My Comic Book Movie Wishlist Five

Earlier this week, I posted a link to the article, ”Five Superhero Movies That Should (But Never Will) Be Made”. It got me thinking about the books I read during my eight years as a serious collector, and which characters I'd like to see on the big screen. We're definitely living in a golden age of comic book movies, and if a major character hasn't gotten a movie yet, then his or her film is at the very least in the early stages of becoming a reality. For the most part, my wishlist has been fulfilled, and once we get that live action Avengers movie, there really won't be much left. Maybe then Hollywood will move away from comic books and graphic novels, and find some other source of inspiration. Maybe we'll subsist on sequels and reboots for a while of characters we've already seen in theaters. Or maybe, just maybe, we'll see a few longshots(though probably not Longshot). So what would be My Five unlikely comic books that I wish would be adapted into films? Let's find out:

1) Quasar:
A lot of my friends never understood why I liked this character, and I think part of the reason was because he presented a rare opportunity for me to start collecting a series from issue #1. Most of the heroes I was familiar with were created decades before I was born, with issues numbering in the 100s. What if this guy caught on? What if his first issue was worth a lot of money and paid for my future kid's college tuition? Yeah, I know that's never going to happen....now. But at the time it was very exciting. And though the character had been around since the late ‘70s, he was always a guest star in other books. The late, great Mark Gruenwald took an obscure character that no one else wanted, and spun him into a pretty decent solo series in which he learned that wearing the Quantum Bands came with the daunting responsibility of being the Protector of the Universe, destined to take on some impending threat. He was a rookie in many ways, and we got to learn about his powers as he did, figuring out how these wristbands that could create anything out of energy he imagined could be used creatively. He was often over his head, which makes for the best superhero stories, and I remember one memorable issue in which he faced the Absorbing Man, who used his powers of contact replication to turn himself into a living version of the energy-gem studded Q-bands. With Green Lantern coming to the big screen next year, and The Silver Surfer appearing in the Fantastic Four sequel and hopefully his own solo film in 2012, there's certainly a market for cosmic super heroes, and CGI could make for some spectacular interpretations of the quantum constructs. Also, by his third costume revision while being drawn by an up-and-coming Greg Capullo, he got one of the coolest capes in comics, blue on the outside and freaking SPACE on the inside--I bet artists hated having to draw a starscape on fabric all the time, but Capullo always delivered. I'd love to see that for “real”, but since the comic ended after 60 issues and the character only had sporadic appearances in the pages of the Avengers and some other books before being killed off(although some of the summaries I'm reading now have him resurrected, because comics are soap opera-y like that), I doubt it will happen. Mark Gruenwald is probably the only one who liked the character as much as I did, and sadly he's no longer here to fight for him.

2) DP7:
My second choice is also a Gruenwald-penned title, not from the same universe as Quasar(though they did meet in the pages of his book years later in a rare crossover). Back in the late ‘80s, Marvel tried a new imprint of titles called the New Universe, which was set in the “real” world instead of the Marvel Universe. There were almost no costumed, traditional heroes, just ordinary people who gained strange abilities after a mysterious event. DP7 in particular focused on a diverse group who seek help at a corrupt clinic, only to band together and find themselves on the run. It had a similar premise to Heroes, so I know that concept of ordinary people with extraordinary abilities can work if done properly. In many ways the book was ahead of its time, and initially utilized a real-time format since it was set in a version of “our” universe. Comic books came out once a month, so a month would pass between each issue. So a lot happened over the course of 32 issues and one annual, and these characters went through many changes. The idea of a diverse ensemble has been working well for years on the small screen thanks to shows like LOST, and I think the best comic book movies are the ones that people can take seriously, that tone down the over-saturated costumes and capes and focus on the people themselves. DP7 had some memorable and beloved characters like Antibody and Mastodon, and it'd be great to see them all come to life.

3) The Metal Men:
The Metal Men are a team of robots each made from a different metal, who can change their form and retain the properties of the metal they're made of(Gold was the malleable leader, Iron was strong, Mercury was hot-headed, etc.). They've been around since the ‘60s, although my first exposure to them was in an ‘80s Superman story written and drawn by John Byrne in which they all form a gestalt robot to help the figurative Man of Steel defeat the giant menace Chemo. How could I not like a gestalt robot story? The characters are definitely throwbacks to an earlier era, and some of their adventures read like chemistry lessons as they repeated explained their specific qualities. Recently, they've had a few appearances on Batman: The Brave and the Bold, an animated series known for nostalgic visits to the Silver Age. A retro team movie might work, especially utilizing the same graphics technology that brought us The Silver Surfer or the T-1000.

4) Cloak and Dagger:
They were from different worlds. He was a shy urban kid with a stutter, she a runaway from a wealthy family. They met on the streets, and were changed forever when abducted by mobsters who tested drugs on them, which released their latent mutant abilities. He became a being of living darkness, shrouded in a cloak, who had a ravenous hunger for light and life energy to feed the dark dimension within. She could throw daggers of pure light. Together they fought crime. They're a cool visual concept and definitely some of Marvel's more socially relevant characters, dealing with issues of race, drugs, and more over the course of various failed series. I've never seen Save the Last Dance, but imagine that movie with superpowered teens instead of dancing teens who rise above the societal challenges to their interracial romance. I'd be the first one in line to see that movie.

5) The Scarlet Spider:
The Scarlet Spider was an identity used by Ben Reilly, a clone of the original Spider-Man. Why on Earth would I want a movie about a character from the universally decried mess that was the Clone Saga back in the ‘90s? My logic is simple; they're already rebooting the Spider-Man movies, looking for someone else to fill the tights and boots already worn by Tobey Maguire. They're going to go over the same ground again, geeky high school kid getting bitten by a radioactive spider. Essentially, doing a reboot so soon is kind of like cloning those films. It's destined to be compared to the mostly-favorable originals, and as such filmgoers will have a bias against it. If they want a Peter Parker without baggage and something new, they could try a story about his clone, out wandering America and covering new ground without any ties to the people in Parker's life. If the reboot fails, this would be a great way to get Maguire back to play a fresh version of basically the same character. Most importantly, in my humble opinion, the Scarlet Spider had one of the best ‘90s costumes, incorporating a blue hoodie with a giant spider printed across the front. It doesn't get more real than that. I'm only half-joking, but it's still never going to happen.

I had a hard time keeping this to just five, considering all the possibilities with obscure characters(such as Power Pack with Robert Rodriguez giving it the same all-ages approach as his Spy Kids movies). Who are your favorites that no one else likes? Which four-color friends would you like to see in a theater near you?



Blogger cube said...

Cool beans. Infinitely more interesting than yet another Batman remake.

4/03/2010 9:36 AM  

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