So it looks like Donald Glover won’t be getting an audition for Spider-Man, I’m going to hazard a guess and say it has something to do with the whole “he’s black” thing, which is a shame because he’d do a great job. That said there are plenty more pairs of tights in the Avengers Mansion so I compiled a list of character he could play. (Finding black characters who aren’t built like tanks it’s incredibly hard. It’s even harder to find some that could support, or at least appear in a film. Just sayin’.)
So to kick off, let’s get the obvious choice out of the way; Static is perfect for Donald Glover. He’s a nerdy black kid who was designed to be an updated Peter Parker. More importantly he had his own cartoon so might just have enough of a fanbase to support a film and is modern enough to translate to film relatively easily (so long as he doesn’t wear the yellow rain coat and baseball cap he wore in his début).
Alex Wilder is probably my favourite character on the list, and there is already a Runaways film in the works. Again Alex is a nerdy black kid, the only problem is the fact that being in his mid teens it’s crucial to the characters whole shtick. D.G could play Spider-Man because being white isn’t his motivation and the actual age of a high-schooler is unimportant in a post Dawsons Creek world, Alex however needs to look 16 or 17, so I think D.G is a bit old.
The Blur can be found in Supreme Power, basically an updating of Squadron Supreme, marvels riff on the Justice League, as a more morally ambiguous contemporary team of heroes. One of the more overtly heroic being their answer to the Flash; the Blur. Like Glover he’s also from Georgia, unlike Glover he’ super fast corporate sponsored.
It’s a little weird but the Squadron Supreme probably has a greater shot of becoming a movie than the Justice League does. The story isn’t bogged down in continuity and could easily be a comment on superhero movies in themselves once everyone gets tired of their current omnipresence.
Shilo Norman was the ward of the truly awesome 60’s Mister Miracle Scott Free and became the new Mister Miracle during grant Morrison’s 7 Solders series. I’d much rather see a Scott Free and Big Barda on the big screen, but Shilo Norman would be cool too. However the mind bendingly awesome weirdness of Jack Kirby’s 4th World stuff might exclude it from consideration for films, which is why Vykin The Black from the Forever People isn’t on this list. (Also the awkwardness of his name ending in “the black”)
Staying in the more obscure properties of DC there’s Tyroc and Jacques Foccart from the Legion of Superheroes. Fun Tyroc fact:EVERYONE HATES HIM. Jim “there are no homosexuals in the Marvel Universe, bar the two rapists I created” Shooter may have been a homophobe but he wasn’t a racist. He said:
“I always wanted to have a character who was African-American, and years later, when they did that, they did it in the worst way possible….instead of just incidentally having a character who happens to be black…they made a big fuss about it. He’s a racial separatist….I just found it pathetic and appalling.”
Tyroc is an angry black separatist and the protector of a magical Island where all the black people on Earth had gone to live because up till then LoSH editor Murray Boltinoff had a tendency to order colourists to whiten up any black characters in the background. Mike Grell found the concept of Tyroc so offensive that he went out of his way to design Tyroc as the more ridiculous looking character possible, the end result being a fro, disco collar, pixie boot combination you see here.
A Significantly better black Legion character is Jacques Foccart the second Invisible Kid, he is however not really funny and would be kind of a waste of Glovers skills. Also the Legion in an inherently ridiculous concept and should never be made into a movie. So these last two paragraphs are moot.
I’ve been kind of focusing on DC stuff, but over at marvel there’s Jessie Bedlam and Synch from X-Force and Generation X respectively. D.G could do a good job with either, but the chances of a film are slim despite Generation X being awesome and already having one terrible movie based on them, although to be fair I don’t thing Synch was in that. Less on the super powered side of things there’s always Jim Wilson occasional pal of the Hulk and later AIDS victim if the Hulk needs a side kick in any sequels.
All in all the selection of non super-strong black guys in comics is kind of limited, so much so that the chances of D.G getting to don some tights are pretty slim. Who knows though the new Power Man could take the world by storm and become the next Superman by this time next year.
In Van Lente we trust.