Bloodshot is coming to theaters starring Vin Diesel so I started thinking about the VALIANT universe and what characters I think are viable and are an easy transition and I think I came up with one that isn’t one that would top other nominees like X-O Manowar, Harbinger, and Bloodshot himself (who I have been championing for several years now as the obvious easy introduction over X-O).
I came up with Shadowman.
I’m a VALIANT fan from way back. Shadowman is not my favorite character and I’ll be the first to admit that the relaunch of VALIANT has done little to change that thought, in fact, if he were my favorite character it would have caused me some amount of ire (not a whole lot because people who get angry over current versions the funny books they read as kids arm among the people I find most sill or stupid).
I’ve enjoyed many of the new VALIANT titles very much, like Divinity and Ninjak but beyond the obvious advantages of having an already large fanbase as IP (which VALIANT does not have in numbers to move Hollywood needles) that has very little to do with what would actually make a good movie. In simple terms, some of the best comics probably wouldn’t make for the best films, thought admittedly given the right script and filmmaker you can make anything work.
My Case For Shadowman
IT’S AN EASY CONCEPT…
As much as I think the Shadowman comic kind of fell apart and felt very short term to me, I think what it presented is very easy for a film audience.
A guy has a family heirloom on that his mother used to wear that hid him from their enemies. It’s removed. Shit starts going down.
In New Orleans. Where a number of movies are now made
Over his head, battling daddy,mommy, and legacy, he beats demon ass with his new powers.
I think visually it’s very easy to get that the heirloom being removed causes Jack to become a beacon attracting crazy. Doubly, it ties into apersonal/family angle and own its own why he would need to be protected.
HORROR(ISH)/SUPERNATURAL FILMS TYPICALLY DON’T COST A TON…
A lot of them are terrible too, but if you get it right not only do you get your money but you also develop a following that rides for you. Horror fans will try anything and if they dig it they will support you forever. Here’s a big non-secret about the Ghost Rider movies for instance. They made money.
We live in a world where horror movies are being made for very little and making big money, most notably by Blumhouse, who will be making the new Spawn movie.
The concept of cheap is admittedly not something that usually is associated with superhero or superhero universe movies, as we laud Logan for being relatively an inexpensive endeavor with a budget nearing $100 million before marketing but you can make John Wick for $30 million and if you can do that you can make any non-science fiction/other worldly related VALIANT movie.
In fact, it was watching John Wick that made me feel like we can have a Bloodshot movie.
Sony though, after years of issues, is on a bit of a roll though. Spider-Man Homecoming is my favorite Spider-Man film, Jumanji is almost a billion dollar movie, Venom is making a TON, over performing expectations, the 3rd Hotel Transylvania movie is over half a billion, and that Into the Spider-Verse looks like it might change my life.
Not making the box office, I still admire the shit out of Blade Runner 2049. They are gonna take a bath on The Girl in the Spider’s Web but that movie also didn’t cost that much and I actually don’t understand why it was made. Nobody wanted it, and Daniel Craig seemed to have the right idea for years now about that movie and why would you bring it back w/o Fincher?
As a completely unrelated aside, there may not be more of a gap on how successful book are compared to their quality as the Millenium (Dragon Tattoo etc) books are objectively fucking awful. I hope it’s a translation thing but I’m not sure. Makes BANK tho.
DESIGN, DESIGN, DESIGN…
I really liked the original Shadowman design which I think was by David Lapham but also really dig the redesign. I dig ’90s Lapham in general.
There’s something to be said about a great design and if you look at the mega popular characters, they all have what have become classic designs. To pick a relatively modern example, I think that a lot of what has carried Deadpool is design.
He really hasn’t changed much since Rob Liefeld put him in New Mutants #98. Sure, there haven been several writers who have transcended what Deadpool was, but even as they leveled him up to a character that once had at least 3 monthly books out, the design stayed pretty much the same.
If you think about the most popular and superhero characters with staying power, their designs, sure, have been updated to some extent, but are largely exceedingly recognizable in their original form. Go check out Amazing Fantasy #16. It’s Spider-Man.
Obviously none of the VALIANT character are even remotely iconic but a good design is a good design.
There’s nothing extraneous with Shadowman, it’s sleek, the scythe could be fun in the way Harley’s hammer is or violent and frightening. If anything, I wish Shadowman was a bit more fun, which it can afford to be because he’s kind of all alone in his corner of the VALIANT universe barring a possible Dr. Mirage appearance.
Something that moves; If you pace something really well it hide a lot of flaws, and typically horror/supernatural films have a bunch. I still think about Phantasm from Mask of the Phantasm just because of the design.
I think that a lot of people, way more qualified than me, tend to try to make Shadowman this or that they are familiar with, but I think this dude is Buffy Batman.
That said, though it was pre-cinema universe building, I could see Shadowman being very Blade-ish, which both performed well and seems to have aged with audiences still having goodwill for it.
HE HAS A REAL VILLAIN…
There’s not a ton of visually interesting villains in the VALIANT Universe. While I want Shadowman beating the hell out of plenty of mobs of grunts and demons, at the end of the day there is only room for one typical dapper suited CEO/Mastermind villain in VALIANT, and that’s Toyo Harada, see crazy rich asian, which btw I’m happy to typecast myself as.
Shadowman has Master Darque.
Thanks to Marvel we now live in a post-Black Panther world.
Doing what’s right isn’t always enough for… idk… 40 something percent of the voting population, so you have to make money and Black Panther was an unmitigated success both commercially and creatively.
It took them long enough but I think it’s hard to argue with what we got – Black Panther is GIANT IP now and while that does little for my or your pockets (well, I’m a stockholder so it does more for me than most people lol) that fact that it is can have huge positive implications.
There are many actors now who could take this on and I’m sure people can come up with many name but I was really impressed with Justice Smith who was the lead male character in Netflix’s The Get Down (which was some awesome but I wasn’t surprised it got cancelled, I could see all the money on the screen) and he’s going to star in new Pokemon film.
I should say my pick of Shadowman goes against a lot of my own personal preferences, I just think it makes some sense. I know everybody always talks about how much they love New Orleans.
I actually have quite the opposite reaction. I think the setting is played out a bit in numerous supernatural related tv shows, at some point they all end up there and even in real life, I’ve had property there: not a fan. Once you leave Harrah’s I can live without it.
It’s just not a magical place to me. It’s dirty, it stinks, it’s hot, and the crime is crazy. That said, I made a lot of money there on real estate so thank you to the people who do like that stuff that drive up prices for ridiculous places. This is no slight to people who love it, everybody is different.
He’s not my favorite VALIANT character. I like Jack Boniface fine but I’m much more of a Harbinger kid, a Bloodshot fan, and I’m half-Japanese so Rai has some personal impact to me and I view Toyo as my personal avatar in VALIANT.
Huh. Maybe I should have written an post about why Shadowman shouldn’t ever have a movie instead.
I still think Shadowman can work, I think there’s a blueprint for it, and it’s one of those properties that I think could be a perfectly good night at the movies or, on the other hand, some really unfortunate CW adaptation that we want to forget about and hope Dean Winchester ends for us via a machete or shotgun.