<i>by <a href=http://www.twitter.com/graemem>Graeme McMillan, Newsarama Contributor</a></i> <p>As this week's <em>Thanos Rising</em> reminds us, Marvel as a publisher seems to believe that childhood is a formative time for its characters, whether they're insane godlike beings that started as skinny dweebs, super-soldier patriots that started as skinny dweebs or heroes with "spider-like agility" that started as skinny dweebs not to mention adamantium-laced killing machines who, yes, started as skinny dweebs. <p>But what <em>other</em> Marvel characters would gain from a glimpse into their childhood? And would all of them really turn out to be skinny dweebs? <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p> <p>
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the fact that we've never really seen a lot of Danny Rand's childhood a bit of a missed opportunity? Sure, there have been the occasional flashback sequences and all, but here is a character who lost his parents at age nine and was raised in a mystical city filled with martial arts experts who trained him to be a living weapon throughout his adolescence. If ever there was a killer uncomfortable teenage drama waiting to happen, it's <em>Iron Fist: The Early Years</em>. Why hasn't this happened yet? <p><b>Skinny Dweeb Potential:</b> Sure, he might start that way, but he'd end up a lean, mean pizza-curious machine before too long.
The early days of Benjamin J. Grimm are another relatively unexplored area filled with dramatic potential. We know that Ben was a street-wise scrapper and member of the Yancy Street Gang (their leader at one point, in fact) whose brother died young and was headed for a life of whatever the Marvel equivalent of Thug Life is before he won a football scholarship to Empire State University and met Reed Richards, an event that changed his life forever. <p>But what was the journey that took Ben from gang leader to upright mensch of the Marvel Universe? That's something I want to read. <p><b>Skinny Dweeb Potential:</b> Sadly, none, likely dooming the entire idea entirely.
This one's a gimme, surely. Baby gets dropped off in the future, reappears in the past as a techno-organic old man with an attitude problem. We've seen bits and pieces of what happened in between in various series throughout the years, but surely the whole story would make for a more exciting story than <em>Wolverine: Origin</em>? Admittedly, there would be less nightshirts in the future, but I think comics would survive. <p><b>Skinny Dweeb Potential:</b> It depends. Can the techno-organic virus hold off until after puberty before creating overly muscular arms?
Another backstory I've always wanted to see expanded upon, what was Carl Lucas like before he was framed for a crime he didn't actually commit and get sent to Seagate Prison? Even if the idea doesn't immediately reach out and grab the creators at Marvel - After all, Luke has gone from regularly appearing in two high-profile series at the publisher to appearing in none as a result of Marvel NOW!, so maybe he's fallen out of favor over there here's an added incentive: Just imagine all the blaxploitation tropes you could use in this series. Interesting <em>now</em>...? <p><b>Skinny Dweeb Potential:</b> Sure, why not? There's nothing that says that pre-Power Man Cage was particularly muscular.
As one of the most complex citizens in the current Marvel Universe whether or not you agree with his current hardline stance on mutant... Sorry, "Alex" issues, you'll have to admit that Cyke is a fascinating study in contradictions and psychological issues. <p>So... what caused that, exactly? Losing his parents at an early age to alien invasion? Having to protect himself and his brother against a bureaucratic system that didn't care about their well-being? Being forced to hide who and what he was as a child because everyone else couldn't handle it? How about "All of the Above." Let's see some of that, please. <p><b>Skinny Dweeb Potential:</b> Hey, he was called "Slim" when he first appeared as a teen. This is definitely Skinny Machine Go.
Unlike other "unseen origin" stories on this list, Dazzler doesn't need the untold tales of her childhood rehashed. <p>Instead, what we want is skipping straight to the good stuff: How, exactly, did she go from a teen mutant discovering her powers in high school to the Disco Diva that we fell in love with in <em>Uncanny X-Men</em> #130? Imagine the soap opera potential! The auditions! The rejections! The unsuccessful demo tapes of her short-lived hair metal direction! Memo to Marvel: This is the comic that your <a href="http://www.newsarama.com/comics/project-gamma-marvel-first.html">Project Gamma</a> initiative was made for. <p><b>Skinny Dweeb Potential:</b> If Alison wasn't a nervous, mousy band geek before a showbiz makeover, then there's no point to the entire enterprise, let's be honest.
Admittedly, this seems like a strange one Janet Van Dyne was somewhat the stereotypical socialite when she first came to Marvelites' attentions in the 1960s, after all but here's the pitch: <em>Betty and Veronica: Marvel Style</em>. Janet, of course, would be the monied, spoiled Veronica in this scenario, and the choice of Betty is a retcon just waiting to happen: Patsy Walker. Bring on Kathryn Immonen as writer and David Lafuente as artist and that's comic gold waiting to happen. <p><b>Skinny Dweeb Potential:</b> Oh, hush. We all know that Janet is never anything less than fabulous.
Again, we've had glimpses of the youthful Wanda and Pietro throughout their decades of existence, but never a series just laying out what happened to them between being abandoned by their parents as children and being re-adopted (without knowing it) by their father years later as members of his supervillain troupe. <p>What happened to make Pietro so protective of his sister? What was life like for Wanda as she discovered her impossible, amazing powers? Considering the many, many red herrings about these characters' parentage throughout the years, just imagine how many guest stars could show up to boost sales! <p><b>Skinny Dweeb Potential:</b> Let's be honest, when has Quicksilver <em>not</em> had an air of skinny dweeb trying desperately to overcompensate about him?
Yes, we've had <a href="http://marvel.wikia.com/Ultimate_Iron_Man_Vol_1">an Ultimate version of this story</a> from none other than Orson Scott Card, and we're about to get the <a href="http://www.newsarama.com/comics/iron-man-secret-origin.html">regular Marvel universe version</a> starting next month, proving my theory that there was clearly something up with the childhood of a man who went on to turn himself into a living WMD when stuck in an unfortunate situation. <p>The real question is this: Will we see more of <a href="http://comicbookdb.com/character.php?ID=6189">Teen Tony</a>? <p><b>Skinny Dweeb Potential:</b> As we already know from the career of Teen Tony, he was apparently always ready for action. Admittedly, it would make more sense for him to have been the nervous, insular type who preferred toys and machines to people and action, but hey. Teen Tony is canon...
I know that Ego has said that his creation came about when a scientist merged with a planet as the nearby sun went supernova, but what if he was lying to Thor to avoid a more embarrassing truth? <p>Given the success of <em>A-Babies Vs. X-Babies</em>, surely Marvel wouldn't want to pass up the chance to do a <em>Planet-Baby</em> series...? Skottie Young, where are you when we need you...?!? <p><b>Skinny Dweeb Potential:</b> We can only dream of a skinny teenage planet going through the trials and tribulations of puberty. If nothing else, that "crater-face" insult would arguably be more appropriate than normal...