Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday Tangent: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - 1980's Style

While I consider Alan Moore to be bat-guano crazy, I do think he’s had some interesting ideas over the years. One of those ideas is the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The whole thing is based on the premise of “What if” all the fictional characters of a particular era (in this case, the Victorian era) were ‘real’- and existed in the same, shared universe. Thus, you have Adventurer Alan Quatermain teaming up with Mina Harker (from the novel Dracula), Dr. Jeckyll (and Mr. Hyde), Captain Nemo and the Invisible Man. While I don’t really care for Moore’s stories with these characters, I really do LOVE the concept- so much so that it got me thinking what other “Leagues” might have looked like in other eras.

Since I am a child of the 80’s, and well versed in the movies and TV shows of the time, I have put together MY list of characters I think would make an…interesting LXG. It was VERY difficult to make the ‘final’ choice for the team- and I am still ambivalent on a few. It is also a bit disappointing (and telling) that there aren’t a whole lot of Female heroes in this era- at least ones that really stand out in my own (addled) memory. So, without Further ado, here are my picks for an 80’s era LXG.

Alan “Dutch” Schaefer (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger)

Here is the quintessential 80’s muscle-bound adventure hero. But Dutch has a bit more going for him than contemporaries like John Rambo or James Braddock- namely the fact that he’s had a very memorable run-in with an alien Predator in the jungles of Central America. I see Dutch as a survivor of that mission, recruited by the league to be the leader of this particular team. He is, of course, a highly skilled combatant, and physically powerful.

Dr. Buckaroo Banzai (played by Peter Weller)

In many ways the opposite of the ‘Dutch’-type hero, Dr. Banzai is a scientific genius who also happens to be a capable combatant. He has his own organization of scientist/adventurers to back him up and is an expert on all manner of strange technologies, sciences and even arcane studies. He is also a ‘renaissance’ man, exploring many different specialties and even the arts (through his rock band, the Hong Kong Cavaliers). Dr. Banzai would be the ‘brains’ of the LXG, responsible for coming up with plans and gadgets to overcome the obstacles they will face.

Connor McCloud (played by Christopher Lambert)

He’s an immortal- that would come in handy in ANY kind of team. McCloud is, of course, an immensely talented swordsman, but also has hundreds of years of first-hand experience with history and other cultures. He is also at least partially versed in various ‘occult’ knowledges- considering his ‘kind’ are certainly outside the realm of conventional science.

Sarah Connor (played by Linda Hamilton)

A waitress turned fugitive, Sarah Connor was involved in a temporal disturbance in which she was hunted by a machine from a possible future. She is supposedly the ‘mother of the resistance’ in the future. She is having a difficult time with what has been thrust upon her- as well as the loss of her love (the father of her young child). She is a kind-hearted person, but has had to harden herself in preparation for what MIGHT come to pass. She was taken on by the League at first for ‘study’- but has since been taken ‘under its wing’ on the off chance that this possible future might come to pass. Thus, the League is attempting to train her for what might come to be- as well as look out for ways to prevent that future- or at least delay it.

David Kessler – aka “An American Werewolf in London” (played by David Naughton)

Though supposedly killed at the end of the film, it is entirely possible that David could have been claimed by a top-secret British laboratory (perhaps one run by the League?) and ‘brought back to life’ in order to study his condition. He could have also been subject to a variety of tests and treatments designed to help him control his ‘condition’ and even use it ‘for good’. David, however, would likely be quite traumatized by all that has happened. He would be a powerful ally, but an untrustworthy one- with powers and a psyche that aren’t entirely predictable.

There they are, my ‘top five’. But there was a rather large list of runners up for this. Below are some of the folks who are waiting in the wings, as it were:

Mick “Crocodile” Dundee (played by Paul Hogan)
Though light-hearted, Mick is a peerless hunter and tracker and also seems to have an uncanny ability with animals. He would be held back, however (at least in the eyes of the League), by his unwillingness to kill.

Charlene McGee – aka “Firestarter” (played by Drew Barrymore)
Her incredibly powerful pyrokinetic abilities would be QUITE useful on League business. She is, however, just a child, and thus probably would not be formally ‘recruited’ until she has come of age (perhaps in the 90’s era league)

David Lightman (played by Matthew Broderick)
A computer hacker who managed to break into the U.S. Government’s ‘wargames’ computer, David almost accidently destroyed the world. His abilities as a hacker- as well as his resourcefulness- would make him a prime candidate for recruitment by the league- even if only in a ‘support’ role for field teams.

Sheena (played by Tanya Roberts)
Yes, I know. The movie and the actress are/were cheesy (cheesecakey) to the extreme, but the concept of a strong, capable jungle-woman who can converse with and command wild animals is an interesting one. Her talents could certainly come in handy, even in a ‘modern’ world. Unfortunately, her generally pacifistic attitude could work against some of the League's desperate missions.

