As most of you know, I’m a pretty huge fan of comic books and graphic novels. Through my life I’ve shifted from being a DC fan to a Marvel fan, then Image and Dark Horse, but in my latest years I’ve realized quite firmly that DC Comics has the best superheroes!
However, some of those heroes fall a bit under-the-radar, especially the Silver Age heroes. More over, movies about some of the higher tier heroes have been wrecked beyond reparation (Frank Miller’s The Spirit comes to mind, along with Catwoman, Daredevil, Superman Returns and the final installment of the Spider-Man and X-Men pseudo-franchises.) And there’s been talk about a Metal Men movie?
Well, here are my top five spandex-wearing warriors who are most deserving of their own summer blockbuster.
5. Captain Comet
I first came into contact with this original “X-Man” (12 years before Uncanny X-Men #1 hit stands in 1963) from the recent DC Comics series Mystery in Space. But I also ran into him in DC Comics Presents #22 co-starring the Man of Steel and I just thought he was a cool character, a sort of blend of Flash Gordon (or Buck Rogers) with the Human Torch (minus the “Flame on!”)
4. The Freedom Fighters
Okay…technically this counts as a super team, but if the current cinematic competition is X-Men, Fantastic Four and the upcoming Avengers, well, why not? I first got into Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters because of the series Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Blüdhaven. I also dig the fact that the team members––Uncle Sam, Phantom Lady, Black Condor, Human Bomb, and Doll Man––haven’t changed since the team’s first appearance in Justice League of America #107 from back in 1973.
Even in its the latest incarnation, one thing’s for sure––the Freedom Fighters is the most diverse super team you’ll find in comics today.
3. Elongated Man
Most comics fans will know Ralph Dibny––“World Famous Elongated Man”––from the acclaimed series Identity Crisis, but this contortionist counterpart of Plastic Man with his nose for mystery has had a slew of adventures which date back to the 1960s (most of which are compiled in a single volume of Showcase Presents.) I enjoyed a four-issue Elongated Man miniseries from 1992 written by Gerard Jones and illustrated by Mike Parobeck, in which Ralph and his wife Sue tour the world to crack a cumbersome case.
I first discovered The Element Man in the pages of the original Batman and the Outsiders series by the indelible team of Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo, with one of my all-time favorite stories being a two-parter in issues 17 and 18 centering around Rex Mason and ancient Egypt. Now I am a proud owner of Showcase Presents: Metamorpho, featuring 500 pages of the “Fab Freak of a Thousand Forms” in all of his old-school adventures.
And even though DC’s editors traded in Rex Mason’s Indiana Jones hat for a History Channel host persona (no offense Peter Weller––Engineering an Empire was my favorite series!) in the recent six-issue miniseries Metamorpho: Year One, Metamorpho is still one of the coolest cult heroes fighting crime today.
Aaaaaand number one is…
Again, I first found out about Black Lightning in Batman and the Outsiders #1, and since then I’ve always enjoyed his appearances in even the most recent issues of The Outsiders. It’s kind of sad that from Black Lightning #1, published in 1977, to the final issue of the second series (started in 1995) only a mere 25 issues exist of one of the earliest African-American superheroes, a cool mix of Shaft and Black Dynamite.
As with Metamorpho, Jefferson Pierce and his “shock jock” brand of justice was resuscitated in a six-issue miniseries, Black Lightning: Year One, which again attempted to modernize a classic hero. At least here they stuck a bit more close to the original “thunderous” origin story than they did with The Element Man.
So based on these characters, what actors do YOU think would do well to play any of these characters in a movie version? Leave your suggestions, and any other comments, below; I’d love to know what you think!
9 thoughts on “The Five Most Underrated DC Comics Superheroes Who Deserve Their Own Blockbuster”
Great post! It’s a drag that so many Super Hero movies have been wrecked–I’ll never forgive Zack Snyder for Watchmen. I think Mekhi Phifer would be a cool Black Lightening. If the movie was filmed in the 70’s Jim Brown would have to play the role.
Y’know, I liked WATCHMEN, but that was before I read the graphic novel. Then I watched the movie again and I was like “what the hell did this guy do to this masterpiece!” But yes, Jim Brown all the way!! (We need to bring the 70s back, even if for but a brief reprise 🙂
wow, i never even heard of captain comet, and i thought i knew almost all of the characters in the DCU lol. i like how you mention he was kinda the first “x-man”. i know that jack kirby and stan lee pretty much created the entire marvel universe by themselves and they are both legendary creators, i still feel like marvel always rips off of dc. take deadpool for example, he’s so popular and yet no one has ever heard of dc’s deathstroke. anyways, great list! i’d like to see one about villains next
Thanks for the cool comments, Andrew, and for reading my post. Glad you enjoyed it. And yes, I’m glad you mentioned how Deadpool is basically Deathstroke but nowhere near as cool. But rest assured, I’ll put together a Five Most Underrated Villains list next, and Slade Wilson will be there!
I always thought that Conan O’Brien would play an awesome Ralph Dibny, though he has aged. He definitely has his features, nonetheless. Not to mention his comedic style.
Ha! I’d agree with that one Mell! O’Brien’s definitely got the hair for Dibny! Thanks for giving my post a read!
What about Aquaman? The guy is so underrated and under appreciated. He’s so under appreciated that writers over the years keep trying to change him to make him cooler to readers from blue camouflage costumes to beard and cybernetic appendages to magical waterhands. Now while i like that with Aquaman that means tons of character development but he’s already cool. A huge shout-out to Geoff Johns for making the classic Aquaman cool again.
I hear that loud and clear, Andrew. Aquaman has been arguably the most underappreciated superhero of them all (though arguably much cooler than his Marvel counterpart Namor the Sub-Mariner! But I have to say that after reading the first issue in the New 52 by Geoff Johns, I’m excited for issue #2 and keeping up with DC’s modern day Poseidon! Thanks for reading my post and leaving your thoughts!