Top List Thursday – 10 More Comic Books That Should Be Made Into Movies

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Two weeks back I listed 10 comic books that I thought had great potential to be adapted for the big screen. Unfortunately, narrowing my initial list of candidates down to just 10 proved to be a very daunting task. As such, I thought I’d do a follow-up, listing 10 more that just barely missed being in that first article.

Just like before, my only criteria for these comics is that they should not already be in some form of development, otherwise anything goes.

THE AMERICAN WAY

Set in a racial tension filled America in the 1960’s, The American Way tells of the fallout of a plan hatched by the American government 20 years earlier. Confronted with the start of the Cold War, the US government creates the Civil Defense Corps, a group of genetically engineered superheroes to protect and inspire the people, as they face off against all manner of threats, all of which is captured on the glorious new technology called “television”. But what the public doesn’t know, is that the villains are actually superpowered actors just playing their part in what is essentially just a morale boosting pantomime. But when the pride of the CDC, Old Glory, accidentally dies on live television, and another of its members is unmasked as an African American, it sets off a chain of shocking events.

Besides for a really cool concept, this one already has a leg up on the competition, as the creator, John Ridley, has already had two of his literary novels, U-Turn and Three Kings turned into big budget Hollywood films.

SUPERMAN: RED SON

Mark Millar’s alternate reality tale has such an intriguing yet deliciously simple concept, that I have no idea why it hasn’t even been optioned as an animated film yet. The basic premise is simply, what would have happened if rocket carrying baby Kal-El from Krypton had arrived just a few hours later, the Earth’s rotation causing it to crash in Soviet controlled Ukraine, instead middle-American Kansas.

In a truly epic tale spanning generations and thousands of years, it tells the really amazing story of how much more different the world would be, if the most powerful man on it was the Champion of Communism.

ETERNALS

Jack Kirby’s group of heroes, The Eternals – virtually immortal, superpowered members of a race created millions of years ago by the god-like Celestials as a defense for Earth in their absence – have been around for decades, but it was under the stewardship of Neil Gaiman in 2006 that they were properly reintroduced into the modern Marvel universe, and it’s his tale that would be perfect for a cinematic adaptation.

Gaiman’s story found the Eternals living among humans, completely oblivious to their godly heritage, due to someone/something mysteriously having implanted false memories in their heads. But when New Yorker Ike Harris’ body is atomized during a super villain kidnapping, his body is later reconstituted complete with all his powers and memories. Now, remembering his former identity as Ikaris, he sets about trying to revive his fellow Eternals and discover who has been manipulating them. But it’s a race against time as the Dreaming Celestial is about to awaken and he is not happy.

THE FIVE FISTS OF SCIENCE

Hey, if the world can accept Abraham Lincoln as a vampire hunter, then there’s no reason why we can’t have a movie where Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla lead a group of like-minded heroic individuals, using their advanced scientific, political and social acumen to safeguard the world from itself.

Oh, and did I mention that they engage in a clandestine steampunk high-tech war with the likes of the dastardly Thomas Edison and Guglielmo Marconi over a mysterious skyscraper responsible for the deaths of a number of civilians?

Seriously, this movie just writes itself!

REX LIBRIS

If director Barry Sonnenfeld should  ever want to stop making Men In Black movies, and instead take on another hero in a black suit, this would be so perfect for him. James Turner’s science fiction/fantasy/comedy series introduces us the titular Rex Libris, Middleton Public Library’s head librarian. But what most of the public doesn’t know, is that this library is actually the fabled library of Alexandria. After it nearly got destroyed thousands of years ago, the Egyptian god Thoth decided to keep safe it’s treasures by having it move through time and space continuously.

One of the original Alexandrian librarians, Rex is now in charge of the greatest collection of knowledge in the universe, and imbued by Thoth with a lengthened lifespan and armed with the knowledge of the millions of books he’s read, it’s Rex’s job to retrieve overdue books from all through spacetime. Alien planets, ancient civilizations, alternate dimensions, when that book is due, Rex will find you.

WE3

When a rabbit, a dog and a cat are turned into walking death machines by an experimental military program, and then subsequently escape to embark on journey to find their home, it sets off a very emotional but exceptionally violent story that would have audiences reaching for the tissues in between their gasps of incredulity. Unfortunately, due to the fact that an ultra violent version of Homeward Bound might not be the easiste pitch to make, Hollywood will probably give this one the cold shoulder. (I can just hear it now: “Mommy, what is kitty doing to the man’s spine?”)

But while Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s tale may be controversial for it’s buckets of crimson, it is still an incredibly powerful tale that tackles some serious issues. It has the potential for some amazing visual set pieces, and the 3 main animal characters have such an iconic design that would translate so well to the screen.

ARROWSMITH

It’s the First World War and wide-eyed Fletcher Arrowsmith has just enlisted on the side of the Allies. But he will lose his idealism as he sets off to fight the Prussians in the horrific trenches of Europe. What makes this comic story different from other war comics though,  is that in this alternate reality, dragons and magic are not only very real, but used as very effective weapons.

