This weekend I attended Awesome Con in Washington D.C. I was there to partake in my own “Telling the Story” panel and spend what little cash I have on vintage pop culture collectibles. Mission accomplished. Rent will have to wait, for I am now the proud owner of a 40-year-old Planet of the Apes trashcan.
Since 2013, the pop culture convention has grown exponentially. What began as a haven for local artists like myself has quickly expanded into a mega event where the cast of Boy Meets World and Guardians of the Galaxy now come to shake the hands of their fans. Give it a few more years plus more celebrity additions like John Boyega and Awesome Con will be seriously competing against the New York Comic Con.
My panel was scheduled at 5pm on Saturday afternoon. In partnership with Liz Reed from Cuddles and Rage and Emily Sears from Birth Movies Death, we were there to help those seeking the joys of writing and publishing their own work. We had a strong, solid crowd, but we were also facing some severe competition. Boyega’s fan Q&A was scheduled to launch on the main stage at 6pm, and it seemed like half of the Washington convention center began to cue up in the middle of the afternoon.
Can you blame them? This was Boyega’s first time in Washington, and it was his first comic convention where he was the main draw. The adulation he faced was ravenous, and he responded to it with genuine warmth and appreciation. He spent nearly 48 hours signing autographs and embracing strangers for photo ops. Not a cheap endeavor either, as a one-on-one encounter would set you back $200. Boyega, however, made sure he was worth every penny.
Thankfully, it takes some significant time to file in a few thousand people into one massive conference room, and I was able to sprint to the main stage after my panel wrapped up. Sliding into the room just as he took the stage, I discovered an actor after my own heart. He is as much of a Star Wars geek as you and I are. He’s a Kaiju maniac and gains genuine pleasure from listing off the vinyl figures he’s collected over the years.
When moderator and #PorgNation queen Ash Crossan asked Boyega if he would be interested in continuing his franchise domination into the Superhero genre, the self-proclaimed Marvel zombie said that he’s actually had a few calls with Kevin Feige. He firmly established that he was Team Cap all the way, and when an audience member shouted out “Blade!” Boyega responded by saying that character belonged to Wesley Snipes. He wanted one for his own.
Boyega was mum on who he would like to play. He’s keeping those dreams close to his chest. That doesn’t mean we can’t launch into a thousand theories… or at least five. Boyega’s joyous personality is a perfect fit for the MCU.
Here are my picks for the Marvel heroes I’d be extremely happy to see the actor take on:
5. The Sentry
Imagine a crazier version of Superman. He stands for truth, justice, and the American way as longs as he’s on his meds. The moment he slips from routine, his arch nemesis, The Void crawls out of his head to wreak havoc upon the world. I’m not sure we’re all ready for this superhero metaphor for mental illness, but an actor like Boyega could make it work. We haven’t seen his dark side yet (pun intended), but what glimpses of moral ambiguity we do catch in Attack the Block and Pacific Rim: Uprising suggest a possibility.
4. Power Man
No, not the Luke Cage version. Victor Alvarez grew up on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen, and he saw the positive effect that characters like Cage and Daredevil had on his neighborhood. When his father died in an explosion caused by the villain Bullseye, Alvarez somehow managed to draw on the chi of the souls caught in the blast. He took on the mantle of Cage’s Power Man and went so far as to join his Avengers offshoot team. Maybe not as memorable as the original, the Alvarez version of Power Man manages to mix his legitimate rage with the cynical humor that his youth grants him.
Those eager to ship Finn and Poe will find satisfaction in the relationship between “Young Avengers” Hulkling and Wiccan. When he hit puberty, young Teddy Altman discovered that he had shapeshifting abilities. No, he’s not a mutant, but a Skrull child born into hiding. With Captain Marvel gearing up to bring us this villainous race of changelings, Hulkling would be a great branch to cling to in Marvel’s Phase Four. Like Power Man, he’s a superhero infatuated with the previous generation, but you wouldn’t have to worry about the Netflix interference for Teddy.
2. White Tiger
During the panel, it was clear that Boyega was as equally enamored with Black Panther as the rest of us. Where would we like to see him fit into Wakanda? Originally appearing in “The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu,” White Tiger’s costume looks like an inverse of T’Challa’s suit. However, his superpowers extend from the Jade Tiger amulet around his neck. There have been five iterations of the character throughout comic book continuity, and to make him work for Boyega, this White Tiger would need to be an amalgam of the bunch. To set him further apart design-wise, I’d love to see the Boyega version physically manifest the bestial form.
1. The Black Knight
As Moses in Attack The Block, Boyega has proven himself a fine wielder of the sword. There also have been multiple versions of this character, from good guy to bad guy, but the iteration I’d like to see Boyega portray is Dane Whitman. A descendent of the Knights of the Round Table, Whitman is the keeper of The Ebony Blade. The enchanted weapon grants its user invulnerability, and that euphoric feeling also curses the hero with a terrible addiction. The Black Knight has been a member of both The Avengers and the Masters of Evil, but recently Whitman was seen navigating the treacherous realm of Weirdworld. I know, this all sounds like gibberish, but given the right actor and director, The Black Knight could be a savage badass of the MCU.