Comic book movies have turned the film landscape on its head, with Marvel and DC Comics both producing big budget action romps for the better part of a decade. Comic book movies have become the norm and accepted, so it is only normal that smaller, independent comic book companies allow their stories to be adapted. The perfect example is Icon Comics’ Kingsman: The Secret Service. The well-received spy action adventure film is getting a sequel released later this week in The Kingsman: The Golden Circle. In honor of this release, we are going to look at the best comic books that should be adapted to the big screen outside of the Big 2.
Neil Gaiman is a busy man in Hollywood with Lucifer and American Gods being a hit television show and his Terry Pratchett collaboration Good Omens recently starting production. His literary works are plentiful and varied, often dealing with grandiose mythological elements with a contemporary twist. However, few comic books are as influential and deeply entranced in fantasy or mythology as Gaiman’s The Sandman. The story deals with seven The Endless, metaphysical representations of entities such as death and dream. The basic plot is that Morpheus aka Dream is captured for centuries and when escaping in the contemporary world, while attempting to rebuild his kingdom. In this process Dream learns that sometimes the world needs to change, going on a journey to different realms and encountering different entities on his journey, atoning for his past sins along the way. This is definitely a series requiring more than one movie. A Sandman movie has been in production limbo since the early 2000’s, unfortunately without any progress.
The superhero comic book that changed the way super heroes were portrayed. Invincible is about a half human half alien boy, Mark Grayson, who receives superpowers as a teenager and has to deal with those powers in adolescence. Sounds similar to Spider-Man, but it is so much more violence and aliens. It teaches about friendship and family, only to have that ripped away and thrown in the blender dealing with moral ambiguity and adult themes such as rape. The considerations of a superhero failing to protect the masses, while still being successful in their battle is in full display, often with the weight of the battle being explored in the aftermath. The series has lasted over 140 issues to date and created by The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman. Consider One Punch Man level destruction and super powers except to the extreme.
This would easily please fans of Disney, drama and comic book films, Fables has it all. The fairy tale creatures we have grown up with have been forced to move out of their homeland and into the real world, undertaking guises as normal humans. The Big Bad Wolf is a beat cop called Bigby Wolf and Snow White mayor, with other fairy tale creatures joining such as Boy Blue, Jack Horner and Cinderella. The initial plot involves Wolf trying to resolve the murder of Snow White’s sister Rose Red, before moving on to explore the strange events occurring in Fabletown and return to their homeland which was conquered by a being known as the Adversary. A good gritty crime drama could easily explore some of the folklore from this Vertigo series and save on budget by not having to actually show the characters in their true forms.
Grimm Fairy Tails
While on the topic of fairy tales, Zenescope’s comic series deserves to be adapted to film. This series sees the traditional fairy tale characters in sexy and violence scenarios, often without a happy ending. The takes on fairy tales are modern with twisted plots to surprise the reader. While initially having a core plot, the series in movie form would better suit simply adapting key fairy tales, even having several per film. It would be great showing a twisted take of Alice in Wonderland or Red Riding Hood. The film could be similar in tone and visuals to Sucker Punch.
For those unfamiliar, Saga is an epic space opera involving a couple from different races who are at war with one another, conceiving a child and going to the edges of the universe for their family to survive outrunning authorities from either side of the Galactic War. While still in its early days as a comic, running for only 40 odd issues, has won numerous accolades and been deemed as the next Star Wars for its drama, themes and planetary exploration. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes adapted on some medium or another. The new generation of movie goers need a new space epic to follow, particularly with Valerian flopping at the box office. Plus, Lying Cat would be awesome to have on the big screen.
Dynamite’s resident vampire in the red mankini deserves to make it to the big screen. Female led movies are moving forward in Hollywood, looking to present strong and empowered women in lead roles. Once a viewer looks past the hyper sexualised outfit, Vampirella has some amazing stories and lore to offer. She has been around for over 40 years our time, despite being undead. To further support this push for a movie, the current comic series has seen the mankini completely gone, instead given a very alternative, rocker dress which covers majority of the body. Dynamite understand that Vampirella is a character with much to offer and to be taken seriously, the sexual objectification needs to be left behind. The current series deals more with the psyche of the vampiress, returning from death and finding her place within the world. A Vampirella movie could include the horror associated with vampires while telling a compelling story about romance with mythological undertones based in religion. Alternatively, get her in a movie with Red Sonja, Sheena and the other women of Dynamite and you have a kickass team.
A breakout series of the last few years has been Rat Queens. A story about a group of misfit females aptly known as the Rat Queens, who go on adventures in fantasy lands meeting all sorts of exotic creatures and over the top characters. The allure of this series is that the leads are foul mouthed, horny and often drunk. The strong female characters reflect the current status of women in society as not being dependent on a male, albeit turned up to 100. These characters from different races of dwarf, gnome and elf work together as friends showing their different strengths while dealing with their own personal issues, such as being a female dwarf who is outcast by her family for shaving off her beard. While set in a fantasy land, there are many elements of social commentary represented with the series, which is often delivered as tongue in cheek. The series went on hiatus for most of 2016, but was revived again in 2017 with the Queens returning to run amok and get drunk on wild adventures yet again.
Y: The Last Man
Post apocalyptic films are not uncommon in Hollywood with films like Resident Evil and Mad Max being showcased front and center, often to mixed receptions. Y: The Last Man tells a compelling story of the final male and his monkey in a post-apocalyptic world who survived a plague which eliminated all mammals with a Y chromosome, leaving only females alive. The male, named Yorick, is captured and experimented on to determine why he survived the plague. One of the central themes that are explored are the effects man’s death has on society, with much of the infrastructure collapsing and the world turning to chaos with fear of extinction.
What do you think of this list? Did your favourite comic books make the cut? What other comic book series would you like to see adapted that we didn’t mention? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment on our Facebook page.