Comic book fans all over the globe have been stunned by the death of Life Sciences major Simon Simpson, aged 21, who succumbed to a lingering illness after being bitten by a radioactive spider three weeks earlier.
At no point did Simpson show any signs of developing special powers. Instead, in scenes that evoked the demise of Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko, he became very ill and then died in hospital. This came as a huge shock to several comic book professionals, who had tipped him to become a superhero.
"To be fair, it wasn't just the spider," explained veteran illustrator John Calladine. "There was more to it than that. The fact that his names started with the same letter, for instance, was considered a good omen."
For many comic book fans, the incident is an unwelcome reminder of the fate of French physicist Louis Paquet, who became trapped underground during a nuclear weapons test in the Algerian Sahara. Rather than developing superpowers, he was instantly vaporised.
Another memorable disappointment came when Karl Klueser - a German child who was born with congenital hypopituitarism in 1989 - was treated with experimental growth hormone therapy at St Elisabethen Hospital in Loerrach. The machine giving the treatment malfunctioned and he received a massive overdose. Expected to die, he thrived following the mishap and topped 7'11" by the age of 14. German newspapers dubbed him "Das Hulk", and for a while he was able to make a living as a circus strongman.
Sadly, he failed to live up to his superhero potential. Now aged 22, he requires two walking sticks to support his weight and sleeps with an oxygen mask.
"The trend is undoubtedly going to change," added Calladine. "I think we can expect to see more and more wannabes trying the Batman route, which is to witness a crime as a child and then simply save up lots of money, rather than having a near-death experience and genuine superpowers. Right now, simple resource management is a much safer bet."