After seeing Green Lantern last week I can honestly say I was surprised it got made. Not because of the quality of anything involved but the story itself. Batman and Superman have been staples for years in our society and stories about them, while running the gambit from campy to realistic, have been accepted on the whole by viewers. While I’m a huge fan of the Green Lantern mythos and characters, it seemed like something that was too far-out there for the general public to accept.
I think we take for granted that these movies are easy to get made because of the flood we’ve seen the last few years. Sure, there have been some mega-hits (Batman: The Dark Knight) but there have also been some horrible duds (The Spirit). While in no way are comic book adaptations a sure-fire thing for studios, they’re still taking chances on us.
All that being said, there is an inordinate amount of material out there for Hollywood to choose from, and they’re just barely skimming the surface. Here are just a few comic stories I’ve thought about seeing on the silver screen the last few years and that I feel have the potential to wow audiences outside of comic book readers.
Birds of Prey – I know, I hear you groaning. Bear with me for a second. We’re all wondering what’s going to happen after Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy ends. Neither he nor Christian Bale seem to want to make a fourth film, which I kind of agree with anyway, ending on a (more than likely) high note is better than dragging things on until there’s nothing left. So where do Warner Bros. go from there? Another take on Batman would surely need to wait until some time has passed on the Nolan/Bale team-up and finding another magical combination is going to be extremely challenging.
My suggestion is delving into the rest of Gotham. I fear something like Batgirl wouldn’t be gritty enough coming off the Nolan films. Batwoman would be fantastic but I’m sure they’d never go for it. But Birds of Prey would be perfect. It didn’t work on television but look at how they did it. Black Canary was a child. Let’s forget about origins here and just jump right into the story. Three (or perhaps more) female characters taking down some of Gotham’s worst with both mental and brute strength. And you know who I could see directing it? Quentin Tarantino. Think about it for a minute. Think about the female characters in Kill Bill or Death Proof. He knows how to create a film with strong women and who’s stronger than the Birds of Prey? And to make it even more appealing, convince Bale to come back for a cameo telling Barbara to be careful about X,Y, and Z to which she informs Batman she knows more than him.
The Stuff of Legend – While I’m still waiting for David Petersen’s Mouse Guard to make it’s way to theaters (it is in the works last I heard), I’m dying to see another one of my favorite indies make it to the big screen. (I’ve written about it for this column before.) If you don’t know of it, The Stuff of Legend, from Th3rd World Studios is about a group of old-school toys who have a life of their own and must come to the rescue of their owner when The Boogeyman takes him into a world called The Dark. It’s kind of like Toy Story meets Labyrinth. When the toys travel into The Dark they transform into more realistic, flesh and blood, versions of themselves - the teddy bear becomes a grizzly bear, the Jack-in-the-Box becomes an ax-wielding Jester, etc. Charles Paul Wilson III illustrates this all beautifully and writers Mike Raicht and Brian Smith have created a really unique and compelling story. I can see this one happening in a part-CGI, part-live action technique, kind of like The Chronicles of Narnia.
X-Men: Rogue – As much as I enjoy the X-Men films we already have, there is room for countless takes and stories. That’s obvious when you look at the success of First Class. Even though the first X-Men film centered a great deal around Rogue, it wasn’t the Rogue I know and love. I want to see her years with Mystique as her adoptive mother. I want to see her absorb all of Ms. Marvel’s powers. I want to see her struggles with that, not her crushing on Wolverine. Rogue is the one to be crushed on. Throw Gambit in there and make a true love interest for her. My casting choice? Christina Hendricks.
The Unwritten – If Warner Bros. wants another hit franchise, look no further than Mike Carey’s Harry Potter for adults, The Unwritten. Considering most Harry Potter fans have grown up with that series and are now adults themselves, Carey’s Vertigo book is the perfect stepping stone into a new, but slightly similar, fantastic story. The book follows a character named Tom Taylor, the real-life inspiration for a character similar to Harry, from a highly successful book series. Turns out, Tommy might actually be the boy wizard and his father may have created him out of thin air. It has extreme violence, sex (which, come one, some of those Hogwarts kids had to be getting up to) and is a bibliophile’s wet dream. The Unwritten contains countless classic literature references and characters and hosts a group of “normal” people trying to make sense of the fantasy world they seem to have found themselves in. I could see Terry Gilliam directing it.
This is really just the tip of the iceberg for me, what about you? Which comic series, stories or characters are you waiting to see make the jump to the big screen?More from Jill Pantozzi
- Op/Ed: ORACLE is Stronger Than BATGIRL Will Ever Be
- Gail, Jill and Babs: A Conversation about BATGIRL and ORACLE