As more DC Comics projects are announced, it often leads to the question of who deserves his or her vehicle in the form of a movie, TV series, direct-to-dvd animated film, etc.
Contrary to popular belief, DC does in fact have a rich diverse variety of engaging characters. The (most frustrating) problem is that they refuse to properly utilize them. More than a few of said rich diverse superheroes have amassed mainstream crossover appeal. Yet, DC does not capitalize on these opportunities.
But that’s okay. Help has arrived. Help in the form of yours truly. The following is a list of 10 characters (among countless others) who need their own mainstream project like yesterday.
Black Canary. She’s one of the toughest women in comics, she’s also one of most accomplished. Vigilante, mother, wife, Bird of Prey, leader of the Justice League. Dinah Lance is a multifaceted heroine who has connected with audiences for decades. A fact further emphasized each time she’s appeared on Smallville, Birds of Prey, Justice League Unlimited, and Arrow. It’s long past time for this little bird to put her wings to the test with her own movie or TV series. Here are a few more reasons why Black Canary is a hit with fans.
Blue Beetle. Since his introduction, Jaime Reyes has been a delight and a most refreshing alternative. With an often light-hearted tone and recurring themes of family and friendship, the Blue Beetle solo series garnered a most loyal following. It’s little wonder that his appearances on Smallville, Batman Brave and the Bold, and Young Justice were huge successes.
Static Shock. With yet another reboot on the way from the Spider-Man film franchise, this might be an opportunity for DC/Milestone to reintroduce their resident teenage crime-fighting genius who understands the challenges of family, great power and great responsibility.
The eponymous WB animated series was a hit for four seasons. Any film that uses the cartoon as a template would likely find similar success. The other benefit of Static Shock’s crossover appeal is that it could lead to potential spinoffs with fellow Dakota heroes such as Icon & Rocket, Hardware, and other Milestone alums.
The Question. If a movie is to be made about the Question, does one make it about Vic Sage or Renee Montoya?
Why not both?
As DC’s resident crime-fighting conspiracy theorist, Sage can best be described as Fox Mulder without the self-awareness. Actually, David Duchovny would be an awesome fit, casting wise. From the bizarre romance with Huntress, to some hilarious buddy cop moments with Green Arrow and Supergirl, Sage was definitely one of the breakout stars of Justice League Unlimited. He has also had some memorable arcs in comics and one of the best runs was during the original 52 event. His friendship with Montoya and the mantle of the Question being passed to her was both poignant and bittersweet.
Speaking of Renee Montoya, she is a groundbreaking character and hasn’t always received the proper recognition she so richly deserves. As a mainstream LGBTQ character, she certainly laid down a lot of groundwork which helped make Batwoman a major success when she (re)debuted in Detective Comics some years back.
Sage and Montoya’s professional and personal relationship is very much akin to that of Watson and Holmes in CBS’ very brilliant Elementary, and a film done in the spirit of that would definitely be a potential hit for DC.
John Stewart. If one thing can be said about the legacy of DC Animation legends Bruce Timm and the late Dwayne McDuffie, it’s that by the end of Justice League Unlimited, John Stewart was established as the Green Lantern for generations to come.
He wasn’t the replacement, the consolation prize, the substitute, the B-team, but a champion in his own right and definitely one who is worthy to stand with the other heroes of the Justice League. An architect and a marine veteran, the Detroit native was a self-made man long before he joined the Green Lantern Corps. His direct and no nonsense demeanor made him a hit with many fans.
With the DC Cinematic Universe set to bring both Justice League and Green Lantern to the big screen in the not-too-distant future, a film featuring John Stewart is definitely a strong possibility.
The Spirit. The less said about Frank Miller and the 2008 movie abomination, the better.
Though DC no longer owns the rights to The Spirit, Darwin Cooke’s run on this series made it a classic for the ages. Denny Colt is the lovable titular hero who often finds himself in over his head and out of luck. Colt possesses a leading man charm that is a throwback to one Jimmy Stewart.
For the uninitiated, the series can best be described as a lighter noir that merges the best elements of Batman and Dick Tracy. The series doesn’t lack for colorful characters. Cooke is a world class artist whose work can easily be adapted for an animated film.
Vixen. With the Justice League movie on the horizon, this one-woman-powerhouse should definitely be on the roster’s candidate short list. As a regular on Justice League Unlimited, Vixen’s popularity spiked significantly. She continued to garner interest during Dwayne McDuffie’s run of the Justice League comic. If not the Justice League film, a separate movie or solo series needs to be in her future.
And though she may be coming to the Flash/Arrow universe (in animated form), let’s hope The CW doesn’t wait too long to bring her into the live action universe as well.
The Ray. This might seem like an odd choice to add to the list. Understandable given that the Ray is the least known entry. So unknown in fact, he could almost be considered a blank slate. Which is exactly why Ray Terrill would take. His origin story isn’t embedded in pop culture to the point that a deviation of it would alienate fans like say, the Caped Crusader.
This franchise could be specifically groomed for mainstream audiences. Said franchise could also be the ideal platform to showcase other characters from the DC Universe (similar to CW’s The Flash) who probably wouldn’t receive any exposure otherwise. The Ray has an excellent look, a most unique power-set, and enough foundation to make him an appealing enigma.
Midnighter. Very few individuals can call the Punisher, Wolverine, Sabertooth, Daredevil, Green Arrow, and Bane a bunch of inferior punks and actually be able to back it up. That’s why he’s Midnighter. Because of the similarities, parallels are often drawn between him and Batman. Interestingly enough, when the Dark Knight isn’t available for a show or movie due to licensing issues, producers bring in mediocre stand-ins such as Green Arrow.
Midnighter is a far more interesting and complex character than Arrow and for that matter, the Caped Crusader. His solo comic book series — which was originally only supposed to run as a six-issue miniseries — ran for 20 issues. Said solo series alone could easily be adapted into a TV series or a movie trilogy.
Currently he has ongoing comic book series being penned by the talented Steve Orlando. But as far as an adaptation goes, this Wildstorm alum is long overdue.
Cassandra Cain. A weapon on a quest to discover her humanity and what it means to be a hero, Cain has resonated with fans since her debut in 1999. Creators Kelley Puckett and Damion Scott delivered issue after issue.
Cain was the first Batgirl to star in her own ongoing series, and said series outsold major DC legacy characters such as Aquaman, Catwoman, and Green Arrow. In fact her final issue outsold that of replacement Batgirl, Stephanie Brown. Cain is still one of the most asked about characters at conventions. Her impact is undeniable. Makes sense. She is the true successor to the Batman mantle, after all.
A woman of few words, Cain epitomizes the old adage, “It’s always the quiet ones.”