A.k.a Super Hero Underground, A.K.A League of Losers.
I went and saw The Force Awakens again today, and I really want to write about it, but I think I need to give it some time and perspective before I write another 3000 word blog post. Instead I am going to write a quick post about one of my other favorite topics on this blog; Marvel Comic’s Darkhawk.
I live in this fantasy world where I am creative and talented and hardworking enough that if given a chance I could show run an amazing Netflix style Marvel show featuring some of their least popular and marketable characters. I honestly spent hours in bed before I fall asleep each day (well, more like over the course of a month really) day dreaming about how you could make a TV show with characters like Darkhawk, Sleepwalker, Night Thrasher, etc… that would be entertaining and just popular enough to be worth everyone’s effort.
I think the reason I like to day dream about this is that it isn’t so much an exercise in pure creativity and storytelling, but instead is more of a logistical puzzle for me. It is one thing to imagine what you could do if you were given free reign to make the next Iron Man film with a near unlimited budget and no real restrictions on which characters you would have access to. This is a different animal completely.
First off, you would have to find a streaming service like Yahoo or maybe Overstock.com who want something popular like the Marvel Netflix shows, but know they can’t spend that kind of capital on rights or to license premier IP like daredevil. Instead they would have to be convinced that there is a lot of upside since it is a marvel property, but Marvel will let you have it for cheap cause no one cares about heroes like US1 and his telepathically controlled big rig.
Part of my pitch would go something like this: “Come on, please! Just let me make the show. Yeah I know you never heard of Dark Hawk before, but who the F ever heard of Groot before Marvel made the Guardian’s of the Galaxy movie?” It’s a good honest heartfelt pitch.
Next you have to figure out how to do the show cheaply, without a ton of special effects and expensive locations that can eat up budgets. I guess you would also have to find some up and coming actors who are cheap and hungry. Yeah it would be awesome to get a Charlie Cox, but you will probably have to go with someone who is even less well known than he was when he took the job.
I spend a lot of time while day dreaming trying to figure out how the structure of the show and story lines could help keep the show lean, but usually end up imagining impossible to get actors for all the parts. And speaking of impossible to get actors for the parts I would like, I’m just going to throw out some characters and the acting counterparts I would like in this fantasy world I hope to one day live.
Darkhawk – Karl Urban (or a younger version)
Sleepwalker – Aaron Paul
Dagger – Alice Eve
Night Thrasher – Donald Glover
Combo Man – Jake McDorman (that guy from TV show limitless)
Mr. Imortal – J.D Williams (Bodie from the wire)
US1 – Brian Van Holt (or an older version)
Lace – Merritt Weave (new lady doctor on the walking dead)
Lace, as far as I know, would be a new character and is the Felicity Smoak type role for this group of heroes. I would try to make her ability with machines/computers actually come from a super power and the name Lace was chosen by her to pay tribute to Ada Lovelace. It… Arrow is good, not as good as The Flash is in my opinion, but one thing I hate is that the smart characters can do whatever needs to be done with science at that moment even if it has never been established that they know how to do whatever they are doing. There’s no consistency from one week to another as to which smart people have expertise in which field and are smarter or dumber than anyone else in those fields.
In this season of Arrow Felicity has, who I assume is Mr. Terrific, clean up some transmission that Ray Palmer is sending her phone so that it can be watched. She doesn’t need his help based on all the shit she’s done in previous seasons. I like his character, but …, I don’t know, I think my point is obvious, but the lesson for this show would be that, yes there is a person who can do amazing things with computers and electronics, but that’s because she has an actual super power, it’s not just a way to move from scene to scene. If Lace isn’t around, and something fancy with computers or electronics needs done, well, it probably isn’t getting done. Or if it is done, it is done really really shittely.
