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The Avengers: From Page to Screen
I am very excited about the upcoming release of Avengers: Age of Ultron. The characters from the last film are back: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye. They’re being joined by Falcon and War Machine from other films as well as three new characters being introduced: Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch and Vision. That’s a lot of Avengers and I am just thrilled because the team is starting to resemble the Avengers team that I grew up with.
Naturally there are going to be differences between the comic books and the films. They are two different mediums and they demand different ways of telling the story. But part of me just loves the old-school look and feel of the comic books from the 60s and 70s, and I’d like to take a look at some of the classic characters as I remember them and remind you of some of the fun Avengers that haven’t made their film debut yet.
Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)
Starting with the founding members, Iron Man tops the list. When he first joined the team, he was still wearing his armor that was completely golden in color, but it is a look that is constantly upgrading. While the current films show Stark in armor similar to the one he wears in the current comic, I prefer the older look from the late sixties. I always associate Iron man with Bob Layton, his longtime inker. Notice the segmented boots and gloves and the thin gold metal covering his arms and legs. I always felt that this costume looked much more flexible than his later years.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth)
Thor’s costume in the films is closer in design to his later appearances than his older classic look. He wears the flexible metal on his arms with a gray torso. His classic look featured the knee-high yellow boots and the black torso with light blue circles. I also miss the helmet. We see a bit of the helmet in the first Thor movie, but it has been absent since.
Hulk (Bill Bixby, Lou Ferrigno, Eric Bana, Edward Norton, Mark Ruffalo)
It’s a little weird for me to see Hulk as a member of the Avengers. Yes, he was a founding member, but he left after the first adventure and really wasn’t considered part of the team. His look has only changed somewhat. He’s mostly green, although sometimes he’s gray. For a while when Peter David, Hulk would wear tight clothing like a wrestler, but usually he’s in those tore up purple pants. The only film to address the pants issue is Ang Lee’s Hulk where Banner was shown to be wearing really big sweatpants.
Ant-man/Giant-man/Goliath/Yellowjacket (Michael Douglas)
Hank Pym is a bit of a problematic character. He’s a founding Avenger and one of the earliest Marvel superheroes and is essential a hero. However, during a period where he was becoming unstable he hits his wife Janet, and that’s an incident for which the fans just can’t forgive him. It’s no wonder that the character of Ant-man passed on to Scott Lang who will be played by Paul Rudd in the upcoming film. But it just doesn’t seem right without seeing Hank in giant form standing behind the rest of the team.
I think the lack of the Wasp is a shame. Janet is one of the more interesting fun loving characters, and I think the recent cartoon Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes demonstrates the need for someone with Janet’s heart and sense of humor. Her look from the early sixties is my favorite, but Janet has always been a fashion time capsule. So far Janet is not going to be in the films, but her daughter Hope is going to be played by Evangeline Lily, so maybe there might be a bit of the Wasp in future films.
Captain America (Chris Evans)
I sometimes forget that Captain America was not an original Avenger, but he was found by the Avengers in issue #4. The Avengers without Captain America is not the Avengers, plan and simple. His costume has remained the classic Jack Kirby design, even down to the flared boots and wings on the head. The Winter Solder had Cap take on a more streamlined design at first, but he soon resorted back to wearing the red white and blue, just as it should be.
Early in the run, the founding member of the Avengers left with Captain America staying on. Three new members joined, and the team was nicknamed “Cap’s Kooky Quartet”
Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)
I really loved Hawkeye’s classic costume. I loved the way his mask flared up and how he wore a blue and purple tabard. Now, Hawkeye wears a more streamlined vest with sunglasses, which I suppose is more practical for film, but it’s not as fun. One thing of note: Hawkeye was once the first disabled Avenger in that he lost most of his hearing and had to wear a hearing aid. Although this has come and gone, it’s recently been reintroduced in the Hawkeye comic book.
Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Evan Peters)
He started off as a bad guy, well, a reluctant bad guy, as one of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Once Magneto was defeated by the X-Men, Quicksilver and his sister joined the Avengers. He’s arrogant and easily irritated. In a Peter David written comic he described his life always waiting for the rest of the world to catch up. So far he’s the only character to appear in both Avengers and X-Men films. His sequence in Days of Future Past is one of the highlights of the film. In the Avengers film he’s not a mutant as the term is used exclusively by Fox, but rather his power comes from experiments on Loki’s scepter by Baron Strucker.
Initially his costume was green, but in later years he moved to a blue costume with a lightning bolt, and that influenced his movie outfit.
