Before They Were Movies: Early Attempts to Bring Superheroes to Life Onscreen

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 17th, 2014 at 4:11 pm, This is a list post.

The Phoenix, Magneto, Nightcrawler, Thunderbird and Rogue pose for a picture Both DC Comics and Marvel would have you think that big-budget, blockbuster films like Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, X-Men, Green Lantern and The Avengers are their only attempts to bring popular comic book characters into the live-action arena. They would like everyone to forget the sometimes absurd, ridiculous and often ugly reality: that there were numerous early - and failed - attempts to bring super heroes to both the big and small screens. Over the next few pages you can read about these early superhero attempts and the actors who portrayed them on-screen. Some you may be familiar with, but we'll bet you've never heard of many of them. NOTE: This list doesn't cover every instance of every superhero who has ever appeared on TV or in a direct-to-video movie - that would be far too exhaustive. Instead, we've covered only those superheroes who have a movie already released, in development or will have one in development soon.

1. 'Superman': First Theatrical Release - 1978

Kirk Alyn and George Reeves as Superman 1948 - Kirk Alyn - Alyn (on right) doesn't even receive title credits in the first, and wildly popular, attempt by Columbia Pictures to bring Superman to life; his name only showed up on posters. The studio touted that it couldn't get an actor to fill the role, so they "hired Superman himself". 1952 - George Reeves - The man most associated with wearing the Man of Steel's red cape on the small screen is Reeves (on the left). The series found instant fame after a successful one hour pilot titled Superman and the Mole Men and ran for 6 seasons. The first two were broadcast in black and white with the remainder in color.

2. 'Batman': First Theatrical Release - 1966

Lewis Wilson, Robert Lowery and Adam West as Batman 1943 - Lewis Wilson - Wilson was first to portray Batman in a 15-part serial that introduced fans to items now common in the Batman mythos: the Bat Cave with its grandfather clock secret entrance, and a skinny Alfred. 1949 - Robert Lowery - A sequel starring Lowery as Batman left wartime behind and began falling in line with characters and stories fans knew, including: Vicki Vale, Commissioner Gordon and The Wizard. 1966 - Adam West - West's campy take on the Caped Crusader is often considered to be the most iconic version of Batman. He battled classic villains with classic tools like his utility belt and the Batmobile.

3. 'The Shadow' - First Theatrical Release - 1994

Rod La Rocque, Victor Jory, Kane Richmond, Tom Helmore and Richard Derr as The Shadow 1937 - Rod La Rocque - La Rocque was the first to fight evil at night in The Shadow Strikes and International Crime. 1940 - Victor Jory - The Black Tiger was The Shadow's nemesis in a 15-part serial starring Jory. 1946 - Kane Richmond -Richmond wore a black mask instead of a red scarf as The Shadow in three low-budget films. 1954 - Tom Helmore - Helmore played The Shadow in the first-ever TV series. 1958 - Richard Derr - Derr starred as The Shadow in a TV-pilot-turned-film called The Invisible Avenger.

4. 'The Phantom' - First Theatrical Release - 1998

Tom Tyler as The Phantom 1943 - Tom Tyler - Columbia Pictures created a 15-part serial based on the Lee Falk's popular comic strip called The Phantom. Tyler starred as Geoffrey Prescott/The Phantom fighting off poachers in the jungles with his trusted German shepherd Devil next to his side. "The Ghost Who Walks" could have used a better costume though, as the striped briefs make him look ridiculous - even in black and white and with two pistols strapped to his hips.

5. 'Spider-Man': First Theatrical Release - 2002

Nicholas Hammond and Shinji Todo as Spider-man 1974 - Danny Seagren - Spider-Man (Seagren) appeared in a series of sketches called Spidey Super Stories on the PBS show The Electric Company in 1974. 1978 - Nicholas Hammond - The Amazing Spider-Man TV show attempted to capitalize on the success of previous superhero shows Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk. Even though the show was very popular with fans, CBS canceled it after thirteen episodes due to budget concerns. 1978 - Shinji Todo - The Toei Company of Japan created a Spider-Man TV show which made him a crime fighter who received his powers from an alien named Garia and piloted a robot called Leopardon. The show was praised for its stunt work and special effects.

