Unless you’re a diehard DC Comics fan, you might not know who Booster Gold is. But you should, because he’s the perfect superhero for our times. Basically, he’s a selfish arsehole with a robot sidekick.
Even though he’s been in various incarnations of the Justice League over the years, Booster Gold is a C-lister. Maybe a B-lister, depending on how he’s being handled. But he’s never been the guy that bystanders look up to. Because unlike, say, Superman, he’s not trying to help humanity find the best in itself. He’s all about the worst in himself.
If you’re not familiar with Booster Gold, the upshot is that he’s essentially a washed-out gloryhound from the future who steals advanced technology and travels back in time to get rich and famous. The best thing about the core concept of Booster Gold is it starts off with him doing what most ordinary people would do with time travel technology: making their own lives cushier.
Booster Gold is a superhero that’s perfect for the celeb-obsessed times we live in: preening, self-centred, thin-skinned and vain. He doesn’t have any real superpower or genius-level acumen. He’s never the first guy to fly up to the giant robot or cosmic conqueror and strike the first blow. Michael Jon Carter — the character’s alter ego from the future — is the guy who feels like he got screwed by the universe and breaks its rules to get his own back. It’s a lot easier for him to save the world if it lines his pockets or makes him look good in front of a camera. In past iterations, Booster Gold has evolved in story arcs where he eventually comes around to doing the right thing for its own sake. But the character’s actually more interesting if he stays a jerk through and through.
He’s been done well on various TV shows, including Justice League Unlimited, Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Smallville. All sorts of DC Comics’ properties are getting reinvigorated as TV shows or movies, with shows for Supergirl, Krypton and The Titans all in the pipeline to join Arrow, Flash and Gotham on the air. There’s reportedly a Booster Gold project in development at SyFy, too, under the aegis of Arrow and Flash producers Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg. Given the excellent track record created thus far by those shows, an adaptation in those hands could be a very good thing. I just hope they keep him a jerk for a good long time. He’s a pitchman that only does heroic deeds to burnish his own recognisability. In an age where Twitter and Instagram follower counts are a thing for some people to envy, we need a superhero series who’d obsess over how many faves and retweets his exploits get. We need Booster Gold.