallout. Despite being at the top of the celebrity heap, Ryan had to remove herself from the whole machine lest she be utterly destroyed by it.

Dead Girl

This X-Statix hero had big dreams. Before she scored her first feature role, however, a fellow actor murdered her, triggering her latent mutant power. That pretty much ended Dead Girl’s attempts to become a famous actor.

Fat Cobra

Fat Cobra


Jason Roland had already started to make in-roads into an acting career. However, things were going slower than he wanted. So he reached out to Satannish and offered his soul to get famous in a hurry. Somehow the deal turned Roland so hideous that he refused to be an actor ever again. Instead, he became the Hangman.

To make matters worse, he also went on to convince members of the Night Shift to follow this lead and offer their souls up to Satannish despite knowing that these things rarely work out as planned.

The Second Kraven the Hunter

Al Kraven

After a handful of setbacks trying to emulate his father, Alyosha Kravinoff, decided to try a new path. He and his girlfriend, an acting hopeful named Timber, traveled to Hollywood where he sought to become a director/producer and make Timber his muse.

Unfortunately, the men Al tried to use to get his way in to Hollywood prove unreliable and prone to violence. After they grew tried of Al’s attempts to become a Tinseltown big shot, they invaded his home and brutally assaulted both Al and Timber. While the couple did get their vengeance on their attackers, they left Hollywood immediately after, their dreams of showbiz left to die on the 405.

Master Pandemonium

A huge star in Hollywood, Martin Preston had the kind of excellent genetics that let him consistently look 10 years younger than he really was. Not only did he get great roles, he did so for twice as long as many of his contemporaries. His preternatural good looks, however, made him subconsciously live as though he was immortal. That proved false when he, while driving intoxicated, ended up in a terrible, body-mangling wreck.

Preston managed to summon Mephisto in his time of need. The demon replaced the actor’s lost arm with a demon, then severed the other arm and did the same. Pandemonium tried to get back to acting after that but the giant pentagram on his chest and Mephisto’s repeated attempts to use Preston as a tool foiled those efforts. In the end, Pandemonium had to abandon all hope of being an actor again and just became a full-time Super Villain.


Megawatt started as a criminal, representing the rare case where an attempt to become an actor actually points to a life improved. Now, Megawatt, as his alter ego Dirk Leydon has achieved international film stardom.

The downside, however, seems to be that Leydon can neither return to Australia, his birth place, nor America, where the most renowned movies are made, because his criminal past combined with his international celebrity status means he would be easy pickings for arrest. Until the statute of limitations runs out, Megawatt must be a man without country, albeit with a career he loves.




Edward Ferbel believed strongly that any role could prove his breakthrough. When he received an offer to play Nomad—due largely to his passing resemblance to Steve Rogers—he could not turn it down. Unfortunately not only was Nomad not his breakthrough role, it proved to be Ferbel’s downfall.

Ferbel was actually hired to impersonate Rogers as part of a plan orchestrated by the Red Skull to kill the real hero. Before Ferbel could fully appreciate what he had been hired to do, Ameridroid shot and killed him, meaning that elusive breakthrough role would go forever unrealized.

Karen Page

Karen Page
DAREDEVIL (1964) #65

After a time as Matt Murdock and Franklin Nelson’s administrative assistant, Page became frustrated with an emotionally unavailable Murdock and a job that had never been her dream. She finally decided to pursue her real dream: acting.

Sadly, she was met with failure after failure upon arriving in Hollywood. She soon developed a drug problem and fell into a particularly unregulated branch of the adult film industry. In a tough enough situation already, Page found herself selling out her former friend and lover just to try and survive a brutal withdrawal. While Page did eventually get sober and leave adult films for good, those decisions would bother her for the final years of her all-too-short life.



Before Spider-Man became a wall-crawling hero of the people, he tried taking a swing at show biz. First, of course, came the amateur wrestling. Soon after that, Spidey broke through on local public access and was well on his way to making a name for himself as a curiosity/comedy act.

We all know what happened next.

The webslinger chose the wrong petty criminal to ignore. Said criminal escaped and later that same night, he attempted to rob the home of Peter’s aunt and uncle. Uncle Ben refused to cower, the criminal panicked and shot Spider-Man’s surrogate father, and Spidey realized, through tragedy, that he could never treat his powers frivolously again.


Early in his career, the man who would be Splice achieved good critical notes and some decent roles. However, the next-level parts never really materialized and he saw his offers shrink. He finally booked a sitcom role only to get fired because the show’s 11-year-old star did not like the soon-to-be assassin. Humiliated, Splice quit and did the most logical thing: became a killer for hire.

If one has a streak of cynicism, one could point out that Splice ended up being more successful as an assassin than he ever had been as an actor and, as a result, made himself quite rich. Additionally, he eventually got hired to kill the child actor that got him fired. But one would have to be deeply cynical to try and argue that without being an actor, Splice never would have found his true calling.

Wonder Man

After rough few years, Simon Williams headed out to the left coast and, with Hercules’s help, began to pursue a career in acting and stunt work. As his star began to rise, so did his confidence. Unfortunately, the historically insecure Williams went straight from confident to conceited with no time in between. This led to significant clashes with Iron Man and, eventually, a brutal fight with Abomination.

Even worse than that beating though? Williams never managed to hit the big time despite being basically invulnerable and incredibly handsome.

Will Nightcrawler make it big by following the stars in his eyes? You’ll have to read AGE OF X-MAN: THE AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER to find out!

AGE OF X-MAN: THE AMAZING NIGHTCRAWLER #3, written by Seanan McGuire with art by Juan Frigeri, is on sale now online and at your local comic shop!

Amazing Nightcrawler #3


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