The Neglected Nemeses: Solomon Grundy
For those of you that know me, then you know I am on a mission to make this happen. But I’m getting ahead of myself. A few weeks ago, I started a new editorial series here on Comic Book Therapy called The Neglected Nemeses in which I take a look at some of the rogues of comic books that have been over looked in films. I, like many fans have grown tired of seeing the same villains getting used and reused in films. Granted, there are certain characters, like Lex Luthor and Joker, that are imperative to their respective heroes, but that doesn’t mean they need to be in every movie.
This time around, we are delving into the world of Batman. With Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise coming to a controversial end this summer, the future of the character is up in the air. Or is it? The Batman is, at the moment, the only successful character that DC Comics and Warner Brothers have and I believe that a reboot may be coming sooner rather than later, regardless of whether or not that Justice League movie gets made. While I enjoyed Nolan’s films, I think it’s time to take the character back to his comic book roots and delve more into the more odd and peculiar villains. Pretty sure Solomon Grundy fits in that category, right? Let’s take a look at the history of the risen behemoth first, then I’ll get into why I think this must happen.
Cyrus Gold was born sometime in the mid 19th Century. In 1895 (or 1894, depending on the story line), Gold “hooked up,” as it were, with a prostitute from the Gotham City area named Rachel Rykel, and as often happens with hook ups, she soon told Gold that she was with child. In exchange for her silence, Gold was forced to pay Rykel money. The two scheduled to meet at Slaughter Swamp to negotiate the deal, but Gold was bashed over the head with a shovel by Rykel’s pimp. The pair dumped gold’s body in the swamp, certain that no one would find the body. Over the course of about 50 years, and via a process that is still unknown, Gold’s body “interacted” with the dead plant life and swamp goo. According to the Earth-Two story line, Gold’s reanimated corpse meandered out of the swamps in 1944, with no memory of his previous life. He quickly encountered two escaped criminals, who he murdered for their clothes. He then stumbled into a hobo camp and was asked about his name, which he could not recall. The only thing that came to mind was that he was born on a Monday. One of the hobo’s brought up the old children’s rhyme involving Solomon Grundy, and the name stuck.
Very strong, cruel and practically mindless, Grundy fell into a life of crime and soon attracted the attention of Alan Scott, the Green Lantern. Grundy quickly proved to be a formidable foe for Scott, considering that he was not able to be killed, and that his powers had little effect on him being that his body was largely made up of wood. The pair battled multiple times, the first of which ended when Grundy was thrown under a train. The second romp involved Lantern’s Justice Society friends and ended when Grundy was defeated and placed on the moon. In 1947, Lantern buried the behemoth. After a brief stint working for the time traveling villain Per Degaton, Grundy was once again banished to the moon, where he remained for the next 20 years. But, having stored up residual emerald energy from battling the Green Lantern, Grundy made his way back to Earth, where he battled Lantern, Dr. Fate and Hourman. During this time, Grundy actually had the power to manipulate and control wood particles, a power that did not last long however.
So who could take on a role like this? There are a few folks that come to mind like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The former wrestler has made a name for himself in the action film genre and he definitely has the size for the role, but I just don’t see him wanting to spend that much time in the make-up chair, which would be necessary for Grundy. If you go by size alone, then Glen Jacobs, a/k/a Kane from the WWE, is your man. Oddly enough, I don’t think much make up would be needed for his mug. Or how about former X-Man Daniel Cudmore. Another actor that has the build and stature for the role. But I have another actor in mind, one who is not a stranger to spending time in the make-up chair, which he as done for films like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and I Am Number Four. Kevin Durand is a sizable man who actually has a bit of talent and experience under his belt. Standing at 6’6″ and weighing 230 (ish) pounds, he’d serve as a formidable foe against Batman. Of course, get the guy to a gym and he’d bulk up even more and through the magic of camera angles, you have your self a villain!
Feel free to share your thoughts below. DO you think Grundy would be a good choice for a new film? Is he too far out there for a feature film?
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