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Top Five Comics Characters Bruce Campbell Should/Could Play

My adoration and appreciation for the life and work of Bruce Campbell is well documented across the internets by now. This Friday, I shall be having “Chinfest ’09” with my friends, where we’ll screen some of the best schlock Bruce has appeared in. Like-minded fans reading this may remember that Bruce was sort of almost the Shadow, almost but not quite Darkman, and was the runner-up for the Phantom before that wily Billy Zane snatched the role away. What other mighty heroes and villains would he have been a good fit for? Whose spandex could he still step into? Find out after the jump (check here to see an archive of all the top five lists featured so far).

5.  The Comedian

Edward Blake: a grizzled, aging, badass intelligence agent who’s pretty much an asshole to everybody he encounters. Thanks to his role as Elvis in Bubba Ho-Tep, we know Bruce can play a lonely, sad, mean old man, and many of his earlier roles tell us he can play a slightly more cheery badasshole. All he has to do is add some rape and some flamethrowers and a domino mask, and bam! The Comedian, the only guy who knows the joke– and isn’t laughing.

4.  Nick Fury

Nick Fury: a grizzled, aging, badass intelligence agent who’s pretty much an asshole to everybody he encounters. Also, he has an eyepatch. We all know Bruce Campbell is a leader of men, so I think he could step into the blue uniform of Nick Fury, the only man who can command the goddamn Punisher as well as the toughest guy with a bowler hat and a walrus mustache you will ever see. As agent and/or director of SHIELD, the Campbellized Fury would be a a devlish rogue who’d just as rather insult you as lay on the charm. He chomps on cigars, curses like a sailor, flies on jetpacks, shoots sci-fi Nazis in the face, and gets the girl. Give him some sugar, baby.

And hey, if Hasselhoff can do it, anybody can, right?

3.  Hal Jordan/Green Lantern

Imagine the Bruce Campbell of sometime around Evil Dead 2 or Army of Darkness as the young, daring pilot Hal Jordan, a kind of doofy adventurer who confuses charm with smarm and has a penchant for cranial trauma. Why, that’s only a few steps away from Ash! Replace the chainsaw with a power ring and you’ve got Hal Jordan, space-cop! Sure, the special effects in 1992 might not have done the concept justice, but Bruce would’ve pulled the role off with aplomb. And Ted Raimi could’ve played G’Nort.

2. Mysterio

Bruce has appeared in all three of the Spider-Man films so far, thanks to pal Sam Raimi. He’s named Spidey, defeated Spidey, and teamed up with Spidey! What’s next? Well, I don’t think he’s going to become Spidey anytime soon, but he could do battle with Spidey! Fans have been clamoring for Campbell to portray a Spider-villain. Some say his macho exterior would be a good fit for Kraven the Hunter, but still others think Bruce would be a perfect fit for Mysterio. I can see it. The bombastic, failed special effects guy/stuntman Quentin Beck who couldn’t seem to make a name for himself in show business and decided to make a name for himself in crime would be a role Bruce could really sink his teeth into. And hey– perhaps Quentin Beck has been the same guy all along, taking jobs as a wrestling announcer, snooty usher, and faux-French maitre d’ while trying to hit it big. Finally, he gives up and turns to flamboyant crime!

Mysterio might not be able to carry an entire movie by himself, but he’d make for a great secondary villain, one with just enough over-the-top-ness for Bruce to chew the scenery without swallowing it whole. The famous Campbell panache would work wonders for Mysterio. And who wouldn’t want to see Spidey bash that fishbowl head in, only for a mighty chin to jut out from beneath it?

1. Captain Marvel

(I drew the above a couple years ago. It is the height of my artistic skills. I was afraid to ink it lest I ruin it, so what you see is what you get.)

Captain Marvel– of the Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! variety– plays to all of Bruce’s strengths. He can range from boyish and goofy to serious and tough: equal parts comedy and action/adventure. Captain Marvel is, after all, the Big Red Cheese, and no one does bigger or cheesier than Bruce Campbell– he’s the master at it, and has the acting chops to pull off the wisdom of Solomon and the spirit of Billy Batson. Alright, he might be a bit grayer and rounder than he used to be, but underneath that chin lurks the heart of a champion, or somesuch rabble. Anyway, I think he would’ve made a cool Cap back in the day, but we’ll probably never know, eh?

