March 26, 2012

Movie Mondays: Top 11 Comic Book Adaptations That NEED to Happen

Why ELEVEN, you may ask? Well, if there’s one thing to learn from This Is Spinal Tap, it’s the importance of going that extra mile, the extra distance when “we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?” “Put it up to eleven.” It just doesn’t seem right to ONLY do a top ten, especially not when you can say this article goes to eleven.

#11 – The Upcoming/Eventual Batman Reboot

Warner Bros. is rumored to be producing a Justice League film, targeted for a 2015 release. With the Batman franchise being revamped to fit into the Justice League universe, Nolan and his wife, Emma Thomas, will stay on as producers for the project. Let’s hope not.
Not to mention, rumors have been circulating about a general Batman reboot and the start of another film series. This critic, for one, would love to see a new Batman series get underway.

But more than anything, what this reviewer would love to see comes totally out of left field – a Batman Beyond movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis or Clint Eastwood. Even more out of left field, make a Batman Beyond film, directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton as an aging Bruce Wayne, to create and finish a Burton/Keaton “trilogy.” Now a lot of fans (including myself) took issue with Burton’s portrayal of The Penguin. But one thing it did showcase is Burton’s ability to handle the monster, “metahuman,” “bang baby” filled world of Batman’s future. This award-winning TV Series was originally a spin-off of the critically acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series, and eventually became so popular that it not only got its own spin-off, but its own comic series, and could definitely make for an outstanding film.

#10 – A new Daredevil adaptation

In 2003, a film version of Daredevil was released in theaters. It received mixed reviews, mostly negative, earning it a 45% ranking on aggregate sites like Rotten Tomatoes. In the opinion of this critic, it deserves a far lower score. However, in 2008, talk began of a reboot from FOX so as to not let the film rights slip back to Marvel, with Jason Statham in the lead role, directed by David Slade, and featuring King Kong Bundy as Kingpin. Personally, the hope of this critic is that this film never sees the light of day, and the rights do revert back to Marvel, and they get to make the movie they want. What I would love to see happen, though, is for Marvel to make a dark, gritty mini-series, either in the style of HBO’s Spawn mini-series, or Marvel’s own Blade anime created through their partnership with Madhouse.

#9 – We3

A comic mini-series, created by writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely, We3 plays out like a hyper-violent cross between Homeward Bound, The Secret of NIMH, and Watership Down…with mechs. Three cybernetically enhanced animals are programmed into killing machines by the US Government. They eventually escape, thanks to the help of a scientist who does not wish to see them “decommissioned,” and it is at this point that all hell breaks loose. A bitter-sweet, highly emotional, rather depressing tale that pulls on your heart-strings, We3 would be a real hard sell, though apparently from 2006 to 2008 there were talks of making a film based on the series.

#8 – Heavy Metal

In 1981, an anthology film was released featuring various stories adapted from Heavy Metal magazine and original stories in the same spirit. Like the magazine, it has a great deal of graphic violence, nudity, and sexuality. The stories were all done by different animation houses working simultaneously on different segments, giving each segment a feeling of individuality. Another framing story was created to connect all of the segments. A second film, titled Heavy Metal 2000, was released in 2000.

From 2008 to 2009, there had been talk that David Fincher and James Cameron would executive produce, and each direct two of the eight to nine segments for, a new animated Heavy Metal film. Supposedly other directors included Kevin Eastman, animator Tim Miller, Zack Snyder, Gore Verbinski, and Guillermo del Toro. However, Paramount Pictures pulled the funding on the project. In 2011, Robert Rodriguez said that he had purchased the rights to develop a new animated film. This project needs to get underway sooner rather than later.

#7 – Captain Marvel (Shazam!)

Captain Marvel has been around since 1939, not even a full year less than the amount of time Superman has been around, but is nowhere near as well known as any of the golden age superheroes. In fact, a lot of people don’t even know his name is Captain Marvel, referring to him only as “Shazam,” the magic word he uses to transform (and the name of the wizard who gave Marvel his powers). In the early 2000s, there was talk of a Captain Marvel movie, with a lot of publicity circulating the casting of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Black Adam. As of 2010, LA Times columnist Geoff Boucher reported discussions to possibly cancel the theatrical movie and do a live action series for prime time network television instead. Let’s cross our fingers and hope that EITHER of these projects finally takes flight.

