Some people will often complain and lament about the sheer number of comic book movies coming out these days. For some, it’s not that they mind comic book movies per se, but rather wonder why so many are getting made. Do we really NEED all these superhero movies?
Well, obviously we don’t NEED all these Superhero movies… for that matter we don’t NEED any, but we sure seem to enjoy them. But to get back to the question of why so many are made, I think there are 2 important reasons:
1) They make money – No, they are ALL huge blockbusters, but for the most part these comic book films pull in a decent amount of cash for the studios
2) Pre-existing Characters with loads of source material and a pre-existing audience – This one is hard to ignore. It’s one thing to try to create a character for a movie that you think will be marketable and get an audience interested in… but if you can get a character that already exists… that people already know about and already has a built in audience, then you’re starting with one leg up.
In my opinion, a number of comic book characters are some of the richest characters in all of fiction and thus have some amazing stories that deserve to be told. So even though there are tons of comic book movies already made as well as on the way, I’d like to suggest a few lesser known (By the average non-comic book fan public) characters that I think deserve their own movies.
The following list doesn’t necessarily represent movies that I think would actually make any money, nor do I think they deserve their own movies because of how cool their powers are… but rather because of how rich I think the characters themselves are along with their stories.
His real name is Dick Grayson and he was the original side kick to Batman known as Robin. Eventually as he got older he went on to become his own hero and called himself Nightwing. Another kid become Robin… the Joker eventually killed him, and now Batman on is his third Robin. Good help is hard to find I guess. Anyway, what makes Nightwing so interesting to me is the troubled relationship he’s had with both himself and Batman. They love each other like a father and son, but Grayson is also often enraged by Bruce. They’ve had several falling outs as Dick struggles to get out from the Batman’s shadow and be his own man. Still, they’re always there for each other. As a matter of fact, Grayson actually become Batman for a while after the events of Bane which culminated in one of the best scenes I’ve ever read in a comic book… when Bruce returns and they have a very moving Father/Son talk (I actually think this was the first time Bruce referred to them as Father/Son). He’s a rich character.
For some time in the X-Men universe, Cable was a mystery. An man of insane power… arguably one of the most powerful beings in all of the Marvel universe when unchecked… but he often has to use up most of his considerable power to keep a deadly techno-virus in his body in check or it will kill him. Even though he is a being of almost cosmic power, he comes off more like a Rambo character. A solider. A grim hard nosed warrior. He’s actually the son of Scott Summers (aka Cyclops of the X-Men) and a clone of Jean Grey (it’s a long story) who was sent as a baby to grow up in a future time line, later to return fully grown and quite jaded. With his parents being who they are, it’s not surprising how much power he has. For a time Marvel had another version of Cable running around, a younger version of Cable who wasn’t infected with the techno-virus that they just called X-Man. Cable was one of the few characters that could go toe to toe with Apocalypse.
Bishop is another character from the X-Men universe and played one of the most pivotal roles in probably my favorite comic story line of all time… “The Age Of Apocalypse”, in which he is the only being alive who retains a memory of the alternate universe that was destroyed when Professor X’s son, Legion, killed Magneto in the past (it’s a REALLY long story). Bishop was actually born in the future and came back in time. To me, it’s not so much Bishop’s past that makes him interesting, but rather his personality… his character. He’s one of those “deadly serious” chacraters… I’ve always sort of pictured him as the “Worf” of the X-Men universe. Bishop has the ability to absorb and redirect or store energy that is directed at him. This power actually helped him last a little while in a fight against Apocalypse himself… but Apocalypse was just too much.
I simply love this charcter. His real name is Jean-Paul Valley. Genetically bread by a secret order to be a lethal assassin (this guy is just loaded with mental health issues) he eventually meets Batman and they become allies. After Bane fought and defeated Batman (leaving Bruce Wayne paralyzed), Bruce leaves Gotham and passes the mantle of the Bat onto Jean-Paul who became the new Batman for over a year. Slowly however, his “issues” start to get the better of him and he becomes more and more violent, even killing criminals. When Robin confronts Jean-Paul about his tactics, Jean-Paul threatens to kill him and sends him away. Eventually, Jean-Paul (as Batman) faces Bane and does what Bruce was unable to do… defeat him. As Jean-Paul begins to go more and more over the edge, Bruce Wayne finally comes back and battles Azrael to take back his identity of the Batman. Bruce barely prevails and let’s Jean-Paul go who then reclaims his “Azrael” identity. Later, a healthier Azrael (who later becomes known as an Agent of the Bat) begins to work with Batman again. It’s such a twisted little story, but so deep and so rich of a character that I can’t believe how many people have never even heard of the guy. I’d love to see a movie made about him (it’ll never happen though).
BEN REILLY (Scarlet Spider / Spider-Man)
You know what sucks? Waking up one day to find out that you’re not who you thought you were, but rather just a clone of who you thought you were. That’s the situation that Ben Reilly (a name he later gave himself) found himself in when he discovered that he wasn’t Peter Parker after all… but rather just a clone of Peter Parker and had been living his life for a some time. Although the “Clone Saga” isn’t really loved by faithful Spider-Man comic readers (It was ok, but I didn’t like it all that much myself) I was fascinated by Ben Reilly. Not so much for who he is, but rather the issues he has to face. I don’t know how on earth you could do a Ben Reilly (Scarlet Spider) movie apart from a full fledged Spider-Man movie, but if a way could be found I’d love it.
So what do you think of these character? Would you be interested in seeing a movie based on any of them? Why or why not? Also, what other lesser known (ie, the average person on the street probably doesn’t know who they are) comic charcters do you think would make for a rich movie?