The movies we hope Marvel and DC aren’t developing

Odd List Rob Leane 9 May 2014 - 07:04

From Squirrel Girl to Doorman, we look at Marvel and DC's more unusual comic properties...

Recently on this site, we scoped out the 13 hottest DC properties vying for Warner Brothers’ nine movie slots announced this April. What we didn’t discuss though, was the hordes of ruddy awful comic book properties lurking in the DC and Marvel vaults. In these deepest, darkest corners are characters we’ve tried to forget, and stories we pray never make it to the big screen.

Sadly, however many lengthy features you write, and whatever logic you apply, you can never accurately second guess what studios will do next. For example, who would’ve thought a few years ago that we’d have a recognisable, popular, live-action Green Arrow on TV before The Flash or Wonder Woman had made it to the screen?

So, to prepare ourselves for the worst, we delved into the wacky world of forgotten superheroes (and a few villains) waiting in the wings for the cinematic treatment.  These are the stories that we will never endure a dark, gritty, origin-retooling feature length version of. Hopefully. Here’s what we found.

Matter-Eater Lad

Who? Kicking us off is a DC property that combines dodgy powers with an even dodgier name - Matter-Eater Lad. First appearing in December 1963, Matter-Eat Lad heralds from the planet Bismoll and became a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes - a futuristic equivalent of the Justice League.

What does he do? Exactly what his name suggests. Matter-Eater lad boasts the power to ‘bite through and consume all forms of matter.’ Disposing of ray-guns, tunnelling out of captivity and swallowing deadly death rays are just some examples of this hugely useful power in affect. That he was regularly written out of adventures is a mystery, really.

If he had to be in a movie… He might be able to supply some kid-friendly comic relief, because everyone loved Jar Jar, right?

Dazzler

Who? The superheroine known as Dazzler is a part-time X-man and full-time 1980s cliché machine. When a character is also said to pursuing a singing career, you know they’re bound to be a fan favourite.

What does she do? Apparently based on Bo Derek, this hero boasts the one-in-a-million power to convert noise into a light show, making her the disco-comics crossover presumably no one was waiting for. Shockingly, Dazzler is one of the most successful characters on this list, having had her own solo run for a whopping 42 issues. All rollerblading, all disco, all rubbish, Dazzler was invented as a 1980s demographic-targeting singing superhero that nearly had real-world tie-in CDs released through Casablanca Records before talks broke down. She later went on to explore other genres. DC’s Skateman can stay away from cinemas for similar reasons.

If she had to be in a movie… She could finally make rollerblading cool again and provide the musical superhero movie we’ve all been waiting for. Or is that just me?

Doorman

Who? A member of the (generally awful) Great Lakes Avengers, Doorman is about as bad as they come, with his Spidey rip-off costume being the least of his worries. He’s technically a mutant and dates back to 1989. Doorman has a dry wit which makes him slightly cooler. Slightly.

What does he do? Although later given a power linking him to the afterlife, Doorman will always be remembered for his original abilities. Not a super-efficiency for guarding night club entrances as you might expect, Doorman’s power is to teleport… through doors. Got a locked door or impenetrable structure to infiltrate? He’s your man. Literally any other teleporting needs? Better call Nightcrawler.

If he had to be in a movie… As a mutant he would have to join Fox’s X-Men movie universe. Wolverine could point out his naffness for our entertainment.

NFL SuperPro

Who? Comic book moguls are no strangers to shameless advertising, but this is one of the worst examples. Back in 1991, a whole 12 issue run, complete with Spider-Man and Captain America cameos, was pushed out by Marvel in aid of advertising American Football. Phillip Grayfield, the eponymous SuperPro, was the central hero.

What does he do? Phillip’s burgeoning footballing career was cut tragically short when he got himself a knee injury whilst saving a child. This pushed him into the terrifying realm of… sports journalism, which allowed him to meet a superfan/scientist who developed a five million dollar football kit which was basically indestructible. When thieves steal the fan’s memorabilia (leaving the suit behind, obviously), Phil dons the iconic costume, brings justice and becomes… SuperPro.

