I saw Avengers: Age Of Ultron this morning with my family. There’s a bajillion reviews out there, by writers much more talented than myself (like Zaki Hasan), so I won’t bother writing one myself, but the final verdict:
Excellent. Even better than the first. I can’t wait to own this on DVD (and see the deleted scenes).
There’s a lot of new comic-book movies still in the pipeline. I recently read this article:
Interesting list, there’s quite a few that I would be interested in seeing. But there’s still more comics ripe for adaptation. I know the studios love the idea of adapting a known property, but the fact is that the actual comic-book reading audience is very small compared to the movie audience. So “name-recognition” isn’t all that important, in my opinion. It’s one thing if we’re talking about household names like Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man, but I’d say the vast majority of the audience who saw the first Iron Man movie had never heard of the character before that. They ended up seeing it based on good previews, word of mouth, and the appeal of Robert Downey Jr. I’ve written about this before in my post IF I COULD MAKE A SEQUEL TO “HANCOCK” which was a hit movie based on a brand new superhero, that I’m surprised more studios don’t just create new characters for their movies, so they could own them outright. It could also be argued that the Fast and Furious film franchise are essentially “superhero movies” now, with heroes who fight injustice while committing physically impossible acts. All that’s missing from those films are costumes and capes.
Still, if it’s licensed properties that movie studios are interested in, here are 5 comics (in no particular order) that I think could make great movies (specifically avoiding DC or Marvel because that’s too easy):
Writer/creator Robert Kirkman is sitting pretty as his long-running comic-book series The Walking Dead is a mega-successful TV show, soon to get a spin-off show. But Kirkman also has this other series which has been published (by Image Comics) almost as long (it’s currently up to issue #119, which came out last week). A conceit of the series is that it progresses in more or less “real time”, so that a lot has happened to the lead character since the series debuted, with the current status quo being vastly different that it was originally). But this series has been consistently good and I think the original premise could easily be adapted to the big screen. I recall reading about Kirkman saying that this comic had been optioned for a film early on, but no progress has apparently been made. I still think there’s plenty of potential for it.
Mark Grayson is an average teenager, living with his mother and father, with all the typical concerns of teenagers, such as doing well in school and trying to ask out girls. But then on his 16 birthday he is told that his father is actually the world famous superhero Omni-Man, and is also an alien from another planet. And now Mark’s own powers, inherited from his father, have kicked in, and it’s time for him to follow in his father’s footsteps. He trains in the use of his newfound powers, gets a costume, and adopts the superhero name of INVINCIBLE.
The tone of the series in many ways harkened back to the original Spider-Man comics (not to mention Superboy), and my first choice for lead role would be actor ASA BUTTERFIELD, who is rumored to be in the running for the next Spider-Man movie.
Truthfully, I could easily fill this whole list with Rob Liefeld comics, as he has a bunch of characters that I think could look good on the big-screen. He’s had many comics optioned for films over the years but, as of yet, none of materialized. Here’s one that I’ve been re-reading lately (for an upcoming series of retro reviews). The series began in 1992 (also on Image Comics) and in the 41st issue Liefeld hired the legendary Alan Moore to write the title, who then revamped the character into an homage of the Silver Age version of Superman. What Moore did with the character was, in my opinion, brilliant in it’s own right, however I’m not so sure that could be adapted to the big screen, lest they run afoul of Warner Bros.’ copyright lawyers. No, the version I’d want to see adapted is the original character, as envisioned by Rob Liefeld and writer/artist Brian Murray in the first issue.
SUPREME was a powerful superhero who fought injustice in the 1940’s. After the end of World War II in 1945 Supreme felt that the world was too small for him, and he left Earth to go explore outer space. 47 years later he returned to Earth, stronger and more powerful than ever, and even more aggressive. Unlike Superman, Supreme was driven as much by his ego as he was by his conscious. He truly did think he was better than every else (and you couldn’t really argue that he wasn’t) and therefor deserved to be worshiped as a hero (or possibly even a God). When dealing with criminals violence was a first, not last, resort for him, he wouldn’t hesitate to annihilate his enemies, often being barely concerned with an collateral damage that may occur.
My choice for the lead role? JASON STATHAM.
He’s already got the physique and the receding hairline necessary for the role, as well as the bad-ass attitude. As recently as last fall, Liefeld spoke of the possibility of this comic becoming a film. So who knows if we may see this one someday? Fingers crossed.
Published early last year by Dark Horse Comics as a 4-issue miniseries, with a follow-up one-shot special at the end of the year, this series was about a U.S. government-sponsored superhero program. A U.S. soldier gets trained to wear this special high-tech suit which gives them various super-abilities (including the ability to fly, of course) and go on both public and covert missions for the government, using the name “Skyman”. When the most recent operative gets arrested after going on a public drunken racist rant against President Obama, the program is re-hauled and a new member needs to be selected. Except all the current trainees were White, and it was decided that the next Skyman should be Black. So U.S. Airforce Sergeant Eric Reid, who is handicapped after being wounded in action, is chosen and given training. But Eric not only faces the doubts of his superiors, who resent that he was chosen over more-qualified White soldiers, but also his own self-doubts as he blames himself for the mission that not only left him handicapped but also killed several members of his former squad. But Eric does his best to be a good public face for the government, until he learns that there is a secret, darker side to the Skyman program.
Superheroes, racial politics, government conspiracies, this story has every ingredient necessary to make a compelling film. And the ideal leading man?
I’ve seen some of the films he’s been in. While he’s no Denzel, he’s a decent actor, and I think he could pull this off. And he recently said that he wants to play a superhero, so here ya go!
4: HALLOWEEN MAN
I’ve been a fan of Drew Edwards’ quirky comic since the days it began as a webseries. Currently being published in print by Monsterverse I’ve got a whole category dedicated to reviewing issues here (I just realized I never got around to reviewing the most recent issue – oops, I’ll get to that), feel free to check those out to get an idea of what is about it. Zombies! Monsters! Aliens! A Talking goat! This comic has a little something for everyone. And I envision the film as a sort of action/horror/comedy in the vein of Shaun of The Dead.
…the choice is obvious: CHRISTINA HENDRICKS!
Originally published as a miniseries in 2009 by Dynamite Comics, writer/artist Howard Chaykin tells the story of this unlikely duo. The President of the United States approves a genetic experiment to create a superhero to be used for propaganda purposes. Special Agent Allan Powell is chosen as the text subject and turned into a superhuman, and given a special costume to be the hero known as AMERICAN POWERHOUSE.
But while he looks good for the TV cameras, and has no scruples, which makes him the perfect celebrity spokesman, he’s also almost completely incompetent. So Special Agent Michael Gorski, who was originally considered for the program but turned down in favor of Powell, is hired to covertly back up Powell on missions and basically do all the real work, while Powell gets all public credit. Neither Powell nor Gorski like each other very much, and that just gets worse when Powell starts sleeping with Gorski’s estranged wife.
The comic was full of action and witty humor, with biting satire of many social issues from politics, to journalism, to entertainment. This would be an buddy/action/comedy. And for Powell I’d cast ARMIE HAMMER
He’s got the traditional leading-man good lucks, but also the right look to pull off the smarmy personality of the character. And for Gorski I’d pick JAKE GYLLENHALL
So there’s my little list. There are many others I could suggest. I realize that these choices are all superhero comics, perhaps I should have tried to be more diverse by genre, but this is a good start.