In light of the upcoming summer of sure-fire blockbuster hits involving superheroes, I thought I’d take the time to ask the film industry why these five titles are not being made. Is there a good reason? Below are the top five comic book titles that I would love to see adapted for the big screen. Each one is unique and unusual, and those reasons alone beg for these movies to be made.
1. The Sandman
A DC/Vertigo comics title that reigns as one of the only graphic novels to ever be on the New York Times bestseller list. In the 90s, The Sandman broke boundaries by attracting a huge following of mostly girls in their 20s that never read any other comic title. The main character is Dream, a sort of god. Imagine if Dream was imprisoned for 70 years, escaped his imprisonment, and suddenly had to learn to change his ways after thousands of years of behaving as he always has. the subject matter isn’t very iconic, but it was fantastic writing that could translate well.
Another DC / Vertigo title from the 90s, Preacher is unlike anything I have ever read. It’s about a preacher named Jesse that gets imbued with more power than perhaps God himself. He teams up with his ex-girlfriend-turned-assassin named Tulip, and a centuries-old vampire named Cassidy. This trio sets out on a road trip across to find God — because he has disappeared from Heaven. I won’t go into the details of this “comic,” but I can say that this film would certainly get a NC-17 rating!
3. Rising Stars
This title was from Joe Michael Straczynski, the genius behind Babylon 5. It was published under Top Cow/Image Comics label and it is unique. For starters, the story is about a large group of children called “the Specials” whom are born with special abilities after a mysterious light appears in the sky over Illinois. The story is told from a future perspective by the central character: a cool, trench coat-wearing hero named Poet. Its perspective and different “origin story” separate it from the pack, but that’s not all. Rising Stars has a grounded sensibility to it that makes the heroic abilities of these “Specials” seem very real. That and Poet is amazing.
We can thank the Wildstorm Universe for this title – and the amazing work of Jim Lee and Brandon Choi! Deathblow — specifically the Order of the Cross storyline – was amazingly fresh because it was about a soldier that was dying of cancer, that was supposed to have received superpowers thanks to a clandestine government project — but didn’t. Team up this black-bag, ex-Navy Seal, wet-works specialist with an ex-cop-turned-nun named Sister Mary and you have the makings of an incredible film! The idea was so intriguing and original that I think it could be incredible in the right hands!
Another Top Cow / Image title that deserves its own movie is the mega-hit The Witchblade. I know it was its own TV show (which was rather good), but this title deserves maybe an entire trilogy of movies. I mean, if Blade got a movie trilogy out of its title, then surely this far superior comic deserves one too! The story follows a NYPD homicide detective named Sara that becomes the unwitting wielder of a magical gauntlet of extraordinary power. There are a lot of story arcs within the Witchblade comic, but the first is the best.
Here’s the incredible truth behind three of these titles: The Sandman, Preacher, and Witchblade have all been locked in developmental abyss for years! Clearly, I am not the first person to think they should be made into great films. What’s the hold-up? The usual litany of excuses comes from both sides: the creators want more control while the studios claim there is some legal dispute over the title or something similar. Ultimately, somebody is going to have to give in … and that usually happens when the interest and the dollar signs are just too big to ignore.
I have faith that many of these will eventually see the light of day, but not for some time yet. Until then, these are just wishful thoughts.