These characters aren’t particularly suited to live action movies or television . . .
# 1: Green Arrow
Let’s face up to it: even as far as comic book genre conventions go, there is something inherently ridiculous about a vigilante dressed up in a green Errol Flynn / Robin Hood outfit using trick arrows to bring criminals to justice. (That boxing glove arrow is always a favorite!)
Besides that, for Hollywood translating “wise-cracking old-timer ranting about socialism” from the comics means “bland photogenic youngster” when it comes to the character’s live-action appearances in Smallville and the upcoming CW show, Arrow.
Incidentally, the recent Cartoon Network show Batman: Brave & the Bold gave the character some, um, character but still skipped all the socialist rants.
# 2: Black Panther
Black Panther (or Prince T’Challa to use his civilian name) was one of several annoyingly haughty comic book characters dreamt up by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the 1960s. (Another conceited and arrogant “royal” is of course Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner.) To be honest Black Panther was never one of our favorites, but if Marvel can make a decent movie featuring the self-important and pompous Thor then anything is possible. Characters like Namor and Black Panther to our mind are fine in cameo appearances, but not quite as major characters in their own movies.
# 3: Spawn
Spawn looks real broody and hardcore when drawn by creator / artist Todd McFarlane, but looks real crappy when rendered in cheap movie CGI by special effects guy turned director Mark A.Z. Dippé.
# 4: Howard the Duck
Steve Gerber’s under-appreciated comic should have stayed on the comics page where it is best suited especially when it comes to film-makers who didn’t get the character in the first place.
Wikipedia puts it best:
The [Howard the Duck] book is existentialist, and its main joke, according to Gerber, is that there is no joke: “that life’s most serious moments and most incredibly dumb moments are often distinguishable only by a momentary point of view.” This is diametrically opposed to screenwriter Gloria Katz, who in adapting the comic to the screen declared, “It’s a film about a duck from outer space . . . It’s not supposed to be an existential experience.”
# 5: Aquaman
Another ridiculous character, this time one who is useless outside of water. Problem is that land just happens to be the place where most criminals hang out! TV’s Batman: Brave & the Bold made him a loveable comic buffoon and in Smallville he was, yup, yet another bland photogenic youngster. That orange and green outfit is also quite outré to put it mildly, darling . . .
Read part II of this article next week.