If he had to be in a movie… Said film would need a Wayne’s World product placement-style tongue-in-cheek tone to be anything but terrible.

Vibe

Who? This one has come dangerously close, having appeared in some Cartoon Network shorts. Vibe is a great example of comic books desperately attempting to ‘stay cool’ when a fad emerges in the real world.

What does he do? Break dancing! Tapping into social consciousness with typical subtlety, Vibe was the hero the 1980s deserved, but not the one anyone needed. Or wanted. As well as employing his mad dance moves in fight scenarios, Vibe could emit shockwaves to take out enemies. Even Batman couldn’t make him cool when he took him under his wing.

If it had to be a movie… Vibe’s existence could be a comic aside if the Justice League ever need to time travel to the 1980s for some reason.

Squirrel Girl

Who? A member of the oft-laughed-at Great Lakes Avengers, Doreen Green made her first appearance as Squirrel Girl back in 1992 and has reappeared semi-regularly since.

What does she do? Shockingly, Squirrel Girl is one of the most genuinely useful heroes on this list, despite sounding like one of the worst. Tony Stark didn’t immediately jump at the idea of a squirrel-themed 14-year-old superhero, but was soon impressed. With the help of her pet squirrel Monkey Joe and shedloads of other squirrels, helped stop Doctor Doom on her first outing. She later takes down MODOK and Thanos, genuinely. It seems we all hugely underestimate the heroic potential of communicating with squirrels. 

If she had to be in a movie… It would probably work best out of everyone on this list, but may well disappoint a lot of MCU fans. Can you imagine a squirrel-based battle being the end to phase after phase of Thanos build-up?

Arm-Fall-Off-Boy

Who? Floyld Belkin, also known as Arm-Fall-Off-Boy, is so bad even the Legion of Super-Heroes, who accepted Matter-Eater Lad, wouldn’t have him. This is another example of the classic stupid-name-meets-stupid-power DC character creation method. Thankfully, he never got fully explored. He came back to try out again a few years later as Splitter, and literally fell apart under the pressure.

What does he do? Again, his name is very on the nose. This aspiring crusader against crime has the enviable ability to remove his own arms and use them as blunt weapons. Because removing one arm and waving it around using your other arm is obviously much more effective than just hitting someone, using your arms. Jeez, 1980s DC was full of great ideas.

If he had to be in a movie… To be fair, it might be hilarious to see this superhero trial gone wrong on the big screen. Henry Cavill’s straight-laced Supes could be the judge.

Hypno-Hustler

Who? The first supervillain on our list, this 1970s Marvel creation is actually kind of likeable. He’s reappeared repeatedly over the years, including a hilarious prison-breaking team-up with Deadpool which saw Spider-Man accidentally beat up prison security to free this funky villain.

What does he do? Through a guitar, headphones and his Hypno-Boots, this maniac musician uses (you guessed it!) hypnosis to get what he wants. Always easily defeated, this baddie first showed up stealing money from a gig organiser and tricking audience members into giving up their valuables.  He later tries to do some kidnapping for Doc Ock, and fails.

If he had to be in a movie… He could call Spidey out on any future Spider-Man 3-style dance segments.

Starfox

Who? No, not the loveable spaceship-flying N64 character, this Starfox is a Marvel property. One who uses his powers so unethically that even Kevin Feige’s risk-taking MCU wouldn’t touch him with a bargepole.

What does he do? Ever wanted to see a superhero face sexual assault charges? Of course you haven’t. Well, that’s the main thing Starfox gets remembered for. Despite boasting other powers like flight, a healing factor and superhuman strength, Starfox opted away from superheroics and instead used his physic capabilities to bed women against their will, and later fled charges.

If he had to be in a movie… Nope, not for this guy. No chance.

Razorback

Who? Razorback is the crime-fighting alias of Buford Hollis, a trucker who donned a costume and took up a vigilante’s quest after his younger sister joined a cult.