The rest of the characters I listed above are existing Marvel characters that aren’t all that popular, except for maybe Dagger, that could be changed to suit the shows restraints without too much bitching from fans. I was also thinking about squirrel girl, but she is actually kind of popular with a cult following from what I’ve been told, so not a good fit. I also figure there would be some additional randoms that could drop in from time to time like Demolition Man, or Starfox, or All Pro. Yeah the NFL might not allow their logo on this All Pro, but I’m sure there is something fun you could do with him as a former pro football player turned part time hero.
I think that would be part of the appeal of the show if done well. These are all part time super heroes. Yes, so is Matt Murdoch the attorney and Jessica Jones the PI, but I want to see these heroes have to try and juggle superheroing with jobs that don’t allow the type of autonomy that those other character’s jobs allow. What happens when Chris Powel (Darkhawk) gets fired from his help desk call center position cause he missed too many days of work?
I imagine a scene where Chris Powel’s alarm on his phone goes off, he slowly rolls out of bed, all sore and bruised. He goes through his morning routine and get’s into work and sees all his stuff has been boxed up at his cube. His boss comes over and says he’s sorry but he had no choice after he no showed yesterday. Chris is like “I had yesterday off, I put in a request for Monday off three weeks ago.” And his Boss would say “It’s Wednesday. You were off Monday and just never showed up yesterday… which was Tuesday…. Please don’t use me as a reference.”
That’s what I have been doing a lot of lately. Imagining individual scenes and the trying to build out a story around it. Although I love Darkhawk… for some reason, the show would have to work as an ensemble. Kind of like the Wire. Probably a little better really. Like, twice as good as the wire by the time I’m done with it. In fact, I’m calling it right now, no 2nd season of this show. It will go right from season 1 to season 3. That way I won’t have to listen to fan’s bitch about the story lines involving Sleepwalker and Dagger investigating shipping containers down at the docks.
How about an opening scene where the camera slowly moves around a somewhat empty or abandoned warehouse place and as we move we get closer and closer to loud music and flashing lights. As we get closer and closer we can hear the music is violent fast and overbearing in its volume. The lights are partially strobe and painfully bright. You see that they are all emanating from one glassed in room where a man is hunched in a corner trying to cover his eyes and ears from the onslaught. It is Sleepwalker’s host Rick Sheridan, and it is apparent someone is holding him against his will and making sure to keep him awake.
Maybe something more light hearted like at the end of an episode recreate the hallway fight scene from the second episode of daredevil, but this time instead of the hero taking on all comers, Night Thrasher just sneaks by the other rooms and heads straight for the back and just sucker punches one of the henchmen leaving the back room. Then grabs the hostage and sprints out before anyone in the other rooms notices what has happened.
Individual, out of context scenes are fun to dream up, but what about the connective tissue? To have an ensemble show you need something to connect the characters together. That’s why I thought it would be kind of cool if this group came together originally as part of a support group for unknown heroes. That at least could be the backstory for how they all know each other and have come to support each other. They started meeting a few years back to share their experiences and they soon discovered that their powers didn’t have to be a burden they carried alone. They not only got the emotional support they needed from the meetings, but also in time they got logistical support to help with both their daily lives and their super hero activities.
So how would each character fit into this setup. Well someone has to have been the original organizer. I think that should be Night Thrasher. I don’t know much about his character’s backstory in the comics outside of him being one of the rash of black teenagers who roller skate super heroes that kept popping up in the 90s. I know he comes from money but doesn’t have any super powers. So, I envision him as having money left to him from his parents. Not bruce wayne money, but still, multi millions, never have to really work and can live off interest money. He won’t be buyin private planes and re purposing them for fighting crime, but I’m ok with him owning an apartment building that has a basement with one of those security doors with sliding view finder thing where they can hold their meetings. Remember the Chesterfield club in rounders. Something like that set up, but instead of a card room it is like a low key headquarters where they can every Wednesday night do the circle of metal chairs and talk about their feelings, and then other days they can use it for training and stuff.
