6 Great Comic Books That Shockingly Aren't Movies Yet
In case you haven't noticed, comic book movies are everywhere these days. But since we've already gotten a few Superman movies, a ton of Spider-Man movies, and sometimes it feels like we're all stuck in Groundhog Day-like scenario where we're forced to relive Thomas and Martha Wayne's murder over and over again, maybe it's time for some different source material. It turns out there are lots of comics that would make great films. And we've singled out a few that should totally be adapted, none of which would open with Uncle Ben getting shot for the 37th time.
Black Hole -- A Classic Story About Mutagenic STDs
Charles Burns' Black Hole, a graphic novel about a freaky STD that turns teenagers into grotesque mutants, somehow hasn't been made into a movie yet. (It's kind of like "X-Men meets incurable gonorrhea," but the gonorrhea is a metaphor for adulthood.) And to be fair, Hollywood may simply be protecting Neil deGrasse Tyson, whose brain would presumably melt like a Barbie doll in a microwave if a movie called "Black Hole" was less about astrophysics and more about the kind of psychosexual nightmares David Cronenberg sees when he closes his eyes.
The comic is positively dripping with a queasy atmosphere, and we know people would turn out for a movie about a magically horrifying venereal disease, because the similarly themed It Follows was a hit. But instead of random people slowly shuffling toward victims, here the beleaguered sexually active teens have to deal with this insanity:
The creeptastic tone would be perfect for a director like David Fincher, which is why it's not surprising that he spent five damn years trying to make a Black Hole movie. Even more promising, the screenplay was originally slated to be written by Neil Gaiman and Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avary. Gaiman and Avary eventually left the project because Fincher's process "consisted of having over ten drafts, done over and over," which Gaiman turned down in the most soothing, dulcet British voice you've ever heard. Fincher himself abandoned the project to focus on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, to the enjoyment of literally no one. Now Rick Famuyiwa, who directed the indie hit Dope, is reportedly adapting the comic, but there hasn't been any news about it in a year.
The Unwritten -- What If Harry Potter Was A Real Dude?
We're reasonably sure that Harry Potter isn't a real person (at least, that's what Daniel Radcliffe's restraining orders keep telling us). But what if he was? Like, remember how Christopher Robin was a real dude who was transformed into a literary icon by his father's Winnie The Pooh books, thus inadvertently ruining his life? That happening in a Potter situation is basically the premise of the comic series The Unwritten.
In-universe, Tommy Taylor is a Harry-Potter-like character inspired by Tom Taylor, the real-life son of the author. Tom is now grown, contending with the mystery of his father's disappearance, the truth of his origins, and a bunch of the same crap the real Christopher Robin had to put up with.
It's funny, exciting, and best of all, it's legally dissimilar enough that J.K. Rowling's attorneys can't do squat. The series was written by Mike Carey with artwork by Peter Gross -- the same team that gave us the comic Lucifer, which was made into a TV show. If audiences are into the idea that the Devil is a nightclub owner who solves crimes, surely people would be into an Unwritten adaptation.
We3 -- A Super-Violent Tale Of Robo-Pet Assassins
For those who always wished that Homeward Bound had more grisly death at the hands -- or rather, paws -- of the adorable protagonists, there's Grant Morrison and illustrator Frank Quitely's We3. The comic miniseries follows a trio of pets on an incredible journey, but in this case, they're cybernetically enhanced and escaping from a government facility where they were being groomed to become superweapons.
And yeah, in case you couldn't guess where this is going, things get super-violent. If you thought cats were jerks before, wait until one is outfitted with a robotic killing suit.
Special effects have become so advanced that we can create CG animals indistinguishable from the real thing. If it wasn't for the fact that they sometimes sing Elton John songs, we'd swear that the creatures in the new Lion King were genuine. So why not make a movie where some lifelike pets take on a SWAT team?