What does he do? Dresses up as a pig and fights crime. Spiders, bats, owls, these are cool animals to dress up as. For some reason pigs just don’t deliver. Need to know more? Well, boasting the mutant ability to drive any vehicle (however new or weird it is!), Razorback also had a series of ‘cool’ rides nicknamed the ‘Big Pigs’. He goes on to fight the human torch, steal a spaceship and even get replaced by a Skree clone of himself.

If he had to be in a move… We could debate in the comments over which is better: Razorback, Homer Simpson’s Spider-Pig, Peter Porker (The Amazing Spider-Ham) or Babe (Pig In The City).

Manikin

Who? Hospital intern Whitman Knapp was completely unaware of his powers, and spent time working with Lionel Jeffries (a mutant healer who would later go mad and cause trouble) before going on to find his destiny as Manikin.

What does he do? This is the good bit. Who wouldn’t want the ability to ‘summon three genetic relatives from various points of human evolution’? That’s right, when the going gets tough, Manikin (the name being a play on ‘man’ and ‘kin’, geddit?) could rope in the help of a ‘semi-sentient glob of primeval goo’, an ancient caveman type and a funky futuristic descendant of himself (who could teleport).  When Jeffries went bad, Manikin stepped in and helped stop him. One fight with Jackal later, Manakin’s powers were changed and he wasn’t really heard of again. Tragic.

If it had to be a movie… It would be the only safe comic book property to let Brett Ratner loose on.

The Red Bee

Who? The Red Bee is a Golden Era terrible superhero, making his debut for Hit Comics back in 1940, proof enough that as long as there’s been Superman, there’s been Naffmen hoping to cash in too. Despite never getting that popular, DC felt the need to buy out the property in 1956. A teched-up female version followed years later.

What do they do? The original Red Bee used trained bees and a ‘stinger gun’ to take down Nazis and mobsters alike. Michael was his first choice bee, who lived inside his belt buckle and was whipped out when danger struck. Seriously. When DC bought the rights they moved The Red Bee to a parallel universe where the Nazis won World War II. When his grandniece took up the mantle of this epic hero, she employed mechanical bees and a battle suit, as well as getting mutated by aliens.

If they had to have a movie… It might look like a DC rip-off of Ant-Man, although The Red Bee actually came first.

Lady Stilt-Man

Who? You may have heard of the original Stilt-Man, who used powerful robotic legs and a near-indestructible suit to terrorise Daredevil repeatedly, but did you know about the bumbling female version who appeared  in 1999?

What does she do? Undoubtedly more deliberately naff than most of these characters, this female not-so-super villain was defeated by… a manhole cover. Spidey describes this clumsy version as ‘trying too hard’ and she is rarely heard from again after. If we ever see this tragic tale on the big screen, we know this whole superhero movie thing has gone way too far.

If she had to be in a movie… Backtracking slightly, this could work as a Rhino-style comic opening. We’d rather see the original Stilt-Man as a recurring baddie in the Daredevil Netflix show, though.

Leather Boy

Who? When Mr Immortal was attempting to assemble the Great Lakes Avengers together through a newspaper ad, Leather Boy heeded the call. He was soon thrown out.

What does he do? This guy misreads ads requesting costumed heroes and turns up to superhero get-togethers in S&M wear. Nuff said.

If it had to be a movie… We would probably beg Hollywood to reboot Spider-Man again instead.

So, the next time we feel the need to complain about the latest disappointing  sequel, or the long wait for a new Hulk adventure, let’s just be glad we haven’t seen any of these properties on the big screen yet. If rollerblades, hypnotic guitarists or belt buckle bees ever reach cinemas, that’s when we really need to start worrying.

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Are you joking? Squirrel Girl took down Thanos and easily wipes the floor with Wolverine. Would love to see her in a Deadpool movie

As soon as I read the title I thought Dazzlers got to be on this list!

Sorry, but when I first heard about Squirrel Girl, I presumed Joss Whedon had just wished really, really hard for that character when he was a little boy. His whole raison d'etre is empowering tiny girls! He could totally pull off a SG vs. Thanos moment that would be just as kick-ass as Hulk vs Loki in Avengers.

this is the first time when I hear about Manikin but it just felt like this information opened some kind of nostalgia portal into the 80's incredibly strange feeling

I could see a Squirrel Girl cameo somewhere down the line.