#6 – Machine Man

Being a science fiction superhero created by Jack Kirby is reason enough to make this character into a feature-length film, prime-time TV series, or mini-series. X-51, or Aaron Stack, was the last created (and only survivor) of a series of experimental sentient robots, the other 50 of which were terminated after becoming psychotic. On the run, he’s since encountered The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, The Avengers, even The Celestials, battled Ultron, and fallen in love. He possesses superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, reflexes, visual acuity, and the ability to process information and make calculations with superhuman speed and accuracy. He is an expert on his own construction and repair. His hands/fingers contain various gadgets, such as various detectors, beacons, transmitters, lasers, bullets, with more interchangeable gadgets stored in his belt. Oh, and he can fly. This movie needs to happen, and soon.

#5 – Wonder Woman

The first attempt at a Wonder Woman adaptation was in 1967, a comedy developed by the people behind the campy Adam West Batman series. Another pilot movie was attempted in 1974, but this version also failed to go anywhere. Then of course there’s the memorable TV series, starring the amazing Lynda Carter. Much later, in 2009, Wonder Woman got her own movie, albeit an animated one, and it was incredible! In 2011, there was a new pilot movie made for NBC starring Adrianne Palicki.

This character has been around since 1941, and is the third part of the DC Holy Trinity. Yet for some reason, she’s never had her own live-action film. For a long time, this reviewer didn’t have a problem with it, because of his lack of faith that anyone could do the character justice. Then along comes Gina Carano, in a super-sexy, super-badass action spy movie called Haywire. If you haven’t heard of her or the film, do yourself a favor and look them both up. Here’s hoping that Gina gets cast as the amazing Amazon Princess in a live-action adventure!

#4 – New Gods

Created and designed by Jack Kirby in 1971, the New Gods are natives of the twin planets of New Genesis and Apokolips. New Genesis is a heavenly planet ruled by the benevolent Highfather. Apokolips is a nightmarish dystopia filled with machinery and fire pits, and is ruled by the tyrant Darkseid. The two planets were once part of the same world, a planet called Urgrund (“primeval ground”), but it was split apart millennia ago after the death of the Old Gods. This series has won multiple awards, and been adapted into various animated projects, including Super Friends, Superman: The Animated Series, and more.

It was essentially (and amusingly) made into a movie already, with the release of the live-action Masters of the Universe movie in 1987. With He-Man sporting a laser canon and flying a hover-craft in a similar fashion to Orion, and Skeletor using a floating throne, “boom tubes,” and other Jack Kirby homages. An actual big-budget take on this franchise would be stellar!

#3 – Aquaman

Aquaman has been around since 1941, and use to be pretty popular. He even had his own show at one point. Then along comes a show called Superfriends, which essentially ruins his name and reputation, relegating him to a minor character that can’t do anything. Any fan of the character knows that he’s a complex individual dealing with deep socio-political issues, who happens to have beaten Superman and Wonder Woman in battle. At full-speed he can swim one mile in about two seconds, and can bench-press about 10 tons.

He’s appeared in various shows such as Smallville, with attempts at a pilot for his own spin-off series. The TV show Entourage showcased a fake film directed by James Cameron that turned out to be a box-office smash. Let’s see an actual movie get produced. This reviewer is convinced that it would be a inspiring success!

#2 – Silver Surfer

Another Jack Kirby creation; is anyone else noticing a pattern? Silver Surfer has been a cartoon, a toy, even a stamp. He’s been in video games, his own show, and even starred in the second Fantastic Four film. But he has yet to have his own movie. Not only would his vast array of powers allow for some badass action scenes, but the core concept of the character is built around deep philosophical introspection, which would make for some great emotional character development and connection. Now that it’s been brought up, maybe THAT’S why he hasn’t had a movie yet. A superhero movie with more thinking than fighting…is a big risk. A film was planned after the second Fantastic Four movie, but was cancelled. Let’s hope that the Cosmic do-gooder gets his own film some day.

