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.
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!