Hollywood spies on my comic book shelf & 10 adaptations yet to come

Hollywood spies hiding in my comic book room?!

Hollywood mining comic books for inspiration is not something new, it’s been going on for a hell of a long time all the way back to Flash Gordon and the Saturday morning serials of the 1940’s. Lately we’ve seen a boom in comic book adaptations, superhero chic is in and Hollywood exec’s have fully embraced the concept purchasing the rights to every comic book and graphic novel they can get their grubby little hands on. In the last couple of weeks though we’ve heard there will be a Fear Agent movie, The Walking Dead tv show and now a Criminal Macabre movie looks set to hit the big screen.

What do these books all have in common? They’re all very different in their approach but all beautifully executed but the main thing is they’re all books I am in love with, you can find each one complete on my shelf perfectly preserved. Surely it must be that Hollywood have started spying on me, either that or they’ve started listening to the Sidekickcast (very unlikely) and they’ve thought there’s a man that knows what he’s talking about.

Of course what is more likely is that having exhausted alot of the mainstream books or publishers keeping hold of their properties for their own movie ventures, studios are now looking elsewhere for their comic book fix. Also they seem to have realised that there are only so many capes and tights stories you can tell before the masses get bored of the genre so they’re reaching out to the indy creators and taking the most popular ones first.

I’m not going to keep banging on about Fear Agent (you can read that here) or The Walking Dead (you can read that here) but Criminal Macabre is a fantastic book by Steve Niles which follows the drug hazed exploits of paranormal investigator Cal Macdonald. When I say paranormal investigator I mean drunk private dick of the noir variety who due to a nasty near death experience can now see ghouls, ghosts and things that generally go bump in the night which put’s him in a certain exclusive niche form of detective work. Steve Niles is not new to this comic book movie adaptation game as his vampire book 30 Day’s of Night was translated into a fairly successful movie starring Josh Hartnett back in 2007. It seems as though he may’ve been courting this particular adaptation right from the start as he often has his close friend and business partner Thomas Jayne (The Punisher, The Mist) pose as Cal Macdonald for the covers to his books, surely a shoe in for the title role in the film. He would certainly get my vote to play Cal, the part requires a man filled with spit and venom being closer to The Last Boy Scout’s Joe Hallenbeck than his film noir roots would suggest.

So let’s assume for a second that I do have Hollywood’s ear, here are my predictions for the next slew of comic book movie/tv adaptations based on what’s on my shelf today:

1. Vertigo’s Scalped as a HBO TV series. Jason Aaron’s thriller on a native american reservation is a perfect candidate for the adaptation treatment and may already be in the offing.

2. Joe Hill’s creepy otherworldly horror Locke and Key should definitely get the movie treatment. Will he follow in his father; Stephen King’s footsteps and allow his work to be adapted for the big screen.

3. The Boys; a story from Garth Ennis follows a group of Black Ops CIA agents whose job it is to police the superheroes of their world as they rage out of control ignoring the whole ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. This would make another great TV show but would be prohibitively expensive and the level of graphic sexual and violent contentm may even rule out a movie version.

4. Another book from DC Vertigo; Air by G. Willow Wilson combines intriguing conspiracy theories with Lost style brain pain mystery and cliffhangers making it perfect for a tv adaptation possibly to fill the Lost shaped hole in all our hearts.

5. Before he was Eisner award winning writer of Invincible Iron Man, Matt Fraction wrote a little Image book called Casanova. His story of burglary, espionage, alternate worlds and polymorphic sexuality will be one crazy movie but someone like Terry Gilliam or Michel Gondry should be able to give it all it deserves.

6. The Chronicles of Wormwood, the story of the benevolent anti-christ who’s best friends are a talking rabbit and a brain damaged Jesus would surely piss off the Vatican. Like they say ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ and any film based on this Garth Ennis book would definitely get some bad publicity.

7. Mike Carey has been writing up a storm for quite some time now but I didn’t discover him until he started on X-Men. One of the first non-X things of his I read was Faker; a book that ably mixes science fiction with science fact as it delves into the human condition. A great low budget indy film is just begging to be made, think The Rules of Attraction with less crazy and more sci-fi.

8. We’ve seen the big red lad Hellboy for a couple of cinematic outings, maybe it’s about time he stepped aside and let the rest of the B.P.R.D (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) take the limelight just as they’ve done in the comic books. The characters of Abe Sapien and Johann Kraus are the best characters anyways, who needs Big Red?

9. Top 10 by Alan Moore is a police procedural with a difference; everyone has superpowers, the cops, the robbers, the innocent bystanders, everybody. Of course aswell as making for interesting stories this could also make any film version prohibitively expensive but after Watchmen any Moore property is hot as hell.

10. Mr Ennis once again (can you tell I like a bit of Garth?)in what is probably his magnum opus; Preacher. Already touted for the movie treatment with director Sam Mendes on board, the story follows southern preacher Jessie Custer on a odyssey-like pilgrimage across the United States in his mission to find God and kick his ass. I’d prefer to see something that could capture the scope of the series a little more, like a ten series HBO tv show but at this point I’ll take what I can get. Just make it good, please for the love of arseface make it good.

So there you go, in no particular order my top ten predictions for the next load of comic book adaptations, don’t forget you heard it here first.

GS Reporter: The Boneman

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  1. Spot on list, can you imagine The Boys, if they stayed true to the comic it would be eye watering viewing.

    How about…

    100 Bullets – There are a countless number of one off stories that could be written to emphasise the themes of justice & guilt, as well as an amazing cast of main characters to root for

    Gotham Central – This almost got made into a series at one point. Then the TV network decided Smallville was a better option. Personally I think that’s the worst idea since the war on terror. The Wire & The Shield have both proved just how good cop shows can be, so I’d love to see this on the air.

    Sandman – Neil Gaiman’s vast & complex fantasy story would never fit into a dozen movies. However, the tale of the endless would be awesome on HBO.

    • It’s a toss up between the Boys and Scalped for my most anticipated comic book movie adaptation but the Boys would sure make for some hardcore viewing.

      Gotham Central is a total given, why they didn’t go down this road instead of Smallville is beyond me. I’d like to think this one is still a future possibility.

  2. Loving the article, Criminal Macabre IS an amazing book.
    Been following your stuff for a while now.
    Just thought I’d tell you you’re doing a good job keeping the geeks impressed

    • Cal Macdonald is definitely right up there on my top anti-hero list of the moment and thanks for the kind words, in my humble opinion Geek Syndicate rocks the house.

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