Tag Archives: Powers
I know I just did a piece on comic book TV shows but today I got a great idea for a show. It’s so perfect that I think I can fill a whole column with it. It’s such a great idea that I feel like I should probably charge for it. In fact, I just thought of another! I need to get a job with a TV network. Seriously.
There seems to be a few types of shows that always survive no matter how many copycats are on the air. Doctors, lawyers, and police officers always seem to have a place on TV unless they’re singing. Daytime talk shows too, but those are harder to combine with comic books. Powers is already being turned into a TV show, so that takes that off the board. But, there’s another Police/Superheroes comic book that I think could make for a great TV show.
Gotham Central (GC). This was a series by two of the best writers working in comics today – Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker. It was about cops working the beat in Gotham City. While Powers is about cops, who may or may not have powers themselves, working in a city where superpowers are illegal, GC is about regular joe cops solving crimes in the wake of the Batman. The comic lasted for 40 issues, but introduced and developed quite a few non-powered police officers. It could have done in one crime stories and arcs that follow the detectives as they track down supervillains. Batman and Robin could make cameos and Commissioner Gordon could star.
No brainer, right? I think if they made it gritty like NYPD Blue, and not campy like Birds Of Prey, it could seriously last for a long time. I think that’s the real secret. Treat it seriously, and the audience will treat it seriously. If the creators don’t respect it, how can it last?
Secondly – Daredevil. A superhero who’s secret identity is a blind lawyer. Oh my God, it’s like the perfect superhero TV show. Every week there would be a new case. Matt Murdock would defend the sceptical defendant in court while Daredevil would prowl the streets looking for proof that his client was innocent. Throughout the seasons he could find more and more links between organized crime and respected citizen Wilson Fisk. Eventually he would discover that Fisk was also the Kingpin of crime and he would keep trying to find ways to bring him down.
For comic relief add Foggy Nelson, Matt’s bumbling attorney sidekick. For moral support there’s Ben Urich, a reporter at the local newspaper. And for a love interest, the somewhat unstable firm secretary – Karen Page. It seems like the perfect combination of typical law drama and superhero action. Argh! I would pay to see this.
How could those shows not last!? I think you should really start a petition to make me the show runner of one or more of these fine programs. I would certainly not stand in your way.
Graham Becksted is an idea machine for comic book to TV show ideas. He is the author of Graham’s Grumbles the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 52nd follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.
Superheroes have come a long way over the course of their over 70 years of existence. The physical quality of the comic has improved, from the paper stock to the colouring. A greater diversity of races and genders has been introduced. The writing and art in general have improved. Even within the worlds depicted in the comics there have been some big changes for these characters. None bigger, perhaps, than their powers.
As with all things superheroes, it’s best to start with the original. Superman was created in 1938 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. In his earliest appearances he could jump real high, he was pretty strong, he was pretty fast, and he could see pretty far. Oh, and he could also control his face muscles so well that he could make himself look like someone else. That’s it. Over the years, his powers grew. Instead of jumping, he gained the ability to fly. He went from being able to survive an artillery shell, to being able to survive a nuclear explosion. And, his powers didn’t just increase in strength, but in number. He gained the ability to see through walls, and shoot lasers out of his eyes. His memory became infallible. He could blow hurricanes. Oh, and he had super-ventriloquism whatever the hell that means.
The next big time superhero created was Batman by Bob Kane and Bill Finger in 1939. He was the opposite in many ways to Superman. No powers, just lots and lots of money. But, like Superman, his abilities increased over the years. He started off as a guy with a cape and a gun who killed people who broke the law. He had a Batmobile, but it was basically just a car. Over the time he has gone from a millionaire to a billionaire. He’s gained a Batplane, Batcycle, Batboat, Batcopter, and pretty much any other vehicle you can slap a bat on. He has also gone from being a detective to the World’s Greatest Detective. Whenever two kids argue who would win in a fight between superheroes, Batman always wins because he’s supposedly smart enough to find anyone’s weakness.
Every other superhero created is some combination of these two. They’re the fathers of the genre. And their children definitely take after them. Take Iceman from the X-Men for example. He starts out as a young guy who looks like a snowman. He can make simple things out of snow, and he can ride around on an ice platform. Now he is an omega-level mutant who can freeze the water in a person’s body. He can alter the temperature his environment. In some versions, he can even turn his body into a thin layer of ice and move across surfaces in that form.
Another example from the world of the X-Men are the Summers brothers. Scott Summers, Cyclops, has the ability to shoot blasts of energy out of his eyes. Alex Summers, Havok, was created a few years later and has powers that are a bit more difficult to describe. He can shoot these sort of ray things that heat stuff up to the point that they instantly explode or melt. It involves absorbing cosmic rays, or something. Gabriel Summers, or Lord Vulcan, was introduced a few years ago and can basically do anything. He can manipulate all forms of energy, including those of other mutants. So, if he needs telepathic powers, he manipulates the powers of a nearby telepath. His power basically lets him do anything.
Okay, so, back to Superman. In the eighties, the bosses at DC realized that he was way too powerful. They were having a hard time coming up with anything that could threaten him. So, he was rebooted and made a little less super. His strength was toned down, and he lost some of his more ludicrous “powers” like super-ventriloquism, and his genius level intellect. It made for some more interesting stories, because there was actually a chance that he would be defeated. I think that’s something that more superheroes need to have done to them.
When you have a character like Iceman who went from being able to create some snow, to being able to freeze a person at the molecular level you have to go even further with his villains. Because of that, Iceman rarely appears in X-Men comics anymore. A much less powerful version of him appears pretty consistently in Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men, though. If a character has powers that you need a degree in chemistry to understand, it’s going to be pretty hard to come up with stories for them to be involved in.
To sum up: powers – good! Infinite power – bad!