FFWD REW

Marvel’s least marvellous

Please don’t let there be movies about these characters

There is no dignity left among superheroes. Oh sure the costumed crusaders save humanity battle evildoers and deal with moral struggles everyday of their fictional lives but Hollywood has killed the collective consciousness of comic-book champions of justice.

When The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens this week it will mark the fifth webslinger film in just over a decade. When X-Men: Days of Future Past opens three weeks later it will be the seventh such cinematic endeavour related to that Marvel comic book series. Toss in Thor Captain America The Avengers and several other films and you wouldn’t be blamed for suffering pulp fiction fatigue.

With over 15 comic-book adaptations in the works Marvel is certainly the primary money-hungry offender. It brings into question whether any of its universe of superheroes are off-limits. Here are a handful of the empire’s most unlikely characters who will hopefully never receive their own film franchise.

• Dazzler (first appeared in X-Men #130 1980)

It’s almost stunning to think that a disco-inspired superhero actually lasted longer than the music fad she was based on. A creative collaboration between Marvel and Casablanca Records (the label that released such glitter-ball classics as “Funkytown”) Dazzler was a mutant that discovered the power to convert sonic vibrations into blinding light and a heightened skill of roller-skating (seriously?) during a middle-school dance. In short Dazzler is some sort of disco-ball version of Stephen King’s Carrie. In her civilian life she struggled to become a dancer actor model and fitness trainer. Apparently in the ’80s that was the kind of role model Marvel assumed kids craved — an angst-filled unsatisfied woman with superpowers that pathetically yearned more for materialistic and superficial values than to save human lives. Nice one Marvel.

• Asbestos Lady (first appeared in Captain America #63 1947)

Here’s a character that probably should have come with a “don’t try this at home” warning label on the cover of every comic book she ever appeared in. Yes Asbestos Lady was a supervillain who wore an asbestos-lined suit while robbing banks with a flamethrower. Now I’m not saying a character that’s likely to die prematurely from constant exposure to a carcinogenic material is counterproductive but it certainly doesn’t make for heightened dramatic cinema either. By the way the character actually did die from cancer in 1990 which was probably about as sensible as the folklore ever got.

• Throg (first appeared in Thor #364 1986)

Since the first two Thor films have been extremely successful for Hollywood wouldn’t it only be natural for producers to start thinking of spin-offs? Well they don’t have to look far to see that Marvel did just that in the ’80s when they introduced a grieving widower named Simon Walterson who is mysteriously turned into a frog by a gypsy. But wait there’s more: Living his new amphibious lifestyle in a swamp in Manhattan’s Central Park Walterson becomes buddies with Thor (naturally!) and when he gets hold of a sliver of the God of Thunder’s hammer he himself transforms into a Frog of Thunder. It all leads to one question really — was there some sort of carbon monoxide leak in the Marvel offices in 1986?

• Skin (first appeared in The Uncanny X-Men #317 1994)

First of all I’m not sure why any comic book artist would think that a considerable excess of flabby skin would make for some sort of extraordinary asset but this mutant (who surfaced in the X-Men pages in the mid-’90s) took that creepy characteristic to a new plateau. Angelo Espinosa (a.k.a. Skin) may have had the amazing ability to stretch and reshape his six feet of extra malleable epidermis but that feature likely won’t win the character many multi-movie deals. Then again if the studios thought it’d be pofitable….

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