Comic Books that should be made into movies

by Shayne Rana

For those of us who have grown up with the fantasy world of colorful heroes that could pierce the sky through flight, withstand the earnest rage of hundreds of pieces of lead zipping out of a steel barrel, stick to walls, and even those that dwell in the dark recesses of human psyches and cities alike, praying on villains that could scare the boogeyman, it’s a great time to be alive! Why? Because we are at a point in technology where bringing these characters to life with out of this world, hyper-realism that takes the pages of a book and splashes them onto a big screen, complete with visual effects that make a storyteller’s wildest dreams and imagination become part of reality, is now a mundane act. Sure they made superhero and comic book adaptations in the past that were great for their time, but today… today things are wilder than we could ever imagined as kids. And the best part is… there’s no stopping us now!
With epic superhero blockbusters like The Avengers, X-Men etc. incorporating multiple heroes into a single timeline story with a seamless continuity following through even via their individual movies, the scope for movies like this is becoming limitless; and straight-off-the page adaptations like Sin City and 300 are just remarkably well made and just as gritty as their art work. The benchmark rises as revenues grow and simple movie goers quickly become ardent fans of the characters and their legends, so I say again, the potential for more is limitless. There are plenty of great graphic novels out there just waiting to be picked up and read and made into movies and here’s our choice for what studios should be working on next –

Jake-Ellis7.Who is Jake Ellis?
This might not be the most popular comic book series of this lot but it has rather an interesting premise which makes it a contender for a movie version. It’s a kind of Sci-Fi, spy type of series that deals with remote-viewing and human upgrading experiments conducted by the CIA. It follows an escaped agent named Jon Moore, now career criminal, who receives spy-type tactical advice from a mysterious person named Jake, somehow ‘connected’ to  Moore in more ways than we’re led to believe. Moore is an anti-hero with a dark past and a not so bright future. Jake is… a mystery (hence the name).Their adventures set in a somewhat noire-esque, espionage-type setting make for a very intriguing story; one that could translate very well into a film.

Although Planetary could just as well be made into a pretty awesome TV series like Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D., there is potential here to take one of the better storylines and make it into a great movie. Following the adventures of an organization calling themselves the ‘Archaeologists of the Impossible’, the plot is centered around a group of these super-beings, each possessing superpowers of different kinds. Like S.H.E.I.L.D. or HellBoy’s B.P.R.D., these individuals travel the globe in search strange phenomena, relics on unknown origins, heavily guarded military secrets etc. to try and prevent them from falling into the wrong hands or just out of curiosity while maintaining a mission to save mankind from their potentially destructive forces should these items ever become known to the public. We know this kind of stuff works so why not.

Published by Indian comic book house Holy Cow Cow  Entertainment and created by Vivek Goel and writer Vijayendra Mohanty, this 10 part story about the epic Hindu mythological character of the ‘rakshas’ (demon) Ravana, who is part of the Ramayana, is an important and sacred part of Indian literature and culture. While the epic poem actually talks of the protagonists Ram, his wife Sita and brother Laxman and the final battle with the Lord of Lanka Ravan, Ravanayan is the story written form the point of view of Ravan and how he became one of the most vicious and most feared characters in Hindu mythos. He’s the antagonist and a well written one at that, a movie depicting his transition to greatness and telling his side of the story is a great way to delve further into the mythology and understanding of even our own human shortcomings.

True to its name, this series of comic books by Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples is an Eisner Award winner that narrates the story of two “star” crossed lovers from different (but connected) planets and their child. Alana, Marko and Hazel are on the run from their planets’ governing bodies simply for being in love and having a child which is a cross between their two races. Sounds typical of a Romeo and Juliet type story, only with a slightly game of Thrones type scenario. Its’ an intriguing storyline and one that could easily be a much better adaptation than a movie like oh… say, Jupiter Ascending.

I think the studios should simply get off their proverbial (and literal) butts and get this project off the ground. It’s been kicking around for the last 2 decades, at least, and there doesn’t seem to be any progress on the movie front. Neil Gaiman’s splendid Sandman series is most certainly worthy of a movie adaptation and is a favorite amongst comic book aficionados. It’s dark enough to please today’s more hardcore audience, and has human subtleties like repentance and searching for redemption as part of the main story. True it’ll not be easy to pull off, but given today’s great writers, directors and special effects teams, it can be done.

100-bullets2.100 Bullets
It may sound like Wanted meets the Hitman franchise, but 100 Bullets has a story to tell that’s quite unlike anything we’ve seen so far and is far more interesting than either of those film adaptations; however, I will still admit, both of those movies (including the upcoming Hitman Agent 47) movies were pretty good on action, but with scarred storylines. 100 Bullets is also an Eisner and Harvey Award-winning comic book by Brian Azzarello and has all the makings of a great action packed movie. It features a mysterious “agent” named Graves who finds people seeking revenge and gives them the opportunity to ‘get even’ by providing them details on their quarry along with a handgun and… you guessed it – 100 bullets.

The Phantom1.Phantom
I know there have been a couple of movies and even TV shows adapted from Lee Falk’s Phantom but I believe it’s time we see a better version of the comic book hero. Billy Zane’s version was lame, to say the very least, with him smiling all over the place and hardly being able to kick-a** at all. I mean for goodness sakes, Phantom is just as hardcore as the Batman, minus the Batmobile and gadgetry.  So, I think a darker, edgier and grittier version of the famous Ghost who Walks, Guardian of the Easter Dark, is in order. I’d go with doing it in somewhat of a Miller’s 300 meets Sin City meets Batman vs Superman style. What do you think?

There are tons of great comic books out there just waiting to make it to the big screen, but there are also great graphic novels that defy this adapting –trend and should never make it off the pages. They work best on paper and the sanctity of such work should not be messed with unless true justice can be done to their style. Frank Millar’s 300 and Sin City are works like this and their movie adaptations have tried to be true to their original works with brilliant effects that simply make the pages as animated as in your imagination and are not some interpretation of what the storys would be like on screen.

It’s a travesty when film studios pick a character or comic book story and try to rehash them for a larger audience. Stick to the originals and you will not go wrong, ever! Slight alterations are fine, but no more; of you don’t think it’s do-able, just take a gander at the profits made by films like 300, Iron Man, Captain America, the Avengers and then we’ll talk.