J.J. “Lone Wolf” McQuade (played by Chuck Norris)
A Texas Ranger responsible for bringing down a major arms smuggling operation, McQuade is a highly skilled combatant and also has tracking and survival skills. His “Lone Wolf” attitude, however, would hamper his abilities to operate within the League.

John McClane (played by Bruce Willis)
A New York Cop (now working/living in LA), McClane has proven to be resourceful and nigh-indestructable in his single-handed foiling of a terrorist plot in the Nakatomi tower. Though quite capable, McClane is a family man, and moreso has a distinctly ‘cop’ attitude that might not work well within the bounds of the league.

Dr. Egon Spengler (played by Harold Ramis)
Operating with the Ghostbusters team, Spengler is a brilliant scientific mind. His knowledge of occult entities would prove invaluable to the League. However, he is no ‘combatant’- at least not against the living. He would thus work better in an advisory role for specific missions.

Angus MacGyver (played by Richard Dean Anderson)
An agent for the mysterious “Phoenix Foundation”, MacGyver is known for his unorthodox approach to problems- making use of a variety of on-hand materials and a strong knowledge of science in order to accomplish his missions. He is resolutely against killing, though he is quite capable in unarmed combat and subdual techniques. It is this code against killing that would limit his usefulness in many league operations.

Ralph Hinkley (played by William Katt)
This unassuming high-school teacher was given a ‘suit’ of alien design, evidently intended to give him amazing powers of strength, speed, invulnerability and even flight. Unfortunately, Ralph lost the ‘instruction manual’ to the suit, and must thus ‘muddle through’ on his own. He is currently (nominally) in the employ of the FBI through a handler agent (Bill Maxwell). This status, plus his inability to fully control “The Suit” have kept him from recruitment by the league thus far.

John Rambo (played by Sylvester Stallone)
A Vietnam-era special forces soldier, John Rambo has had significant trouble re-adjusting to civilian life, resulting in a bloody showdown with a small town sherrif in the pacific northwest. He subsequently moved to a monastery in southeast asia to try and find some peace. His mental instability is the prime reason he has been passed over for recruitment in favor of more ‘stable’ individuals such as Dutch Schaeffer.

Stringfellow Hawke (played by Jan Michael Vincent)
Hawke is an elite helicopter pilot who occasionally works for a branch of the CIA. It was during an operation for them that he acquired a prototype attack helicopter known as “Airwolf”. While he continues to work for the CIA, he has thus far kept Airwolf hidden from them (evidently not trusting them to use it ethically). It is for this attitude towards authority that he was not considered as a final candidate for recruitment by the League.

Remo Williams (played by Fred Ward)
A former cop, Remo was ‘recruited’ by a shadowy organization acting as a watchdog versus corrupt politicians and big-businessmen. Remo was subsequently trained in a form of martial arts that allow him almost supernatural abilities. He was not recruited by the league because he was essentially already ‘doing the job’- albeit for another employer.

Leroy Green – aka “The Last Dragon” (played by Taimak)
A pure-hearted martial arts master who has achieved- through training and confrontation with a powerful gang-leader- a supernatural power known as “The Glow”. His boyscout and pacifist attitude is the primary reason he was not recruited for the League.

Dr. Emmet Brown (played by Christopher Lloyed)
A crazed inventor who squandered his family fortune in pursuit of time-travel technology, Brown actually managed to achieve his goal. Unfortunately, he disappeared in time and his whereabouts are unknown to the League at this point.

In addition to these individuals, there are several notable people who fall into various groups. These people were omitted from recruitment for various reasons- many of which having to do with duplication of skills with others already in the league or distinct personal codes against killing or even a lack of real ‘combat’ (field) experience or aptitude.

Police Officers:

Jericho “Action” Jackson (played by Carl Weathers)

TJ Hooker (played by William Shatner)

Martin Riggs (played by Mel Gibson)

Gabriel “Gabe” Cash (played by Kurt Russell)

James “Sonny” Crocket and Ricardo “Rico” Tubbs (played by Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas)

Private Investigators:

Thomas Magnum (played by Tom Selleck)

Rick & AJ Simon (played by Geral McRaney and Jameson Parker)

Remington Steele and Laura Holt (played by Pierce Brosnan and Stephanie Zimbalist)


The A-Team (played by George Peppard, Mr. T, Dirk Benedict and Dwight Schultz)

Ash Williams (played by Bruce Campbell)

In future tangents, I will explore just what kind of enemies this LXG-80 team might face.


  1. No Last Starfighter? Dude — Death Blossom!

  2. Oh, I thought about him, but a) Not sure if I want this particular shared universe to have a 'Star League' and b) If he did exist, he already would have been recruited by the Star League to protect the Frontier against Xur and the Kodan Armada.

  3. Forget Gabe Cash, cast Russell as Jack Burton. I could almost see the whole Big Trouble in Little China plot redone in LXG style.