6. 'Daredevil': First Theatrical Release - 2003

Rex Smith and Ben Carruthers as Daredevil 1975 - Ben Carruthers - This extremely laughable attempt at creating Daredevil for television was the brainchild of Angela Bowie - the wife of singer David Bowie. Fortunately, the network nixed the idea due to budget concerns before it ever got off the ground. This photo shoot  (pictured on left) was as far as it went. 1989 - Rex Smith - Smith was first to actually portray the blind vigilante of justice in the made-for-TV movie The Trial of the Incredible Hulk. The biggest change from the comics fans noticed was Daredevil's outfit - a black ninja-like costume instead of the red outfit adorned with horns and the double "D" on his chest. The movie was supposed to be the vehicle for a Daredevil spin-off  TV show, but that never materialized.

7. 'The Hulk': First Theatrical Release - 2003

Lou Ferrigno as The Incredible Hulk 1978 - Lou Ferrigno - The Incredible Hulk is a huge gamma-irradiated monster who can only now be properly portrayed using today's computer effects - but in the '70s, professional bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno came pretty darn close. Covered in green body paint and ripped jean shorts (jorts!) the Incredible Hulk smashed his way through 82 television episodes over the course of five seasons. He also flexed his mighty green muscles in three made-for-TV movies - the last of which aired in 1990.

8. 'The Punisher': First Theatrical Release - 2004 (In the U.S.)

Dolph Lundgren as The Punisher 1989 - Dolph Lundgren - Marvel's anti-hero Frank Castle, a.k.a. "The Punisher" is a mobster-killing, bad-guy-busting badass. His seemingly unlimited supply of fantastic weapons had fans of the character eager to see what kind of mayhem he could bring to the big screen. Unfortunately, the first offering they received was Dolph Lundgren sans the iconic white skull on his chest, speaking in rhyme, and riding a motorcycle. Clad in leather pants, he looked more like a Hell's Angels reject than a hard-ass vigilante. The movie was supposed to release domestically in 1989 but ended up having a short international run instead. The film landed on the direct-to-video shelves in 1991.

9. 'The Fantastic Four': First Theatrical Release - 2005

Alex Hyde-White, Rebecca Staab, jay Underwood and Carl Ciafalio as the Fantastic Four 1994 - Alex Hyde-White (Mr. Fantastic),  Rebecca Staab (Invisible Woman), Jay Underwood (Human Torch), Carl Ciafalio (The Thing) Low-budget B-movie king Roger Corman was chosen to bring Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's superpowered group the Fantastic Four to life. Unfortunately, they only allowed him a budget of a scant $1.5 million - most of which he spent on The Thing's suit. The film served only to maintain Constantin Film's movie rights to the characters and was never intended to be released in theaters - though the actors and crew working on the film weren't aware of this at the time. As with most early attempts at live-action superheroes, the film suffered from the limited special effects technology of the day. While The Thing's rock suit was actually pretty good and the Human Torch looked OK, Mr. Fantastic's stretching ability was laughable and Invisible Woman's power was displayed by just making her no longer appear in frame.

10. 'Nick Fury' - First Theatrical Appearance - 2008

David Hasselhoff as Nick Fury 1998 - David Hasselhoff - Marvel produced a made-for-TV movie in the late nineties using one of its lower-tier characters starring David Hasselhoff as Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. - though few people understood why. Fury is brought out of retirement to once again help S.H.I.E.L.D. battle the evil forces of HYDRA, before they can attack Manhattan with the deadly Death's Head virus. Hasselhoff sports the traditional eye patch, scruffy beard and chewed-on cigar butt that was synonymous with the character up until that point.

11. 'Thor': First Theatrical Release - 2011

Eric Allan Kramer as Thor 1988 - Eric Allan Kramer - The Mighty Thor made his debut appearance in the second of three made-for-TV movies for the Incredible Hulk TV show. Kramer was tasked with playing the Norse god and did so with a mild tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top performance. The producers chose to keep Thor more in line with his Viking roots by dressing him up in fur, leather and a metal breastplate instead of the more familiar red and blue outfit. One thing that wasn't changed (thank goodness) was Thor's hammer - Mjolnir. Kramer wields it like a true demi-god and uses it to dispatch groups of bad guys on more than one occasion.