I wouldn't be against a BurntFaceMan movie. He may have a burnt face, but that doesn't mean he can't still fight crime.

Had to know Arm-Fall-Off-Boy would be on there. As a comedy cameo, he'd be great.

I'm surprised there was never a post-PC hero duo called Man-Woman and 'hir' trusty side-equal Lady-Boy

"Take THAT, Privilege-Man! Your gender bias laser is no match for my self-righteous field!!"

Fun article. Starfox is actually the brother of Thanos so who knows? Maybe a little cameo? We've had a Marvel movie inspired by a government thriller with Cap 2. Howabout Marvel's next movie in the style of Basic Instinct?!

"Noooooooo! I am weakening under your Judgemental onslaught and Metrosexual fists! Quick Gender-traitor-Woman bring yo sexy hiney over here and shoot Man-Woman with your enormous boob-cannons!"

"Yes Privilege-Man I am here. Take this Sandwich to re-emasculate your chauvinism-suit, I'LL DEAL WITH HIR"

PEW PEW PEW WOBBLE PEW PEW

"I ignore your sexually attractive cannons and revealing costume and respect you as a non-gender-specific being! Let's see how you deal with my Anti-Cleavage-Sword!"

"Ummm Man-Woman, that sword is an overtly phallic symbol symbolising the violent rapey nature inherent in all heterosexual males...... "

we need Squirrel Girl in Marvel's Netflix series if Luke and Jessica get together :)

"Fear not trusty Lady-Boy, for I couple it with the Vaginal Shield and the Asexual Codpiece of Hermaphrodité!"

The fact that you have a) Dazzler and Hypno Hustler and b) 3 members of the GLA on this list actually highlights that I would LOVE to see a) a cinematic superhero rock battle and b) a kind of low budget/indie version of the Avengers movie...
At LEAST get GLA in Agents of Shield Season 2...

Because removing one arm and waving it around using your other arm is obviously much more effective than just hitting someone, using your arms

That really made me laugh out loud...you have to wonder what DC were drinking back then....and where you can buy it now.

Vibe is probably going to appear in the CW's Flash show so that's one crossed off the list :)

Does anyone else read Manikin as Mankini? Or is just me?

Never heard of Vibe. But it's just made me want a Hammerman movie.

HAMMERMAN. HAMMER!

Bluntman and Chronic rules them all

*ponders* actually, why the hell haven't Disney grabbed Squirrel Girl for a cartoon? (Squirrel Girl is DEEPLY awesome) Most kids who've come across her adore her. I would kill for merchandise.

If we can have a Jem film, we can damn well have a Dazzler film. Dazzler is also deeply awesome. You could get a really good story of 'pop star on the wane when she goes out of fashion/ gigging around tiny venues/ comeback a la Prince'

completely disagree with Squirrel Girl, Dazzler and [Lady]Stilt-Man. Actually im disappointed if Squirrel Girl doesnt make an appeareance in the upcoming Luke Cage/Jessica Drew Netflix-Series

I can see coulson and co checking out the gla who are essentially a tribute act inspired by what happened in new york and it would (should) be a great comedy episode. They would kind of need their own wacky villain to face off against though.

Why all the hate on Dazzler? Between all the geek sites, there's few people that get such a resounding beat-down as Alison Blair.

So she represented Disco, so she lost to Doom in her own comic book, so she had a burlesque-type outfit...is that any reason to perpetually link her with the worst recesses of comics?

I mean, it's not as if Lady Gaga isn't the epitome of Dazzler's career, is it?

Hell: Speedball and Powerpack would be far worse.

I'm thinking there's an awful lot of hatred for someone what had such an illustrious Marvel career before the retcon. Jason Todd didn't get that much support.

when they restarted Legion of Super heroes in the 90s, during one of the recruitment drives they had several of the more idiotic ones turn up and fail miserably in front of the panel of judges. Arm Fall off Boy being one of them.

