Marvel seems to be handing out solo titles like candy these days – even Squirrel Girl is getting her own comic!
Admit it – before you watched the Guardians Of The Galaxy movie, you had no idea who those guys were. But thanks to the success of that movie, as well as the relative success of other obscure comic-related titles such as Hellboy and to some extent, Kick-Ass, a whole new window of opportunity has opened, as these movies have proven that you don’t have to be a household name to make it big at the box office.
Not every obscure comic character can be a silver screen star, though – you need to be a star on paper first. Marvel in particular has been trying to get its lesser-known characters more exposure by giving them a shot at the limelight through cameos, and even a solo regular or limited series.
Top of the list of head-scratchers currently is Marvel’s Squirrel Girl, who will kick off the new year with her own Unbeatable Squirrel Girl series. Yes, Squirrel Girl, the superhero with the powers of a squirrel (complete with tail), and the ability to communicate with squirrels. Why “unbeatable”? Because surprisingly, Squirrel Girl has a flawless track record, having gone one-on-one with Dr Doom, Deadpool, Wolverine and even Thanos, and emerging victorious each time!
Squirrel Girl is one of those legendary characters that the entire Marvel Universe seems to bend over backwards for, just to fit her into their storylines. Currently the nanny to Danielle Cage (daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones), Squirrel Girl’s sudden meteoric rise from obscure joke character to headlining her own title has certainly caught even the most optimistic observer by surprise.
It’s not the first time Marvel has pulled off something like this – earlier this year, Doop also got his own solo title. Yes, that strange potato-like green blob that resembles Slimer from Ghostbusters gushed forth in All-New Doop. No, we don’t know why either.
Anyway, we won’t know whether or not Squirrel Girl’s title will be any good until January. In the meantime, here’s a list of 10 Marvel characters we hope will NEVER get a solo title.
First appearance: Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962)
May Reilly Parker-Jameson is as old (in terms of comic life) as Spider-Man, and can probably boast of being the supporting character with the most comic book (and movie) appearances. In over half a century, she has had more near-deaths and actual “deaths” than all the X-Men combined, but these stats mean nothing when you have spent decades portrayed as the “excess baggage” in Spidey’s crimefighting career. Not exactly quality material for a solo title, that.
First appearance: Tales Of Suspense #59 (1964)
Tony Stark’s butler is probably the only constant in the Avengers, having served the team since its formation.
Over the years, his role as the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ butler has evolved to include father figure (especially to newcomers), babysitter (for Franklin Richards), last line of defence (he got clobbered a few times when Avengers Mansion was invaded), and even the inspiration for Stark’s artificial intelligence creation, called J.A.R.V.I.S. (Just A Rather Very Intelligent System). He even had an “untold” fling with Aunt May! Still, despite all that Jarvis has done, would you really buy a comic book about him? Didn’t think so.
Gilgamesh aka The Forgotten One
First appearance: Eternals #13 (1977)
As his name suggests, this is one character worth forgetting, despite being an ex-Avenger with roots among the Eternals and being a creation of Jack “The King” Kirby. Gilgamesh has the uncanny ability of confusing everyone where his true identity is concerned, judging by his numerous aliases such as Dragon-Slayer, Hero, Forgotten Nemesis, Hercules, Samson, and Atlas. If he DOES get a solo title … what the heck are they going to call it?
First appearance: The Thing #28 (1985)
Don’t confuse this guy with Sylvester Stallone’s 1990s movie character (who can fight crime while cross-stitching) – this Marvel character is more like a failed amalgamation of Wolverine, Daredevil and Captain America!
This ex-wrestler was gifted with super strength by the infamous Power Broker programme (courtesy of Dr Karl Malus), and has played minor roles in the pages of Captain America and Daredevil.
What sets him apart, however, is his body odour – described so vividly it seems to radiate off the printed page! Recent efforts to repackage him as the Scourge of the Underworld ended with D-Man meeting an untimely demise at the hands of Sharon Carter (Captain America Vol 6 #14). As for having his own solo title? Let’s just say we can smell a stinker from a mile away.
First appearance: Journey Into Mystery #119 (1965)
Despite being a member of Asgard’s famous Warriors Three (together with Fandral the Dashing and Hogun the Grim), Volstagg is usually the trio’s comedy relief.
Also, thanks to his ability to consume seemingly infinite amounts of food, the self-proclaimed “Lion of Asgard” is probably more likely to be appointed a judge on a cooking show before he gets a solo title. So, unless some gender-swapping trick of Loki’s reveals him to be the new female Thor, there is no miracle in the Nine Realms that could ever grant Volstagg his own regular series.
First appearance: Strange Tales #110 (1963)
There’s so little depth to Dr Strange’s long-serving faithful manservant that he doesn’t even have a full name! Despite being the Sorcerer Supreme’s most trusted ally and co-administrator of the Stephen Strange Memorial Metaphysical Institute, there’s nothing mystical about this descendant of a Chinese monk. So if even Jarvis faces an uphill task in securing a solo title, what is the servant to a group of “second-rate Avengers” (to borrow a quote from Wong himself) to do?
First appearance: Fantastic Four #45 (1965)
A controversial choice, perhaps, but hear us out. Black Bolt may be the ruler of the Inhumans, but when a mere whisper from him can cause a minor earthquake, and a scream can obliterate a planet, it would be quite hard to generate any excitement and interest for a character who cannot speak!
So, unless they can come up with a completely silent comic book or fill every panel with thought bubbles, then I’m afraid Black Bolt will have to stick to the more inclusive Inhumans series, and forget about his own title.
First appearance: Alpha Flight #1 (1983)
The most underutilised character in Canadian super-team Alpha Flight, Marrina’s potential was cut short when she was “married off” to Namor, the Sub-Mariner. While the marriage helped secure her an honorary Avengers membership, it also reaffirmed her stature as a bit part team player. Arguably, it was her two “deaths” that generated the most interest – both times at the hands of her beloved Namor. She was resurrected during the Chaos War storyline and has operated incognito ever since.
Ego The Living Planet
First appearance: Thor #132 (1966)
A living planet created when a scientist merged with a planet after its sun went nova. DC also has a similar character, the sentient planet Mogo that is also a Green Lantern. Mogo, at least, has a power ring. Ego? I can’t think of a reason why the gastronomic adventures of a living planet deserves its own title. Thor should have just let Galactus devour this planet aeons ago.
Angar The Screamer
First appearance: Daredevil #100 (1973)
David Alan Angar was a former hippie-cum-radical social activist who gained hypersound abilities after being experimented on by a machine from Titan. He was initially destined for bigger things (i.e. to be Thanos’ ally), but ended up as a two-bit assassin with a tendency to attack crowds of civilians for no reason at all. After dying once in a robbery attempt, Angar was resurrected as a new character named Scream, who became part of the Redeemers. Still, if a REAL screamer like Black Bolt doesn’t deserve a solo title, why should Angar get one?