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Top 10 DC Characters That Are Nearly Impossible to Adapt

VO: Adrian Sousa WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
Unique? Totally. Headed to a theater near you? Not likely. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 DC Characters That Are Nearly Impossible to Adapt. For this list, we’ll be looking at characters from DC comics that would be very very difficult to adapt to the big screen for a variety of reasons. Please note, we’re specifically talking about live-action adaptations.
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Unique? Totally. Headed to a theater near you? Not likely. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 DC Characters That Are Nearly Impossible to Adapt.

For this list, we’ll be looking at characters from DC comics that would be very very difficult to adapt to the big screen for a variety of reasons. Please note, we’re specifically talking about live-action adaptations.

#10: Snowflame


With the release of “Logan”, “Deadpool” and its sequel, 20th Century Fox has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that R-rated comic book movie adaptations can work at the box office. The thing is, it takes the right character to attract a large enough number of adult cinemagoers. Snowflame… is not one of those characters. And he’s explicitly R-rated. Debuting in the pages of The New Guardians in the late ‘80s, he was the product of his era. And by that we mean he was fueled by cocaine. You heard that right. For whatever reason, cocaine gave this man various superhuman abilities. There’s simply no tasteful way to translate that to the big screen.

#9: Humpty Dumpty


For the uninitiated, this might seem like a silly character to even bring up. The average person has no clue that there’s a character called Humpty Dumpty in the comics. Ask a serious DC fan, however, and they’ll tell you that when this tragic, twisted version of the nursery rhyme icon appears in a story, it usually makes for a compelling read. A good-natured, simple-minded man with an egg-shaped head, Humphry Dumpler was basically driven over the edge by his own uncommonly bad luck. He tries to fix things he perceives as being broken, to disastrous results. Unfortunately, his nursery rhyme baggage means that no one would take him seriously onscreen.

#8: Dial H for Hero


We’d actually love to see this unique property get adapted, but it’s probably better suited for the static pages of comic books. Dial H for Hero isn’t the story of one specific character, but rather an old-school phone dial that, over the years, has allowed various people to dial a random superpower and identity. The thing is, the powers and characters tend to be downright absurd, so the budget would need to be far bigger than the niche audience could ever justify. On the big screen, squeezed into just two hours, however, the concept simply doesn’t work. It’d be horribly cheesy at best.

#7: Danny the Street


The sort of character that only Grant Morrison could come up with, Danny is a sentient street with superpowers that can insert itself into any urban area of the world. He was never human but is a male who enjoys cross-dressing, which he accomplishes by dressing up the windows of his storefronts with feminine decor. He communicates through various signage. Now… as a Doom Patrol member, he could theoretically show up in the live action series. But we suspect that the show has already hit its weirdness quota. There are just so many technical complications. How do you a sentient space personality without giving it a voice? How do you convey its intentions?

#6: Kamandi


Poor Kamandi. He’s a fun, pulpy character with his own distinct personality and style, but there simply isn’t room in mainstream pop culture for both him and Tarzan. And though we love Kamandi as much as the next DC fan, Tarzan long claimed the title as the reigning wildman. What makes this so disappointing is that Kamandi’s similarities to Tarzan are only skin deep. Introduced in 1972 in his own title and created by Jack Kirby, Kamandi is a child of an alternate reality in which a disaster resulted in animals becoming the humanoid dominant class while humans regressed to animalistic ways. It’s a great story, but Kamandi’s Tarzan-esque physical traits make his adaptation a non-starter.

#5: Onomatopoeia


Created by filmmaker and comic book lover Kevin Smith during his run on Green Arrow in the early 2000s, Onomatopoeia is one seriously unique villain. A serial-killer of unpowered superheroes, Onomatopoeia gets his name from his habit of imitating noises around him. Smith himself has gone on record saying that the character was specifically crafted to work on the comic book page and likely only on the comic book page. Why? Because only in this medium are sounds reduced to a single identifiable word for Onomatopoeia to repeat. You could try it on film… but it would rob Onomatopoeia of his impact.

#4: The Brotherhood of Dada


Like Onomatopoeia, this odd assortment of villains really only works because of the inherently static nature of the comic book page. Adversaries of the aforementioned Doom Patrol, the Brotherhood of Dada make Danny the Street look comparatively mundane. Inspired by the Dadaist art movement, which mocks the meaningless of modern life and values, this team has one simple and abstract goal - bringing chaos to the world. Their misadventures tend to be of the reality-bending variety. After an attempt to have the Eiffel Tower consumed by a mystical painting, they got themselves trapped in one. Suffice it to say, it would require one hell of a creative team to bring them to life effectively.

#3: Superman Red & Superman Blue


People often cite the long and convoluted continuity of comic books as one of the biggest barriers for new readers. It’s a fair criticism, but these in-book histories are also what allow comic book writers to take risks and tell strange stories. Imagine if, for example, after his death in “Dawn of Justice”, Superman had inexplicably returned as two separate red and blue Supermen. Cinemagoers would have been deeply confused. In the comics, however, there was a lengthy buildup about Superman’s powers becoming unstable, the need for a containment suit and the eventual split into two characters. There’s just no time for such elaborate, far-flung plots in a film.

#2: Bat-Mite


This one follows the same basic logic as Superman Red & Blue, but it adds an extra dose of absurdity. Even within the comics, Bat-Mite’s history is confusing, convoluted and sometimes downright contradictory. Remember when The Flintstones introduced “Gazoo” in the second half of its last season? Bat-Mite has a similar personality and role. A reality-bending extra-dimensional being that’s obsessed with Batman, Bat-Mite is a holdover from Batman’s wacky, sci-fi heavy early days when each adventure was stranger than the last. He would later be removed from canon, only to later appear as a hallucination. Need we explain more why he’d be a nightmare to adapt?

#1: Mr. Mxyzptlk


Like Onomatopeia, this character’s gimmick provides a big challenge to would-be adapters. Characters don’t know how to pronounce his name. It’s a fun trick to play with readers, but less effective on-screen. The other obstacle presented by Mr. Mxyzptlk is his status as an extra-dimensional, nearly omnipotent imp with nigh-limitless power. Funnily enough, he’s actually been adapted to the small screen multiple times… usually in the form of a grown man, and coming nowhere close to doing the character justice. The last challenge? His purpose. A character who simply wants to mess with Superman isn’t a very interesting one in the context of a feature film.
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