What do you think? What other comic characters would benefit from a bit of the ol’ chin magic?


You missed the most obvious and best – The Creeper! I actually wrote and pitched a Creeper screenplay in the early ’90s, trying to convince TPTB of the genius of having Bruce Campbell as both the cocksure, smarmy Jack Ryder and the flippin’ insane Creeper. But that door has closed and, as much as I love the Bruce, he’s no longer in superhero prime.

Ahhh wellll…..

Somehow, I see young Bruce (circa Evil Dead 2 or Army of Darkness) as Eel O’Brien/Plastic Man. Too old now, but still makes a nice “what-if”.

Mysterio… now that could work.

Bruce’s name comes up alongside Plastic Man so often that I think he was actually up for the role back when it was almost a movie when the Wachowskis wanted to do it. Or did I make all that up?

Rohan Williams

April 15, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Nice. I’ve long believed that Bruce Campbell (or, at least, ’90s Bruce) was the one person (well, besides Matt Dillon) who could do the Silver Age Metallo justice on the big screen. Really, grab your Showcase copy, find the Metallo story, and tell me that Bruce wasn’t born to play that role

I still want to write a movie in which Bruce Campbell, Matt Dillon, and Nicholas Brendon play brothers.

A younger Bruce Campbell, maybe somewhere in the timeframe of “The Hudsucker Proxy” and “The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.” would have made a PERFECT Denny Colt/The Spirit

Yeah, I’ve been saying Bruce’s Spider-Man character should become Mysterio for years now. Maybe if enough of us demand it they’ll give in. Plus, how cool would it be to have a big budget movie villain whose “power” is special effects?

I suspect we’ll get Smyth and his Spider-Slayers instead. We all know how much Hollywood loves its giant mechanical spiders. On the bright side, at least that gives them an excuse to use JJJ more and he’s been the best part about these movies.

Some of your other picks are inspired but I don’t think I ever would have thought of them. Sure I think Bruce is more of a Dirk Anger than an Nick Fury but the idea of him as the Comedian is awesome. It’d also be interesting to see how Bruce’s tendency to overdo it a little might actually work if he’s playing Billy Batson pretending to be an adult hero. I think Bruce has too much of a personality to play Hal Jordan, though.

Also, it might just be the Brisco County Jr fan in me talking but what about Batlash?

A movie featuring Bruce Campbell as Nick Fury would include far too much awesomeness for the human mind to deal with, and must, for the good of humanity, remain a pleasing dream.

That was a terrifically entertaining post, Bill. Inspired and provocative; this’ll be a ton-o-fun comments thread, I’m sure.

I’m going to have to add Wolverine. (OK, kidding, Campbell’s too tall. And that’s just the chin.)

So: Count Nefaria.

After seeing Bruce for the first time on the big screen in Army Of Darkness way back whenever, I thought that he would perfect for The Spirit. In period, blue suit, beat to crap, shooting out one liners – he would have been perfect. I still can’t help thinking of him when I reread Eisners great stories.

I’d love to see him play Deadpool, and I mean the loudmouthed quipping variety, not the mute SOB in the Wolverine film.

Bruce Campbell for Wildcat.

He would be a good wise-cracking revamp of the old Flash villain the Turtle. No seriously, I can picture it in my head. He also could be cool as Mr. Bones, in the never going to happen Manhunter, or even better Chase movie adaptation.

When I heard that he had lost out on the lead for the Phantom I was left to mourn what could have been.
The phantom was not a good movie, but Bruce Campbell would have salvaged it to be watchable at the least–and probably made it a whole lotta fun. Whoever chose Billy over Bruce deserves some sort of punishment.

I was thinking the other day that Bruce Campbell would be the ideal lead in the new Judge Dredd film. He’s the right age, he’s got the right balance of machismo and humour, and he’s packing a mean chin.

Maybe it’s just the eyepatch but Campbell as Fury = Phil Kensebben to me.

