Spiderman, Batman, Iron Man and Thor are all comic books heroes who have established a motion picture franchise filled with big budgets, big stars and big box office returns. The Avengers was a huge disappointment but movie fans don’t seem to care. If that lack of discrimination continues, the comic book movie franchise model is likely to be on life support by the third decade of the millennium. What comic book superhero movies really need is an injection of the offbeat. Here are some actual comic book superheroes that are destined to rank among the least likely to earn their own movie franchise, but top the list of comic book superheroes who would be the most likely to keep this particular tentpole strategy from becoming the Journey-Styx-Foreigner concert event of movie series.
Hoppy, The Captain Marvel Bunny
Hoppy. Very original name for a rabbit, yes? Hoppy led two lives: he was small and frail in his everyday guise. When he became a comic book superhero, however, he was taller, more cut, attired in a costume not considerably different from Superman’s except he sported a lighting bolt over his chest. Superpowers for Hoppy, the Captain Marvel Bunny include jackrabbit speed and, amazingly, the capacity for mortality even without the benefit of an atmosphere with breathable air. Hoppy lived in Funny Animalville along with a galpal named Millie and a squirrelly friend named Zeke. Hoppy’s tie to more familiar comic book hero Captain Marvel comes courtesy of wondering if the word SHAZAM will have the same transformative effect on his as it does on Billy Batson. Would there have been a Hoppy, the Captain Marvel Bunny had it not?
The Fighting Armenian
Man, oh, man, wouldn’t you love to be able to eavesdrop on the meeting taken to market a comic book movie titled “The Fighting Armenian” to the suits at Hollywood studios? This particular comic book superhero starts out as a kind of human equivalent to Hoppy, the Captain Marvel Bunny. Sergei Baginski is a communist spy with hardly the physique to do battle against James Bond and his ilk. One operation that takes almost two days later and Sergei no longer has most of the organs with which he was born. The surgery replaced his skin and transformed his entire neurological system as well. The Fighting Armenian’s mission is to infiltrate America and make the world safe for communism with his new physique. Unfortunately, for the Soviets and their satellites, the Fighting Armenian defects and goes to work against his former comrades.
This comic book superhero that seems very unlikely to get his own movie franchise, but almost certain should exists on an alternate Earth. His life is going along quite normally as Zachary T. Paleozogt. Zachary T. Pelozogt, also known as Zot–as you might expect from the title of the comic book–has an origin story not terribly unlike Bruce Wayne’s Batman in that he loses his parents when they exit the door one day and mysteriously never return home. Zot is then raised by his family’s butler Peabody. Very much like Batman so far, yes? Just like Bruce Wayne, the young Zachary T. Paleozogt looks outward to contain his grief over missing his parents and becomes adept at physical as well as intellectual efforts. One day the decision dawns on Young Master Pelozogt that he could use his talents to protect others and he fortunately has an uncle named Max who is one of those crazy inventors capable of providing Zachary’s alter ego Zot with all the weaponry and gadgets he needs. All this happens before Zachary “Zot” Paleozogt even reaches his teens. Once this comic book superhero does become eligible to watch a PG13 movie by himself, a key to a portal in space that can take one from Zot’s alternate Earth to our Earth as well as other dimensions is stolen. Robot villains are intent on chasing down this key to use it for their assaults on these other dimensions, but Zot is intent on not letting such a devastating even happen.
His name is Tenzil Kem and he lives in the 30th century. Tenzil is sent to Earth to be schooled and soon finds a home alongside the other members of the Legion of Super-Heroes. His name provides insight, somewhat, into why he is a comic book superhero. His name, unfortunately, provides insight into why he is not very likely to become a comic book superhero movie franchise unto himself. Tenzim’s secret superpower is: extreme metabolism. In other words, Tenzim can consume any matter that exists anywhere in the universe except for Magnozite, which only exists on his home planet. A person capable of eating any matter can put that heroic power to work only so many cases, so Matter-Eater Lad really exists more importantly as a superhero with personality. He’s funny, but in a surreal or absurdist way that often comes across as simply mean-spirited. An indication of the humor associated with Tenzim, Matter-Eater Lad, is that his home planet is named Bismoll. The capital of the planet is not, unfortunately, named Pepto.