Back in the ‘90s, DC Comics had a very popular character on comic book store shelves in the form of Lobo, an over-the-top parody of tough-guy heroes like Wolverine and Punisher. The alien bounty hunter with the glowing red eyes received his own hugely popular mini-series in 1990, which catapulted him as one of the publisher’s most in-demand characters.
And now, new DC Studios chief James Gunn has been sharing images of Lobo on social media, and certain cryptic comments by Jason Momoa have hinted that he’s very interested in playing the character. But before we get into all that, here’s a brief background on DC’s so-called “Main Man,” and how he epitomized an entire era of comic book storytelling.
Who Is DC Comics’ Antihero Lobo? His Comic Book Origins, Explained
Despite being thought of as a ‘90s comics phenomenon, Lobo first appeared in a now all-but-forgotten ’80s comic called The Omega Men. That title, a spin-off of The New Teen Titans, was about a group of intergalactic freedom fighters. 1983’s Omega Men #3 introduced the character as a Velporian bounty hunter. They were an alien race who had been all but exterminated by the evil Psions. Created by writer/artist Keith Giffen, he was a regular in Omega Men, but that title only lasted a couple of years.
But in 1987, Keith Giffen helped to relaunch the Justice League as Justice League International, a more comedic take on DC’s premiere team. The series was a runaway success, and in that title, he reintroduced Lobo, looking more like a Hell’s Angels-style biker, and less like a ‘70s glam rocker. The chalk-white, muscle-bound alien with super strength only cared about drinking, chomping cigars, engaging in violence, and collecting on a profitable bounty.
The only tender emotion Lobo ever seemed to show was deep care for pet his space dolphins, pets that he seemed to genuinely love. He was just as likely to kill anyone else just for annoying him. Those “little fishes” were his pride and joy, however. Appearing in a popular title like JLI, one which leaned more into laughs, gave Lobo a whole new fanbase. And soon, DC Comics capitalized on the character who referred to himself always as “the Main Man.”
In 1990, Lobo was in-demand enough as a character that he received his own mini-series, with Keith Giffen writing, along with Alan Grant. Artist Simon Bisley’s highly stylized art wound up being perfect for the character. The Lobo mini-series was a huge hit. This series also gave us a new origin for Lobo, which we now knew was from the planet Czarnia. Oh, and if you’re wondering why an alien would have the Spanish name for wolf in Czarnian, Lobo’s name in his language translates as “he who devours your entrails and thoroughly enjoys it.” The series both indulged in and mocked the ’90s obsession with hyper-violent “tough guy” antiheroes.
Although his homeworld was peaceful, even as a child Lobo had a penchant for extreme violence. He ended up killing everyone on his planet Czarnia as a child by unleashing a horde of deadly scorpions on the populace. Since Lobo has super strength and durability, and a healing factor that made him effectively immortal, he took to the spaceways on his cosmic bike, and became the galaxy’s greatest bounty hunter.
Lobo soon got his own popular ongoing series. Later, he appeared in many crossovers with the likes of Superman and the Justice League. He even fought Wolverine himself in the Marvel vs. DC crossover event (and lost). That’s how big the character was in the ‘90s. But he got overexposed, and by the 2000s, he all but disappeared. Luckily, he still made appearances in DC animated series like Superman, Justice League Unlimited, Young Justice, and more. But like all things ‘90s, he’s been making a comeback lately. Which leads us to his big-screen potential.
The Long-Standing Rumors of Lobo on the Big Screen
For years, Hollywood has been trying to get a Lobo movie off the ground. But despite interest from folks like Guy Ritchie, who almost directed a Lobo film, it never got off the ground. Similar projects from Michael Bay and even Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson never materialized. The only live-action Lobo we ever got was as a guest star on the short-lived sci-fi series Krypton. And they just lacked the budget to do the character justice.
How Could Lobo Fit Into James Gunn’s DCEU?
Maybe now, however, things might be changing. Especially if James Gunn’s social media posts are any indication. A character like Lobo is perfect for Gunn’s comedic/action sensibilities. Even if he doesn’t direct it (he’ll be kinda busy these days), it just feels like the character is someone Gunn would love. With a new Superman movie with Henry Cavill getting off the ground, maybe Lobo will be the villain? Doubtful they’d want to go that silly a route at first, but anything is possible.
Could Jason Momoa Play Both Aquaman and Lobo?
Fans have long dreamed of Jason Momoa in the role. His hair, stature, and voice are absolutely perfect for the character. And he has that whole Lobo “bad boy” vibe going on in spades. But with him playing Aquaman already in the DCEU, would it even be possible? Well, the Star Trek franchise has had actors play multiple roles before with no confusion. Why can’t DC? Especially since Lobo as a character is in heavy makeup. Right now, all we know is that James Gunn seems interested, and Momoa was born to play the role. Here’s hoping the stars align, and DC’s “Main Man” can finally get a movie of his own.