With the 2012 San Diego Comic Con at an end, we are left with some pretty exciting announcements about some lesser-known comic book characters like DC Comics’ Lobo and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy getting the feature-film treatment.
With the exception of Arrow, most superheroes are headed to the big screen – so we decided to take a closer look at some of our favorite (but perhaps not so well known) comic book characters that would make truly awesome TV shows.
Let’s kick things off with the man with a face most don’t soon forget…
Who: Civil War veteran turned bounty hunter with the face only a mother could love.
Found In The Pages Of: Jonah Hex, currently featured in All-Star Western (DC Comics)
The Story: After being sold to Apache natives for some furs by his father, young Jonah was educated in the tracking and combat ways of the tribe. Adult Hex fought as a soldier in the southern ranks during the American Civil War, where he was brutally scarred for life by a cruel union officer. This prompted Hex to become a bounty hunter with a strong sense of justice – even spending time cleaning up old west Gotham City.
Why Him: Okay, most people don’t jump for joy over cowboys anymore – especially when there’s vampires and spaceships out there – but Jonah Hex is worthy of a closer look. Despite the less than thrilling movie, Hex goes beyond the token “White Hats” vs “Black Hats” type of western – and seeing him track down criminals in early wild west Gotham would definitely be a sweet sight on the TV screen.
Who: All the fairytale and nursery rhyme characters your mummy ever read to you with a real-world twist.
Found In The Pages Of: Fables (Vertigo)
The Story: When their storybook Homeland is attacked by the mysterious “Adversary” most of the fairytale characters of old are forced into the real world to live among humans, whom they refer to as “Mundies” (short for mundane). Those lucky enough to look human live in an area of NYC known as Fabletown, run by Deputy Mayor Snow White and her husband, Sheriff Bigby Wolf. Those unfortunate enough (or too poor to afford spells from the witches to suppress any unnatural traits) are shipped off to the dreaded Farm. The rules are simple: all past villainy is forgiven as long as you obey the law and don’t reveal yourself to the mundies – easier said than done.
Why The?: Okay so everyone knows Snow White and the Big Bad Wolf, but this is definitely not your childhood stories – there’s enough violence, cussing and sex in this series to make even HBO blush. The only slight hitch might be making Bigby’s werewolf transformation look realistic enough; as Teen Wolf can attest, it’s not that easy.
Who: The mutant “superhero” team known as X-Statix formed not as a group genuinely devoted to fighting crime, but to capitalize on the fame and fortune that being a superhero can bring, by filming their exploits for reality TV.
Found In The Pages Of: X-Force, and later X-Statix (Marvel)
The Story: The team known as X-Statix was ill-fated from the very beginning. On their first mission all but three members were violently killed while saving a boy-band (by their own TV network to boost ratings). This occurence of team members meeting with horrible and increasingly gruesome fates was a recurring theme for the squad that cared more about celebrity, merchandise sales and profit margins than actual heroics. Core members The Orphan, Doop, Anarchist and U-Go Girl managed to survive for a time – but even with their growing morals they too were unable to leave the team unscathed.
Why Them: With sex,drugs and superpowers, X-Statix is probably one of the best self-contained stories Marvel has ever put out. The progression from spoiled reality stars to proper heroes is told in a way that actually makes you feel for characters that at first you might hate. In a tragic twist, by the time the X-Statix become a team not totally fame-driven it’s too late. Since the comic book series is set up as a “reality” show, it would also be a cool idea to set up a scripted TV show in a similar way – even if costumes and budget force the show from live-action to an adult-style cartoon.
Found In The Pages Of: Uncanny X-Men, District X (Marvel)
The Story: A mutant cop from the future, Lucas Bishop comes from the harsh dystopia where mutants are tattooed with an “M” over their right eye and are herded into concentration camps at an early age. Now stuck in the present day, the former X-Man and FBI Agent uses his foreknowledge of the future, his mutant powers and his human partner Ishmael Ortega to police District X, a dangerous part of New York City overrun by mutant gangs.
Why Him: Everyone loves good old-fashioned buddy cop show, right? – especially when one of the cops is a bad-ass dude with the power to shoot energy blast out of his hands. Be it human or mutant – if written well, any opponent Bishop encounters would be a less cheesy stereotype than some of the other cop shows of the recent past (*cough* CSI).
Who: Kate Kane is a carefree party-girl socialite by day, ass kicking vigilante by night.