And Matter Eater Lad was the team's chef

The 80s avengers were my team so I have soft spot for the guy but if this is what he's become then I think he'd be fine as a tv guest character who starts off good and whose true nature is revealed later.

Squirrel girl is totally not a lame character. Lame powers perhaps but she is a great character who would absolutely fit in to the tone of the MCU.

I loved the Hypno-Hustler/Deadpool issue of Spidey, so so funny.

Nominate Doctor Bong

A product of her times, yes, but then so are Captain America and Luke Cage and with good writing they both transcended that. There's no reason alison couldn't do this either.

Sort of. The Arrowverse Vibe is the New 52 retcon version. He some kind of molecule manipulation power, something to do with vibration I think.
I'm ashamed that Squirrel Girl is on this. She would be an excellent obscure hero to get a film. Also Dazzler could be adapted with less Disconess. I'm surprised Power Pack aren't on here, they should be a definite no.
How about an Alpha Flight adaptation? That could be fun.

Regardless of Matter-Eater Lad's stupidity (though didn't he save the universe by eating the otherwise-indestructible Miracle Machine, or something, which turned him mental?) I'd kill to see a Legion movie. First the Great Darkness saga, then a sequel based on the really nice dark 'Five Year Gap' run that Keith Giffen did - which was awesome and cruelly cut short.

Doorman? If it ever passes, I hope they have him tag-team with Garbageman. The one superhero movie to get incredible raves from Armond White!

There is no way either Dazzler or Squirrel Girl should on this list. Especially as the X-men movies are about to enter the 80's with Apocalypse.

would love Ultimate Dazzler in a movie. she was awesome. original dazzler not so much.

I owned the entire run of SuperPro. I was a kid, so its shameless commercial nature went over my head. I actually have pretty fond memories of it.

Great article - Squirrel Girl is well fun to play on the Lego Marvel game though! I'm not sure if it's the sort of superpower that would ever translate in a non-camp way on-screen though.

More - Funnyman, Siegel and Shuster's follow-up to Superman after they sold the rights for pocket change.

US-1 a heroic trucker name Ulysses Solomon Archer...

Very much so :)

Too right. Speedball is a real pain in the arse as is/was Penance, whereas Dazzler was kind of cool. I'm hoping she shows up in X-Men Apocalypse.

Why isn't Deadpool number one on this list? Dumbest and most useless character ever. Matter-Eater Land an Bouncing boy are even better than him.
Epic list failure.
Next time, get someone to write a list that actually has some idea of what they are saying. At least for variety.

Introduced in series two of Agents of SHIELD perhaps?!

Squirrel Girl? They must have been nuts

Arm Fall Of Boy - Simply lol

Leather Boy.....
Rob Halford : Superhero?

You are not alone.

I can sort of imagine a Dazzler movie pitch. Hey, people love super-hero movies, but they want something new. And, hey, people love musicals, right? And roller-blading is way cool. So, put them together...

It could sort of be like a reboot of the awesome 80s classic that is Xanadu.

No, wait, come back. There's more. Miley Cyrus could play Alison Blair. And Madonna could direct. And, no, wait, Hugh Jackman can do a cameo as Wolverine and sing!!!

Box Office gold. Where's my agent?

I've had another idea. Not a movie! A Dazzler West End/Broadway show! Nick some ideas (and surplus sets) from Starlight Express and We Will Rock You. Spend a bit less on flying gags than Turn Off The Dark (and maybe pick a title that makes more sense), get a load of 80s pop songs cheap from the publishers of Adam Ant, Blondie, the Cars... or maybe get Phil Collins to do the score...

This, as much as I dislike Fox, a Deadpool film would be amazing, get galactus from fantastic four and have squirrel girl beat him with the total might of the Earths Squirrels.

She would also work with Marvel, but oly as a one shot, Squirrel Girl defeats Abomination maybe...

Love Squirrel Girl, as does anyone with the Lego Marvel game.

ha ha, well I think it's very safe to say they won't be making movies of any of these any time soon :)

Howard the Duck?
Open-Window Man (from the excellent Dial H)?

