It’s an amazing but true story: The Village People were almost Marvel heroes.
Yes, those Village People. ‘YMCA’. ‘In The Navy’. ‘Macho Man’. Those ones.
On paper there are a lot of Marvel heroes that really shouldn’t work but have become beloved parts of the canon. A talking racoon? A Norse god with a magic hammer? A wizard with a sentient cape?
But six singing and dancing disco men? That seems like a challenge beyond even Kevin Fiege.
And according to Cracked it nearly entered the canon because of a film treatment in 1980 for that beloved Marvel household name: Dazzler.
Dazzler is an X-Men character created via that most noble and inspiring of artistic inspirations: corporate advertising tie-ins.
Marvel had come up with the idea of creating a new character in the X-Men comics and simultaneously holding a talent quest to find a female singer to “be” Dazzler, to record with Casablanca Records: home of artists like KISS, Donna Summer and the Village People.
Before long this idea turned into a TV special and then a possible feature film. Comic writer Jim Shooter was given four days to come up with an outline. And it’s amazing, and also an exciting insight into an era that was clearly a lot more liberal about chemicals in the workplace.
His concept involved Marvel heroes like Spider-man fighting criminals (including Cher and KISS) alongside Dazzler and the Stompers – the characters played by the VPS – which would include:
THE MOTORCYCLE COP – has a nightstick that’s charged with crackling energy
THE COWBOY – twirls an unbreakable lasso that he controls as if it was alive
THE CONSTRUCTION WORKER – has a jackhammer that can create small earthquakes
THE LEATHERMAN – is super-strong and wields an unbreakable chain
…and so on.
The problems started early as disco’s brief heyday was already over by mid-1980, and in any case the Village People had their own flop movie to attend to in the form of Can’t Stop The Music – a film starring the band alongside Steve Guttenberg and the future Caitlyn Jenner.
It’s a curious piece of cinema, basically, although there’s no denying that it would have been enlivened by including a magic living lasso.
Needless to say, this film never eventuated and the Village People never became the Marvel heroes they deserved to be. However, Dazzler did finally turn up in a Marvel film this year, having a bit of a sing in X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
Sadly, the VPs didn’t join her. Shame. We bet they’d have YMCA-ed the hell out of that film.