The success of last year’s Avengers Assemble and the tenth level of production hell that is Warner Bros’ theoretical Justice League film have both put the word ‘superteam’ firmly on the cinematic map. It’s the new zombies (or yo-yo’s? Maybe Pokémon? Pogs? Does anyone remember Pogs?).
So it’s no surprise that people are getting pretty excited by Marvel’s newest possible film franchise, Guardians Of The Galaxy, with Super’s James Gunn set to direct and preposterously muscular WWE wrestler Dave Bautista to feature as preposterously muscular intergalactic warrior Drax the Destroyer.
As thrilling as all this sounds, Guardians Of The Galaxy is still a pretty odd choice for a silver screen treatment, being one of Marvel’s lesser known properties. Its lack of audience recognition isn’t its biggest potential drawback, though – that would be its list of characters, which includes a sharp-shooting raccoon (Rocket Raccoon) and a giant sentient tree-man (Groot) as two of its principle protagonists.
Well, turns out as far as the murky world of superhero intellectual properties is concerned, you can go weirder (and much, much lamer). Allow thatfilmthing to give you a run-down of the least likely comics to get a film treatment anytime soon:
US-1 is the product of America’s short-lived love affair with trucks, following the success of Smokey And The Bandit. It tells the story of Ulysses Solomon Archer (a handy acronym for USA) on the trail of the man who killed his brother, an evil trucker who has sold his soul to the devil for a super-powered 18-wheeler.
Ulysses is armed in this quest with the ‘amazing’ ability to pick up CB radio channels thanks to a metal plate in his head; saving him about 50 quid and allowing him to listen to fat racists loudly eat meatball subs and listen to White Snake in the stinking cabs of their ice-road trucks. Go US-1!
A team of super-powered pets, created as part of the Legion Of Superheroes universe. Comet (horse), Krypto (dog), Streaky (cat) and Beppo (monkey) all possess Superman-level strength, speed, flight, heat vision and presumably super-colour-blindness, super-incontinence and a super fear of fireworks and lightning. Together they fight intergalactic crime.
It’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility that a Legion Of Super-Pets film gets made, especially with the industry-wide superteam boom, but with the bashing chimps have been getting in the press the last couple of years, Beppo might have to sit this one out.
The very existence of Premium Rush (Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a bike messenger who fights inner city corruption via ‘wicked stunts’) proves that the suits up in Hollywood still labour under the assumption that ‘totally radical’ sells.
Enter Skateman, a Vietnam veteran and roller derby champion who takes to the streets with a scarf wrapped round his head, a pair of cut-off jean shorts and his trusty rollerskates to fight crime. Absolutely dire premise, but we could see this getting rubber-stamped by accident following a heavy night on the Columbian marching powder.
The Red Bee
Ostensibly your standard unpowered vigilante hero, The Red Bee is distinct from all those Batman clones out there in that he doesn’t utilise crack military training, exorbitant wealth or sweet gadgets in his war against crime like your Iron Men and your Green Arrows. Instead, The Red Bee has a bee. One bee. Called Michael. Michael lives somewhere in the folds of The Red Bee’s garish costume and can be unleashed to sting his enemies.
And while The Red Bee, with his reckless lack of powers, training or capacity for intimidation, seems like least likely comic-book candidate for film adaptation, we’ve saved the best (worst) for last…
Stardust The Super Wizard
In the expository text at the start of each terrifying Stardust adventure, the narrator assures us that ‘his vast knowledge of interplanetary science has made him the most remarkable man that ever lives’ and he’s not wrong because Stardust seems to possess every form of super power conceivable. No one knows where he came from, only that he has an eternal, un-quenchable thirst for justice.
Stardust’s adventures are drawn in a washed-out, amateurish style by Golden-Age psychotic/art-brut auteur Fletcher Hanks. Villains are Neolithic, Stardust’s head is pin-tiny in proportion to his body, there are almost no women. There’s also no sense of jeopardy in Stardust’s stories; he will always win, because you can’t beat a god. Rather, there’s this lurking sense of inevitability; what awful thing will he do to the gangsters this time? What disproportionate retribution will he mete out? One issue, for instance, ends with him sending a man into space to circle the planet, locked in stasis, forever. Chilling.
If it was made – and we’re imploring Hollywood to stay away from this one – but if it was made, only David Lynch could do this strange, dark, oddball title justice.