Mar 11, 2019

After Captain Marvel: Adapt These Female Characters!

With Captain Marvel opening to 160 million dollars over the weekend, the time is ripe for more comic book properties involving female protagonists. So I talked to the Comics Cube family and compiled a small list of female characters who should be adapted for the mass audience, in one medium or another.

Female Characters Who Would Make Great Movies and TV Series

As with prior lists, clicking on the header will take you to an Amazon link for recommended reading.


Set in an alternate steampunk/horror universe, Monstress follows Maika Halfwolf, a teenage member of a race called the Arcanics, a half-breed of humans and ancients. There's a war going on, and Maika has to do her best to navigate through that wartorn landscape, all the while trying to keep a literal monster that resides within her in check.

Monstress is notable not just in the fact that the lead character is female, but also because the entire world is based on Asian mythology. It's very rich, it's well-crafted, excellently drawn by Sana Takeda, and was so well written that it won Marjorie Liu the first Eisner Award for Best Writer for a female.

Monstress would be great as a live-action movie franchise.


I've written about Bandette by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover before, so I'll just direct you to that.  (Read: Presto! The Joy of Bandette!) But just know that the adventures of the world's greatest thief and her motley crew of idiots (including an overly dramatic fencer named Matadori) would be great as a Netflix animated series.


Dex Parios lives in Portland, Oregon. Comics Cuber Peter says, she's a "Hard luck private eye, interesting family life, she's good but not great at her job. The Portland that they portray in the comic looks like a pretty different city than other TV settings."

Stumptown is actually already set for a pilot for the next TV season. It will be on ABC and will star Cobie Smulders.


Mentionable Matt says, "I think Soranik Natu brings a better conflict to Green Lanterns being Sinestro's replacement and his daughter. More interesting storytelling potential too." He'd want it to be animated, as, "I think that works better with Green Lanterns."


Rich Handley says, "Tefé Holland (Swamp Thing's daughter) is a great character who had a wonderful but sadly short-lived comic book run from Brian K. Vaughan. I'd love to see Netflix give her a series if the upcoming Swamp Thing show does well. Why Netflix? Because they have a remarkable track record."


I'll name Zatanna, because I love Zatanna, DC's backward-speaking magician. However, I have a hard time visualizing what the movie or the TV show would be, since Zatanna is a problematic character to write for. (Read: What's Wrong With Zatanna?) But hey, that's why creators get paid, right?


Kate Kane, Bruce Wayne's cousin, already made her debut in the CW's Arrow and has been ordered for a pilot starring Ruby Rose. Batwoman by Greg Rucka and JH Williams III is without exaggeration one of the best comics I've ever read, and I hope the show comes even somewhat close to it. (Read: One Brief Shining Moment: Greg Rucka and JH Williams III's Batwoman).


As a bonus, if Batwoman's getting her own show, then her on-again, off-again girlfriend Renee Montoya should be present. And it would be better if she were The Question.

Seriously, how has The Question not been adapted into live-action yet? You'd think the concept is easy to adapt.


Back Issue Ben says, "Batgirl, movie!" and I think that says enough. (Read: Batgirl, Savior of Comics!)


Back Issue Ben also says of Marvel's Norn Queen "Karnilla should get her own multimedia franchise. Movies, TV,cartoons, and video games." We're just gonna let him have this one. (Read: Walt Simonson on Karnilla)


Upon Ben's suggestion of a Netflix series involving the X-Woman Magik, Colossus' sister, Max says, "If they can do a Legion series they can easily pull off Magik." Magik spends a few years in Limbo and a more mystical adventure than the X-Men are used to.


Modesty Blaise, from the eponymous British comic strip by Peter O'Donnell, Jim Holdaway, and Enrique Badia Romero has been a longtime favorite of newspaper readers. A survivor of World War II, Modesty learns to survive the hard way and engages in criminal actions, eventually turning around and joining the Secret Service. Peter says, "It's been tried before but I'd still like a new adaptation of Modesty Blaise for the big screen. I can picture Eva Green in it but I'm sure there are others who would fit the bill also, maybe even Gal Gadot."


