Comic book fans have been spoiled by adaptations like The Flash, Arrow, and Marvel’s Daredevil in recent years, but some major icons weren’t so lucky to go so far, or even be remembered. We’re talking about properties like Spider-Man, Captain America, Doctor Strange, Aquaman, and The Justice League. Decades before these characters became major movie franchises for Marvel and DC, they all were imagined for television at a time before such things were considered to be cool. There were also adaptations of comics that may have been popular at a time that are long since forgotten, and, in one instance below, an entire series that has largely been unseen for 25 years.
Below you’ll find 10 of those projects, but what can we learn from this list? Sadly, not every comic book series is a Smallville or a modern-day Flash. Some, however, are worth seeking out if you’re curious to see how the genre was done in the past, and some of these shows aren’t all that bad. Ideally, the lack of success or endurance for these projects gave producers a better idea of what could and would work, inspiring the current successful wave of Marvel and DC properties on the TV screen.
To be included in this list, a project had to have aired at least once, somewhere, or have been part of an official release — which means that no, you will not be finding Adrianne Palicki‘s Wonder Woman here. Additionally, projects that were announced that never happened, such as Deadman, Booster Gold, or even a Night Thrasher TV series that was once in development for UPN, will not make the list.