It's a great time to be a comic book fan. Regardless of whether you like them or hate them, the Marvel, DC, Valiant and Extreme Comics relaunches are re-casting some of the best-known characters in comics history in new and exciting ways, with the resultant tide seeming to lift almost all boats in the comics industry.
Image and IDW have launched more great new series in the last year or two than most publishers had in the five years previous combined, and exciting new digital frontiers are opening not just for the Big Two, but with things like Mark Waid's Thrillbent and Chris Roberson's Monkeybrain Comics as well.
And then there are the movies.
The massive success of mainstream superhero properties has transformed the cinema landscape in a number of ways, one of which is that comics and graphic novels that never would have been considered a viable, marketable property in the past are now just a few steps from becoming feature films or TV shows.
Will they ever happen? It's difficult to say; no matter how good your idea is, and how many people are behind it, there's a good chance it'll all fall apart in Hollywood. Still, the fact that these things are even being discussed would have seemed insane just ten short years ago, and so let's just take some time to revel in the awesomeness of these concepts for a while before about 1/3 to a half of them evaporate.
Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson's long-running series may have had a hard time finding a comics audience in its early days, but in the time since it changed publishers, it has been one of the great success stories in non-Big Two comics.
With its final issue on the way and the creators parting ways (Ennis still working with Dynamite for The Shadow and Robertson doing Happy! at Image Comics), it seems the time has never been better for them to take some of the energy they've been putting into actually publishing a comic every month and direct it toward the good folks in Hollywood, particularly director Adam McKay who has been instrumental in keeping the flick from dying on the vine.
C'mon, folks--it's time to get this flick moving before Simon Pegg is well and truly too old.
The brilliant Archaia miniseries by Swifty Lang, Christopher Mangun and Mike Lapinski isn't one of the biggest names on this list, but it's one that's likely to leave a mark when it makes its way to theaters soon.
Lang detailed its road to being optioned for ComicBook.com a while back, and he shared some of the experience he had from working on his first major comics project all the way up through the film being purchased from the guys who produced Das Boot and The Crow.
"Like Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, Mike, Chris, and I scuttled through the unknown landscape of the comics industry, bolstered by little more than our willingness to take risks, our admiration for each other’s talents, and most importantly a true desire to engage comic pros and fans," wrote Lang.
"We tried to treat everyone we encountered with the respect we would hope to receive. Why else would anyone help you?"
Nobody's sure exactly what state this pilot script is in at this point, but the ideas put forth by writer Andrew Kreisberg a while back sounded promising, and as the longtime writer of a "commentary track"-style column covering the Booster Gold comic book, I'm personally pretty invested. Whether it makes its way to Syfy for next year, though, is key--DC Entertainment and Kreisberg both had their TV plates very full with Arrow this year, so it's understandable that an expensive science-fiction property based on a little-known character wouldn't necessarily be their top priority. But if Amazon starts to get moving before Booster's currently-untitled show gets greenlit for a pilot, the odds of the Greatest Hero You've Never Heard Of actually coming to television are pretty slim.
Of all of the books on this list, Deadman is the least likely to actually see a TV set. Around the same time Fox optioned The Spectre and Syfy optioned Booster Gold, The CW announced that they were looking at a Deadman series. While it would be a great companion to The Vampire Diaries and Supernatural, both big hits for the cable network, it seems unlikely that they would develop three separate one-hour dramas, all based on DC properties--which is exactly where they'll be if they launch Arrow, Deadman and Amazon. Ironically, Deadman is arguably the most TV-friendly of those three characters and could make for a great show, but it's almost certainly the one that wouldn't make the cut.
This one will be difficult to make as a film, because there's so little sound on the page. It's essentially a long fight scene with a pretty small amount of dialogue and a lot of voice-over-style narration. It would be a beautiful piece, though; it's an incredibly long shot, but since it's got so much similarity to The Iron Giant, it would be great to see Brad Bird take a swing at this one. Royden Lepp's comic is beautiful, though, and so along the way it would be nice to see as little as possible changed.
One of the great Image success stories, The Darkness remains in print long after a number of its contemporaries have been long gone. Just the idea of getting a film adaptation of Jackie's story is huge, but getting a faithful one could be brilliant. And as far as we can tell from Top Cow's Comic-Con panel, the people involved in the film adaptation are genuinely big fans of the comics. That's not absolutely essential to make it work, but it's certainly a boon.
For twenty years now, Terry Moore has been making some of the best comics in the business...and for almost that long, he's had filmmakers knocking at his door. The fact that nothing has ever been made of Strangers in Paradise, despite the best efforts of some very smart people, illustrates exactly how hard it is to actually get a film made. But with the rights to Echo already snatched up and Rachel Rising rumored to be next, the next couple of years may be the ones where fans finally get to see some of the master cartoonist's ideas finally hit the screen.
Like Terry Moore, Jeff Smith has been blazing a self-published, creator-owned trail for a couple of decades now and, while doing so, creating some of the most beloved and critically-acclaimed comics in the business. Both of his works are reportedly in the works as feature films and while they've been stumbling out of the gate, he says he's got scripts to both projects in hand so hopefully we'll see some real movement on them soon.