You are SO wrong about Dazzler. keithxbai

If "Guardians of the Galaxy" works, maybe a more comedy centered movie will be next?
NextWave would be my pick. But the Great Lakes Guardians would also be good.

I believe that Vibe is supposed to be a regular on the Flash TV show this Fall

Exactly. The Netflix shows are leading to a Defenders series. Or movie. Think of all the lower level Marvel heroes you can have walk through such a series. Squirrel Girl kicking the crap out of Iron Fist would be a great scene.

The Red Bee's only positive contribution to comicdom was being the foil for the fantastic 1997 Talking with David issue of Starman, where Starman has a meal with his dead brother and several of his Father's former partners - with Bee acting as a spoiled, angry child the whole time. One of my favorite non-action Superhero story (so much, I actually remembered the year off my head...)

Are you kidding? Squirrel Girl is AWESOME. Marvel Films needs to fasttrack a Great Lakes Avengers movie just to see both SG and plus-size hottie Big Bertha realized on the silver screen.

How about a Stripperella movie? :)

Anybody else find it kind of creepy that the guys with 'boy' in their name are usually burly seemingly 40 year old men? And the '14' year old Squirrel Girl looks like she's in her mid 20's? Although I guess it makes sense considering if she was ever in a movie she would be played by a woman in her mid 20's without a change to the characters age lol.

Stripperella: The Movie. Now that I want :)

If a Matter Eater Lad movie were announced I would start queuing today. AFO Boy would obviously be his sidekick.

To be fair, the article does state she's the best one on the list.

Starfox as a character would actually be interesting (he is the brother of Thanos). They both belongs to the race of immortals. If he used his powers to get women to sleep with him, then the writer is to blame, not the character itself which has a long history before anything of that happened.

I'd pay to see Squirrel Girl... CGI morphing a bunch of squirrels into an ADHD chick, and vice-versa, as a comedy, would rake in big bucks - seriously! Why not? It's remarkably original...

Vibe (or "MC Honky"), not so much...

Which reminds, we do not want to see "Hammerman" rebooted into a big film either...

Wasn't Dazzler a ripoff of Jem, or the other way around?

Damage Control. For the record, if done deftly, Squirrel Girl could be a fun movie.

There was Plaid Lad as well, who turned everything plaid when he touched it... I liked the rebooted Legion of Superheroes (in the 90's), it was a good counterpart to all of the dark stories going on at the time (Azbats, etc)

Strong Guy. He's basically... A strong guy.

Apparently Starfox has been working for the BBC for the last decade ...

You're on a muthafuckin roll lol

Section 8 from Hitman. Dogwelder, The Defenestrator, and Beano Excellente. Enough said,

Dazzler came pre-dates Jem by a few years.

"Shockingly, Dazzler is one of the most successful characters on this list, having had her own solo run for a whopping 42 issues. All rollerblading, all disco, all rubbish..."

The writer obviously has never read the Dazzler comics (there was virtually no disco in it).

Dazzler was/is a great character with a great comic series which actually developed her as a real woman who really doesn't want to be a super-hero, just a singer.

And she'd make a GREAT movie, specifically an animated musical-action film.

And her powers are no more silly than elongating your body or shooting lasers from your eyes. She converts sound into various lights, including lasers.

Not wishing to be a super-hero she mostly uses it to create light=shows for her audiences.

Ah but you'd know all that if you'd actually read her stories instead before writing this.

I think they're saving them for Agents of SHIELD.

I would actually read that comic!

I haven't read the story lines etc so not sure what has been done with it, but I quite like the idea of Manikin. I think it's quite an original concept.

Dazzler being on this list negates any ounce of credibility you might have been striving for. You should actually be embarrassed by your astounding level of ignorance. SMH.

At least these are annoying AND funny, which you cant say about the recent hollywood sellout-films which are only annoying.

Rather than an actual "save-the-world" kind of superhero movie Dazzler could make an interesting regular movie about clawing your way up from the dirt.

Why does every non human protagonist have to be the big hero?

Squirrel girl is the best hero there is! We need a squirrel girl movie!

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