The League of Extraordinary Literary Characters

Jules Verne

Jules Verne, an author I’ve always liked for his vivid imagination and storytelling ability. Public domain image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

After the serious nature of my last post about graphic novels, I decided it’s time to lighten up and show my frivolous side again. Ever heard of the 2003 fantasy movie, “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”? (If not, see the video trailer below.)

[WARNING!!! RED ALERT! SPOILERS AHEAD! TAKE ALL APPROPRIATE PRECAUTIONS!]

This movie assembles a collection of famous characters from different novels: H. Rider Haggard’s Allan Quatermain, Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, Bram Stoker’s Mina Harker, H.G. Wells’ Invisible Man, Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde and Ian Fleming’s “M”. The League saves the world by battling evil leader The Fantom (later revealed to be M and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Professor Moriarty) and Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray.

Although the movie was a bit cheesy for my taste, I thought the idea of assembling all of the literary characters as a Victorian age superhero Justice League was an intriguing concept. All of the characters in the movies have distinct personalities, thanks to the talented actors that portrayed them. It was fun to watch them get used to each other (some are more feisty than others) and learn how to work together.

If I had my choice, here’s the book characters I’d pick for my own League:

1) Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt or Al Giordino. Both resourceful and flippant in the face of extreme danger. You’d know they would find some way to save you from trouble and make you laugh afterward.

2) The Sackett family created by Louis L’Amour. Both the men and the women in this family are highly capable people. Plus, all of the Sacketts stick together so you’d immediately have backup when needed. 

3) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Although Sherlock’s got an attitude on him, he’d be the brains of the group.

4) Baroness Orczy’s Sir Percy Blakeney, a.k.a. The Scarlet Pimpernel. Sir Percy’s a master at fooling people and elusive, so he’d be the one to baffle the bad guys and lure them to their defeat. (“We seek him here, we seek him there”….)

5) Hermione Granger of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. She’d make a good sidekick for Sherlock Holmes, don’t you think?

6) Katniss Everdeen of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy. Katniss is a survival expert (!) and handy with weapons, especially bows. Enough said.

Blog readers, who would you pick for your own league of literary characters?

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “The League of Extraordinary Literary Characters

  1. A wonderful concept, and a great exercise! I have read a ton of books, but I admit to being essentially illiterate when it comes to fiction. I will try this exercise based on what I know.

  2. Where to start? Where to stop? Here’s a shot:
    Stephen King
    Steve Jobs
    E B White
    Ellen DeGeneris
    Parker Palmer
    Elizabeth Gilbert

  3. A fair assembled–now for the villains and the conflict…

  4. I want to do a children’s book edition:

    Captain Underpants (he has superpowers and can provide muscle)
    The Mouse and the Motorcycle (speed and spy work)
    Sam-I-Am (persistence and mindless aggression)
    Toad (to bankroll the enterprise)
    And, even though I find him to be a complete bore, I suppose I need to throw Encyclopedia Brown in there.

  5. Awesome team, I want to see the nemesis list now!

    • So, Frenchman, I’ve been thinking about the literary character nemesis list….

      Commenter CricketMuse suggested the following:

      Professor Moriarty
      Countess Vera Rossakoff (Agatha Christie)
      Bob Ewell (To Kill A Mockingbird)

      I’d add:
      Milady De Winter from The Three Musketeers (she’s got style)
      Fernand Mondego from The Count of Monte Cristo
      Iago (Shakespeare)

      Wish I could throw in Murdoch from “MacGyver”. Technically, he’s not literature, but it was funny how he kept bouncing back into plots when his character got clobbered.

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