6 Marvel Characters Who Deserve Their Own Solo Series
I love it when comic book companies put creativity and diversity over commercialism, and the New York Comic-Con this past weekend proved that Marvel Comics still has their head on straight. Whereas it would make the most financial sense to just publish comics about Spider-Man, Wolverine, Iron Man and the Avengers, Marvel instead revealed a whole host of new series dedicated to exploring lesser known and less marketable heroes.
But I think they could add a few more names to their upcoming catalogue.
Solo series are very hit and miss in today’s comic book market. The heroes that have been around forever – like Spider-Man, Captain America, Hulk, etc. – have no problem maintaining their own comic, even multiple comics. But it’s very hard for a new solo series to take off. For every success like Hawkeye or Deadpool, you’ve got dozens of cancelled comics like Scarlet Spider, X-23, Gambit, Moon Knight and more. I applaud Marvel for giving characters like Silver Surfer, Iron Patriot, Loki and Black Widow a try, even if cancellation is a distinct possibility. And here are six more suggestions for characters who deserve the spotlight, even if only for a little while.
Who is he: Kurt Wagner has been one of the premiere X-Men for decades, but he’s rarely had the chance to step out on his own. He may look like a demon, but he’s one of the friendliest, funniest, most cheerful characters in the Marvel Universe. Plus I’m pretty sure everyone agrees that he was the best part of X2: X-Men United.
My Pitch: Nightcrawler is coming back from the dead this fall in the pages of The Amazing X-Men. But what’s Marvel going to do with him? Just stick him on some random X-team? Nightcrawler was killed because he was expendable, because the drama of the X-Men franchise has surpassed him. He doesn’t have any interesting relationships or storylines of his own. So I think that frees him up for all manner of story. In a solo series, I would send Nightcrawler out into the world as a superhero pilgrim. They don’t need him at the X-Mansion, so perhaps he goes out to find himself and find a new calling in life. Turn him into a humble international man of mystery and see what his demonic appearance does to people from different cultures.
Who is she: Angela is a renegade angel who actually used to be a major character in Spawn comics, publishing by an entirely different company. But after a legal battle landed the rights to Angela firmly in the hands of Neil Gaiman, he quickly partnered up with Marvel and gave Angela to them. She’s popped up in Guardians of the Galaxy since then, but she can’t exactly talk about her time with Spawn, so her history is kind of a blank slate.
My Pitch: First of all, Marvel were all manner of excited to reveal that Angela was coming to the Marvel Universe. I have no idea why they were so excited, but they really really were. Second, when she did show up, it was randomly as part of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Granted, they’re getting a big push because of the movie next year, but Marvel really couldn’t think of anything better to do with Angela? I say Marvel needs to go all out and give Angela her own solo series. Whether set on Earth or in outer space, she should be an ass-kicking, bone-breaking badass warrior woman who cruises the world or the galaxy having shenanigans. She’s a woman cast from her own world, but that shouldn’t be something to get hung up on. Put it behind her and turn her into the biggest, meanest bruiser in the galaxy.
Who is he: Bobby Drake was one of the first X-Men, with the ability to control and manipulate ice and air temperatures. He’s a blast to have at parties that need ice sculptures. He’s always been the X-Men’s class clown, and is currently dating Kitty Pryde.
My Pitch: Iceman is the average guy X-Man. He’s not a blood thirsty killer. He’s not a leader of men. He’s just an average, kinda funny guy who never pushes himself and has trouble with women. I think Iceman would be perfect for a day-in-the-life kind of comic as he juggles life, super-powers and his girlfriend. He’s a funny, charming sort of guy with very creative, eye-catching powers. No need for excessive angst or drama. Just fun, cheerful stories about a man made of ice.
3. Squirrel Girl: Adventures in Babysitting
Who is she: Squirrel Girl is a silly little fan favorite character that has risen to cult status in recent years. She first appeared in a random Iron Man comic, where her mutant ability to communicate with squirrels helped her defeat Doctor Doom. Doreen Green has popped up a lot more recently, living up to her reputation as a quiet, unassuming young woman with the power and skill to take down big baddies like Doom. Most recently, Squirrel Girl was hired as the nanny for Luke Cage’s baby girl, and therein lies the pitch.
My Pitch: Squirrel Girl: Nanny to the Superheroes! You take the adorable, girl-next-door appeal of Squirrel Girl, saddle her with a super-powered baby or two, and have her casually saving the day every month. She doesn’t mean to get wrapped up in epic, cosmic events, but that’s just what happens to her, so she saves the day and takes care of the kids. It could be a fun, wacky, heartfelt romp through the cosmos of the Marvel Universe. Clean family fun!
Who is he: Scott Lang is the second man to don the mantle of Ant-Man, and he’s currently leading the Fantastic Four. He used to be a thief who stole the costume, but when the Avengers found out he did it to save his daughter, they forgave him and let Scott be Ant-Man for real. He’s a pretty blue collar hero, and recently his daughter was killed by a super-villain, so he’s got a lot of drama in his life. There’s also a little Ant-Man movie coming out in two years, so Marvel might want to work on boosting his appeal.
My Pitch: Scott Lang is a pretty perfect everyman hero. He’s young, is fairly skilled, and has a unique and interesting type of super-power. He used to be a single dad, which would have played well, but Marvel had to go and ruin that. But after FF is cancelled, Scott could be spun off into his own book where he fights crime, tries to get revenge for his daughter, dates his music star girlfriend and tries to succeed in a world where Captain America, Iron Man and Thor get all the glory.
Or really, whatever Edgar Wright comes up with for the plot of the Ant-Man movie, Marvel should just make a comic book about that.
1. Doctor Strange
Who is he: The Master of Mysticism and Sorcerer Supreme, Stephen Strange is the guardian of Earth from all things magical. He’s a modern day wizard living in Greenwich Village. He’s droll, handsome and a little conceited. He’s also one of the best dressed fellas in the Marvel Universe.
My Pitch: Why Dr. Strange hasn’t had an ongoing series in so long is beyond me. He’s perfect, especially the modern day Dr. Strange. This is the perfect comic for a writer with a vivid and unending imagination as Dr. Strange takes on all manner of mystical mumbo-jumbo. But it shouldn’t just be classic villains like Dormammu. My take on Dr. Strange would have him traveling the world to take on mystical mysteries from the real world. Maybe he knows the true origins of Stonehendge. Maybe he has to deal with witch doctors in Africa. Maybe Dr. Strange and the one true Santa Claus have tea every Friday. A new Dr. Strange series should combine the mystical with the mundane to make for a great comic.
Those are my pitches, what are some of yours? What heroes, heroines or even villains do you think deserve a shot at a solo series at Marvel? They seem to be eager to print some nowadays! Let me know in the comments.