The Scarlet Witch (Elisabeth Olsen)
Shares an origin with her brother, and later develops a relationship with the Vision. In the film she’s wearing street clothes, much like her character in the animated X-Men: Evolution. In the comics her wardrobe changed often, sometimes wearing a midrift-baring top, but I prefer the classic red on pink look.
In the Marvel comics, all mythology is real, and just like Thor and the Norse myths, the Greek myths are represented by Hercules. He’s a great character to have around when Thor is unavailable. Although h doesn’t have a hammer, he’s very strong, and also out of place in human society, often with humorous results. I imagine it might be difficult to have both Thor and Hercules in the same film as they would have similar roles.
Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)
T’Challa is awesome as he is the king of Wakanda, an African nation that has had a history of isolationism that resulted in them being one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world and one of the few sources of Vibranium, the metal in Captain America’s shield. He lends an air of regal civility to an otherwise unruly team and I’m very looking forward to seeing him onscreen.
Vision (Paul Bettany)
In the comics the Vision is the artificial body of the original Human Torch, discovered by Ultron and programmed with the brain patterns of Simon Williams, Wonderman. The film will no doubt contain a different origin, in that the role is being played by Paul Bettany who is the voice of Iron Man’s AI, JARVIS. He has the power to adjust his own density. In the comics Vision’s costume is mostly green and yellow with red skin. I hope the character continues to be seen in the MCU as his stories were often used to explore the nature of humanity, much like Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
I always loved the visual of the Black Knight: a medieval knight with an ebony blade riding a winged horse. Although it may be too much for films, I would still love to see Dane Whitman make an appearance.
Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)
With few alterations, the Black Widow’s costume has stayed similar to her traditional costume from the comics: a black cat suit with wrist-mounted stingers. For a while Widow had a grey bodysuit with a leather jacket (for some reason the Avengers all had leather jackets in the 90s) but that has since changed back to her classic outfit
Beast (Kelsey Grammer, Nicholas Holt)
We’re probably never going to see Beast in an Avengers film as he is mostly associated with the X-Men these days, but for a along while after the original X-Men disbanded, Beast in his blue furry form was a long time Avengers member.
Captain Marvel/ Carol Danvers
Carol is getting her own movie and I am thrilled. Her costumes have gone through quite a change. When she first appeared as Ms. Marvel, she had a midriff bearing red and blue outfit that was soon replaced with a black one-piece bathing suit with a lightning bolt. She would wear this costume on and off for years until she took the mantle of Captain Marvel and now wears a blue and red jumpsuit, which is more appropriate for a pilot and which I hope is kept for the film version
Captain Marvel/ Monica Rambeau
For a while the name of Captain Marvel was being used by Monica Rambeau who had control over the electromagnetic spectrum. Sometime she goes by Photon. It would be great to see her in the films as she is an African-American woman which is rarely represented on film as a superhero (Hallie Berry aside).
Falcon (Anthony Mackie)
In Captain America: The Winter Solder, Falcon was dressed in mostly street clothes with his mechanical wings strapped on to him. In the comics, he wears a combination of red and while. He also has an actual falcon, Redbird, which he has a physic connection with.
When I was reading comics as a kid, Tigra was part of the West Coast Avengers. It’s hard to miss her appeal as she’s a tiger-striped woman in a bikini
A long time member of the Avengers, Jennifer Walters became She-Hulk when her cousin, Bruce Banner had to transfuse some of his blood to her in order to save her life. The origin is a bit ridiculous as I can’t imagine Bruce would willingly give someone his curse, even to spare her life, but She-Hulk retains her personality when in her green form and is also an accomplished lawyer.
Mockingbird (Adrianne Palicki)
In the comics Bobbi was married and then divorced from Hawkeye. She doesn’t have that connection on the TV show Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and neither does she wear her black and white costume, wearing a black outfit similar to Black Widow’s.
War Machine (Don Cheadle)
In the comics, Rhodey usually wears the black and gray version of Tony’s armor with military weapons. He wears similar armor in the second film, but wears the red, white, and blue armor of the Iron Patriot in the third film, which was worn in the comics by Norman Osborne
Jessica Drew is a recent addition to the Avengers, and I think she would look great onscreen in her red and yellow costume.
And then there are these two: Spider-Man (Toby Maguire, Andrew Garfield) and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman)
Easily two of Marvel’s most popular characters, they were added in the New Avengers roster. While we’ve had several versions of Spidey’s outfits onscreen, it would be great to see Wolvie’s classic yellow and blue costume make an appearance.