Sunday, September 19, 2010

Top 5 Scary Comics Adaptations

My buddy Ken's been thinking lately about superhero movie adaptations that would make him nervous and sent me an email wondering about my thoughts on it. I asked him if I could use the question as blog-food and he said, "Sure!" So here are the Top Five superhero comics that I'd be most skittish about getting made into movies. I would've guessed that it would be a similar list to my Top Five Favorite Superheroes, but that didn't end up being the case. Shang Chi, for instance, ought to be very easy to get right and I wouldn't be scared until I heard that Michael Bay was the director.

5. The Defenders

There are several team movies that I'd be really nervous about. I'm both excited and worried about The Avengers in equal measure, but I feel like there's a plan for that and - so far - it sounds like a good one. But when I think of everything that could go wrong with a Justice League movie for example, I lose my desire to ever see one. Same goes for other teams I like even more than the JLA, like the Champions and especially the Defenders.

My main concern is the difficulty of balancing that many characters in a two-hour movie. When I think of how convoluted and awful the '90s Batman movies became or Spider-Man 3 was, I cringe. The first couple of X-Men movies were okay though, so I know it can be done. It would just need a very talented writer to get it right.

4. Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD

This one's in the works and yes, I'm nervous. I love Samuel L Jackson and have no problem with him as Nick Fury, but I'm afraid that the force of his personality is going to overwhelm the groovy, '60s spy feel that I want a great Nick Fury movie to have.

3. Wonder Woman

I wouldn't have thought that this would be that hard to get right, but Joss Whedon's proposed treatment of a young Amazon girl finding her identity in Man's World made me realize how wrong someone can get this character. I was encouraged when Hollywood ultimately rejected Whedon's take, but I'll still be nervous until the right one is approved.

2. Aquaman

DC hasn't shown yet that they've figured out what to do with Aquaman, so how can I expect Hollywood to? DC's obviously working on it though; they just haven't revealed their full strategy yet. I'm hoping they've got it unlocked and can pass that knowledge on to a movie production, but the decades of history working against them aren't encouraging.

1. Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange has the potential to be one of my favorite characters, but he isn't. I've yet to read the story that perfectly balances his occult concept with his role as a superhero. Both are needed or he isn't Doctor Strange. If you go too far in one direction, he's just Harry Dresden in an outlandish costume. Too far the other direction and he's just a superhero who gets his powers from magic. Find the balance and he's spooky and cool, but that's going to be tough to do in any medium.

So what superheroes would you be nervous to see adapted for film?


Ken O said...

Great picks! Wonder Woman's animated DVD was the best one DC has put out and that's not just cause I suffer from Batman/Superman fatigue.

Also, if they came out with a show with Aquaman the way he is in Brave and the Bold I would tune in every week. It may not be true to the source, but he makes me smile.

Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

I can see where you're going with this here. I've had similar thoughts about a Nick Fury movie being more SLJ than his actual comic book counterpart, and I'd love to see a surreal sixties spy movie, I imagine that if you pitched that to a room of Hollywood execs that'd say "You mean like Austin Powers?"

I can't really see the Defenders with much of a film future. Follow that Animated Wonder Woman movie as a starter blueprint and I'm sure that'll be fine.

My Fearful Films:

* Namor/Sub-Mariner
Whatever they call it, Chris Columbus was onboard for a while and said "It'll be Star Wars underwater!" I can't tell you how people I've heard say "It'll be Star Wars on an X", I don't really seem to understand the appeal or impact of Star Wars outside of effects and big box office bucks.

Everyone I talk to about this always gets hung up on the wings and the short shorts (though with all the 12 year olds heckling Dr. Manhattan's fashion sense it might be wise to go with the Leather Jacket Variant costume) I don't know what would be best. Stick to the anti hero roots, maybe make him something of a human Godzilla or King Kong, rampage the city, have a love interest cool him down, I dunno.

* Runaways:
Maybe its because this comic was so close to me when I was in my teens I fear it being ruined. While the dialogue translate well, I don't know how well the story itself would fair. If they do make it, resolve the conflict with The Pride by the end, it's not worth dragging out that plot out for a sequel, when you could really end on a bang, then get people excited for another.

Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

* The Reboots (Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four)

If you're going to remake a film thats less than ten years old you REALLY have to make it different. Thats the big challenge for the Spider-Man reboot since the set up for that first film was very taught. I imagine the new crew will take suggestions about more time in high school and more wisecracks, but with so much classic elements put in those first three films, I envy no one involved with writing this new movie, it'll be a challenge for sure.

Fantastic Four. sigh. If not for Michael Chiklis and Chris Evans, I probably would have written those movies of as a complete waste of time rather than "That could have been a lot better."
Theres a line in the second one that I really hate, when Sue says that they're being billed for two police that were damaged in an armored car robbery they stopped. First of, wouldn't that have been an interesting action scene to see, rather than their "solve the problem we inadvertently caused" tactics in said movie. Second, the FF are stopping bank robberies?! I mean, sure thats all well and good, but seems a bit down the totem pole for them (or maybe a sign that movie FF is so pathetic that can't stop a simple crime without collateral damage)

Maybe its because the FF is so close to my heart, that I always thought of them more as explorers into the unknown rather than traditional crime fighters. "More like Star Trek with superpowers" is what I used to say. Going out and battling giant monsters, exploring under ground/water civilizations, crossing the galaxy, traveling through time in addition to their great character chemistry.

Forget the movie, what I REALLY want to see in a good Fantastic Four Animated Series that follows the Lee/Kirby run in the way the Spectacular Spider-Man series adapted the Lee/Ditko run. Try and match the animation to the Kirby style, especially with the backgrounds. We've seen it been done in a number of the DC shows and most distinctly in "Minorteam". I also wouldn't mind a retro chic look to the world as whole, sort of like we got in Batman: TAS but swing off the popularity of "Mad Men". Just saying...

I'm just looking to get my adventure-science-fiction, Johnny Quest meets the Original Star Trek vibe fix, is that so wrong? The possibility canvas is just so open, pick up the original source material and shoot for the moon!

Sorry, I'm rambling.

Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

Ah. That should be, I don't think he [Chris Columbus] understands the appeal or impact of Star Wars. whew. Close one.

Michael May said...

Great thoughts, Erik. Thanks!

I share your concerns for Runaways. I'm attached to those characters too and want to see them done well. I've learned to trust Marvel, but I'm still anxious.

And you should totally be in charge of developing a Fantastic Four show. I'd watch the hell out of that.


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