Playing out like a mix of Reign of Fire and All Quiet On The Western Front, Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pachecho’s criminally under-read tale would make for an amazing blockbuster with its incredible visuals and gritty human drama.

RONIN

No, not the Robert De Niro movie. This is Frank Miller’s epic tale of science fiction and samurais, that spans from Feudal Japan to a dystopian far off future. When a feudal lord is attacked and killed by the demon Agat as repercussion for stealing the demon’s magical sword, the young samurai assigned to protect him decides to commit seppuku out of shame. But when an opportunity arises to kill the demon, the young samurai takes it, impaling both himself and the demon on the same magical blade, trapping their souls inside it.

Skip ahead to the future, where the sword has fallen into the possession of the Aquarius Corporation. While experimenting on the sword, after hearing rumours of its magical properties, they inadvertently free the demon to run amok, but luckily the young samurai – now a masterless ronin – soon follows. Trapped in a future he doesn’t understand, he now has to track down and kill this monstrous enemy once again.

 CHEW

Meet Tony Chu, an agent of the US Food and Drugs Administration.  Tony lives in world where poultry is rare and illegal after a virulent strain of Bird Flu devastated the world’s population of chickens and other birds. And when Tony eats what is supposed to be a black market bowl of chicken soup for the first time, he makes the horrific discovery that he is a cibopath – A person who is able to get psychic impressions from the things he eats. This is a talent that his sadistic boss loves to exploit as he sends Chu and his partner on the craziest cases, leaving Chu to take a bite out of crime. Literally.

Chew is crazy and kooky, but is also one of the most entertaining things you’ll ever read, and in the hands of the right director could be one hilarious movie. While there is an overarching extraterrestrial plot that is still playing out in the comics, Tony’s first case as he has to track down the missing Health Inspector Evan Pepper from a finger found in a hamburger, would be perfect for a screenplay.

NOVA

This is one I actually left off my initial list purely because out of all the titles I suggested, there’s a pretty good chance that this is already being looked at for development, especially since the character has immensely close ties with The Guardians of the Galaxy, which was just recently confirmed by Marvel as an upcoming feature film.

Created back in 1976, Nova was the story of Richard Rider, a young Earthling who through pure luck is selected by a dying alien being to be a member of the Nova Corps, a group of superpowered intergalactic cops. If that sounds familiar, it’s because that’s pretty much Green Lantern’s story. Nova would show up all over the Marvel universe for the next couple of decades in a number of B-list super teams, but without any major impact.

And then came the Annihilation Wave. In an event that spanned across all Marvel’s space based titles in 2006, the interdimensional army of Annihilus swept through the galaxy destroying everything in their path. One such stop was on Xandar, home of the Nova Corps and their AI based source of power, the Worldmind. The entire Corps had been assembled to face the threat, except for Rider who had been on Earth with some other superhero business. By the time he makes it there, Xandar is no more and every single Corpsmen has been killed. And that’s when things get interesting, as Nova discovers the Worldmind supercomputer on the verge of “death”. In a desperate gamble, the WorldMind downloads it’s consciousness, as well transferring the full Nova Force – the power that had been split among the thousands of Corpsmen before their deaths – all into Richard.

And just like that, the slightly flaky, B-list superhero becomes one of the most powerful people in the universe. And if he finally learns to live up to his true potential, powerful enough to track down and lead the counter-offensive against Annihilus, but only if the advanced supercomputer stuck in his head and the boiling over power levels, don’t kill him first.

There’ve been a couple of hints that Annihilus will be involved in the Marvel movie universe at some point in the future, and what better way to introduce him than through Nova?

Last Updated: July 26, 2012

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions – but very little sleep – I’ve been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

  • Andre116

    I’ve not read any of these.  Most I have not even heard about.  WE3 and Chew has been on my to read list for a long long time though.  Chew also sounds like it would make for a good HBO or Showtime television series.

    I do hope some of the lesser know comics start to filter through to movies though.

    • Well part of me doing this, is to introduce some people to the more lesser known titles. With comic book movies as big as they are, a lot of non-comic book fans will begin to show interest, and they need to know that there’s more to comics than capes and eye-lasers.

      And yeah, I was torn with Chew on whether it would be better as movie or TV series, which is why I left it off the list initially. But I realized yesterday that it could actually work perfectly fine as both.

      • Noelle Adams

        Last time I heard, Chew was actually being adapted into a half-hour TV series. Of course, Ultra was supposed to become a TV show as well and that never happened. 

        A Ronin adaptation is also apparently in the works, but Arrowsmith sounds frikken awesome. 

        • Sylvaine White, the director of Losers has said that he wants to adapt Ronin, and has pitched it around a few times, but none of the studios have grabbed yet.

      • Andre116

        I hardly read the caped hero comics.  Think the last few of those genre I read was Ghost rider (by Garth Ennis) and Irredeemable Antman (by Kirkman).  Before that it must have been Kingdom Come  10 years ago (also some potential for a movie, but I won’t hold my breath since that is more of a conclusion for all the modern day superheroes). 

        I do like that you are giving me ideas for hunting down new books.

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