Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio. This week, Bennett discusses the superhero swapping Disney is initiating now that its dropping Netflix Marvel programs for Hulu and its own streaming service.
Since Hulu will “be majority controlled by Marvel parent Disney as part of the Fox asset sale” it only makes sense for Marvel to stream its content there. And while Hulu Open to Reviving Canceled Marvel Netflix Series. I kind of doubt they will. I mean, why pick up shows viewers associate with Netflix when they can create original content they'll associate with Hulu?
The surprising part was the content of that announcement: adult-skewing animation featuring odd, obscure Marvel characters like M.O.D.O.K., Hit-Monkey, Tigra & Dazzler and Howard the Duck. Their official titles are of course Marvel’s MODOK, Marvel’s Hit-Monkey, etc., but to save space I’ll be referring to the properties by their given names. And while they may seem like utterly random choices, because they do, these second stringers are probably better suited for television than the roster of Marvel superheroes who had Netflix shows. Because, while highly unlikely, it’s still theoretically possible one day there could about be another Daredevil or Punisher movie. I wouldn't bet money on it, but it's possible. But it is pretty much a dead cert there will never be an M.O.D.O.K.movie.
While Hulu doesn't call these shows comedies outright from the descriptions of them given (“M.O.D.O.K. centers around an egomaniacal supervillain with a really big head and a really little body, who struggles to maintain control of his evil organization and his demanding family”) most likely they'll be equal parts funny strange and funny ha-ha. Hulu seems to have intentionally created programs which are the polar opposite of Netflix’s downright dour live-action superheroes. They’re deliberately zagging where Netflix zigged; a bold if risky move by Marvel.
I’ve always been strangely fond of the B and C-list Marvel characters, so I’ll be curious to see what Hulu does with them. An animated Howard the Duck could be great, as long as co-writer Kevin Smith has the good sense to base the series on the original comics written by Steve Gerber (the villain is supposed to be Dr. Bong so, so far so good). I've always admired the played straight wonkiness of Daniel Way and Dalibor Talajic’s Hit-Monkey and am glad to see it finally get some much-deserved attention. I’m even willing to give Tigra & Dazzler a try (for those unfamiliar with them Entertainment Weekly describes the duo as being “a cat person” and “a light-powered pop singer”), in spite of Hulu describing them as “woke superheroes." Even if Tigra won’t be wearing her signature bikini, something I expect will outrage up to half a dozen fans on the internet forums.
But the one I’m looking that forward to the most is M.O.D.O.K. True, it’s partially because actor/comedian Patton Oswalt will co-write and co-produce the series; I can only hope he’ll also voice the main character. Mostly though it’s due to the I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the Mental/Mobile/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing. A lot of Marvel characters have grotesquely distorted anatomies, but if M.O.D.O.K. ever actually made it into a Marvel movie, to do him proper justice it would have to be directed by the master of body horror* David Cronenberg,
Which is why I said M.O.D.O.K. would never appear in a Marvel movie; there’s too big a chance the character would get laughs the minute he appeared on the screen. But once again I could be wrong. While researching the character online I discovered a piece dated June 21, 2018, on the Inverse website titled Avengers 4' Writers Reveal Which Marvel Villain They Really Want to Use. From it we learn:
Screenwriting duo Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely appeared on Kevin Smith’s Fat-Man on Batman podcast earlier this month, and they discussed their desire to bring M.O.D.O.K. to the MCU and the difficulties in doing so since he’s a gigantic floating head.
“I’ve wanted to put M.O.D.O.K. in, and it’s very hard to go ‘here’s the supporting character the giant head.’ And then we’re going to get on with the story. We just came to him for information,” Markus explained. “Like, you kind of have to design the whole movie around the guy with the giant head.”
“I have love for M.O.D.O.K. and I still think properly done he’d be terrifying,” Markus continued. “Like, you look all the way down the hall and like this huge head comes around the corner and starts coming and… oh, it would be awesome.”
* A subgenre of horror which intentionally showcases graphic or psychologically disturbing violations of the human body.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.