12. 'Green Lantern': First Theatrical Release - 2011

1979 - Howard Murphy - Murphy was the unlucky actor chosen to first portray the Green Lantern in a live-action setting, in NBC's 1979 special Legends of the Superheroes. His costume was a direct copy from the comics but makes the all-CGI costume Ryan Reynolds wore look good. 1997 - Matthew Steele - CBS tried (unsuccessfully) to launch a Justice League TV show in the late '90s, where Steele played Guy Gardener - a software salesman by day and the Green Lantern by night. 2010 - Doug Pinton - In the ninth season of Smallville, Pinton shows up as Alan Scott/Green Lantern wearing his trademark power ring in some archival footage that Clark and Chloe stumble upon.

13. 'Captain America': First Theatrical Release - 2011 (In the U.S.)

Dick Purcell, Aytekin Akkaya, Reb Brown and Matt Salinger as Captain America 1944 - Dick Purcell - Republic Studios teamed up with Marvel to make a 15-episode Captain America serial starring Dick Purcell. 1973 - Aytekin Akkaya - In the Turkish-made film Captain America and Santo vs. Spider-Man, Akkaya portrays Cap as the head of a task force assigned to take down the evil Spider-Man. 1979 - Reb Brown - Steve Rogers (Brown) was made a struggling artist pre-transformation in two full-length Captain America TV movies. 1990 - Matt Salinger - The story, costume, and villain were all better in this direct-to-video Captain America movie starring Salinger, yet somehow the movie still managed to fail.

14. 'Black Widow': First Theatrical Appearance - 2010

Angela Bowie as The Black Widow 1975 - Angela Bowie - In the mid-seventies Angela Bowie received the rights to Daredevil and Black Widow from Stan Lee for one year, but this ill-fated photo shoot was as far as the idea ever went. All the studios Bowie approached deemed the endeavor too expensive.

15. 'Green Arrow' - In Development

Justin Hartley and Stephen Amell as the Green Arrow 2006 - Justin Hartley - Sharpshooter vigilante Oliver Queen/Green Arrow made his first appearance in the sixth season of Smallville, played by Justin Hartley. He worked with the new Justice Society, attempting to take down the evil LuthorCorp, but occasionally worked on his own missions.  He uses a compound bow and a crossbow instead of a standard recurve bow, but with the familiar battery of homemade trick arrows. 2012 - Stephen Amell - The CW is producing a new series titled Arrow starring Amell in the title role as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow. The show is to have a darker and edgier feel while his costume will be more reflective of the character's origins. He will dress more like Robin Hood, using the traditional recurve bow and his stockpile of trick arrows.

16. 'Dr. Strange' - In Development

Peter Hooten as Dr. Strange 1978 - Peter Hooten - Hooten played Dr. Stephen Strange in this ill-fated TV movie attempt by Marvel. The film was supposed to be the launching vehicle for a Dr. Strange TV series but after the film received a less than lukewarm reception by audiences the project was nixed. Currently Marvel is working on a new Dr. Strange project.

17. 'The Flash' - In Development

Rod Haase, John Wesley Shipp, Kenny Johnston and Kyle Gallner as The Flash 1979 - Rod Haase (top left) The Flash (Haase) made his first onscreen appearance in Legends of the Superheroes wearing an atrocious costume. 1990 - John Wesley Shipp (bottom left) While Shipp's version of The Flash was a tremendous upgrade in terms of character and costume, the show itself was just too corny to warrant more than one season. 1997 - Kenny Johnston (top right)Johnston's Flash was the leader of a team of superheroes in this failed CBS TV pilot Justice League of America. The costume also took a major step back. 2004 - Kyle Gallner (bottom right) Gallner appeared as Bart Allan in season four of Smallville and again as "Impulse" (The Flash) in season six as a member of the Justice Society.

18. 'Aquaman' - In Development

2005 - Alan Ritchson (left) Ritchson made just three appearances as Arthur Curry/Aquaman in Smallville, in seasons five, six and 10. He was an on again/off again member of the Justice Society and displayed all the same superpowers as his comic book influence: super swimming speed and telepathy with all oceanic life. 2006 - Justin Hartley (right)Hartley became the Prince of Atlantis in Aquaman - a TV series that never made it past the pilot stage because CW decided not to pick up the show after the WB/UPN merger. Writers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar changed most of Arthur Curry's back story - "A.C." was made a teenager living in the Florida Keys who, after the disappearance of his mother, was raised by his adopted father.