Found In The Pages Of: 52, Batman and currently featured in Batwoman (DC Comics)
The Story: Following her dismissal from the US military for being a lesbian, and the death of her sister, Kate Kane would live a destructive party-girl life that would later lead to alcoholism. A chance encounter with Batman inspires Kate to find a new calling, and adopt the mantle of Batwoman. While not receiving the Dark Knight’s official stamp of approval, Batman allows her to continue, since Kane is in the same social circle as Bruce Wayne and he knows what she’s been through and what she can do. With Batarang lessons from Nightwing and extra combat training from her Marine father, Batwoman has become quite the force for good in Gotham City – too bad she’s also on the top of her girlfriend Detective Maggie Sawyer’s must-capture list.
Why Her: We keep holding our breath for another (less-campy) live-action Batman TV show – but let’s face it, with all that extensive movie money rollin’ in, it’s never going to happen. Not only is Batwoman an all kinds of awesome role model for the LGBT community, her Bruce Wanye-esque origin story makes her easy for all sorts of people to get behind.
As she is not officially part of his team, a Batwoman TV series would not depend on Batman appearances to survive – plus, with neat gadgets like “taser gloves” and the Scarecrow’s “Fear Toxin,” Batwoman has just enough of the Caped Crusader in her to appeal to even the most die-hard Batman fan.
Who: Eugene “Flash” Thompson was a hot-shot high school football player and Peter Parker’s (Spider-Man) former bully. Currently he’s Peter’s best friend, a Corporal in the US Army and the third character to be properly called Venom (if you don’t count the people that only wore the symbiote suit for a minute or two).
Found In The Pages Of: Spider-Man and currently Venom vol. 2 (Marvel)
The Story: As president of the Spider-Man Fan Club, Flash Thompson followed the heroic steps of his favorite superhero and joined the US Army to save lives. After losing both his legs in Iraq, Flash became an alcoholic just like his abusive father. Given a second chance, Flash was chosen to participate in “Project Venom,” which uses the villainous Venom symbiote (now in military custody) to create a super soldier. Flash now uses the power of Venom (web-slinging, super strength, even some fancy new legs) for good, but must remain calm and cannot stay bonded to the symbiote for more than 48 hours, in order to prevent it from gaining total control of him.
Why Him: Venom is beyond cool that’s why! While the best-case scenario would be a live-action depiction, it’s probably better to go the way of an animated series. With the shape-changing abilities of Venom, the budget to make everything perfect might be too high – but a more mature-themed cartoon would take limited backstory to set up as an ongoing series.
Who: Gus is a 9-year-old deer-boy with antlers – and is also part of a new breed of human/animal hybrid that arose after an apocalyptic pandemic hits the planet. After his religious father dies of an unknown illness, Gus leaves his Nebraska home in the forest with a mysterious man named Jepperd.
Found In The Pages Of: Sweet Tooth (Vertigo)
The Story: Written and drawn by Canadian Jeff Lemire, Sweet Tooth follows the misadventures of deer-boy Gus. When his father suddenly dies, men come to his forest home to round Gus and other human/animal kids up to put in concentration camps for experimentation. Saved by a hulking and violent drifter named Tommy Jepperd, who promises to take him to “The Preserve” (a fabled safe-haven for hybrid children), Gus’ new mission in life is to save other mutated kids and solve the mystery of the strange virus – all while avoiding getting captured himself.
Why Him: As a series that is described as “Mad Max meets Bambi” Sweet Tooth has a lot of potential to make a sweet TV show. Although the main protagonist is a 9-year-old boy, the things this poor kid goes through can easily be depicted in a way that would make even Starz network executives cringe. The show would probably need to update the age of Gus.
Who Now: Melaka “Mel” Fray is a 19-year-old Vampire Slayer of the distant future. Unlike other Slayers, Mel has no Watcher or any prophetic dreams to guide her.
Found In The Pages Of: Fray, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, Tales of the Slayers (Darkhorse)
The Story: Following the events of Buffy Season 8, the Slayer line has ended and most demons have been banished from the earthly realm. Vampires (now called “Lurks”) are slowly making their way back into the world, causing a new slayer to be called in the form of professional thief Melaka Fray. As the Watcher Council has now turned into a bunch of crazy fanatics, the role of Mel’s Watcher is being filled by a “good” demon named Urkonn. Fray must now navigate through a world of cops, mutants and demons, having no connection to the other slayers or their history. Did I mention her twin brother Harth is now a badass vampire that possesses the prophetic dreams and visions of past Slayers Mel lacks?
Why Her: Let’s be honest – a lot of us miss Buffy terribly. While Fray is a great deal different from her blonde predecessor, the series still features a lot of the epic mythology and classic Joss Whedon style of writing and one-liners that made Buffy so popular. By setting it centuries in the future, the story of Fray the gun-toting vampire slayer will not be dependent on aging actors from Buffy or Angel to make an appearance.