#1 – Mouse Guard

Mouse Guard is the Eisner Award winning comic created in 2007 by David Petersen. It’s basically a cross between The Secret of NIMH, Redwall, Clash of the Titans, and the Lord Of the Rings trilogy, and it’s every bit as amazingly epic as that sounds. Anthropomorphized mice essentially play the role of knights, warriors, and farmers (i.e. the human roles), while creatures like snakes and owls fill the role of dragons and other threatening fell beasts. Beautiful artwork, deep characterization, a vast world, and rich backstory all bring this universe to life. I would love to see some top of the line CGI (like in the film Rango) used to breathe even more life into this already amazing world.

Aaron Nicewonger



  1. Billy

    Gina Carano…yes please!

    • Sweet! Glad you liked Ms. Carano as well. I think she rocks!

  2. Jeff Jackson

    YES!!! Good call on Mouse Guard being #1!

    • Damn skippy! I hope hope hope HOPE with every fiber of my being that it gets made into a film.

      Especially if the studio/animators behind RANGO get to do it. It’s drop dead gorgeous.
      Those visuals would be AMAZING for Mouse Guard!

  3. Schitd'k

    My vote goes to X-Factor for being made into a live action series, and Mouse Guard to be made into a MMO game. Imagine creating your own Mouse of the Guard then heading out into the wild to hunt giant snakes with friends.

    • Aaron Nicewonger

      A Mouse Guard MMO!?!?!?!
      That’s probably one of the best ideas I’ve EVER heard!
      You are a genius!

    • Sorry, wasn’t logged in.


      Heck yes!!!
      This is probably one of the best ideas I’ve EVER heard!
      You’re a genius!!!

  4. #1 B: Oni’s THE SIXTH GUN.

    • Oni, as in from Oni Press?
      I don’t think I’m familiar with The Sixth Gun.
      I take it, it’s rather great, then?

  5. Sagnik

    Batman Beyond is a chapter that really can be seriously explored by the producers. It has the potential to generate a riveting trilogy. But Daniel Day Lewis as Batman???Nope that doesn’t seem right. Sure he is a very good method actor but i really find trouble imagining him in the batman’s persona. Clint Eastwood on the other hand has a greater potential to portray the caped crusader.His attitude,his cold dark stare they fit in with batman’s traits very well!! A little known fact: Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns was to an extent inspired by the Dirty Harry series in which Clint Eastwood’s character returns to his job as a crime fighter after years of retirement . Another good candidate for playing the aged batman could have been Tommy Lee Jones.His personality as in playing agent K to some extent reminded me of Miller’s Batman.too bad he has already starred as the goofy Two face in Batman Forever 🙁

    • I knew about the Miller-Eastwood-inspiration thing.
      While Miller can make that claim til the cows come home, I still despise his version of Batman.

      Also, if you combine the aging, suave ladies man, and tortured genius Daniel Day-Lewis portrays in “Nine”, and the more malevolent characters he portrays in films like “Gangsters of New York” or “There Will Be Blood”, I think he has the perfect potential to play Bruce Wayne.

      I think that Tommy Lee Jones is a marvelous actor. But he can’t shake his Texas accent, no matter what movie he’s doing.
      He always sounds like a Texan. And Bruce Wayne isn’t a Texan.
      Odd that you bring up “Batman Forever”, because it’s the one movie where I think he manages to hide most of his accent.

      Also it’s neat that you mention Men In Black.
      Because it just so happens that this month, Movie Mondays is doing a tribute to the MIB franchise, in honor the upcoming release of the third film.

      Check it out!

  6. Aneesh

    Gina Carano completely agreed!!!
    i dont think the mouse movie would ever get made 🙁
    and the silver surfer one got pretty fucked up because of the fantastic four movie

    but aquaman would totally rock…it would remove the bad name given to it by the whole robot chicken stuff

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