Writers use canon immigrants for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes the character or idea is just really popular with the fans, or is remembered fondly from when the writer was a kid. Sometimes it's to fill a niche the comic currently has open, or perhaps (usually, if we're being honest) it's to create synergy between the adaptation and the original work. But whatever the reason, there are certain characters that have never made the jump from screen to page. They may be well known, important to the story, popular with fans, and distinctive looking, but they just never cross over.
This year, I decided to put together a wish list of characters - two, actually - that I really want to become canon immigrants. They're listed in order of how badly I want them and I'll give my reasons for each.
1) The Hanna-Barbera/Cartoon Network Stable
In the 60s and 70s, Hanna-Barbera made a ton of cartoons, and although the ones we most remember are things like The Flintstones and Droopy, they had their hands in pretty much every genre, but an awfully big number fell into the "superhero" category. In the 90s, Cartoon Network picked up where H-B left off, and again, most of them involved superheroes in one way or another.
This list includes Space Ghost, Birdman, Captain Planet, the Powerpuff Girls, the Justice Friends, and all associated characters, but there are so many more: the Galaxy Trio, the Association of World Super-Men, Sinbad Jr, the Impossibles...they go on and on. Believe me when I say there are enough to believably fill an Earth-48 or whatever, and you could even include some of the cartoons that aren't superheroes, really, but still live in a comic book world: Jonny Quest, Sealab 2020, Space Kidettes, Jana of the Jungle, and so forth. Even Dexter's Lab if they wanted. (I'll put Freakazoid! here too, even though he's technically Warner Bros. Animation.)
I think it's crazy they haven't done this already. TimeWarner owns H-B and CN; all of these properties are just sitting there, begging to be used.
2) Red Lantern Razer
Razer is a main character of Green Lantern: The Animated Series and one of the best parts of an already great show. Forcing a Green Lantern and a Red Lantern to work together was a great idea, and learning more about him and his inner conflicts, as well as seeing how he interacted with Hal and Aya, showed just how interesting of a character he was. A character who tries his best to be a hero despite his rage often getting the better of him would be a breath of fresh air for the villainous, blood-spewing Red Lanterns of the comics. And frankly, it's weird that they had a show which co-starred a character who had never appeared in the comics and still hasn't, and I think they need to rectify that.
3) The 60s Batman TV villains
One of the things the 60s series did well was introduce its own villains. They gave the show a unique identity and the characters themselves generally fit in well with the already established Rogues' Gallery. And it definitely didn't hurt they got the biggest stars of the time to imbue the characters with personality.
A couple of these characters have made it to the comics, albeit in altered or otherwise minor forms. But for the most part, they've been absent, mainly because of a tangled rights situation. That fiasco got sorted out this year, though, so it's time for them to make a mass exodus. Here's the thing, though: I don't want them to be Batman villains. He's got enough. They should be given to Nightwing since he's never really built up his own and he fought them just as much as Batman did.
4) The Ultimen
I am a sucker for the original Super Friends characters. All of them. Ideally, I'd love for them to be in comics as a team called the Super Friends, and as long as they were used to their full potential, I think they'd be really great.
Unfortunately, I've already seen them adapted into the comics (except for El Dorado); at best they get harmless cameos, at worst they become major characters that are darkened and grittified to fit in. And I don't want that. But the Ultimen are basically the same characters but already darker and with costumes that don't need to be changed to fit in. Plus, they're from Justice League instead of Super Friends so they'd probably be treated better.
I'm going to be honest: I had trouble thinking of a fifth one. That's what happens when DC makes it a point to immigrate as many characters as they can. Veritas isn't even a character, it's an organization. But I think the idea of a secret society built around the arrival of Superman's ship and Kryptonian culture is a good one.
(Honorable Mentions: the villains of Batman: The Animated Series and Batman: The Brave and the Bold)
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The Chitauri are an alien race that first appeared in Marvel's The Avengers (2012) as an army that invaded Earth with Loki under the orders of Thanos. They were based on the Chitauri, an alien race that first appeared in The Ultimates #8 (November 2002) as the Ultimate version of Skrulls, but then a few years later an actual Ultimate version of Skrulls showed up, so...I don't know. Anyway, this version, which are neither Skrulls nor the Ultimate Universe version of the Chitauri, first appeared in Nova #4 (July 2013), complete with their weird flying jet skis and dragon ship. This is a very fitting place for them to appear as Nova is also a canon immigrant (from the tv show Ultimate Spider-Man) and the issue also featured the Guardians of the Galaxy, who will be appearing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe soon.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Tommy Merlyn first appeared in the pilot of Arrow (September 2012) as the party-going best friend of Oliver Queen. It's later revealed that he's the son of Malcolm Merlyn, a business partner of the Queens and also secretly the vigilante/villain known as the Dark Archer, a version of Green Arrow's archenemy Merlyn the Archer (real name: Arthur King).
Green Arrow #0 (November 2012) introduced Tommy Merlyn to the New 52 in a similar role as the show. Unfortunately, that's the only appearance he's made to date, and it's unclear what role he'll play in the future. Further complicating matters is the fact that the Arthur King version of Merlyn has made appearances elsewhere in the New 52.
Because the appearances are only separated by a few months, I should note that Tommy was in all likelihood created for the comics and then seeded into the show for exposure, like several other immigrants before him. But because he's not the first immigrant I've noted to have done that, and because at this point he's primarily known as a tv character, I still feel comfortable listing him.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Persephone is an Amazon that first appeared in the Wonder Woman animated movie (March 2009). She made her first appearance in comics in Wonder Woman #33 (August 2009). She's not a major character and at first I chocked it up to coincidence, especially with them coming out so close, but I think it's safe to call her an immigrant because they're both written by Gail Simone.