For every Batman, there’s a Matter-Eater Lad. For every X-Men, there’s a Legion of Super-Pets. There are comic book characters and groups who make it big, and there are those who never find a lasting audience. Only now and then do the obscure characters get noticed, and even more rarely do they get the big-screen treatment (Blade is the notable exception). Here are ten superheroes there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of, but that we at GeekDad think are good enough to carry a movie. Please feel free to list your own entries in a comment, or make some casting suggestions.
|10. Machine Man: He’s a sentient robot with flight, super strength, speed, vision, and reflexes. He can put special tools in his fingers, including a gun and all kinds of scientific equipment. In one story, he falls in love with another sentient robot. There’s all kinds of potential here, and he even has a human identity as Aaron Stack, an insurance investigator.|
|9. Squirrel Girl: She has a squirrel tail and squirrel teeth and can control squirrels by talking to them. And she carries nuts in her utility belt. Silly, you say? Well, sure, but Ghost Rider is a guy with a burning skull for a head who rides around on a motorcycle, so silly is clearly not a bar to superhero movies. Seriously, though, we think her story would make a great kids’ movie.|
|8. normalman: He’s a powerless man in a world where everybody else has super powers. This could be played for laughs, like in the comic books he comes from, or it could be rewritten as a dark satire.|
|7. Coldblood: He’s a cyborg with the ability to interface with computer systems, in addition to superhuman fighting skills and a ray gun in his arm. Plus, he’s got a heck of an origin story, which the Marvel link describes in detail, including love, war, and robots. What more could you ask for in a movie?|
|6. The Creeper: He’s sort of a heroic version of the Joker, only with powers. He’s got the crimefighting to drive the plot, and the insanity to offer a cool twist. Plus, he operates in Gotham City, so a Batman crossover would be easy to engineer.|
|5. The Question: Frankly, we can’t figure out why nobody’s made this one yet. He’s got Batman’s no-powers-just-skills-and-grit thing going, only without all the cool gadgets. Plus, when in character he has no face! The only problem with making this one now is that the Watchmen movie is still pretty recent, and The Question looks too much like Rorschach (since Rorschach was based on The Question, this is hardly surprising).|
|4. GrimJack: He’s a rogue with a rich past who kicks ass in a pan-dimensional city full of strange characters. The movie would practically write itself.|
|3. Cloak & Dagger: He’s an African-American teenage boy from South Boston; she’s an overprivileged teenage white girl from the Midwest. They meet when he returns her stolen purse and become partners in fighting crime after they gain powers through a series of experiments. There’s really something for everyone here.|
|2. Azrael: No, not Gargamel‘s cat. In addition to the obvious tie-in with Batman, he’s a good choice for a movie on his own. He kicks ass, has flaming swords, and is seriously screwed up in the head. It would take a heck of an actor to pull off a role like this, but if someone could, the movie would rock.|
|1. Girl Genius (Agatha Heterodyne): A strong female character. An awesomely spectacular steampunk-style world. Mad scientists. The only thing that a movie would lose would be Phil Foglio’s amazing art. But this could be the female-led superhero movie (though she’s far from a traditional superhero) that succeeds where others have failed.|
So, what’d we miss?
Image credits: Marvel Comics (Machine Man, Squirrel Girl, Coldblood, Cloak & Dagger); Renegade Press (normalman); DC Comics (The Creeper, The Question, Azrael); First Comics/IDW Publishing (GrimJack); Studio Foglio LLC (Girl Genius).
[A version of this article was published on GeekDad in August of 2008.]