This past weekend at the Tampa Bay Comic Con, the biggest guest they had was Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon in The Walking Dead. He had long autograph lines, he had fans wearing “Team Daryl” t-shirts all over the place, and he got me thinking about characters associated with the comics but who may not have started as an active part of them.
TO START WITH, TAMPA BAY COMIC CON
This is the third year I’ve been at this convention, and this one seemed the busiest. Maybe Mr. Reedus’ fans turned out in droves, and that pushed the Saturday and Sunday attendance up. Whatever took place, I liked it! While Friday was unnervingly quiet, the rest of the weekend was great for talking with fellow fans, comics creators and people interested in buying stuff!
From the comics worlds, the con featured appearances by Neal Adams, Jim Shooter, Bernie Wrightson, Don Rosa, George Perez, Bob Layton, Dan Jurgens, Colleen Doran, Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, Rags Morales, Michael Golden, Peter David and several others. I recorded an interview for the upcoming 250th episode of my Wayne’s Comics Podcast, not too many weeks away now!
The media guests included, of course the aforementioned Mr. Reedus (I didn’t see him, but I saw the line waiting for him – Yikes!), Ian McDiarmid and Ray Park from the Star Wars film franchise, Jenna Coleman from Doctor Who, Sean Astin from Lord of the Rings, Jack Gleason from Game of Thrones, and Charlie Cox from Daredevil, among others.
Cosplay was fun, and I saw my favorite Hawkgirl to date! Check out a photo of her on this page!
Great con, we’ll certainly be back next year! Go to their website (see the link above) for future information as it becomes available!
I remember a couple of years back when, on April Fool’s Day, a rework of an upcoming cover for The Walking Dead hit the Internet. On it was a drawing of a character we had never seen there before – Daryl Dixon. It all turned out to be a hoax, but it sure got the attention of the fans!
One the great things about his character on the show is that whenever he appears on-screen, I have no idea what’s going to happen since he’s not been in the book. And that interests me! Some of the time, the show follows the comic pretty closely, but it can’t do that when Mr. Dixon appears.
That only seems to have enhanced the actor’s popularity. Wherever he goes (and he attends cons quite a bit), the crowds show up in droves!
You’ll probably be able to tell should the comic’s sales start to fall because that’s when Daryl will appear there. The fans will want that issue especially!
Okay, I’m fudging a little on this one so I can tell you a story.
There were Harley Quinns (both male and female) aplenty this past weekend, but none of the ones I spoke with knew the “true” origin of Harley Quinn. She originally was NOT a comic book character.
She actually first appeared in the Batman: The Animated Series in “The Joker’s Favor” back in 1992. The script called for an exploding cake to be wheeled into a gathering of police officers honoring Commissioner Gordon.
They didn’t want the Joker to do it because it would be hard to disguise him, so they decided to create a new character based on an old comic-book name, the Harlequinn, and change her name to something more modern.
That’s all she was there for … to wheel in the cake. Look where she is now, starring in one of DC’s best-selling titles and appearing in Suicide Squad, the record-breaking film released this past weekend! I’d say she’s done pretty well by herself!
When the Fantastic Four animated series appeared back in 1978, the Human Torch had been optioned separately for another project. (A lot of folks bought the notion he was replaced because the networks were afraid the kids would try to mimic in and set themselves of fire. That proved not to be true.)
Stan Lee actually pitched the idea for H.E.R.B.I.E., and I can see that coming from The Man. He had some of Lee’s attitude and tone.
The little floating robot was eventually designed by Jack Kirby, and the show kicked off. Not long after that, he first appeared in the FF comic in issue #209, as Marvel tried to make the series resemble the show.
Much like Jar Jar Binks, H.E.R.B.I.E. didn’t go over very well with the faithful fans. It wasn’t long before he was relegated to lower-tier status, appearing only occasionally in the comics since then.
He appeared during a time when I wasn’t watching superhero cartoons, and I haven’t really tried to catch up on those episodes. Oh, well… .
OTHERS WHO DIDN’T START IN THE BOOKS
From what I can remember, there were several other characters who translated from the TV to the comics, including: Jimmy Olsen, who started on a radio show; Renee Montoya, who also got her debut in Batman: The Animated Series; Phil Colson, who first appeared in the initial Iron Man film; Firestar, who was in the cartoon Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends; and X-23 from the animated X-Men: Evolution.
All this shows that it’s usually a television series (live-action or animated) or a film that brings a character to a comic, but not always!
What other roles in comics-related TV shows and movies do you remember who have NOT appeared in the comics? Also, what related characters do you like who have never appeared in the comics, of if they did, went on to become big smashes or faded quickly? Please share your choices in the space below!