19. 'Hawkman' - In Development

Bill Nuckols and Michael Shanks as Hawkman 1979 - Bill Nuckols - Nuckols played Hawkman in Legends of the Superheroes, showing up alongside other DC characters to celebrate the birthday of the retired hero the Scarlet Cyclone. Except for the large protruding yellow tabs on either side of his mask, Hawkman's costume looks decent by today's standards, even though it was designed in the late seventies. 2010 - Michael Shanks - Hawkman, played by Michael Shanks, showed up in season nine of Smallville during a special two-hour episode titled "Absolute Justice". His costume had the traditional strap-on wings and spiked mace, but a chest piece  - which served a technical purpose on set - was added that made it look odd.

20. 'Lobo' - In Development

Andrew Bryniarski as Lobo 2002 - Andrew Bryniarski - To date, the only attempt at a live-action Lobo film came from director Scott Leberecht titled The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special, which he made on a ultra-modest budget of $2,4oo for the American Film Institute. The film's bizarre story revolves around the Czarnian anti-hero/mercenary being hired by the Easter Bunny to kill Santa Claus in an attempt to take over Christmas. Bryniarski's performance as Lobo is spot on - as is the entire look that Leberecht managed to recreate surprisingly well.

21. 'Wonder Woman' - Movie On Hold

Ellie Wood Walker, Cathy Lee Crosby, Lynda Carter and Adrianna Palcki as Wonder Woman 1967 - Linda Harrison - In this strange failed TV pilot titled Who's Afraid of Diana Prince?, Harrison played Wonder Woman while Ellie Wood Walker played Prince Diana. 1974 - Cathy Lee Crosby - Crosby plays the flaxen-haired Amazon with superhuman agility in this made-for-TV movie that also served as the pilot vehicle for the TV series. 1975 - Lynda Carter - The most famous Wonder Woman was played by Carter for three seasons on ABC, which became one of their most popular shows of the time. 2011 - Adrianna Palicki - Palicki was chosen to play Princess Diana/Wonder Woman in a television reboot, but NBC canceled the project before the pilot episode ever aired.

22. 'Captain Marvel' - Movie On Hold

Tom Tyler, Jackson Bostwick, John Davey and Garrett Craig as Captain Marvel 1941 - Tom Tyler - Tyler played Captain Marvel in a 12-episode serial which is the very first superhero live-action show. 1974 - Jackson Bostwick - Shazam! was a half-hour TV show on CBS which starred Bostwick as Captain Marvel for the entire first season. 1975 - John Davey - Two episodes into season two of Shazam! Davey took the cape and played Captain Marvel until the end of season three. 1978 - Garrett Craig - Captain Marvel - played by Craig - joined his friends in the Legends of the Superheroes TV special.

23. 'She-Hulk' - Movie Status Unknown

Brigitte Neilsen as She-Hulk 1990 - Brigitte Neilsen - Marvel's green female super-heroine She-Hulk was originally slated to make an appearance in the third and final made-for-TV film The Death of the Incredible Hulk, but was ultimately left out. Shortly after that, a She-Hulk TV series was announced, but it too ended up being a project that never got off the ground. Writer/Director Larry Cohen planned a live-action big screen adaptation of She-Hulk with Neilsen announced to play the title role in 1990. However, all that came of the project was a series of photographs with Neilsen dressed as She-Hulk and her alter-ego Jennifer Walters.

Early Attempts at Bringing Superheroes to Life

Hawkeye, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow and The Hulk Assemble as The Avengers Hopefully the batch of superhero films coming out over the next decade will be as good and entertaining as the ones from the last five years - and titles like The Avengers, Dark Knight Rises, Amazing Spider-Man and Man of Steel certainly suggest they will be. Did you find any early attempts at live-action superheroes that you didn't know existed before now - if so, which ones are they?
TAGS: captain america, fantastic four, green lantern, hawkman, nick fury, shazam, she-hulk, spider-man, superman, swamp thing, the avengers, the flash, the incredible hulk, the punisher, thor


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  1. How old is this article?! Do you guys know that “Arrow” is, probably, one of the greatest show in TV right now.
    Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”. That show, well, is another story…

    • If you think arrow is one of the best shows on tv then you don’t deserve to have an opinion. Shut up.

