As we all know, every single comic book ever made will eventually become a movie because there’s nothing new in Hollywood except the cool new trend of Going Green that will last exactly 6 more hours.
A few weeks ago, we suggested that “Superman: Red Son” be adapted by some brave studio, and with The Losers hitting theaters and Kick-Ass in its second week, we decided to throw out the challenge to our writers to come up with other titles that filmmakers should look at first before devolving into adapting “Peter Porker: The Amazing Spider-Ham.”
Four brave Reject souls – Jorge Del Pinal, Jeremy Kirk, Amber Humphrey, and Jorge Sosa – stepped up to the plate to put their comic book fandom on the line and to suggest some great titles to read that you might not have gotten to yet.
8. Ambush Bug by Keith Giffen
The Pitch: Choose your preferred metaphor: D.C. Comic’s “Ambush Bug” keeps comin’ back like A) Lazarus or B) a persistent genital rash. If you chose B, chances are you’re the kind of filmgoer who’d soooooo appreciate an Ambush Bug movie.
In the early ’80s, DC Comics first unleashed the absurdist gadfly Irwin Schwab, aka Ambush Bug, as a minor character in the Superman storylines. He’s a scrawny loser who derives his power of teleportation from a green bodysuit. Said bodysuit was imbued with its amazing qualities through exposure to interstellar radiation. Unfortunately, one of Schwab’s socks was also irradiated, mutating it into Ambush Bug’s arch-nemesis – Argh!Yle!
If that origin story isn’t enough to convince you, consider this: Over the years, Ambush Bug has grown from a throwaway supporting character to an everyman antihero with a substantial cult following. He’s popular enough to have warranted several of his own miniseries, most recently in 2008. Can you say the same about the Bat-Mite? Didn’t think so. – Jorge Sosa
7. We3 by Grant Morrison
The Pitch: Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly’s “We3” is the story of three pets (a dog, cat and rabbit) who have been unwillingly turned into cyborg war machines for military black ops. When the dangerous animals escape and try to return to their original homes, things get dicey…and violent.
At first glance, Hollywood could very well shy away from this militarized version of Homeward Bound due to it’s potentially controversial commentary on animal rights and boatloads of graphic violence. Still, the heart of this story has a lot of appeal and is surely worth picking up at your local comics store. As for the adaptation, Morrison is hard at work on a script that he recently told MTV is “better than the comic” and “basically a new ‘ET.” Kung Fu Panda director John Stevenson is also attached to direct We3 should the project ever get out of development hell. — Jorge Del Pinal
6. Ex Machina by Brian K. Vaughan
The Pitch: Brian K. Vaughn and Tony Harris’s spectacular “Ex Machina” asks the question of what would happen if a superhero decided to unmask himself and become mayor of New York City. “Ex Machina” adeptly explores politics, social issues, and a group of fascinating characters all while delivering the exciting action and sharp commentary we’ve come to expect from BKV’s writing.
Ex Machina would seem like a no-brainer for Hollywood to green light except for the fact that a major plot point revolves around our hero, Mitchell Hundred, saving one of the twin towers during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Until someone takes the risk, the project remains in New Line’s development hell. — Jorge Del Pinal
5. The Boys by Garth Ennis
The Pitch: It’s an idea that has been in comic book fan’s heads since they opened the cover of issue #1 of Garth Ennis’s “The Boys” and saw Wee Hughie looking back at them. Drawn by Darick Robertson to deliberately resemble Simon Pegg, readers couldn’t help but begin to view the story revealed before them within the realm of cinematic flare. That story, by the way, would make an excellent film or two if done right, too.
Set in a world like ours but with the addition of superheroes who fly the skies and fight the crime, the comic follows a small group of operatives commissioned by the CIA to keep watch on these superheroes. Christened “The Boys” and led by Billy Butcher (Jason Statham and a full head of hair would make a good combination for this part), the group makes sure the supermen and women of the world don’t get out of hand taking extreme measures if necessary. Excessive violence and blatant vulgarity ensues in pure, Garth Ennis fashion, an element that had DC-owned Wildstorm ditching the series after six issues. Dynamite Entertainment promptly picked it up, and the series has been going strong since early 2007.
