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Old August 17 2013, 10:56 PM   #1
DS9forever
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Obscure comic book characters in Marvel and DC animated series?

Does anyone find this trend a little strange? While I really liked seeing Werewolf by Night in a Super Hero Squad Show episode (I would love that character to get his own series, or film), some of the more obscure characters have little impact for me. Is it just me?
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Old August 18 2013, 12:50 AM   #2
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Re: Obscure comic book characters in Marvel and DC animated series?

I kind of like seeing little known characters being brought to the forefront. Batman: TAS did it quite well, and now a lot of those villains who were only previously known to the hardcore comic set are now pretty popular among other crowds too.
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Old August 18 2013, 02:00 AM   #3
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Re: Obscure comic book characters in Marvel and DC animated series?

Batman TAS took a lot of D-Lister Batman foes and made them A-Listers through their revamped appearances.

Marvel is more willing to take risks with promoting their less known characters than DC is, to be honest. The Guardians of the Galaxy movie is proof enough of that.
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Old August 18 2013, 02:15 AM   #4
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Re: Obscure comic book characters in Marvel and DC animated series?

Anwar wrote: View Post
Marvel is more willing to take risks with promoting their less known characters than DC is, to be honest. The Guardians of the Galaxy movie is proof enough of that.
WB is terrified of doing any superhero movie if it doesn't have Superman or Batman, especially after Green Lantern flopped so badly.
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Old August 18 2013, 02:21 AM   #5
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Re: Obscure comic book characters in Marvel and DC animated series?

Dc should do a shazam/Capt marvel movie
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Old August 18 2013, 02:31 AM   #6
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Re: Obscure comic book characters in Marvel and DC animated series?

The great thing about adaptations is that you get to change and reinvent things, so you're not hampered by the limitations of the source. So if you can take an obscure character and find a way to reinvent them and make them more interesting, that's great. Heck, the problem with the bigger characters is that so much has been done with them already, so much baggage accumulated. There's often more room to be creative with the less well-known characters.

Is it strange to me that animated adaptations are drawing on more obscure characters? At this point, not at all. There have been animated shows based on DC and Marvel pretty regularly for the past 20 years now. Naturally the makers of the newer shows want to do something fresh and not just repeat what their predecessors did.

As mentioned before, B:TAS was the screen debut of many major and minor comics characters -- Harvey Bullock, Leslie Thompkins, Mayor Hill, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Ra's al Ghul, Talia, Killer Croc, Hugo Strange, Rupert Thorne, Bane, the Ventriloquist/Scarface, Man-Bat, even obscure folks like Professor Milo and the Crime Doctor. Its contemporary X-Men and Spider-Man shows were also the screen debut of a goodly number of Marvel characters, including Rogue, Beast, Gambit, Jubilee, Bishop, Moira, Mystique, Sabretooth, Apocalypse, Mr. Sinister, and dozens of others for X-Men and Mary Jane Watson*, Anna Watson, Harry Osborn*, Debra Whitman, Alistair Smythe, Morbius, Hobgoblin, Venom, Shocker, Silver Sable, Madame Web, the Beyonder, Silvermane, and many others for Spider-Man -- indeed, Nick Fury made his screen debut on that show!

*(A character called "Mary Jane" and loosely based on her appeared in a 1970 Spidey cartoon, but she was barely recognizable as MJ Watson. And Harry appeared in a 1992 demo film that was never aired.)

And pretty much every DC or Marvel show that's followed has introduced characters that weren't seen in the previous shows, or gave bigger roles to characters who were barely used in the previous shows. The Batman debuted Black Mask, Rag Doll, and Gearhead. The Brave and the Bold debuted dozens of characters from Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle to Ambush Bug. And so on.

So far from being a recent trend, this is pretty much the way it's been done for a generation. Strange? Not even slightly.
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Old August 18 2013, 02:38 AM   #7
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Re: Obscure comic book characters in Marvel and DC animated series?

It's easier to make obscure characters work in cartoons, because they can appear often and it is super easy to animate them and their powers for an episode or cameo.

