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.
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?