News of a filmed version of The Boys has been tossed around since 2008 with Aeon Flux’s Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay taking the screenwriting reins. There are certainly wrong directions a film based on The Boys could take, and, sadly, it would take the kind of people that made the Aeon Flux movie to take those wrong directions. Nonetheless, if done right, there is plenty of established character, plot swerves, and gratuitous sex and violence to fill even the most epic of running times. Fans of Kick-Ass would eat it up. Roger Ebert will hate it regardless. Sounds like a recipe for an awesome movie to me. — Jeremy Kirk
4. DMZ by Brian Wood
The Pitch: Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli’s “DMZ” deals with an increasingly realistic and scary potential reality in America: a second civil war between the US government and a coalition of militia forces from middle America. But rather than the southern states, the main battleground of this war is New York City. When a young photojournalist named Matty Roth is inadvertently thrust into Manhattan, now called the DMZ (demilitarized zone), it’s sink or swim as he must avoid being a pawn for the two warring sides while also gaining the trust of the murky civilian population he wishes to spotlight.
Thanks to the edgy nature of this comic, not super surprisingly, there has been little Hollywood movement on this property. Perhaps the success of a Red Dawn remake could embolden a producer or two… — Jorge Del Pinal
3. Queen & Country by Greg Rucka
The Pitch: Greg Rucka and Steve Rolston’s “Queen & Country” is a blend of Clancy-esque duplicity, Bourne action, and a pinch of Behind Enemy Lines suspense. The first collection of “Q&C” (Operation Broken Ground) focuses on Tara Chase, a British black ops agent whose assassination of a Russian mobster in Kosovo leads to unintended repercussions that could spark an international incident. It’s some good old-fashioned espionage. Sadly “Q&C” is in bad old-fashioned development hell at Fox which picked it up after Rucka’s “Whiteout” went into production at Warner Bros. Since Whiteout didn’t even come close to capturing the awesomeness of the comic and failed at the box office, things do not look well for Queen & Country. — Jorge Del Pinal
2. Black Hole by Charles Burns
The Pitch: Charles Burns’ “Black Hole” traces the spread of a strange sexually transmitted disease among suburban Seattle teenagers. The “bug,” as it’s called, causes the afflicted to develop odd and in some cases grotesque mutations – the lucky ones have mutations that are easily concealed beneath their clothes, while the less fortunate are essentially monsters, some covered in hideous boils. Like Persepolis and American Splendor, adapting Burns’s horrifying coming of age tale would show that comic book movies are varied and capable of profundity – the mutations in “Black Hole” have nothing to do with superhuman strength or powers. Instead, each deformity is more like a physical manifestation of teenage isolation and anxiety.
Much of the artwork is disturbing, but in the most amazing and thought-provoking way – for example, an image of a dissected frog is juxtaposed with an image of a girl shedding her skin. Just imagining how some of these surreal illustrations might translate on screen is thrilling and kind of frightening. Hollywood has, at least, acknowledged Black Hole’s cinematic potential and as of right now it seems that a film is in some state of production with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button director David Fincher attached.
But of course that doesn’t mean that we’ll be seeing Black Hole in theaters any time soon. At one point fantasy icon Neil Gaiman was reported to be co-writing the script but that no longer appears to be the case.
Hopefully, the filmmakers who do eventually get the Black Hole adaptation off the ground will be able to balance the fantastic elements with the emotional realism as aptly as Burns. It would be very easy to turn this comic into a horror film but that would be tragic and a disservice to the source material. — Amber Humphrey
1. Gen 13 by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi
The Pitch: Brandon Choi and Jim Lee’s “Gen 13” is perhaps the comic most easy to make into a movie on this list. It’s a bunch of attractive/funny teens who, thanks to genetic predisposition and government tinkering, have super powers which they use to fight against bad guys looking to exploit them. It’s basically X-Men but more lighthearted and risqué. The comic hailed from the mid-90s heyday of super muscles and big boobs so casting would be a snap. I literally have no idea why this wasn’t made into a Michael Bay movie in 1999. — Jorge Del Pinal
Editor’s Note: This list was lovingly compiled by Jorge Del Pinal, Jeremy Kirk, Amber Humphrey and Jorge Sosa with an Intro lazily written by Scott the Intern.