The Brief & Buoyant History of Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy

Take a deep-dive on Bikini Bottom's most iconic crime-fighting duo. We're talking origin story, the early days, the good old days, and beyond!

Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are Bikini Bottom’s most iconic crime fighting duo. But were they always superbly super? How did they become the heroes we know today? How many bad guys did they defeat to get there? Where are they now?? Ahead, we have all your answers. Up, up, and away!


    Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy in the early years.


    Well, it depends on who you ask - and who’s asking.

    When SpongeBob and Patrick visit Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy at the Mermalair in “Mermaid Man Begins” (season 8 episode 163) Mermaid Man tells them that he fell into his powers - literally. As his story goes, Mermaid Man was a regular degular human man when he was washed away by the ocean and sucked into a whooshing whirl pool. Just when he thought all hope was lost, a group of mermaids came to his rescue and gave him a magical starfish that allowed him to breathe underwater (which he still wears to this day!)

    As for Barnacle Boy, Mermaid Man saw him scraping barnacles from the bottom of a ship and thought he might be drowning, so he used his new-found powers to make barnacles grow in his lungs, allowing him too to breathe underwater! Barnacle Boy seems like he might not be completely and utterly grateful for this gift, but in any case, it led the two to become a virtually unstoppable crime fighting dream team.


    Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy get their powers!


    Not so fast! As it turns out, that whole story was MADE! UP! Patrick and SpongeBob discover that it wasn’t mermaids or magical lung-barnacles that gave the super-duo their powers.

    As it turns out, the super duo wanted to protect Patrick and SpongeBob from developing super-powers of their own!


    History of Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy


    Excellent question. It wasn’t the radioactive ant that fell from the mad scientist’s apartment upstairs that viciously bit our soon-to-be-superhero Mermaid Man. It wasn’t the vat of acid they fell into at the Vats of Acid factory, or their exposure to alien spaceship rays, or the solar eclipse on a leap year, or their tour de bomb testing site where they were exposed to highly toxic radioactive gases, OR the magical storm clouds that zapped the will-be-heroes with a neon bolt and radioactive ooze. For better or worse, the ultimate truth is it all comes down to OVERCOOKED MICROWAVE POPCORN.


    OVERCOOKED MICROWAVE POPCORN. Our heroes came to be via exposure to some seriously over-radiated kernels of corn. The duo sat down for a movie night, chowed down, and were soon forever changed. But thank goodness for those kernels! Who knows what might’ve become of Bikini Bottom had they not been there to protect us from the BGCFV or the BGATFBC!


    The Members of the Bad Guy Club For Villains.


    EXACTLY! Thanks to Mermaid Man, Barnacle Boy, and the rest of the IJLFSA (International Justice League for Super Acquaintances), the BGCFV (Bad Guy Club For Villans) and the BGATFBC (Bad Guys All Together For Book Club) are no more!

    They repeatedly faced-off with the most notorious villains Bikini Bottom has ever seen, including Manray, Dirty Bubble, Jumbo Shrimp, Atomic Flounder, and Sinister Flounder.