      • And you yourself just lost all rights to an opinion yourself.

        • Lol gee you really got me there dumb ass Lol

          • Razorsfury is probably a lot of fun at parties.

      • Ha! shut up…

      • No personal attacks.

        Also, he’s right. Saying good things about that show universally makes your ability to do anything suspect.

    • Wow. well after reading these and reviewing my own life I have to say I am Happy most of these failed or didnt work. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my comix! I LOVED Linda Carter,Bill Bixby, Lou Feregno, watching Ultraman, and the Spiderman Action Hour or whatever it was I watched with the Fire Girl and Iceman and Spidey on Saturday morning. I don’t get Love for CW ever (sorry they hold 0% interest after all these years for me EVER at ALL), but I know that is my opinion. Everyone has a right to their own misery and it is up to all of us to improve our lives.

      • The Spider-man cartoon from the early 1980s to which you are referring is Spider-man and His Amazing Friends. That show had Iceman and Firestar as his superhero cohorts.

    • Arrow should not have even been listed here, as it is by far the most accurate and amazing portrayal of Green Arrow we are likely to see in this lifetime. If you don’t believe me, take the TV ratings and thousands and thousands of fans into consideration. Yes, you’ve been mounted.

      • The link leading here said “Terrible Attempts” but the article itself just seems to cover all early versions of super-hero incarnations so I think that lead-in was incorrect. It’s more of a history that a “bad” history. Besides this was published two years ago before they actually had an “Arrow” or current Black Widow to review. I saw many of these first run, the Cathy Lee Crosby “Wonder Woman”, the “Dr. Strange” movie! It really did take 1978′s “Superman” to get the ball rolling but then another couple of decades for the FX to catch up enough to make some decent hero films.

      • I won’t say how close or far from the source material the show ends up being as this is very subjective. But the fact is that many superhero and other types of comic books simply cannot be transferred well to the screen. Even the producers of the ‘Arrow’ show seem to realize this as they chopped the ‘Green’ from his name to make it less silly sounding. But let’s face it, a guy taking on hundreds of criminals and super powered villains using only a bow and arrow while wearing a freaking eye patch as a ‘disguise’ is just plain stupid. You can get away with it in comic books because comics are largely a visual artistic medium. Alan Moore could write book ‘X’ but if the artist is some crappy moron like Rob Liefeld the book won’t last long. Likewise some idiot like Kris Silver could write a superhero book and if he (by whatever imaginary scenario) had an artist like Bart Sears or Sam Keith the book will sell for a lot longer than it deserves to exist for.

        Movies and TV…not so much.

    • ‘Arrow’ is a terrible, TERRIBLE television show. Just because a show is adapted from comic books does not mean that you throw logic out of the window. The show is just plain absurd, which I could forgive if it had decent writing/dialog and so forth but it doesn’t. The scripts are seemingly copy/pasted fan fiction or some such. Just bad!

  2. This is a cool article and everything, but why the gratuitous and ill-informed mockery of Angie Bowie? I would have loved to have seen this! The costumes look incredibly stylish, from the pictures, and Angie is an incredibly talented, artistic, and progressive person. She suffers the “rock star’s wife” syndrome where ignorant people feel the need to insult strong women like her and Yoko Ono because it makes them feel like more loyal fans of the (often vain and self serving) rock star. Angie has been involved with live theater for years, sings and writes music, has written about a half a dozen very good books, and has been a tireless political activist for equal rights, animal rights, and opposition to all forms of fascism throughout her life. With all she has had to endure nobody would blame her for being reclusive and depressed, but she remains an active, vibrant, and outspoken person who is good hearted, full of warmth and humor, and has never been anything but inspirational to those whose lives she has touched. I doubt very much that the writer of this article even bothered to check into her background before remarking that “fortunately” the project never made it. I think it would have been stunning! I think it is crass and stupid that so many great artists are denied the full expression of their vision before the public and so many asinine and insipid things are green lighted.

    • “Incredibly stylish?!” Did you have a little too much of those shrooms or what? While her Black Widow costume looks passable at best, Daredevil’s is downright ridiculous! What’s with the conical horns and the painted face? It looks like a VERY bad cosplay, even for the times.

