After Warner Bros. announced its massive slate of superhero films centered in the DC Universe, many wondered why the long-gestating Sandman film wasn’t part of the line-up. Sandman creator Neil Gaiman quickly put fans’ worries to rest however, by saying that his beloved series was purposefully left off of the announcements. But why?
“It’s not a DC Comics film. It’s a Vertigo film,” Gaiman wrote. “That’s a different slate of films, and a different announcement.”
Since Gaiman made that comment, our heads have shuffled through the possible Vertigo titles that Warner Bros. might adapt into feature films. Vertigo has delivered some of the best comic book stories in the past several decades, ushering in an entire library of sophisticated stories that told the world that comics were more than just commercialized kids stuff. As we anticipate that alleged announcement, here are the Vertigo films that we think could send a similar message about comic book films.
Y: The Last Man
Yorick Brown's global adventures as the last male on Earth seems ready-made for a Hollywood that’s obsessed with dystopian adaptations. Y: The Last Man has the post-apocalyptic setting down pat, making for a Mad Max-style adventure as Yorick traverses through the barbaric landscape that Earth has become once every male creature suddenly dies. With sixty issues to its name, Warner Bros. could easily break the series into a trilogy with maybe even—dare we say it—a two part final installment. The only condition: Ampersand, Yorrick’s pet monkey and faithful companion, cannot be computer generated.
Guillermo del Toro confirmed last week that Swamp Thing would be a part of his Justice League Dark roster, but that doesn’t mean ol’ Swampy couldn't have his own solo film as well. While Justice League Dark could focus on Swamp Thing the Superhero, an individual Swamp Thing film could look to the back half of Alan Moore’s introspective "Saga of the Swamp Thing" run. Moore’s later work on Swamp Thing all but isolated itself from the greater DC Universe, focusing on the character's mythology and role the Earth’s environmental protector. As the Avatar of the Green, Swamp Thing could host some truly breathtaking cinematography with vast landscapes and lush forests. But don’t worry, things wouldn’t get too cuddly, as Swamp Thing’s nemesis and embodiment of Death, Anton Arcane, could provide plenty of disturbing locales and creepy visuals.
If ABC’s Once Upon A Time proved anything, it’s that viewers like seeing fairy tale characters thrown into the real world. But instead of falling back on cheery and cartoonish Disney characters, a Fables adaptation could distinguish itself as a dark counterpart, filled with all the nastiest versions of the fairy tales that audiences thought they knew. Bigby Wolf would make for a terrific series lead as the quirky sheriff that would hopefully defy how film cops sound, look, and behave. It would be even more interesting to see Fables take an American Horror Story approach as an anthology, but for the big screen. Each film in the series would be a clean break, creating an accessible franchise that viewers could join at any installment. Fables already experiments with different storytelling formulas for each arc, making for clean breaks that would keep the series fresh as it approached fairy tales from different angles.
Hollywood may still be nursing its Vampire hangover that Twilight delivered a few years ago, but we can’t think of a better “hair of the dog” to loosen up moviegoers for another blood-sucking franchise. American Vampire, written by Scott Snyder, is everything that Twilight is not. The lead vampire, Skinner Sweet, is caked in blood, sweat, and grit--not sparkles. The “vantage point” into the world of vampires, Pearl, becomes a vampire from the get-go, meaning that the film’s supporting cast and creators wouldn’t have to treat her like some precious desert flower (we're looking at you, Bella). Hollywood needs a Vampire franchise that embraces the dirt as much as it does the night, and there’s no property better-suited than American Vampire.
Arguably the greatest Vertigo series around, The Sandman sits atop every fan’s Vertigo wish list. The best entry-point into Gaiman’s mythical world have to be an adaptation of the series’ first collection, "Preludes & Nocturnes." A telling of Morpheus’ quest to reclaim his title as The King of Dreams, punctuated by a battle with Doctor Destiny at the film’s climax, would be the gateway drug to suck any moviegoer into this mythical world. From there, the series could span out in several different directions, introducing the other members of Sandman’s family-Cough--Death, Cough-- before giving them their own spin-off films. With Joseph Gordon Levitt still set to star and direct, Sandman would likely be the first Vertigo film out of the gate.