No one is the leader of the group but Night Thrasher would be the closest thing since he is very gung ho about helping everyone and being a benefactor to them, and since he has martial arts training he can be kind of a teacher for those who need to learn to hone their skills for combat purposes. He may also be the person to go to if you are looking for employment since he owns a few small companies as part of his estate. I kind of like an idea of having a temp agency for these guys where if someone can’t make it to their job because they got messed up fighting crime the night before, someone else would fill in. I haven’t fully thought that part out though.
US1, which may be one of the lamest heroes in Marvel History, is someone I think of as the wise O G of the group. He’s been in the game a long time and seen some shit, but he’s always been in the background, mostly forgotten, and he is happy with that. He gives everyone perspective when they are about to take on a challenge. Everything that Night Thrasher lacks in terms of maturity and actual leadership qualities, US Archer more than has in spades. The only reason he isn’t their leader is because he is on the back end of his career and doesn’t want to risk the chance of being forced into the limelight. He wants to sit in the shadows, but help if he can. He is low key and nothing really phases him as he has seen it all before, or at least acts like he has.
Sleepwalker is kind of the last line of defense, or maybe the back up plan. He is only able to go out fighting crime when his human host Rick is asleep so I’m thinking that it would be good to show Rick as someone who is always tired because he is always trying to stay awake until Sleepy is really needed. That’s when it is heavy duty ambian time. I see Rick as maybe more tragic than all the others since he has some of the same responsibilities but even less control. He will never get recognition except as part of what sleepwalker did. Even then in everyone’s minds all rick did to help save the day was to take a nap.
Outside of Sleepwalker, or maybe even including him, Darkhawk is the most powerful of the super heroes in this group. While Chris isn’t reluctant to be a super hero, he is reluctant to take on a greater roll. Someone like Night Thrasher is really only good against low level villains with un amazing powers. Darkhawk on the other hand has a ton of power but isn’t comfortable to let it all loose. He doesn’t have the required confidence to take on a higher level of villains. He views himself the same way the world views US 1, but there will have to come times when he tries to rise above those self imposed limitations.
I think that brings us to an important topic. If this is a world with Thor and Ironman and other Heroes who are insanely powerful, why do you need a Night Thrasher or a Mr. Immortal. My contention is that there is a lot of crime and a lot of bad guys that the Captain Americas and Hulks of this world could easily defeat without much effort. The reason you need someone like Sleepwalker to fight someone like 8ball is because heroes need to take on real challenges. If Iron Man is spending all of his time easily defeating lame super villains after lame super villains, then he isn’t going to be ready to take on a real challenge like the Mandarin or Fing Fang Foom. The heroes in this group fight these fights so that other heroes don’t have to. Darkhawk will never defeat Thanos in a fight, but because he is willing to take on Tombstone and Savage Steel, the avengers will be able to battle and defeat Thanos.
So who else? Dagger probably would be impossible to get, but if we did get her I think it would be awesome since we could have a distractingly sexy woman who has some health capabilities. I know it is kind of shitty to put someone in the hot lady that causes love triangles departments, but I think you could do something grown up that isn’t mysoginistic. Have her be confident in her sexuality and sexually aggressive and unapologetic about it. And then let that cause some heart ache for the dudes and make some drama in the form of “I don’t like you for playing with my heart strings but i need your healing powers cause i got the shit kicked out of me last night.” It’s a tough tight rope to walk trying to not make her a sexy kitten cliche but also not feel like your pandering to any specific group or message.
Mr. immortal would just be a fun character since as I would imagine him being used anytime there is a dangerous situation you are unsure of, you just send him in to see what’s up and then a few moments later he shows back up coming from somewhere else and letting everyone know that, yep, it’s really dangerous in there.
Combo man would be the best cause he wouldn’t be like he was in the comics, which was just an amalgamation of other characters that was basically a paid advertisement by Combos. This would be a regular dude who wants to be the first super hero that is sponsored, so he walks around eating combos and tries to be a super hero even though no one in the group wants him. He would kind of have that Booster Gold feel, and I would love an episode where after half a season of no one taking him seriously, he some how saves everyone’s ass, probably by borrowing some of their equipment to get it done.
Shit I need to add some images to this post. Meh, maybe later.