I used to be a big, big-time comic book fan when I was younger. In fact, like all diehard comic book collector, I have boxes and boxes full of comics, nicely kept in their mylar bags (with backing board, of course), tucked away somewhere in a corner of my house. Throughout the years, I have seen comic books that I thought would make a good movie, but for one reason or another, never made it. Here, then, are my Top 5 Comic Books that I would sure like to see made into a movie. Some are more original creations than others, but even the ones that aren’t exactly original, I think would still make a decent, if not great (in the right hands), comic book movie.
#5. Night Thrasher (from The New Warriors)
Marvel has dug high and low for new characters to turn into movies, and it’s a real shock they’ve ignored one of the best (and tired and true) ideas for a movie superhero — Night Thrasher, a young African-American vigilante patterned after Batman (he’s rich and revenge-driven) and The Punisher (he’s packing — but only for emergencies). Night Thrasher’s alter ego is Dwayne Taylor, who, like most comic book vigilantes, suffered a tragedy as a kid (his parents were killed), thus driving him to become a living weapon and right wrongs. But unlike Batman, Dwayne used his money to form The New Warriors, a superhero group. And yes, for those familiar with Marvel’s recent massive Civil War crossover event, we’re going to pretend it never happened, because let’s face it, the idea of the New Warriors as a reality TV superhero team was just retarded.
Origins Movie Plot: Rich black kid grows up, sees his parents murdered, becomes vigilante ala Batman. Except, er, he’s black. And younger. Jackpot!
Sequel Idea: Night Thrasher faces his greatest foe — his ne’er-to-well brother, Bandit!
Possible Roadblock to Movie: Well, he’s basically the African-American version of Batman; except instead of having just one Robin, he’s got the New Warriors.
Forget all of the various incarnations of Nova, aka the Human Rocket, before the recent Marvel series by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, which is what the movie will be based on. At its heart, “Nova” is the story of a nobody kid who learns that, given the opportunity, he can make something worthwhile of himself. That opportunity comes when he’s chosen to become a Nova Corps., and is able to wield the Nova Force power for truth, justice, and the American — well, okay, the movie will start as the story of a kid in America, but should end up in space, where Nova really shines. It’ll be like “The Last Starfighter”, minus the starships, and much more nasty alien invaders. And hey, since Nova and Night Thrasher were teammates in The New Warriors, how about a crossover?
Origins Movie Plot: Rich Rider, a high school teen slacker, is mysteriously selected by an alien to carry on the space-faring ways of the Nova Centurions, just in time to repel an alien invasion of Earth!
Sequel Idea: Nova and the Universe vs. The Annihilation Wave!
Possible Roadblock to Movie: The film’s cosmic special effects, not to mention making Nova fly in full “human rocket” mode, would cost a lot of money. Who is willing to spend that much on a mostly unknown hero?
#3. The Grifter (from WildC.A.T.s)
In the early ’90s, Jim Lee was one of many Marvel artists that got together and decided to, en masse, break free from the tight reins of the House of Ideas to form their own company, Image Comics. It was here that Jim Lee created The Grifter character, who was a member of Lee’s team book, “WildC.A.T.s”. The book itself was, like all the books the Image boys originally created for Image, a carbon copy of their Marvel days, but the Grifter was an exceptionally cool character, not only in wardrobe, but badassness. The Grifter was an ex-spy turned merc named Cole Cash who eventually became a superhero that somehow got into the good graces of a bunch of uber warrior females from another planet. Of all the creations by the Image boys, the Grifter is an untapped market, and could easily launch a franchise.
Origins Movie Plot: Grifter is a hardened killer who is injured during a mission for his nefarious bosses, ends up being treated by a bunch of alien female warriors, falls in love, and becomes a force for good.
Sequel Idea: Formation of the WildCATs and the appearance of the Daemonite threat!
Possible Roadblock to Movie: I honestly don’t see any. The Grifter was born to be made into a movie franchise. Brad Pitt as the Grifter. Money, baby.
#2. Atomic Robo
Forget live-action, we’re going strictly with computer animation ala “The Incredibles” with this one. Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener’s “Atomic Robo” follows the titular robot, a sentient robot created by Nikola Tesla in the 1920s. After he’s promised full American citizienship and official recognition by the U.S. Government, Robo goes to work for the Allies during the various wars, ending up fighting in pretty much every war against evil, before finally moving on to his own high-tech company that researches the odd and weird in the scientific community. This, invariably, ends with Robo fighting a giant mutant insect or ancient pyramids equipped with laser cannons. Parts slam-bang, edge-of-your seat action-adventure and part nostalgia for the good ol days of adventure storytelling, an “Atomic Robo” computer-animated movie would make bank at the box office.
Origins Movie Plot: Atomic Robo is created, but is feared by the nations of the world; then World War II erupts, and Robo is recruited to fight the results of Hitler’s mad science.
Sequel Idea: Robo faces his toughest foe yet — love! Plus, more crazy adventures against wacky science.
Possible Roadblock to Movie: Computer-animated movies take a really long time, and is nowadays more expensive than live-action. The only way an “Atomic Robo” movie could be done is if a field pioneer like, say, Brad Bird or one of the big studio heads fall in love with the comics.
#1. Solar: Man of the Atom (Valiant Comics version)
You can’t get any more tragic or downright convoluted than what Jim Shooter tried (and for the most part, succeeded) to do with Solar: Man of the Atom. Originally a Gold Key Comics superhero in a lame one-piece jumpsuit/costume (Shooter kept the costume, if just for nostalgia’s sake), the Valiant version of Solar was light years more advance in terms of character concept and storyline. Solar was a scientist name Phil Seleski who got doused with a healthy dose of radiation that turned him into Solar, a super being who can manipulate energy. Or so he thought. The truth was much, much more complex. The Valiant series spent many issues with Solar as he attempted to live a normal life with his true love, Gayle, all the while trying desperately to avert disasters of every stripe. The man was uber powerful, and yet incredibly human.
Origins Movie Plot: Nerd scientist Phil Seleski becomes a superhero when he tries to stop an accident involving experimental fusion, just as alien spiders arrive to conquer Earth! It’s up to Solar to save us — but first, he must save himself!
Sequel Idea: Behold — Solar: The Destroyer!
Possible Roadblock to Movie: Two things: if done right, the script will just be way too much for your average comic book reader to grasp, much less mainstream audiences. But dumb the script down too much, and the movie will be hopelessly diluted of its real charm — it’s complexity.