<i>By <a href=http://twitter.com/seth410>Seth Robison, Newsarama Contributor</a></i> <p>The blending of the red-hot Superhero movie genre with the bankable World War II action movie made this weekend's release of <B>Captain America: The First Avenger</B> a sure-fire hit. In fact, it took the #1 spot in the box office, knocking the final <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/film/10-wizards-magic-users-harry-potter-110715.html><i>Harry Potter</i> film</a> out of the top spot after only one week in theater, surprising analysts. <p>It has everything: larger-than-life super-heroics, modern history's most despised enemies, human drama, and more information about the most expensive and elaborate continuity ever committed to film: <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/film/9-Marvel-Movie-connections-110624.html>the Marvel Cinematic Universe</a>. But while the upcoming <b>Avengers</b> movie will take the Star Spangled Avenger out of his time and into the modern age, there are enough super-heroics in-and-around World War II stories committed to the four-color page to fill movie theaters for years to come. <p>Click "Start Here" to take a look at our list, and let us know your top picks! <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>
If the idea that an individual tank of a certain model could be possessed by the spirit of the man who that model was named after seems crazy and that's before it's revealed that that ghost was a long dead Confederate General placed there by the spirit of Alexander the Great to protect that tank's commander, who shares the tank's name you'd be right. However, that is the premise behind <b>The Haunted Tank</b>, a surprisingly durable concept that has seen many revivals since World War II comics fell out of favor. <p>It's a sad truth that war and insanity are closely intermixed, but that mix has been mined frequently for black comedic purposes successfully many times. A <b>Haunted Tank</b> movie would be a bleak, darkly humorous story of a tank crew whose commander might be communicating with a ghost who can save their lives but only he can see or hear, or he might just be going out of his head.
Garth Ennis' 2001 World War II anthology miniseries takes readers, via a variety of superstar artists including Dave Gibbons (<I>Watchmen</I>) and Carlos Ezquerra (<I>Judge Dredd</I>), all over the battlefield telling human stories from both sides of the conflict from a German tank commander to an officer aboard a convoy escort ship who must overcome losing ships under his protection. <p>The film would keep the anthology format, this time with different directors putting their own visual spin on each short story.
Vampire Nazis! Scott Snyder's vampire saga spends a mini-series (<b>Survival of the Fittest</b>) on the Eastern Front, combining the ancient home of the vampire myth with a different kind of evil that was prevalent in the area during World War II. A possible cure for vampirism brings Snyder's characters together and in conflict with sinister forces looking to use the condition to their advantage. <p>A straight-up horror tale, in <b>American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest</b> the rising of the sun wouldn't even give it's heroes a break, because: Nazis!
A title passed down by the clandestine services in France since at least the time of the French Revolution, a least two Mademoiselle Maries were active, sequentially, during the occupation of France during World War II. Conducing sabotage, intelligence gathering and assassinations behind enemy lines Mademoiselle Marie would often work with other solider comic heroes like The Losers or Sgt. Rock. <p>Taking resistance/espionage dramas like Paul Verhoeven's 2006 <I>Black Book</I> as a guide the <b>Mademoiselle Marie</b> movie would a comic book movie for grown-ups, an erotically charged spy thriller with a tinge of the fantastic to pay tribute to its origins.
Comic's original anti-hero, Namor was the product of a union between an American sea captain and the Princess of the undersea kingdom of Atlantis. Constantly torn between two worlds, Namor lashed out by using his natural born great strength and his ability to both breathe underwater and fly through the skies. A keen sense of honor and justice kept him from being an outright villain, but his ruthlessness would always keep him from being seen as a savior. <p>A Namor World War II film would parallel his comic adventures during that period, begrudgingly taking sides with the allies to protect his kingdom from Axis assault. His teaming with Captain America and the original Human Torch under the banner of The Invaders would make it possible to tie Namor into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with little more than a cameo by the Star Spangled Avenger (and to see a cosmic coincidence of a former Johnny Storm, Chris Evans, sharing the screen with a different Human Torch).
The durable Canadian mutant has shown his face across the last few decades in a string of movies and comics. Born with retractable claws and an ability to heal from almost any wound, Wolverine has felt at home on the battlefield and has been depicted as a combatant in almost every major war from the American Civil War to WWII. <p>In a new entry in his own X-Men spinoff franchise, and as depicted briefly in <I>X-Men Origins: Wolverine</I>, Canadian Special Forces member James Lucky Jim Howlett, would simultaneously use and hide his gifts alongside his brother Victor Sabertooth Creed, as they fight the horrors that come out of Hydra's evil laboratories.
Perhaps inspired by the true story of the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen, and the lingering mystic of pilots as honorable knights-of-the-sky, Enemy Ace was the rare war comic whose hero was one of the enemy. In this case it was the German Hans von Hammer, The Hammer of Hell, who fought in both WWI and WWII from behind the controls of his fighter plane. Disillusioned with war, but ever dutiful to his country, he fights with honor and also with ruthless efficiency on the Eastern Front. Finally it's the horrors that his nation has perpetrated during the war that brings him down from the sky. <p>A pure drama peppered with aerial combat (and maybe a <I>Blackhawks</I> crossover) the <b>Enemy Ace</b> film would show the breakdown of a man of honor fighting in the name of a dictator who has none, but must kill to keep his friends alive until it all becomes too much to bear.
Before the Vertigo Comics revival depicting <B>The Losers</B> as a team of betrayed modern-day Special Forces operatives that lead to the 2010 movie, <B>The Losers</B> was a team of DC soldier-heroes banded together under a single title. Classically depicted as coming from different branches of the service, they took their name from the saying Born to Lose, Fight to Win, because they had a knack for facing long odds (they were Born to Lose) but coming out ahead in the end. <p><B>The Losers</B> fought WWII on all fronts and alongside many of DC's other heroes of the era. Although their ultimate fates are muddied by many retcons, often times they die in battle like so many of their allies, their luck running out at last. In the movie version, a quartet of haunted men, all the last survivors of their units take on a <I>Dirty Dozen</I> style suicide mission, in the hope to expunge their ghosts and their survivor's guilt.
James Robinson's 1993 epic stretches from the last days of WWII to the promise and paranoia of the first years of the Cold War. In a WWII where the heroes of comic's Golden Age struggled during the war at home and overseas, the powerful heroes produced by the dawning of the Atomic Age and paranoia over the Red Menace begins to change the world from one they thought they had saved. <p>Packed with heroes both familiar and obscure, any film based on the work would do it a disservice not to recreate its tone: less about big battles and more about what it's like to come home from war and be "normal" even when you've spent your life in a mask. Obstinately a drama, the climactic scene, if committed to film, would rival any super-heroic battle yet seen on the big screen.
Modern comic fans know of Lady Blackhawk, aka Zinda Blake, as the two-fisted, hard drinking pilot in the pre-relaunch <b>Birds of Prey</b>, but before her time-displacement during the events of 1994's <I>Zero Hour</I> event, she was a member of the WWII era fighter pilot squadron, The Blackhawks. Composed primarily of pilots whose nations had been overrun by the Germans (including Poland, France and the Netherlands), The Blackhawks flew sorties against the Luftwaffe and other German forces from their secret island base. <p>In a <b>Blackhawks</b> movie, their status as men (and women) without a country but with a common enemy would unite them in the skies while their personal losses and old national rivalries would create drama on the ground.