Comic book films have become the biggest thing in movies since the dawn of the 21st century. While characters like Superman, Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles found films before, and even lesser-known characters like Barb Wire and The Rocketeer made it to the big screen, the comic book genre really took shape in the 2000s. Now many of the highest-grossing films of all time are comic book adaptations. Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image, Valiant and a number of smaller publishers have found great success adapting their work. Comic book movies like Black Panther, Road to Perdition and Persepolis have all been nominated for Academy Awards; though people sometimes call them ‘graphic novels,’ that’s just a highbrow term for lengthy comic book.
While the different heroes of the Marvel and DC pantheon are well known and dominate the big screen, other comic book titles have found their way to film. The medium ranges from the international icon Tintinmore adult-skewing titles like Art School Confidential or the great Ghost Worldand fanboy franchise crossovers like Aliens vs. Predator, which have each found their way to the big screen. Even with all the comic book movies that have come before, and many more on the way, there are still plenty of rich stories and titles that have yet to be adapted. Here is a list of comic books that would make for great films.
6 Love and Rockets
Not all comic book adaptations need to be action-based, and an adaptation of Love and Rockets is waiting to happen. The indie comic from the 1980s that is still published to this day, Love and Rockets is an anthology series created by the Hernandez Brothers that follows two different plot threads depending on who is writing. One set, titled Locasfollows the tangled lives of a group of primarily Latina characters, from their teenage years in the early days of California punk scene to the present day, while Palomar is a set of magical realist stories that take place in a city of the same name where modern technology has yet to be invented. Attempts to make the comic into a film have been in development for years, and both storylines would make for incredibly captivating narratives and a great step forward in representation.
5 DC’s Bombshells
DC’s Bombshells re-imagines many of DC’s toughest female characters like Supergirl, Zatanna, Batwoman and more alongside Wonder Woman during WW2. While the original idea was created as a line-up of collectible figurines featuring various DC superheroes in pin-up fashion inspired by WW2 art, the concept proved popular enough to generate a long-running comic. With DC investing so heavily in a multiverse concept, the film could be a stand-alone adventure franchise where this bold fashion design for various DC heroes could break out as a mainstream hit.
4 Marvel 1602
Similar to Bombshells, Marvel 1602 is written by the popular Neil Gaiman (American Gods) and re-imagines the characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as if they were in the Elizabethan Era. Mutants are known as witch breeds, Nick Fury is an agent of Queen Elizabeth, and The Fantastic 4 are explorers who gain their powers from a vortex at sea. Marvel 1602 reworks the Marvel Universe in a fascinating new way, where the audience is curious to see how famous characters will fit this old world but new situation. Gaiman has previously mentioned pitching a 1602 story to Marvel television, and while it was rejected and Disney only seems to want to tell stories that enhance the overall MCU, with the recent development of What If …? and a whole new animation division, an animated film version of Marvel 1602 could be an entirely real possibility.
3 Doc Frankenstein
Written by The Matrix creators The Wachowskis from a concept by Geof Darrow and Steve Skroce, Doc Frankenstein is a sequel to the events of Mary Shelly’s classic novel, and finds the Monster adopting the name Frankenstein and living through various points in history, including as a gunslinger in the Old West, fighting in World War 1 and being a supporter of various movements across history like Roe V. Wade and the teaching of evolution that all brings him into conflict with fundamentalist groups. It’s like Frankenstein meets a time-traveling Forrest Gump. The comic itself is only six issues, but there is enough rich detail in it to draw out multiple films spanning different decades. With the Wachowski’s film pedigree, the concept is ripe for a movie.
2 Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld
The past few years have seen a rise in high-concept fantasy adventure series aimed at young women, particularly the highly successful She-Ra: Princess of Power. With fantasy always being a popular genre and Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings still hanging over the popular culture, a comic book property that has its own fantasy world and female lead seems like something Warner Bros. should be jumping at the chance to make. Instead, they are just sitting on their own version of the concept from the pages of DC Comics in the form of Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld. Introduced in a miniseries in 1983 and appearing sporadically over the years, it may not be a household name, but neither were the Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel turned them into a multimedia franchise by making a space adventure, and the DCEU could do the same with Amethyst and the fantasy genre at large.
1 Miracle Man
Miracle Man has a complicated real-world backstory that involves years-long legal battles between some of the biggest names in comics. Formerly known as Marvel Manthe basic idea is that the character was created in order for British publishers to be able to still sell comics after they lost the ability to reprint old Captain Marvel (also known as Shazam) comics from Fawcett Comics after the company ceased publication. Miracle Man was radically reinvented by Alan Moore in 1982 as a postmodern, dark deconstruction of heroes in general, and the story was a precursor to many themes Alan Moore would implement in his great Watchmen. With the recent popularity of Shazam! and its upcoming sequelthe time is perfect for Miracle Man, as the audience is already familiar with the established setup but can also offer a darker, bloodier and introspective superhero tale that examines the fear of living in a world with those who possess god-like powers.
Superhero cinema has a lot to offer, thanks to the development of meticulously interconnected universes.
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