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We are in the golden age of comic book movies and, depending on who you ask, we’re currently moving out of it. Regardless, there will come a day when we do not enjoy the same level of comic book-ship that we do now. So, before it’s over, here are a few that deserve the right kind of treatment.
“Hey, that was already a movie!” Yes! And while its heart was in the right place, it missed the mark. It tried too hard to be a regular ol’ comic book movie, when the Fantastic Four really doesn’t really fit that mold.
Theis old school sci-fi. They’re a family of adventures who do all kinds of crazy things and get into all manner of scrapes. They go to places like the Negative Zone and fight slave monsters from another world. They mediate negotiation between two warring planets. They use ultimate weapons to combat a timeless Devourer of Worlds. They use crazy technology to make insane discoveries and solve gigantic problems on a daily basis.
The first Fantastic Four movie barely touched on any of that and the second almost did, but was bogged down by how it was just the worst.
“But that can’t be done today,” they say, “that’ll never work for modern audiences.” That may be true. Except no it isn’t, because it has already worked, and well! When? In Jonathan Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four.
His run was a return to what made the Fantastic Four the best selling comic book in the world. They went on mind bending adventures and encountered things like a council made of up alternate universe Reed Richardses, Mad Celestials, Negative Zone cults, and underground cities that devolved you while making you smarter. But at its core, the stories dealt with real family issues. Reed’s pressure to solve everything, Sue’s efforts to be a good mother in an insane world, Johnny’s search to find what he stands for, their kids’ struggle to be kids when they’re both super smart and almost-gods respectively. It was a human heart dressed in crazy, super science armor.
That’s what you need. The main plot of the movie is the Fantastic Four coming up against some kind of gigantic terror from the edge of understanding, but the real core of it is the FF trying to work together as a family. They are comic’s First Family. Like the Superman of families, they are what we look to as the ideal of familial bonds.
I’m not sure why this wasn’t made into anything, especially when vampires were all the rage. My theory is that these were too monster-y of vampires for anyone to back it with the money it needs.
To me, though, American Vampire represents the best of both worlds. The main heroine is a reluctant vampire with a tragic love story. I know, yawn, but WAIT! It’s also filled with horrific monster vampires for those of us who are sick of brooding bloodsuckers.
It starts in the Old West, where a new species of vampire has been born. The American Vampire. Super strong, immune to sunlight, and especially vicious. In the 20s, an actress named Pearl is inadvertently changed into one of these new vampires, and what follows is the various stories of Pearl’s life through the years. It showcases a take on vampires we’ve never seen before along with well made, interesting characters. I mean, what else do you expect from Scott Snyder?
This story is prime for a motion picture adaptation. A blend of 20s and Old West. Not only is it a vampire movie we’ve never seen before, but also one that dares to reinvent the monster.
And for the studio execs out there, it’s got a ton of fat, juicy roles to fill with A-List, bankable actors. What actress wouldn’t want to play the sweet-but-tough-as-nails Pearl? Actors would be falling over themselves to play the complex, devious Skinner Sweet.
Genre mash-up movies, when done correctly, are awesome. We’ve seen superhero-found footage mash-ups, superhero-comedy mash-ups, and superhero-drama mash-ups. How many superhero-horror mash-ups have there been? Spawn? The Crow? Do the Blade movies count? Certainly not in the traditional sense. So we have one to five, max. I think it’s time we give The Darkness a whirl.
With two successful video games, The Darkness is already a proven property. Stew on this for a spell. Sure, it’d work best rated R, but I think it could effective PG-13 as well. It’s basically a dark, supernatural superhero origin story, with some lighter moments here and there, and you can fill with as many horrific monsters as you can image. Yes, you probably can’t match the level of violence that’s in the comics, but even half of that would make for a superhero movie unlike the rest.
Plus, you could use that to open up the whole Artifacts universe, including a Witchblade movie (this Witchblade, not this Witchblade). Everyone’s looking for a shared comic book universe now and The Darkness could not only offer that, but also a comic book movie universe different from what we’ve been seeing. Comes prepackaged with the dark and the gritty. See?! Buzzwords!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHahahaha… hahha… haha… heh. Man, I’m shooting for the moon on this one. Of all the ones least likely to get made, this is probably the least. The budget would need to be huge and there’s no way to do this without it being rated R. Plus, it’s a political movie! Try to pitch a 200 million dollar hard R sci-fi political movie and you won’t even be laughed out of the room you’ll be beaten nearly to death then set ablaze.
But this is an article about comics that DESERVE a movie not most likely to get one (that’s Spider-Man’s job), so listen up!
So. In a distant, cyberpunk, insane future a tattooed, chain smoking, Hunter S. Thompson caricature as a world famous journalist becomes involved with a dirty Presidential campaign and has to write, not only for his life, but for the future freedom of EVERYONE!
This could appeal to anyone, and at the least, would instantly become a cult hit among happily cynical college kids. Its irreverence, its crudeness, its smart subtext. These are all the makings of an awesome movie. Not only that, but Warren Ellis’ City is something so jumbled and unique, I would love to see that on the screen.
If this isn’t already happening, it will be soon. This is complete 100% franchise potential. Hell, it already is. With spin-off comics and now video games it’s a growing property.
This movie has the supernatural romance angle that’s now a thing I guess, plus superlative violence and action. Not only that, but it’s smart and sharply written. It’s what Twilight and Grimm want to be. It’s what Once Upon a Time cribbed like their life depended on it.
Off the bat, my mind goes back to roles. There’s plenty of good ones here. Bigby Wolf is a classic male lead. Badass, brooding, misunderstood, and ultimately has a good heart. Snow White is a great one too: a leader, authoritative, and badass in her own right. However, I don’t think that this is the story’s strength.
I think Fables‘ strength is in its inexhaustible potential for stories. This could be a movie series that doesn’t feel old and tired after three movies. Each movie could be an arc, each one different, each one centering on a different fairy tale. It could be huge! A James Bond-esque franchise of fairy tales.
So what do you think? Did I miss an obvious one? Let me know in the comments below.