      Also, who mocked Angie Bowie? All the writer said was about the costumes, not her personally. I think it may be time for you to climb down from that sparkly rainbow in the sky.

    • Yes, the projects would naturally have been exceptional and anyone who’s put off by the photos must be threatened by her Strong Womanness. Nothing makes for great storytelling like being a Strong Woman. Strong Woman trumps everything! Her ovaries alone have more emotional fortitude than your whole family!

      No one was mocking her. I’m sure she’s lovely and a good person, but it’s not unreasonable to raise one’s eyebrows at these pictures.

  3. You forgot the Aquaman series with Patrick Duffy from the 70′s (I think it was 70′s)

    • Nope. I used to think the two were linked too, but it’s not true. The rumor that Man From Atlantis was based on Aquaman is just that, a rumor. Look it up. Though the premise is indeed very similar, they’re actually two different characters.

      • Believe what you will, but I’d advise you to google it up.

    • The Man from Atlantis series was actually (very loosely) based off Namor the Submariner, not Aquaman.

  4. The real reason most are failures is simply that they don’t look like what we’ve grown used to in the comic books. Solution? Do all future super hero movies as full length animated features. I’d love to see She-Hulk the way John Byrne did her. Same for Wonder Woman as done by Perez.Possibly done as Avatar. Just so much that’s altered for a live film. Look at Electro in the up coming Spidey flick as compatred to what he looked like in the comics. Holds true for TV series too.

    • Haha, I love how you just picked the wrongest example: comics-Electro looked ridiculous with his yellow/green outfit and his starfish mask, movie-electro looks menacing and badass.

      • Give me the green-and-yellow over the tired and trite “edgy black leather” thing any day!

      • You are absolutely right of course. The problems with many of us comic book fans is that A) We tend to scream for visually exact costume duplications, origin stories, powers etc. on film even when that will come off as laughably stupid and B) When our favorite comic characters are adapted to film and end up disastrous mockeries, instead of just admitting this and moving on we come up with impossible rationalizations for how they are not really that bad. This is the reason why we had to suffer three terrible Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies, two horrible Fantastic Four movies, The Crow films (yes, ALL of them were terrible and nothing like the original comic book by O’Barr.), Smallville, etc. etc.

        • The first two Raimi movies were absolutely not terrible at all. He did make some necessary changes but the tone, spirit and most of the characters were spot-on (even the third one had some good moments). The same can’t be said of the current reboot, even if Webb gets a few things better than Raimi.

          • The first Raimi Spider-man’s script is an almost page for page rip-off of another terrible superhero movie; Tim Burton’s Batman. Tobey Maguire was badly cast and had no idea how to really play the character (even if the script had been good). The second film was also a generic bundling of cliches. Tell me where you have heard this plot before:

            A scientist intends to do good for humanity but as he is developing or unveiling his newest revolutionary invention something goes wrong and a bolt of lightning/radioactive critter bite/chemical explosion/etc. drives him insane and he becomes a super powered villain.


            Answer: in at least a third of all superhero comic titles (if not half), and several superhero movies/TV shows. Hell what is the fundamental difference between the Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus in these films?! They are both scientists who started off normal enough then went mad near the time they working on an invention which would become the focus of their new supervillain identity.

            And I won’t even mention the organic web shooters (which were partly James Cameron’s fault anyway). They are just plain’Mystery Science Theater 3000′- caliber bad movies guy. In fact I am pretty sure there are Rifftrax editions for all three Spider-man films by Raimi.

            • Rifftrax did the Lord of the Rings, too. What’s your point. The difference between Osborn/Green Goblin and Octavius/Doc Oc is that one started as a greedy amoral ass who became a psychopath, and the other was a genius trying to better the world and the accident pushed him over the edge. Obviously you lack the ability to notice subtly. You also seem to think these archetypes you mention don’t predate motion pictures. You’re either willfully obtuse, or a bit slow.

            • What Eric said. Also, Maguire got as close to the original Peter Parker as one can get. If you don’t believe me, read the 60′s comics, Maguire nailed the part. As for the organic webbing, it’s straight from the comics (though more recent) and it actually makes more sense than a geek whipping up such advanced tech alone in his bedroom with his pocket money.

