Friday, May 02, 2008

5 comics that should be movies

Because I just read's 5 Upcoming Comic book Movies that must be stopped I decided to come up with a reverse list of comic books that probably have no chance of becoming movies, but should be.

In no particular Order:


His name is Mitch Shelley and he was created by Andy Lanning, Dan Abnett and Jackson Guice for DC comics.

He isn't a traditional superhero and his power is derived from something a bit more dark and twisted than say more wholesome yet anguished heroes, such as Superman, Spider-man or those in The Fantastic Four. He doesn't have a secret identity persay, more like an absence of an identity all together. His basic plot thread is as such: Mitch Shelley, a mob lawyer in South Carolina who, unwittingly, through his connections is subjected to an experiment in Nanotechnolgy. He is bonded with with nanomachines called Tektites, which result in his death. He is soon resurrected by the tektites lacking any memory of his previous life, and now with near unlimited super-powers. But as always there is a catch, he only has one power at a time, and in order to change from one power to the next he has to die. Once dead the tektites resurrect him, this time with a power that is a direct response to his cause of death. He is in a simultaneous search for his identity and to escape those who experimented on him in the first place. It sounds a bit cheesy, but having a super-hero, who has no desire to be one, and who has to die, usually in a painful manner, in order to survive, can make for compelling storytelling on the screen.


The image is a bit more sexist, and pandering than I would have wanted, but I couldn't find a better one at the moment. Sorry. Anyway, this is a pretty simple concept. Take The Dirty Dozen and instead of convicted murders fighting Nazi's, it's imprisoned super villains sent on black ops missions for the government that they don't want the super heroes to get involved in (or know about it). They are mostly suicide type missions, and if any survive then they get extra consideration in their next parole hearing. It's simple, a great set up for lots of killer action sequences (as super villains are generally unstable people), great special effects, a built in fan base of comic fanboys, and could also be (in the right screenwriters hands) a great comment on the overabundance of comic book heroes and the conventions that they are forced to follow.


No, this is not a super hero story. Comics don't have to have super heroes in them. In fact I'd say this is one of the best comic books I have ever read. Possibly one of the best works of fiction, period. The New York Book Review wrote that it's "A lovely, short picture novel exploring the tenacious bond between an alcoholic stage magician and his cranky mentor." There is a good deal more going on, but that is a good short summation. It's a story about love, about loss, about familial bonds, and aging. It would make a great film, in the vein of Ghost World or The History of Violence (in regards to non-super hero comic film adaptions).

HITMAN (no not the video game that was already made into a film)

I just realized a trend in my own choices, preferring anti-heroes over standard super hero fare, but still, these are good comics, so leave me alone.

Hitman is akin to Suicide Squad. Tommy Monaghan (pictured above) is a rough and tumble orphan from the poor Irish neighborhood of Gotham (which could easily be NYC) raised by a Hitman for the Irish mob. Said hitman retires and opens a small dive bar out of which Tommy now operates as a hitman in his own right. This being a super-hero comic book, Tommy is not without super-powers. He has x-ray vision, and is a mind reader. He isn't any ordinary Hitman, you only call him for the weird stuff. You need someone to steal a magic rifle forged in the old west to kill a devil, you call Tommy. Local super-hero beating up all your dealers, and selling the drugs himself, you call Tommy. I think you get the picture. He's a rogue, an imp, charming, and posses a devilish sense of humor. What's not to like?

And because I'm not as sexist as most comic books are themselves my final choice:

How is a comic called Mail Order Bride not a sexist choice, you may ask. At its heart it is a story about self discovery. I'm spacing on the characters names, but there are two main characters. The lead male role is a very geeky, very awkward, self-absorbed comic shop owner in a small town in western Canada (I think outside Vancouver, but I could just be making that up, could easily be outside Winnipeg which is not western Canada at all) who gets lonely and orders a bride from Korea. She comes over and isn't at all what he expected. Like most many western fetishes of Asia, he expects his bride to be a subservient, docile, and (in the general vein of most manga imported to this country) hyper-sexual Asian wife with a bad Asian accent. She arrives and turns out to be a very smart, shy, well educated Korean woman who signed up for the service because it was the only way she'd ever get out of Korea. The story is more about her and growth as an individual, taking classes at the local annex, making new friends, and coming out of her shell. He on other hand becomes more self-absorbed, needier, and more juvenile, getting more and more aggravated with her growth trying to keep her the pure fetishistic Asian bride he wants her to be. The comic ends on kinda a downer, and if adapted the ending would need to be changed a bit, but over all it's a very strong story of personal growth, female empowerment, loneliness, and cultural clash.

So that's my five comics that should be movies. The fact that they are all mildly obscure (Mail Order Bride being the most obscure) and that three are owned by DC comics, which itself is a subsidiary of Warner Brothers, means that if Warner doesn't think they'd make any money, no one else can do anything with them. The two indies (Jar of Fools, and Mail Order Bride) are two that if I ever get the money to option the rights myself I probably will, but I can't imagine anyone who isn't me going to a a development office and trying to pitch these comics for movies.

But it's fun to dream.


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