We’re living in the age of superheroes and if you’re a comic book guy it’s a great time to be alive. From the return of the Dark Knight and the Last Son of Krypton to the juggernaut that is Disney’s Marvel Comics Universe, hardly a summer has gone by in the last 10 years without a super-powered blockbuster obliterating summer box office expectations. Some have been fabulous interpretations of beloved classics while others have been shat out in an attempt to make a quick buck for the studio. But too much of a good thing can still be bad and over the last year, a lot of folks have been feeling some superhero burnout. That’s not to say that the comic book industry can’t still provide some thrilling entertainment. So, for your consideration, here are a few comics that would be fantastic on film. Caliban (2014) – Garth Ennis and Facundo Paricio Garth Ennis has done a lot in the last 25 years in the comic book industry including titles like Preacher, Crossed, and an almost decade-long run at the helm of Marvel’s Punisher but it was Caliban that found a special place in my heart and on my bookshelf. The Sci-Fi/horror thriller begins aboard an earth ship named Caliban, a long range mining vessel traveling at warp speeds between desolate, barren planets harvesting minerals for mankind as it struggles to survive on an overcrowded earth. It’s during this banal transit period between worlds when the adventure begins as the ship, seemingly defying the laws of physics laid out in the story, impacts another object mid-flight. The ship drops out of warp only for the crew to find the vessel fused to a much larger, much stranger craft. Hibernation pods eject into the void of space as crew members find themselves imbedded in the walls of the alien ship as both vessels attempted -and failed- to occupy the same space at the same time. What follows is an exploration of horrors reminiscent of both Alien and Event Horizon as the ship’s navigator stumbles across the long mummified body of one of the alien vessel’s crew and becomes host to an ancient, intelligent virus and begins a series of body modifications using the menagerie of captured alien specimens aboard the ship. Meanwhile, the surviving crew that hasn’t gone completely insane is in the process of trying to find a way home while simultaneously –and fruitlessly- trying to save their lunatic shipmate. In the end, the crew is spectacularly slaughtered one by one until only the ship’s computer linguist is left floating through the darkness in suspended animation in an escape pod. So what would make this a great movie? Admittedly at the forefront it feels like another uninspired sci-fi/horror crossover but the potential for some incredible character building, story development, and some truly spectacular, larger than life scenes exist in Caliban. It mixes the time-honored Alien trope of a lone, crazed killing machine stalking the stranded crew with elements of body modification horror and a sort of mystery thriller. With a talented screenwriter adapting the graphic novel and some expert direction, it could easily become a hauntingly beautiful and terrifying classic. Batman: Arkham Asylum/A Serious House on Serious Earth (1989) – Grant Morrison and Dave McKean Fans and fair weather followers alike can agree that there have been some serious issues with the new DC cinematic universe. Like it, love it, or feel ambivalent towards it, they are bound and determined to compete with Marvel in a superhero-saturated clash of the Titans until we’re so sick of spandex and capes that we’ll all be rooting for the bad guys to win. Still, after seeing offerings like the animated The Killing Joke, I have hope that DC and Warner Brothers can still pull off a decent Batman movie and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth would fit the bill. The story has those dark, gripping social commentaries mixed with the action and suspense befitting none other than the Dark Knight himself. The inmates are running the asylum in this Grant Morrison written story and none other than the Clown Prince of Crime is presiding over the chaos. Staff members are being held hostage, their lives hanging desperately in the balance and their captors have only one demand: give us the Batman. But the request isn’t as simple as it seems. Batman is struggling with the possibility that maybe he actually belongs in Arkham alongside all his lunatic antagonists. It’s a fear that Commissioner Gordon recognizes; that the Joker knows and preys upon. This is the pre-Harley Joker of the late 80’s mind you, the effeminate, dubious sexuality Joker of Frank Miller and other authors of the day whose desire to have the Batman, to make him a part of him seems as romantic as it is hopelessly twisted. Batman enters the asylum to free the hostages and begins playing the Joker’s game, encountering inmates both dangerous and piteous. All this plays out alongside a subplot about the psychiatrist whose home and his dreams would be ripped away and perverted into the Arkham Asylum itself. There is also a parallel story that intermingles with the more overt plot, a sort of transcendent history of the asylum and the man who founded it as well as his personal descent into madness and a sort of spiritual awakening that comes out of the chaos. It’s not a light-hearted read. There are great scenes, compelling dialogue, and a heart-wrenching story both tragic and hopeful that leaves the reader questioning if maybe we’re all just a little bit mad inside. So what would make this a great movie? Everything. From characterization to the tone and timber of the tale, it sucks you in and refuses to let you go. It’s an intelligently written and disturbing story which is what we’ve come to expect from Grant Morrison regardless of what he’s writing. Ben Affleck’s Batman would fit seamlessly into this borderline macabre tale while the latest cinematic incarnation of the Joker –with a few minor tweaks here or there- would be utterly terrifying. The story carries and uncharacteristic amount of horror that has never really been explored in a Batman movie -or any other superhero film for that matter- that would give audiences something genuinely new and exciting to look forward to. I Hate FairyLand (2015-ongoing) – Skottie Young You fluffing think this is a fairy tale?! Once upon a time in the magical realm of Fairyland, a young girl named Gertrude and her magical fly companion Larrigon (better known as Larry) set out on a quest to find a magic key that would take sweet Gertrude home. Along the way, they make friends, have adventures, and save the day. And if you believe any of that, you’ve never read Skottie Young’s amazing I Hate Fairyland. Gert was a little girl like any other until a magical portal opened up in her bedroom and sucked her into this mystical fairytale cliché. Queen Cloudia, ruler of Fairyland gives Gert a map and a companion and sends her on what should have been a short, delightful adventure to recover the magic key and send her home. 27 years later… Gert is pushing forty in the body of a small girl and has an attitude to match a life lived in an alien realm searching for a way home that might not even exist. Along with the misanthropic Larry, she’s also earned a reputation as a blood-crazed, slaughter happy warrior child who has become a thorn in Queen Cloudia’s side. Powerless by the laws of Fairyland to do anything to directly harm Gert, the Queen hires mercenaries and creates ever more elaborate schemes to rid herself once and for all of the strange little girl with green hair. So what would make this a great movie? Action, adventure, the use of words like “fluff” in ever more blatant and creative ways to avoid using any actual obscenity coupled with copious amounts of blood and gore and the utter carnage and destruction of your childhood fantasies. The storytelling is spectacular (as is the art) and the dialogue. As an animated, adult-oriented adventure/comedy it would be a huge success. We’re talking about a generation that cut its teeth on shows like The Simpsons and Ren and Stimpy doing some sword and sorcery comedy in a sickeningly cute, child’s tale backdrop. The series is in its second run now and is already promising to be every bit as funny and engaging as the first volume. It’s proving to be a sensational series and even if those fools in Hollywood ignore everything I’ve said in this piece, you should still check it out. I wanted to write a lot more in this article than what I did so you’ll likely be seeing a follow up in the not too distant future. There are some truly amazing writers out there making some of the most phenomenal stories that Hollywood is ignoring. In most cases, the artwork is just as stunning as the story itself. Do yourself a favor and check out these stories. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.