The Best Week Ever website recently posted a list of superheroes that it thinks should appear in the movies in the near future. The choices range from the expected (The Flash and, yes, please just make this already! – The Green Lantern) to the unexpected (Quail Man – no, you’re not mistaken, they are referring to the superhero alter-ego of a certain animated Nickelodeon character), but I’m not going to take this time to either criticize or praise their choices. Instead, they got me to thinking.
Sure, all of these superheroes would be fun to watch, but what about branching out a bit more to the “everyday superheroes” in comic books and graphic novels. With the recent critical success of the film adaptations of Persepolis, American Splendor and, for the most part, Sin City, and the huge commercial success of 300, why not look at some of the “alternative” options out there?
Here then are the comic stories that I personally think should be made into film at the earliest available opportunity.
5. Strangers in Paradise – Terry Moore
In these days of Desperate Housewives, Footballers’ Wives, and, well, Kill Bill, what could be better than a film adaptation of Moore’s brilliant and soapy tale of two friends and their tumultuous friendships, romantic relationships and, of course, sinister crime-ridden pasts? I don’t know why it’s not being made already.
4. Bone – Jeff Smith
This highly critically acclaimed epic and comic tale of three cousins – not human, but rather cute little creatures that kind of look like humanoid, um, bones – and their fantastical journeys would make an amazing animated tale from a studio like Pixar (toys, monsters, fish, cars, rats, and, yes, superheroes – why not human-shaped bones?). With the recent release of full color versions of the tales by Scholastic, what better time than now.
3. Who Killed Retro Girl? – Brian Michael Bendis
Volume 1 of well-known comics writer Bendis’s (Ultimate Spider-man, Daredevil, Avengers) award-winning Powers series, this gritty graphic novel follows the investigation of two detectives into the murder of the popular superhero Retro Girl as they negotiate a world overflowing with superheroes. It seems Bendis has already tried to do Powers with a studio, and is working on a film adaptation of his other work, Jinx, which might star Charlize Theron. Well, here’s hoping Hollywood is good to Bendis – at least he already knows the unfortunate ups and downs of Hollywood from his satire Fortune and Glory (which would also make a great movie, by the way – it’s exactly the kind of insider skewering, sort of in the vein of Entourage, that Hollywood seems to love these days).
2. The Sandman – Neil Gaiman
Although Gaiman has perhaps not had the best luck lately with his graphic novel-to-screen adaptations (see Stardust – as many, unfortunately, haven’t), I still hold out hope for a cool screen version of Gaiman’s most famous work, his dark fantastical – mythological – philosophical ode to the god of dreams, The Sandman. How would they accomplish an adaptation of this somewhat ethereal and eccentric series? I have no idea. But that doesn’t stop Hayao Miyazaki from making, well, many ethereal, eccentric (and successful!) films.
1. Kingdom Come – Alex Ross and Mark Waid
Okay, I can’t deny that this is in fact a superhero comic. Not only a superhero comic, but, really, the granddaddy of all superhero comics. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, The Flash, Green Lantern, the whole Justice League all together in an apocalyptic superhero showdown? And illustrated in glossy, artful color by Alex Ross, the Norman Rockwell of comics illustrators? Not to mention, the brilliant scene with Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince all eating lunch together at Planet Krypton, a Planet Hollywood-style superhero-themed restaurant (the host is dressed in a Superman costume and they serve Supergirl chicken sandwiches – you get the idea).
Yes, I know they’re already making a Justice League movie. But here is a JLA story already pre-made, with that great “here’s a disillusioned Clark Kent 10 years later” perspective, just waiting to be turned into a movie. Plus, rapper mogul Jay-Z even named his comeback album after the comic. Need I say more? Make this movie now!
Scott Pilgrim would make for lots of great crazy ex-boyfriends / romantic / martial arts fun (and, apparently, has already been optioned anyway, and will be helmed by the director of Shaun of the Dead / Hot Fuzz), while Courtney Crumrin would act as a perfect “haunted house”-type tale, complete with tales of mysterious nighttime creatures, magic, the fairy world, and, naturally, the social terrors of school.
And yes, I do realize that many or all of these might not translate perfectly into film and that they could probably never live up to my own imagination of them, but hey, that sort of concern certainly doesn’t stop me from wishing for a film adaptation of Robert Jordan‘s almost breathtakingly complex fantasy series. If they can make a movie version of Tolkein so successfully, and if Spiderman’s Sam Raimi has already optioned Terry Goodkind for a miniseries, I don’t think great film versions of these titles are so far out of reach.