5 comics which should be adapted and 5 comics that shouldn’t

Arguably we need more comic book adaptations like we need more TV shows about the Kardashians, but I’m going to plough on regardless.

Although comic books have been relentlessly mined for ideas by Hollywood, there are still some books and characters which have yet to be fully exploited.  With this in mind, here are five which I think would lend themselves to great television or movie adaptations and five which wouldn’t.

Comics which should be adapted:

5. Daredevil

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I struggled with number 5 on this list and I know, I know; there was already a Daredevil movie.  However, it was terrible, despite the fact that to me Daredevil seems well-suited for movie adaptation.  Although his powers are fantastical, there has always been a serious quality to the character which could translate well to live action.  Frank Miller’s ‘Man Without Fear’ and ‘Born Again’ story arcs need further attention.

4. Incognito

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This series has a great hook: Zack Overkill is a supervillain in witness protection who finds that his powers are no longer being dampened by the government-issued drugs he’s taking.  After a few good deeds, he finds he has once again brought himself to the attention of the supervillain community against which he testified.  No boring origin story, just a novel idea that draws you in.

3. Iron Fist

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The potential for amazing action and fight choreography makes this one obvious to me.  Plus Iron Fist is just really cool, even if he’s not as well-known as the likes of Iron Man or Captain America.  I put the character a little above other notables like Black Panther and Dr Strange in terms of awesome movie potential.

2. Super Crooks

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Mark Millar’s stuff lends itself well to movie adaptation (Wanted, Kick Ass).  This is partly because he obviously writes with movie adaptation in mind.  If this is unfair then at the very least I think he visualizes his comics as movies as he’s writing, which gives them a unique dynamic quality.  The first volume of Super Crooks was a great self-contained heist story starring a bunch of second tier supervillains.  With the inclusion of this and Incognito, I am maybe a sucker for stories centred on supervillains; but this one is begging for movie treatment.

1. Y: The Last Man

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Ask me to pick my favourite comic book series of all time and Brian K. Vaughn’s Y: The Last Man is up there.  Literally overnight, every male animal on Earth dies from a mysterious “plague” but for Yorick Brown.  The rest of the series chronicles his heart-rending quest to discover why he was spared and find a way to repopulate the male population.

The success of The Walking Dead TV show there is an appetite for this kind of thing.  Although the two series have several qualities in common, I found Y: The Last Man a better read than TWD, with a more interesting premise.  The series never loses momentum and the ending is completely satisfying.

Comics which shouldn’t be adapted:

5. Nemesis

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Another character-owned series from Mark Millar, and there was talk of Tony Scott filming an adaptation before his suicide in 2011.  My objection to it being adapted: it’s just not all that good.  Leave it alone.

4. Luke Cage

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The original “Hero for Hire” is one of my favourite characters ever, but there was a time to bring Luke Cage to the big screen and that time was called the 1970s.  Seriously, the comic started as a response to the popularity of blaxploitation films (he even operated out of a cinema on 42nd Street) and that’s the kind of Luke Cage movie I want to see.  Modern-day Cage is sort of dull thanks to Brian Michael Bendis’ treatment.

3. Sandman

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I may be slightly prejudiced here, because I’ve never been bowled over by the comics or anything much from Neil Gaiman.  However, Sandman is one of the most popular comic books ever written and has received all kinds of acclaim for its literary pretentions, and I do understand why people heap praise on the comics.  I think the stories work just fine in comics, but try translating it to the screen and you will start to see some cracks.

2. Preacher

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Preacher is on a par with Y: The Last Man in terms of picking my favourite comic book series, but these days I have very little interest in seing a movie or television adaptation.  I read Garth Ennis’ proposed movie script and it was horrible, but even without that wake-up call I struggle to see how the gross out humour and extreme violence which defined the comic could make it to the big screen intact.

1. Justice League

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The Avengers movie showed that superhero team movies can work, but the Avengers are a different kind of team to the Justice League.  What do I mean?  Well, the Justice League has always been a bit of a clusterfuck.  The truth is Superman is vastly powerful and more capable than most if not all of the rest of the team.  Although as iconic and popular, Batman is completely without special abilities and Christopher Nolan’s trilogy seems to show that as a character in movies he is best suited to a more realistic setting.  I cringe when I imagine Christian Bale’s Batman side by side with costumed heroes like Wonder Woman, Superman and Green Lantern.  It works in the comics, but it’s a stretch to make a live action version at all credible.  I know it looks like a cash cow on paper, but don’t bother, Warner Brothers.

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