After months of teasing, DC studios’ new co-head, James Gunn announced his plans for the future of the DCU. Gunn’s plan for DC is an excellent platform for the DC Cinematic Universe to leap onto our screens.
This new slate of projects may leave the casual fan baffled as to who Booster Gold or The Authority are. Since I am a lonely man who has read comic books for most of my life, I will point you in the direction of some of my favourite books from each of the obscure characters that Gunn plans on adapting.
Booster Gold, as Gunn said in his announcement video, is a loser from the 25th century. He is probably one of my favourite lower-tier characters in the DC pantheon. He is most commonly known for his intense bromance with the first Blue Beetle, Ted Kord. He is at his best when he is put alongside other obscure heroes, so I’d recommend having a look at J.M. Dematteis, Keith Giffen, and Kevin Maguire’s Justice League international (1987) or the collaborative event 52 (2006).
Swamp Thing was created by the legendary writer and editor Len Wein in 1971 and was immediately a hit. Over the years, the Swamp Thing has had many human names but the most popular and longest-running Swamp Thing is Dr. Alec Holland. Swamp Thing has remained a staple in horror/supernatural comics since his debut and to this day the character has been breaking new ground with the genre.
Despite his grotesque appearance, Swamp Thing explores the true nature of humanity and our link with the natural world. Like a contemporary Frankenstein, most of his stories are horrific and tragic. I would recommend Alan Moore’s acclaimed run on the character which features the debut of local northern hero John Constantine. If you want something more modern, Ram V’s run, start with Swamp Thing: Becoming from 2021.
Apollo and Midnighter are (put simply) parallels of Superman and Batman but if they were married and Batman got all of his talents from a microchip in his brain.
Fans are looking forward to seeing their relationship on screen because they are the first main characters of a superhero movie to be explicitly gay. This movie has the potential to be truly groundbreaking in terms of LGBTQ+ representation as their relationship is (hopefully) impossible to hide.
Another familiar character is Manchester Black, a telepathic Mancunian cynic who is powerful enough to go toe to toe with superman. I would recommend beginning with Grant Morrison’s Superman Vs The Authority and the original 1999 run, illustrated by Brian Hitch to get to know this character better.
The Creature Commandos is the least expected James Gunn adaptation. It was a surprise, but a welcome one: Frankenstein’s monster, a vampire, a werewolf, and a gorgon punching nazis – yes, please!
The Commandos were ordinary soldiers experimented on by the U.S. military to counteract Hitler’s supernatural research. These characters were created by J.M Dematteis in the 1980s and have lasted to this day. Nowadays, the creature commandos have been rebranded as the agents of S.H.A.D.E. The protagonist of the team is Frankenstein’s monster, inspired by Mary Shelley’s creature from the 1818 novel, but if Frankenstein’s monster was used as a super soldier in WW2. I would recommend the original run by J.M. Dematteis starting with Weird War Tales #93” and Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory.
Gunn has proposed a very promising direction for DC and has impressively included deep cuts like the Creature Commandos for superfans. The inclusion of the Green Lantern Corps is something fans have been waiting for since Man of Steel. Viola Davis is a phenomenal actress, and Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow was one of the best comic book releases of last year. The cinematic legacy of DC comics is in the hands of someone who cares deeply about these stories.
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