  5. I guess your comment is a response to my own answer to John F C Taylor’s comment, though it appears as an unrelated comment (it should be shifted to the right).

    Why the hell would he appear darker or ashier? He’s not burned, he’s brimming with electricity. Granted, the “veiny and smurf blue” look is just as unrealistic as your ashy concept (except for the tiny detail that electric arcs actually look veiny and blueish), but I think it looks cool.

    He can’t be affiliated with Hydra because Hydra is owned by Marvel. As for the hoodie, well, if you looked glowing blue, it would be a way to conceal this characteristic in order to blend among regular humans. That’s just it, a disguise and not his actual suit. Google it up, pictures of him in the suit have surfaced a few months ago.

    On a related note, what do you think of the Goblin’s look?

  6. Electro and Rhino are not “completely wrong” in the sense that this new series of films, despite being called Amazing, is actually based on the Ultimate universe. I know, it’s stupid but oh, well… I guess we’ll just have to wait for the next reboot! Anyway, if you take a look at the original designs from the comics, Electro is glowing blue (and has nothing to do with Hydra) and Rhino’s suit is mechanical, so there. By the way, do you have a source for these so-called ties to Hydra? I’ve read every single one of the 700 issues of Amazing and I can’t remember anything like that.

    As for the Goblin, it’s funny how tastes go: I, for one, find him “completely wrong!” They’ve gone the armor route once again, except this time they gave him an ugly face instead of a helmet (also, what’s with the hair?). I wish we’ll see a truly awesome Goblin one day. True, Dafoe’s performance was spot-on but his armor was hideous, and don’t get me started on Franco’s New Goblin. Now if we’re to believe the action figure, Papa Goblin’s gonna be a pretty nasty beast!

  7. Japanese Spiderman was actual co production between Ishomaro Production and Marvel it also the reason we have Super Sentai aka Power Rangers.

  8. I know this post is old and I haven’t read all the comments but had to comment. Superman was also an old movie serial and featured a superman with baggy shorts who didn’t look so super in the costume. Not sure how many episodes were made.

  9. First, movie serials were theatrically released, so it’s odd to see you mis-use the phrase. What you probably mean is “First theatrically released feature film.”

    Second, “Superman and the Mole men” was not a TV pilot, it was a theatrically released film. Hour-long features used to be commonplace, so maybe that’s where you went wrong.

    Third, “The Flash” was cancelled because it was too expensive, not because it was “too corny”.

    lastly, I don’t think it’s legitimate to include unauthorized productions in here (like the Turkish Captain America. You want to go down that road, it’s a whole different conversation…

  10. Surprised not to see Dredd up there. From Stallone’s awful American dross to the uber-cool Dredd starring Karl Urban.

  11. #22 Captain Marvel: The 1942 version is by far the best looking version, of the four listed. I am sure the application of the character was terrible, but blame that on the technology of the time. He actually looks pretty good, IMO anyway. Though, they can do better.

    • The Tom Tyler Capt. Marvel’s serial from the 40s still stands is the best live-action adaptation of Capt. Marvel ever produced. Republic Studios used their ace special effects team to do the flying sequences and put together a solid action movie. The special-effects in this serial actually look better than the special-effects used years later on the George Reeves Superman TV series.

  12. Alec Baldwin played the Shadow once, it was a little goofy but I liked it

    • Thor played by Eric Allen Kramer didn’t show up in the 2nd made for tv movie he showed up in the first made for tv movie Return of the incredible hulk, 2nd was Trial of the incredible hulk, and 3rd was Death of the incredible hulk. I am glad that after seeing all of these that special effects has improved. I look forward to each show and movie coming out based on comic book characters

  13. OMG, this site is sooo inaccurate!!! Many of the “terrible” movies that were listed here were actually some of the BEST superhero movies of all time. I say this site should get its facts straight. U dont go around critizising movies that were very good!!!

  14. Punisher didn’t speak in rhyme, his sidekick did.

  15. I think we can all agree the 70′s Hulk TV show was better than any of the Hulk movies they made.

    • I don’t know… I like the old show and everything but the last movie with Edward Norton ( even though i don’t agree with him as Bruce Banner, too douchie for me ) was pretty good. I think what the biggest problem is no one is capturing what the Hulk’s rage means. I mean he gets stronger the more pissed he gets and no one has really shown that.

