The success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has allowed for a lot of the second-tier and obscure characters of Marvel Comics to be brought to the public eye. But with the awesome comes the strange. Both The Guardians of the Galaxy brought us Rocket Raccoon and Groot, and the fun Ant-Man proved a superhero who can shrink works as a viable film. From vampirific cows to the strangest gimmicky heroes, we searched the bowels of the Marvel universe and found seven weird and wonderful superheroes who should appear in their own films or in supporting roles.
The Canadian equivalent of the Avengers is the Alpha Flight team. Amongst them is Box, created by John Bryne, the character using a robotic suit of armour named Box to fight crime. A genius engineer and mechanic, Bochs became wheelchair-bound after he lost both his legs. However, he built himself a remote-controlled robotic suit to help him walk. His invention led to his recruitment into Alpha Flight, led by James Hudson aka Guardian.
After the Canadian government disbanded the team, Box joined the villainous Omega Flight, but with the intent to dismantle it from the inside out. The team’s leader Jerome Jaxon took control of Box’s suit and used it to kill Guardian. Bochs was approached by mutant Madison Jeffries who helped him redesign the suit, allowing him to fuse with it without need of a remote controlling helmet. While Box is quite similar to Iron Man, being another genius engineer using a robotic suit, his connection to the Alpha Flight could open the door for new international superhero teams to get their own movies.
Perhaps the most known character on this list, Man-Thing made his debut in Savage Tales #1 in 1971, created by Roy Thomas and Stan Lee. While the comic was a one-shot, Steve Gerber revived the character in the series “Adventure Into Fear”, pushing genre boundaries with Man-Thing, and introduced Howard the Duck in his comic. Man-Thing was once a scientist trying to recreate the Super Soldier serum that made Captain America, but was pursued by AIM, destroyed his notes, injected himself with the serum but crashed his car into a swamp.
Unknown to him, the swamp contained the Nexus of All Realities, a portal to every other reality in existence. A combination of the serum and the swamp’s magic transformed him into the Man-Thing, a huge, slow-moving, empathic creature unable to speak, and is drawn to emotional turmoil or fear. Man-Thing spends most of the time in the swamp but will leave it if necessary. Man-Thing has appeared in its own film, released in 2005, though like numerous superhero films of the time, it was a box office bomb.
There are very few superheroes who are pensioners, but Gargoyle is one old man who won’t need to go into a retirement home anytime soon. Isaac Christians sells his soul to a group of demons called the Six-Fingered Hand to bring prosperity to the town his ancestors founded. He makes a pact with a demon named Avarrish to inhabit the body of a gargoyle and be an agent of the demons. However, his first mission was to kidnap Hellcat from the Defenders, and ultimately turned against the demons to become a member of the superhero team. Being an old man in a superhuman body could bring a lot of laughs but also an unique story about rejuvenated youth and living in the past, as Gargoyle does considering his miserable backstory. And with the Defenders destined to get a TV series on Netflix, perhaps one day, Gargoyle will join their ranks.
4. Howard the Duck
We have previously visited Howard the Duck, created by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik. Howard is a parody of the funny animal archetype seen in many comics, namely those distributed by Disney. A talking, foul-mouthed, smoking, alcoholic duck who is transported from his world to Earth, Howard lives in Cleveland and has a number of wacky, satirical adventures against characters that are just as weird as he is like a gigantic gingerbread man and Garko the Man-Frog. Amongst his other shenanigans, Howard tried to run for US President, and was essentially made an unperson in Civil War, not that he really cared.
Howard has actually had his own film, released in 1985 and produced by George Lucas, but despite impressive puppet work, the film was a box office bomb and is regarded as a cult film nowadays. Howard made a cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy, and who knows, maybe he’ll have a bigger role in its sequel.