comics that should be movies

No one expected one of the biggest comic book movies of all time to be centered around a group of unknown a-holes, but here we are. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 debuted last weekend with $425M Worldwide, making even more of a household name out of former Troma writer James Gunn and the incredible cast.

And if that motley crew can open two movies, surely some other, lesser known comic characters can win over the hearts and minds of audiences everywhere! Let’s take a look at some other comic books that absolutely deserve a film adaptation, despite the lead characters not being household names.

John Difool

John Difool

Series: The Incal

Creators: Alejandro Jodorowsky (Writer), Moebius (Illustrator)

What You Need to Know: Jodorowksy’s Dune may have never been made, but the art and concepts from the film ended up here, in this dystopian space opera that’s enormously influential yet still somehow underground.

The Incal begins with our hero not having a good day, as he’s grabbed by a group of masked thugs and thrown off a bridge towards a lake of acid. The area is known as Suicide Alley and you soon learn why, as people start jumping off and following him to their demise. But lucky Difool is saved by the police, and questioned about why he was thrown off in the first place. It’s revealed that he has come across a crystal known as the Light Incal, which contains some mysterious powers. He ends up being chased by a number of organizations that want the Incal, at one point being attacked in his apartment simultaneously by aliens, mutants, and the police, who have a giant cop mech.

Things get even crazier from there. Moebius was always known for his impossibly detailed art and this is no exception – there’s simply no way to accurately describe just how stunning the art is or the kind of dystopian world he has created without getting your hands on it and seeing it for yourself.

To say this would be a visually astonishing film would be putting it mildly. This is the kind of brilliant story that expects you to keep up. It doesn’t take time to explain all the factions of the world or how things work – you need to simply observe it and learn for yourself.  To give you an idea of what the style would be, the editor of the comic went on to sue Luc Besson for The Fifth Element, which they said stole graphic and story elements from The Incal. It probably didn’t help that Moebius worked on it as well (for the record, they lost).

Proof

John “Proof” Prufrock

Series: Proof

Creator: Alex Grecian (Writer), Riley Rossmo (Illustrator)

What You Need to Know: “It’s like The X-Files, except Mulder is played by Bigfoot” is how a good friend of mine described Proof, and how can you resist a pitch like that?  That sums it up pretty well, except that Proof doesn’t need to believe in cryptids, because he is one. In his first case, he teams up with his new partner Ginger Brown (who is transferred into his division after meeting a golem defending a store in NYC’s Diamond District) and hunts down a chupacabra.

It’s light and funny but gets into some deep horror moments, especially when they discover that their first foe wears human skin. This is firmly Supernatural territory and grabbing a hairier actor to play the role could kick off a successful film that spawns a franchise.

Sex Criminals bed

Suzanne and Jon

Series: Sex Criminals

Creators: Matt Fraction (Writer), Chip Zdarsky (Illustrator)

What You Need to Know: Suzanne and Jon are a couple who find out that they they have the same exact superpower when they first hook up. That superpower? The power to stop time itself after they orgasm.

A true (ahem) coming of age tale, we find out what each of them did when they realized their unique power – Jon’s ended up spending a lot of time in the forbidden porno shop in town – and then both of them figure out what to do now that they have found someone to spend their alone-time with (it ends up being a lovely metaphor for sexual compatibility). In the first story arc, they use their powers to start robbing banks in order to save the library where Suzanne works, only to find out that others share their powers as well. Now, they’re, well, criminals. Sex criminals.

This brilliant comic was picked up by Universal for a TV show a couple of years ago, but there’s been no word on it since. It definitely needs an adaptation, though, as it’s the perfect combination of funny, sexy, and cool.

Locke and Key

The Lockes

Series: Locke & Key

Creators: Joe Hill (Writer), Gabriel Rodríguez (Illustrator)

What You Need to Know: Locke & Key centers around a family that moves back to their estate (conveniently located in the fictional town of Lovecraft, Massachusetts) after their father dies. This begins a multi-genre tale that deftly combines gothic horror, fantasy, high school drama, and more.

The most unique thing about the Locke family house is that there are strange keys littering the place, all of which has unique powers. One can literally open up your mind and allow you add or remove information and memories. Another can turn you into a ghost. As the kids continue to explore the creaky old house and discover more details about their father’s life, a vision from his past comes to haunt them, all the while they contend with their new thoughts on mortality and a fracturing family.

It’s an utterly perfect series that touches on some really heavy topics, the kind that many teens are going through, just amplified into a horror tale. Done well, this could be the next great YA franchise. A TV adaptation is currently in the works, but it would also be well-suited for the big screen.

Chew

Tony Chu

Series: Chew

Creators: John Layman (Writer), Rob Guillory (Illustrator)

What You Need to Know: Tony Chu is a Cibopath, which means that every time he eats something he will get a psychic impression of everything that happened to that object. That means that he generally stays away from meat, as he gets an immediate impression of the animal’s entire life (and death), but the same happens to vegetables. Oddly, the only thing that doesn’t work for his power is beets, so he eats a lot of those. Chu works for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who is trying to crack down on poultry (which has become illegal after a bird flu epidemic) when he realizes that if he takes a bite of a corpse, he can solve murders.

This leads to an absolutely insane tale that involves more people with foodie superpowers, alien vegetation, Serbian vampires, and a weaponized demon chicken. This requires a cast and crew that understands how to ground the comedy and make it relatable, but it’s a great madcap comedy waiting to happen. Writer John Layman has said in the past that he’s love to see Chew as an animated series, but the right talent (Edgar Wright, maybe?) could make it work on the big screen.

Ex-Machina

Mitchell Hundred

Series: Ex Machina

Creators: Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Tony Harris (Illustrator)

What You Need to Know: A vision of an alternate America, this series shows the life of Mitchell Hundred, aka The Great Machine. He’s the world’s first superhero and he becomes Mayor of New York City after his first great act on September 11, 2001. On that day, in this universe, only one tower fell.

Now that he has used his fame to catapult into political office, he’s tasked with both running the city and starting to understand the source of his powers. Imagine a film that combines political drama with a superhero tale and you can see how well this film would translate for older audiences tired of tights-wearing comic adaptations. It’s just a little more highbrow than most – even his superhero name comes from Thomas Jefferson’s quote about the great machine of society.

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