Not the same for the movies, where is is hard to give everyone in a team movie enough screen time. Too much screen time for obscure characters means less development for the mains. All the pointless mutant cameos in X-men: The Last Stand felt like a waste of time.
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Old August 18 2013, 02:47 AM   #8
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Re: Obscure comic book characters in Marvel and DC animated series?

Dream wrote: View Post
Not the same for the movies, where is is hard to give everyone in a team movie enough screen time. Too much screen time for obscure characters means less development for the mains. All the pointless mutant cameos in X-men: The Last Stand felt like a waste of time.
Still, there are so many mutant characters that it's apparently hard to resist the temptation to cram a bunch of them in. The '90s X-Men series often threw in weird cameo glimpses of characters who were never actually featured in stories, like flashes of Deadpool's and Maverick's faces when Xavier was probing Sabretooth's mind, or Sunfire just randomly being a prisoner on Genosha. I often found myself confused by all the character cameos on that show, since I wasn't yet familiar with the comics (and to this day there are still some characters I don't recognize).
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Old August 18 2013, 03:05 AM   #9
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Re: Obscure comic book characters in Marvel and DC animated series?

Y'know for film I'd have liked to have seen cameos by Captain Britain (at least as Brian Braddock) and MI13. With Thor 2 having scenes set in London, it would have been a good opportunity to do so, but I guess Marvel isn't particularly interested in doing so.
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Old August 18 2013, 05:50 AM   #10
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Re: Obscure comic book characters in Marvel and DC animated series?

As someone who's main exposure to the DC and Marvel Universes is through the TV shows and movies I love it when the include more obscure characters. It's a great way for the new fans like me to learn about the universe.
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Old August 19 2013, 05:32 PM   #11
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Re: Obscure comic book characters in Marvel and DC animated series?

One of the most exciting moments for me was when Brave and the Bold had a Kamandi episode. He's been my "obscure but loved hero" since I stumbled on Issue #1 back in '77 at a used book store.
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Old August 20 2013, 05:42 AM   #12
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Re: Obscure comic book characters in Marvel and DC animated series?

They have a whole bunch of Kamandi issues on Comixology. I'd never even heard of the character until they stared popping up on there.
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Old August 20 2013, 07:11 AM   #13
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Re: Obscure comic book characters in Marvel and DC animated series?

what made Batman The Brave and The Bold and Super Hero Squad Show so great was they could be enjoyed by kids and adults. i loved all the obscure character references. i never ever expected Kamandi to make an appearance...and he made several. i know a friend of mine was like, what the heck is Haunted Tank? for long time fans its rewarding. and if you don't know who Kamandi or Werewolf By Night are...well maybe you'll be curious enough to find out.
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Old August 20 2013, 07:19 AM   #14
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Re: Obscure comic book characters in Marvel and DC animated series?

I think my favorite recent case of using an obscure comics character was Young Justice taking Sportsmaster, a D-List Golden Age joke villain and turning him into a genuinely sinister, potent foe who held his own against much more powerful heroes and villains.
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Old August 20 2013, 02:33 PM   #15
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Re: Obscure comic book characters in Marvel and DC animated series?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Dream wrote: View Post
Not the same for the movies, where is is hard to give everyone in a team movie enough screen time. Too much screen time for obscure characters means less development for the mains. All the pointless mutant cameos in X-men: The Last Stand felt like a waste of time.
Still, there are so many mutant characters that it's apparently hard to resist the temptation to cram a bunch of them in. The '90s X-Men series often threw in weird cameo glimpses of characters who were never actually featured in stories, like flashes of Deadpool's and Maverick's faces when Xavier was probing Sabretooth's mind, or Sunfire just randomly being a prisoner on Genosha. I often found myself confused by all the character cameos on that show, since I wasn't yet familiar with the comics (and to this day there are still some characters I don't recognize).
For the larger brand and series though it does establish that our heroes are not that unique and you can drop in a mook who is able to put up a good fight without doing a mini origin story on him. For example when I was watching the bullet train scene in The Wolverine I just said to myself that the Yakuza going hand to hand must be mutants too.
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