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The Most Obscure DC Comics Characters Who Deserve The James Gunn Film Treatment

James Gunn and Peter Safran are officially overseeing the new slate of films in the DCU, announcing several upcoming projects arriving in theaters and on HBO Max over the next few years. Gunn, who famously turned the Guardians of the Galaxy into a household name, has kept things appropriately weird: In addition to future films starring heavy-hitter stalwarts like Superman and Batman, he also announced some surprise projects highlighting obscure heroes, such as a "Creature Commandos" television series, a movie featuring The Authority, and even a live-action Booster Gold show.

However, we hope Gunn doesn't stop there with his demonstrable love for obscure characters, as several lesser-known heroes and villains are just as deserving of the live-action treatment from the eclectic filmmaker. With access to the hundreds of personalities who have appeared over the more than 80-year history of DC Comics, Gunn has the chance to make the new DCU very different from the Snyderverse and before.

Animal Man

Animal Man comes from the Silver Age, first appearing in "Strange Adventures" #180 by Dave Wood and Carmine Infantino, and the oddball hero would be a natural fit in James Gunn's new DCU. This character, Buddy Baker, gains the power to take abilities from animals after an alien explosion. A potential film would draw inspiration from Grant Morrison's iconic run with Chas Truog and Doug Hazlewood, which is a self-reflective take on the hero as he tries to balance his alter ego and family life while facing off against deep-cut characters and villains in the DC Universe.

From the speed of an ant to the playfulness of a kitten to the flight of a bird, Animal Man's powers are incredibly bizarre and have made him a fan-favorite hero in the comics. Considering Buddy Baker's relationship with the Justice League Europe — a superteam that features more beloved eccentric heroes, including Elongated Man, Metamorpho, and Rocket Red — Animal Man's introduction could be a springboard to one of the zanier Justice League teams. While he might not be the first hero fans of the DC Universe think of when considering who should get spotlighted in a film, the inimitable hero undoubtedly deserves a starring role in a live-action property.

The Female Furies

A classic creation from Jack Kirby as part of his iconic "Fourth World" series, the Female Furies are one of his most underrated inventions; the powerful group of soldiers is begging to be adapted in the live-action DCU. First appearing in "Mister Miracle" #6, the Female Furies are New Gods who serve the Lord of Apokolips under the tutelage of the malevolent Granny Goodness — acting on behalf of Darkseid and unafraid of getting deadly to accomplish their missions. Members include the whip-wielding Lashina, the strongwoman Stompa, and the knife-wielding Bernadeth. However, the true star of the Female Furies is their former leader, Big Barda.

Big Barda is one of DC's biggest badasses. The armored warrior has consistently refused to back down against any opponent, especially her fellow gods. Barda was originally the leader of the Female Furies, but after falling in love with Scott Free (Mister Miracle), she escapes the hell pits of Apokolips and goes to Earth with the New Genesis-born hero. Unfortunately, on Earth, both Barda and Scott have been unable to escape their old lives, as the war between Apokolips and New Genesis and Darkseid's frequent attacks on the planet have kept them active, despite their attempts to live a normal life.

A Female Furies project could draw inspiration from several different series, from Jack Kirby's original stories in the "Fourth World" saga to Tom King and Mitch Gerads' "Mister Miracle" series to Cecil Castellucci and Adriana Melo's "Female Furies" miniseries. Considering DC almost made a "New Gods" movie with Ava Duvernay, it would be reasonable for them to explore the world of the New Gods again, with the Female Furies representing an excellent entry point for the characters.

Former Charlton Characters

James Gunn is quite familiar with the former Charlton Comics cast of heroes and villains that became the property of DC Comics in the 1980s, as Peacemaker was originally a featured antihero from the lineup of Silver Age characters. While Gunn's "Peacemaker" has introduced a few Charlton-original heroes, including the titular character and Judomaster, there's plenty more to mine from its world.

We have Captain Atom, an atomized hero who became a god-powered being with projection, absorption, and atomic, energy, and matter manipulation abilities after an experiment gone wrong. Even more enigmatic is The Question, a master detective with a special mask made of bonding gas that helps hide his true appearance; the Steve Ditko creation has become an important DC hero often seen in the world of Batman. If you want to get more colorful, why not the second Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, a powerless hero who drives a beetle-shaped ship and uses his smarts to craft some impressive weapons and tech? Or fly in the opposite direction with Nightshade, a hero who gained powers from her mother that allow her to manipulate darkness and traverse dimensions through the Land of Nightshades.

Alternatively, suppose the new DCU wanted to be very meta with the original Charlton Comics characters. In that case, it could adapt Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's "Pax Americana," which thrusts the heroes listed above — the original roster and the inspiration for Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' "Watchmen" – into a similar universe to the iconic DC Comics story. Admittedly, the appetite for adapting what "Watchmen" could have been might not be all that high, but that doesn't mean the Charlton heroes don't deserve a brighter spotlight.


The Starman persona has seen several heroes from different eras in the DC Universe take up the mantle. But among them, Jack Knight's version of the character, created by James Robinson and Tony Harris, is the most due for a live-action project that matches the greatness of his 80-plus-issue series.

In "Starman," readers are introduced to Jack Knight, the son of the Golden Age superhero Starman, who agrees to become the hero after his older brother (and current Starman), David, is killed. A reluctant hero, Jack, as Starman, trades the original cosmic rod for a staff while trying to improve the world as a force for good. The series masterfully plays on different eras of DC Comics while introducing a protagonist whose turn into a hero is interesting, complex, and layered.

While Robinson and Tony Harris' run on Starman is already beloved by diehard comic fans, seeing the hero emerge as an important face in the new DCU would give him the widespread respect he deserves. Jack Knight's Starman, despite the critical acclaim of his series, has largely flown under the radar elsewhere — and it's time for that to change.

Ambush Bug

Given the inclusion of Weasel, Polka-Dot Man, and Ratcatcher 2 in The Suicide Squad, James Gunn has proven he isn't afraid to comb the weirdest sides of the DC Universe for inspiration — and few characters are stranger than Ambush Bug. The Keith Giffen-created hero, who first appeared in "DC Comic Presents" #52, wears a green suit, and his powers allow him to teleport across the Multiverse.

With access to the many versions of DC heroes and villains from different Earths, the fourth-wall-breaking hero has so far been used largely as a joke character, one who makes many nods and winks to readers; he's fully aware he's in a comic book and isn't afraid to tell others the sardonic, self-referential truth about their existence. In live-action, Ambush Bug would work well as an audience conduit, wryly filling watchers in about heroes and circumstances, all while his powers inherently showcase the grand and truly bizarre DC Multiverse.