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THN’s Top 5 Comic Adaptations That MUST Happen

The comic book movie has become a major staple of blockbuster cinema in the last decade. This year has been an incredibly strong year for such movies, with THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, and AVENGERS ASSEMBLE already entertaining mass audiences and raking in billions for movie studio execs, and the forthcoming DREDD looks set to do the same, if early critical response to the film is to be believed. With Marvel’s AVENGERS ‘Phase Two’ plans set to roll-out in the next few years, as well as Zack Snyder’s intriguing reboot of Superman in 2013’s MAN OF STEEL, comic-book aficionados are spoiled for choice. But for every adaptation, there’s always plenty of great comic material left sitting there, ripe for the adaption process. Here’s a few of THN’s own ideas for what we want to see make the successful leap from page to screen:

1. TRANSMETROPOLITAN by Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson (1997 – 2002)

A future-set cyberpunk oddity that ran for 60 issues, TRANSMETROPOLITAN is a fantastic vision of future imperfection and corruption, told through the eyes of grizzled journalist Spider Jerusalem, who, forced to return to the Big City he despises, starts to use his journalism skills to combat the social and political wrongs that take place on a regular basis in the ‘The City’. It sounds yawn-inducing, but trust us, it’s really not. Ellis’ entire run is chock full of dark humour and strange-yet-intriguing sci-fi concepts, and the lead character of Spider is one of the funniest and coolest anti-heroes in recent comic book history.

For the film: Cast a shaved Woody Harrelson as Jerusalem, let Ellis adapt his own material, and you have the makings of a politically charged comic book movie that is both funny, extremely violent and super intelligent.

2. THE BOYS by Garth Ennis & Darick Robertson (2006 – present)

The perfect anti-superhero comic for those fed up with capes and cowls, THE BOYS details the escapades of a CIA backed team of operatives known as ‘The Boys’ (well, duh!), led by sadistic brit Billy Butcher, whose job is to monitor, intimidate, and occasionally assassinate the world’s reckless superheroes. Ennis is a writer known for taking the violence and sex to the extremes, and THE BOYS is no exception. Using superheroes as a metaphor for modern celebrities, Ennis constructs a sprawling epic series consisting of an unhealthy mix of OTT escapades, political backstabbing, and hard-core violence, all centred around Wee Hughie, a young Scottish nobody (whose looks were modelled on Simon Pegg), recruited to ‘The Boys’ following the tragic death of his girlfriend at the hands of a reckless American superhero.

For the film: A film adaption by ANCHORMAN’s Adam McKay has been in development hell for years.  If it ever does see the light of day, keep the anti-American/anti-celebrity overtones, cast Simon Pegg and Tom Hardy as Hughie and Butcher, keep its insane violence levels at maximum, and you’ve got the best celluloid deconstruction of the superhero genre since WATCHMEN.

3. PRIDE OF BAGHDAD by Brian K. Vaughan & Niko Henrichon (2006)

Based on true events, PRIDE tells the tale of Zill, Safa, Noor, and Ali, a pride of captive lions who escape Baghdad Zoo during the 2003 US Occupation of Baghdad. Following their escape, the quartet wander the destroyed streets of Baghdad, and each begins to develop a viewpoint as to the nature of the conflict. It’s a raw and deeply upsetting story of our attitudes to war. THE LION KING it most definitely isn’t.

For the film: A tough shoot for even the most accomplished of directors. CGI Lions or real life Animals is a massive conundrum, with both options equally problematic.  In this writer’s opinion, an animated adaptation would probably succeed more then a live-action film would.

4. WE3 by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely & Jamie Grant (2004)

Continuing the animal theme, WE3 is another comic series that centres on cute and cuddly animals – in this case a dog, a cat, and a rabbit – who are taken from their owners by scientists and encased in state of the art battle armour, which equips them with not only state of the art super-weapons, but also the limited ability to speak. The three killer animals escape captivity, and are soon on the run from the military and the scientists who created them. What follows is a beautiful and heartbreaking story of companionship, combined with some of the most shockingly violent scenes involving a bionic cat one could possibly imagine.

For the film: This one has the potential to be WATERSHIP DOWN for a new generation. Computer generated animals are a bugger to convincingly realise, as already discussed, but give it to someone who can strike the balance between heavy FX and strong character development (like Andrew Stanton or J.J. Abrams) and you have the makings of a tear-inducing classic.

5. PREACHER by Garth Ennis & Steve Dillion (1995 – 2000)

Another controversial Garth Ennis masterpiece, PREACHER is one of those comics that has come close to being adapted for the big or smaller screen on multiple occasions, only to be shelved when studios realised what exactly they were getting themselves into (HBO decided not to produce a TV Version on the basis that the series’ mix of religion and nastiness was too far, even for them). PREACHER tells the story of Jesse Custer, a down-and-out Texan priest who also happens to be infected by a supernatural entity known a Genesis.  Together with his gun-toting ex-girlfriend and a drunken Irish vampire, Custer goes on a literal search for God, in order to challenge the divine creator himself as to why he stopped caring for the world and people he created!  And from then on in, it gets messy…!

For the film: The unnecessary need to water down the more controversial elements of the story may well prove too much for even the more hardened of Hollywood’s writers and/or directors. But should it survive to production, turn it into the ultimate modern spaghetti western imaginable. And get either that nice Nathan Fillion or James Marsden to play Jesse Custer.

That’s our Top 5 Comic Book Adaptions that are yet to be green-lit.  Are there any we’ve missed?  Let us know in the comments section below. 

From an early age, Matt Dennis dreamt of one day becoming a Power Ranger. Having achieved that dream back in the noughties, he’s now turned his hand to journalism and broadcasting. Matt can often be found in front of a TV screen, watching his current favourite shows such as DOCTOR WHO, GAME OF THRONES, SHERLOCK, DAREDEVIL, and THE WALKING DEAD, though he’s partial to a bit of vintage TV from yesteryear. Matt also co-presents the Geek Cubed podcast, which you can download from iTunes. It’s quite nice.



  1. Gaff Juran

    Aug 12, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Agreed. I haven’t read Pride yet, but I trust these judgements. Tom Hardy as Butcher? That really is brilliant, he’s got the chops and the smile to boot. And Simon Pegg as Wee Hughie is too obvious not to happen.

    One exception, Patrick Stewart must play Spider Jerusalem, or it just shouldn’t happen. Woody can play the in-universe porn parody of Spider and I think it would be awesome if he did, but Stewart is the man for Spider.

  2. Brandy

    Aug 12, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    I’m more of a Patrick Stewart needs to play Herr Starr in Preacher than Spider Jerusalem.

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