Deadpool, fo sho. But I’ve they decide to make ANOTHER Punisher flick (which I personally suspect they will at some point) they sure cast Bruce and just admit they’re playing the whole thing for laughs

should nor sure. Dunno what happened there

Well, according to his bio “If Chins Could Kill..” he was seriously in the running for Batman, before Clooney got cast (lucky escape there!)…

For chins though, is there any more iconic chin than Judge Dredd’s?

Love the Nick Fury idea… but Mr Jackson has that sewn-up for a while…

The Tick?

Moon Roach from Cerebus?

Kingdom Come Superman/Kingdom Come Captain Marvel?

Tom Fitzpatrick

April 16, 2009 at 4:42 am

I remember seeing Bruce Campbell in the movies Spider-man 2 and 3, but not in the first one. Where did he show up in that one?

In my head, Secret Six’s Deadshot is a Brisco County-era Bruce.

(Bruce was the wrestling announcer in the first Spider-Man, Tom)

I was thinking the other day that Bruce Campbell would be the ideal lead in the new Judge Dredd film. He’s the right age, he’s got the right balance of machismo and humour

Humour? Judge Dredd?

In Spider-Man 1, Bruce is the commentator at the wrestling match

Tommy Monaghan aka Hitman.

With Ice Cube as Natt the Hat.

Second the Hitman nomination. He could do Ennis’s words justice, and have the chops to make it serious when it came to the friendship stuff. Plus keep the sick comedy balance. God, how good would he be in Zombie Night at the Gotham Aquarium?

Bruce Campbell in in Zombie Night at the Gotham Aquarium? This needs to exist. Now.

What, no love for Simon Williams? Campbell’s physique and personality would be perfect for Wonder Man.

All excellent suggestions, gang. Bruce Campbell: the world’s most versatile hypothetical comic book actor!

Humour? Judge Dredd?

Absolutely full of humour.

Black humour and satire, admittedly, but definite chock-full of humour…

The Patent Dragon

April 16, 2009 at 8:06 am

Easy. Kilowog.

Mike Huckabee's Nutritionist

April 16, 2009 at 9:58 am

How can Wonder Man not make the list when he’s practically the Marvel version of Bruce Campbell? He’s a B-list actor and the Enchantress was swooning over his chin in his very first appearance.

The only one out of the 5 that I think Bruce could still pull off is Mysterio. Hook the man up with the fishbowl already, Raimi!

To me it’s not his chin but his wisecracking personality. With that in mind I could see him with a CGI-ed body doing Metamorpho. And not Hal Jordan, but Guy Gardner.

On the Marvel side, imagine him as Batroc the Leaper doing a cheesy French accent…

CGI him into Johnny Thunders Thunderbolt!

Andrew Kennedy

April 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Bruce Campbell as Hitman? Have you been inside my dreams?

Love love LOVE that drawing of BC as Captain Marvel.

Commenting on suggestions above–
The Tick could work–if they get it right this time.

Wonder Man could be cool.


April 16, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Reuben Flagg
Max Lord
Pat Dugan

Absolutely full of humour.

Black humour and satire, admittedly, but definite chock-full of humour…

The strip, yeah – but not the character himself. He’s almost completely devoid of a sense of humour.

Though then again “Gaze into the fist of Dredd” and “Foul smelling bearded woman” and a few other one-liners suggest maybe he has a bit more humour than I gave him credit for

He’s almost completely devoid of a sense of humour.

True, he’s more of a straight man in that regard, but he does have some wonderful dry moments every now and again…

That’s why I like the idea of Bruce Campbell playing him. He’s played lots of characters that have to adapt to absurd situations…

Based on looks and his sarcastic wit, he woulda made a good Savage Dragon.

I’m really surprised nobody has suggested Bruce Campbell as Will Magnus yet. By the time I got to Volume Two of Showcase Presents Metal Men, it was all I could think of–he’d be the perfect arrogant, irritable, yet deep-down lovable foil for the CGI robots. And it’s a role he’s in the right age range to play, now, too.

I think he would have been more appropriate for the movie version of Denny “the Spirit” Colt (minus the plagiarized healing factor). The intended humor would then have been lots funnier. And, thereby, probably more successful in keeping me from walking out like I did, three months ago, after the FIRST 45 MINUTES (that’s how bad I found that mega-flop)!

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