Well, Hollywood has been trying. Way back in 2008, the guy who directed Kung Fu Panda (another story of violent talking animals) was going to make a reportedly R-rated live-action version. Unfortunately, that fizzled out. Then in 2015, James Gunn, of Guardians Of The Galaxy and awkward Twitter jokes fame, publicly stated that he'd like to adapt We3. But even Gunn couldn't pull the trigger (pun intended), and we sadly still don't have a We3 movie.
Alan Moore's Top 10 -- A World Where Everyone's A Superhero
Alan Moore and artists Zander Cannon and Gene Ha's Top 10 may sound like a revisionist sci-fi take on the life of David Letterman, but it's actually set in a universe where everyone is a superhero. Like, everyone. Even taxi drivers and hot dog vendors, who use their laser eyes to cook wieners.
The story follows Robyn "Toybox" Slinger, who joins the Neopolis police force after graduating from police academy, which hopefully didn't have any superpowered Steve Guttenberg types. What follows is basically a dense, hyper-imaginative police procedural. Picture if Jerry Orbach and every single person in the Law & Order universe were exposed to gamma radiation, and you start to get the idea.
Bizarrely, Moore was inspired by cop shows like NYPD Blue. Specifically, he realized that most of those ensemble programs work better than most superhero teams in comics. So he fused the two concepts. According to Moore, he was wondering "Why don't groups work? Hill Street Blues works. So what if you could have a superhero cop book -- at that point the light came on." We think it would make a damn good movie, or even TV series. Of course, whoever makes it would run the risk of having Alan Moore spit "venom" at them like some sort of bearded British cobra.
Bitch Planet -- A Sci-Fi Dystopia Inspired By The Handmaid's Tale And RoboCop
In case you hadn't noticed, Hollywood has a glaring lack of female-driven prison stories set on interplanetary dystopian detention centers. It's sad, really. That's why someone should really make a movie (or series) based on Bitch Planet. Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Valentine De Landro's comic is set in a future in which women are routinely arrested for being "non-compliant" and shipped to an off-world penitentiary colloquially referred to as "Bitch Planet." Yeah, if you thought the Joker and Doctor Doom were good villains, wait until you check out ... the Patriarchy.
The prison itself is a rich sci-fi setting. There are TVs everywhere, masked guards that look as though they stepped out of an Eyes Wide Shut orgy, and a holographic nun who exists only to shame the inmates.
While the book began back in 2014, it's arguably more relevant today. Which was entirely unintentional. According to DeConnick, the story was "supposed to be a comedy," not an oddly prescient satire. Though she also notes that she was inspired by The Handmaid's Tale and RoboCop, which themselves have proven to be disturbing accurate forecasts.
Beasts Of Burden -- Doggies And Kitties Investigate Paranormal Mysteries
For those of us who grew up with Disney movies, we're used to dogs, say battling petty criminals, playing basketball, or enjoying a nicer Italian dinner than most of us are able to afford. Beasts Of Burden takes that premise in a way darker direction. The series, by writer Evan Dorkin and artist Jill Thompson, finds a group of talking doggies and their kitty cat friend investigating the supernatural. Kind of like The X-Files, if Mulder and Scully had been purchased at PetSmart. In what started out as a short entry in a horror anthology, and then grew into its own series, the Beasts Of Burden gang have gotten to the bottom of hauntings ...
... battled witches and zombie dogs (that's not the name of some gothy high school band, we're talking actual zombie dogs here) ...
... and at one point they even cross paths with Hellboy, in what was sort of the Dark Horse comics equivalent of that time Magnum P.I. hung out with the Murder, She Wrote lady.
Unsurprisingly, the series was optioned to become a movie in 2011. What was surprising was that the violent comic was set to be adapted by the dude who made Shrek. Though, to be fair, that is technically the story of a talking animal meeting a monster. Then in 2013, Shane Acker, who directed the animated film 9, was hired to helm the movie. But seeing as there hasn't been any further news about this project in the past six years, we'll assume it's not happening. Meaning that if you want a movie about talking pets grappling with the unknown, you'll have to stick with the existential terrors of the Garfield franchise for now.
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