Before I start on this list, keep in mind these are only for books I’ve read or characters I know pretty well. So things like Jeff Smith’s “Bone” or Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” will not be found here (both are sitting on my desk waiting to be read). And yes, there are “remakes,” “sequels,” etc on here. I’ll explain each spot as well as I possibly can.
10. MY Fantastic Four Trilogy
I completely admit this is a selfish entry, but hey, it’s my list so I can do what I want. I think we can all agree that The Fantastic Four movies were lackluster at best. I don’t want to waste everyone’s time here, but let’s just say the following: there would be character development by all four over the course of three movies. Doctor Doom would be much closer to his comic incarnation (meaning: badass). The first movie would deal with Doom only (and he’d be in all three movies). The second would be about the Skrulls and the Sub-Mariner. The third would be Galactus and the Silver Surfer. Again, selfish, but I think it’s awesome. Let me know if you’d like to know more as this doesn’t describe much at all.
9. Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel was originally a contemporary of Superman created in 1939. There was even a point where ole Marvel here outsold the Man of Steel. Marvel is actually a young boy named Billy Batson who whenever he says the word “Shazam!” is granted the powers of six legendary figures (Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury). Yes, the “World’s Mightiest Mortal” is a bit corny, but that’s okay. You can run with that. Not that you’d dumb it down for kids only, but you can definitely make it accessible to kids. Who wouldn’t want to be a superhero whenever they’re needed?
8. Wonder Woman
Do you all realize how hard it is to find a non-bondage looking picture of Wonder Woman? Goodness. Wonder Woman is one of DC’s original big three (with Batman and Superman). While she had a rather successful TV show in the 1970s and a popular animated straight-to-DVD feature, a live action Wonder Woman has been in developmental purgatory. In fact, it’s Supergirl that has the distinction to having a live action movie. No other female superheroes have one. They’ve been heavily featured, but they’ve never been the lead. I think it’s time for that to change. What better way than to go with the original?
7. The Dark Phoenix Saga
This is a story that was begun in X2: X-Men United and kinda/sorta shown during X-Men: The Last Stand. That was not good enough for me. This is one of the best superhero stories ever told. Jean Grey slowly descends into madness all while becoming one of the most powerful beings in the universe. Her madness takes her to a point where she goes off to space and destroys a solar system, killing billions just because she can. This sparks a war between the X-Men and the Shi’ar Empire (most notably the superhuman Imperial Guard) for the life of Jean. It’s a bloody battle, leaving many battered and wounded, but it’s a sacrifice at the end that makes this such a compelling story. This was SUPPOSED to be seen in the third X-Men movie. Thanks for nothing, Brett Ratner.
6. Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing
Alan Moore is a genius. He’s taken comic books farther than anyone knew possible. His run on “Swamp Thing” was the start of all of that in the United States and is responsible for the great DC Comics line called “Vertigo.” The Swamp Thing character we all know is a man that becomes part plant after an explosion. Moore threw all of that out the window. His Swamp Thing is an earth elemental, woken up in the explosion of Alec Holland. It initially believes it is Alec, but soon learns otherwise. The run touches upon so many themes and is more complex than the character had any right to be. I would love to see Swamp Thing’s attack on Gotham to save the woman it loves.
5. The Dark Knight Returns
Frank Miller’s work on Batman is second to none. His Year One story was a huge influence on Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. This, however, is his high water mark.A long retired Bruce Wayne makes a final stand against crime in Gotham. He takes on a new Robin (a girl that probably inspired Kick-Ass’ Hit Girl) and shows where much of his rogue gallery ends up. He even goes toe-to-toe with longtime friend and rival Superman at one point (as Miller puts it, “Oh, these two would not get along”). While reading this, I couldn’t help but to see Clint Eastwood in the role. He would be perfect in capturing the Caped Crusader’s final battle.
“Maus” is a Pulitzer Prize winning biography drawn and written by Art Spiegelman about his father Vladek’s experiences during the Holocaust. Spiegelman’s art is interesting is that he uses animals instead of humans. Mice are used as Jews, cats for Nazis, pigs for the Polish, dogs for Americans, etc. This doesn’t lessen the impact of the story, though. In many ways it actually enhances it. This is a very honest, powerful, and very human story. It never shies away from the atrocities (while never showing them), but also never hides that Vladek doesn’t have faults of his own (such as being racist to an African American). And yes, this would only work as an animated feature.
3. The Death of Superman
There’s a line from the movie Angus in which George C. Scott says that Superman isn’t brave; he can’t be since he’s invincible. This is the story which shows that the Man of Tomorrow is only nearly invincible. A creature, later to be named “Doomsday,” appears causing destruction where ever he goes. The Justice League arrives and he brutalizes them easily. It’s up to Superman to fight off the menace. They wage war for miles until ending up in Metropolis where they end up killing one another. This story shows just how human Superman can be; he knows full well he will die facing the monster, but it doesn’t matter. He does it because he’s the only one that can.
2. Y: The Last Man
This is another Vertigo creation. The world is carrying on like normal, including for young Yorick Brown. He’s your average guy with little motivation and girl problems. This changes one day as every male mammal on the planet instantly dies. This includes fetuses and even sperm. The only known survivors are Yorick and his pet monkey Ampersand. This is a five year (and then some) storyline that chronicles Yorick’s search for his girlfriend Beth and the search for answers by him and his new friends. I would see this made in the same vein as Children of Men. This is a story that might be better off as a series on HBO, but it can definitely carry multiple movies.
“Marvels” is the story of Phil Sheldon and his family. Phil is a photographer and is there in 1939 at the unveiling of the original Human Torch. This is the dawn of the Marvel Universe and is told through his eyes and his camera. He’s there during key events (such as: the Torch’s first battle with the Sub-Mariner, the coming of Galactus and the death of Gwen Stacy). The story is expertly told and shows what it must have felt like to be a regular human being (fears, insecurities, and all) in a world occupied with superheroes and villains. My favorite bit is the part about mutant hysteria and the very human face given to it to Phil and his family. This would just be brilliant on the big screen.
Well, there you have it. What do you all think?
I’ll be back with some reviews soon. Have a great weekend!