Found In The Pages Of: Previously Savage Sword of Conan, Conan the Barbarian and Red Sonja (Marvel); Currently featured in Red Sonja (Dynamite Entertainment)
The Story: After a gang of violent marauders comes to town and kill her family, the leave Sonja alive brutally raped and beaten, and she cries out to the red goddess Scathach for vengeance. Scatchach bestows upon the young Sonja unparalleled skill in battle on the condition that she would never lie with a man unless he defeated her in fair combat. Sonja gladly accepted this offer. Now an adult, she is known as Red Sonja due to her fiery personality, flame-red hair, and uncanny ability to spill the blood of her enemies. Sonja travels the world as a legendary adventurer seeking to protect those who are helpless like she once was, along with seeking revenge on those who killed her family.
Why Her: The sword-and-sandals genre is pretty popular right now, and the void for a female lead within it could easily and skillfully be filled by Red Sonja. Think of Xena Warrior Princess meets Spartacus. Anything short of a Showtime/HBO-style bloodbath would be doing this series a great injustice.
Who: Jamie Madrox is a mutant (or possibly something different) with the power to multiply his body into an undetermined number of duplicates. Sounds like a cool power; send your copies to learn things like fighting styles, another language or whatever, then reabsorb them and tah-dah, now you know it. Downside: your “dupes” are now growing increasingly independent and don’t always come back.
Found In The Pages Of: X-Factor (Marvel)
The Story: After a stint as a super hero on the government funded X-Factor, and later X-Corporation, Jamie Madrox hangs up his Multiple Man moniker and tights for a quieter life as a private detective. All is well until one of his “dupes” returns home with a big ol’ gunshot wound to the gut. The physical and mental trauma of absorbing a dying dupe forces Jamie Prime to solve his own murder as well as track down all his wayward dupes. With the help of some of his former X-Factor teammates, Madrox forms X-Factor Investigations in hope of helping other desperate mutants – while making a few bucks on the side.
Why Him (Err…Them): This is not your classic detective or superhero story. Sometimes Madrox’s greatest foe is literally himself – whether it’s a case of Jamie Prime not looking before he leaps, or a crazy dupe that wants to kill him and take his place. Writer Peter David has been scripting the character for years and if he could be tapped for writing a TV series based his X-Factor work, it would no doubt be a hilarious and action=packed show.
She-Hulk: The idea of Ally McBeal meets the Hulk sure is a tempting one – and as I totally see zany antics mixed with heart-pounding drama, what I don’t see is a realistic physical rendering of She-Hulk. At best, a live-action jade giantess would come off as a well-done drag queen, and at worst… well… In any event, if you are a fan of She-Hulk, she will be a main character on Disney XD’s animated series Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H this fall, voiced by the lovely Eliza Dushku.
Deadman: Despite a kind of lame costume, Deadman has a lot of TV potential. As the ghost of dead trapeze artist Boston Brand, Deadman possess the bodies of the living to fight crime. Writer/director Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy) has been rumored to be linked to a possible Crow-esque style Deadman movie with Nikolaj Arcel (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) set to direct – but since its been over two years since any word of the project, only Rama Kushna knows if the film will ever see daylight.
Booster Gold: Booster Gold was actually on the top of my list, but Syfy is currently developing a Booster Gold TV series. The character is a cocky scamp from the 25th century, who steals a futuristic super-suit and comes back to the 21st century to make it big as a superhero. Using his historical super-computer named Skeets to jack big-time rescues from other superheroes (including Superman), Booster cares more about fame and endorsement deals than the citizens he” protects.” Eventually, personal tragedy forces a personality change, but not before Booster gets permanently stuck in our time. It’s been awhile since we heard word of the Syfy series, but hopefully we see Booster on the small-screen soon.
Jessica Jones: Featured in the explicated pages of Marvel’s ‘Alias’ the saga of Jessica Jones is the most humanizing “superhero” story the company has ever produced and would make a hell of a compelling TV show – as long as all the sex, violence and swearing from the comic series makes it to the show. Formerly known as the superhero “Jewel,” Jessica Jones hangs up her white spandex to become a private investigator. Not wanting anything to do with the superhero world, poor Jessica is still constantly bombarded with super-powered clients (including Daredevil) – and the fact she is being stalked by the villainous Purple Man – who has the power of mind control – doesn’t help much either. Marvel tried to get a TV series – AKA Jessica Jones off the ground, but failed. Time to try again.
This has only been a sampling of some of the truly great comic book characters out there that could use a little more screen time. Check back with us for more info on the actual upcoming superhero movies and television shows announced this year at comic-con