    • False. The Hulk TV show was the first of the Frank Lupo run of shows that all featured the same ridiculous pot: Guy(s) are on the run from some nefarious organization or person (e.g. the military, news reporter, bounty hunter, ninjas etc.) but stay in America traveling from town to town solving local peoples’ own problems with their own local bad guys (e.g. a mob boss, a developer out to pollute the environment while making everyone sick, etc.), then escaping the guy(s) whom are chasing them at the end of the episode. We saw the formula repeated for the A-Team, Raven, 18 Wheels of Justice, and a dozen or more other shows during the 1980s and 90s.

      The Hulk TV show was not much like the comic book character at all which is understandable since they did not have CGI and such back then but still, painting up a bodybuilder green and giving him an absurd disco-era wig just looked laughable. The writing was very rarely not a hack job and the direction and acting ranged from horrible to passable (in the case of Bixby and a handful of guest stars).

      Ang Lee’s first Hulk movie was pretty bad but at least the Hulk looked better than Lou Ferrigno pained green. The Ed Norton “Incredible Hulk” movie was the best treatment the ‘Green Goliath’ has yet received.

      • Actually, that plot didn’t originate with the 1970′s Hulk series, but with the 1960′s Fugitive, and probably even before that!

  16. Theatrical… you keep usin’ dis word, I do na think i’ means wha’ ju thin’ i’ means.

  17. I’m pretty much up on them all. I had to hunt several years ago to get the ’70s Doctor Strange, and the never-released Justice League movie. I saw the ’70s Captain America movies as a kid. All pretty bad, but great when you’re a kid and there are NO other super-hero movies.

    I think Arrow started out great with the political overtones, but it’s overrated now. Like all other CW programming, it’s aimed at teenagers, and difficult for adults to get into.

    • Actually Arrow is the most popular CW show and hardly for teens. Now Flash with its epic pilot is for teens but also for us old farts who are not comic-geeks.

  18. comic book movies SHOULD be made cheap—not for 200 million dollars and an almost 3 hour running time.

    • That is stupid. Most of the titles and characters of comic books cannot be done on the cheap at all without coming out extremely bad. Sci-fi itself is difficult enough to do inexpensively but the sub-genre of superheroes entails depicting fantastic powers and massive destruction, massive sets etc. Just to take one example of what I am talking about go watch that original Justice League pilot which was made on the cheap. Even if that movie HAD had a good writer doing the screenplay, good actors and director etc. it would have looked terrible and been discarded to the pile of Ed Wood caliber flops.

      I do not expect the new Justice League movie to be any good but I know for a fact that it will at least be pleasant to look at. Superman won’t look like a bad cosplayer at the local comicon.

  19. how could you miss 1994′s THE SHADOW starring Alec Baldwin? Jeffery Combs made a Dr Strange ripoff in 1992 called Dr Mordrid that was so obvious i am shocked Marvel Didnt sue. Or maybe they did

  20. “Can’t we all just get along?”

    (Btw, the Wonder Twins are the GREATEST SUPERHEROES EVAR!!)

  21. thanks obama!

  22. While this article was “just” ok with me, rating a 4 on the “knowledge about the subject” scale, it didn’t mention the 1940′s serial BLACKHAWK with Kirk Alyn in the high flying title role. Also it didn’t mention the 3 1940′s ROCKETMAN serials, SPY SMASHER, THE MASKED MARVEL, all of the ZORRO, DICK TRACY, THE LONE RANGER, MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN, CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT, THE VIGILANTE, TARZAN, CONGO BILL, CAPTAIN VIDEO, SHERLOCK HOLMES, RED RIDER, FLASH GORDON, BUCK ROGERS, JUNGLE JIM, THE GREEN HORNET, SMILIN’ JACK, and COMANDO CODY tv shows, movies and serials.

    What really stands out to me the most is how they completely overlooked THE GREEN HORNET with multiple serial movies and a TV show that introduced BRUCE LEE to a new American viewing audience.

    IMHO, the writer of this article was asleep at the switch and didn’t do enough research on the subject.

  23. I liked the actor that played Arrow from Smallville tv series. I think he should have played Arrow in the updated series. Just my thoughts :)

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