John Chidley A blog about reading, writing, pop culture and sports.


Super-Hero Originality Game

When I worked at the World’s Biggest Bookstore we used to come up with little games to help us kill time.  The Movie Game, the Hand-Loop Game, The Game, and, in a horrifying combination of nerdiness and creativity: the Super-Hero Originality game.

The premise is simple; name a Marvel Comics or DC Comics character that you believe can carry their own monthly title. Providing evidence is crucial – if they have had their own series, or currently have a monthly title, then your case is made. Otherwise, you have to come up with a pitch of your own to convince your peers that this protagonist can carry a monthly book.

As an added challenge there are a few guidelines to guarantee that the character is truly original:

  1. The character must be from the mainstream DC or Marvel Universe. Sorry, no Ultimates or New Universe or 2099 or Wildstorm or anything like that. Core Universe!
  2. Their first appearance has a cover date of January 1980 or later. That doesn’t sound tough, but there really aren’t that many characters under 30 years old.
  3. They can’t be a mutant. Not to hate on the X-Men, but in the late 80s and early 90s “(s)he is a mutant with a murky past!” became the de facto Marvel Comics origin, and it doesn’t strike me as a particularly creative background for a character. It doesn’t provide motivation or any kind of character depth.
  4. No legacy characters. I love Jamie Reyes, but, again, he’s a character who is the latest in a long line of similarly named and costumed heroes. That is, by definition, not original.
  5. No derivatives. Sorry She-Hulk, Red Hulk and Blue Hulk. Don’t waste our time, Conner Kent. Like legacy characters, the idea is to avoid protagonists clearly based on well-established characters.

One slow Sunday at the store my co-worker Jared and I put together a short list that met all these criteria, while remaining viable choices for ongoing series. Please, comment and see if you can add to it:

  1. Booster Gold
  2. The Sentry
  3. Wild Dog
  4. Speedball
  5. Elektra
  6. Venom (Eddie Brock or Angelo Fortunato but not Mac Gargan)
  7. Amanda Waller
  8. Terror Inc.
  9. Deathstroke
  10. Deadpool*

Can anyone add to this list? There must be more characters that can fill it out. If your hero has not had a monthly series before (or currently) please make sure to explain why you think they can carry their own book.

*Deadpool is a pretty contentious choice. He’s not a mutant, but he is definitely a part of the X-Men mythos. Also his powers are literally a derivative of Wolverine’s healing factor. Still, he’s not an obvious rip-off of Wolverine. He’s definitely a borderline choice.

Comments (7) Trackbacks (2)
  1. Chud:

    I’m thinking Rage from the Avengers, Night Thrasher from the New Warriors, Amadeus Cho from Hercules/Incredible Hulk (I’d read a monthly title about a kid who can take down a Shield helicarrier with one rock anyday !).

  2. War Machine – Rhodes was created in the late 70’s, but he didn’t get an alter-ego until the 80’s… and subsequently his own series.

  3. Adam Warlock could do it, but it would have to be the hot-pants-wearing 70s version. Not the regular-pants-wearing version.

  4. Just realized I broke rule #2! That’s what I get for being old.

  5. Wow @ Nick Harris

    A Night Thrasher/Rage book was my first thought. Dwayne Taylor though, not that fake ass Bandit that’s currently running around in the black and red. They had a really great relationship, Thrash playing a very young father figure to Rage.

    I’d like a book perhaps focusing on the crime lords in NYC. Kingpin, Hammerhead, Fortunato…etc.

    Zauriel. Is he still around? Haven’t seen him since he sacrificed himself in the World War 3: Mageddon storyline in JLA. A little religion mixed with superhero action can be cool.

    Shatterstar. Similar to Deadpool, a non-mutant (at least as I remember him) who found fame within the x-universe. It would have to be the early Shatterstar was more of a cold warrior, and not the bromance one who was in love in Rictor.

    That’s all I can think of right now. Back with more later, I hope.

  6. Magog

    Beta Ray Bill


    Cloak and Dagger

    Cyborg, Raven and Starfire from Teen Titans

    Silver Sable

  7. Completely O.T., but it’s my first visit and I felt like leaving a comment. This blog should be re-named Boyzone.

Leave a comment