Misty Knight and Coleen Wing have already made it into the Netflix Marvel Universe, debuting in Luke Cage and Iron Fist respectively. But as the Daughters of the Dragon, they have even more mileage. Peter says, "Yes to a Knight Wing Investigations spinoff series!"


Monica Rambeau has already shown up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Just a child in Captain Marvel, she'll be in her early 30s in the modern day. With the power to absorb light, she's one of the most powerful Avengers. Comics Cuber JD says, "Piss off the sexists, the racists, and the Shazam trolls all at the same time."


Anjelica Jones was created as the Human Torch's replacement in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends back in the 80s, and has risen to some level of prominence since. Comics Cuber Jeff says, "She began as a TV character and can fit in on Runaways or The Gifted."

Paul C of the Last of the Famous International Fanboys writes, "Of all the Fantastic Four, she's the one who's been depicted the worst in the FF films we've had so far," which, yes, is a fancy way of saying he wants the FF to be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but we'll give it to him because we want that too.

Paul also wants a She-Hulk streaming series based on Dan Slott's run, which had She-Hulk go on a lot of intergalactic adventures and taking on a lot of intergalactic court cases. It's a fun series, and probably my favorite run on She-Hulk to date. However, JD has some concerns: "Is She-Hulk doable on a TV budget? I doubt it. Unless you keep the Hulk half to bare minimum throughout the season but then what's the point?"

Max thinks it's doable: "Maaaybe if she wasn’t in Shulk form the whole time?", which she isn't in Slott's run.

But personally, She-Hulk is such a huge personality, and such a good counterpoint to the Hulk, that I would want to see her in the MCU. I'm just worried that the material — a courtroom comedy with superheroics — doesn't really translate to the big screen. But JD has an answer for that as well: "Some of the best movies are court procedurals, yknow."

And with that, I'm going to leave a clip here of My Cousin Vinny featuring Aunt May Marisa Tomei.

Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev's Scarlet, another book set in Portland, this time during a new American revolution in the modern-day, is topical and plausible. Back Issue Ben feels this series would be perfect in HBO, where it was announced to be going back in 2016. There has, to my knowledge, been no news since.

In 1984, in the British anthology 2000AD, Alan Moore and Ian Gibson created Halo Jones, a teenage girl in the far future where the poverty-stricken have to live in a hidden area called The Hoop. One day, Halo escapes the Hoop by finding a job on the space cruiser The Clara Pandy. And from there, her life began, first as a hostess, then eventually as a soldier. 

For a writer as celebrated as Moore, this remains one of his most unsung works. Told in short chapters and bursts, each a meditation of life and the world around us set against the backdrop of a possible future, some chapters have true, genuine poignance. There is one chapter in which Halo's platoon kills a sniper. Upon closer inspection, it turns out to be a child. And then this sequence follows.

The opportunity for putting The Ballad of Halo Jones in a streaming TV series like Netflix is in the fact that Alan Moore and Ian Gibson never finished the book. It ends with Book 3, after Halo takes a spaceship to explore the universe, ready for a new chapter, just as she's about to take her life into her own hands, since, to that point, she'd mostly bounced around waiting to see where life took her. If a studio can get the rights, they can adapt the three books and then go on in a new and separate direction.

Kamala Khan was introduced in 2013 as Marvel's first Pakistani-American Muslim superhero, with the power to enlarge (or "embiggen") body parts. She idolized Carol Danvers and took her former name of Ms. Marvel. Mentionable Matt says, "Kamala would make an interesting story regardless on paper, but it would have the sweet knock-on effects. Along the lines of, I want the Nazis marching in Skokie so I can know who they are."

Comics Cubers Samantha and Scarlet second and third the motion, with Scarlet saying, "Thirding Miss Marvel as a TV series aimed at tweens, with lots of crossovers with the cast of Agents of SHIELD and the MCU films. Six seasons and a movie."

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