It’s probably true that, in one way or another, everything I do today started out with comics. It was my simultaneous introduction to the visual arts and storytelling at a very young age. I started out with The Beano and The Dandy (do they still make those comics? Let me know) and very quickly progressed to Superhero comics like Spiderman, Alpha Flight and the Avengers (I was always a Marvel man, for those who understand the significance) and there I found my comfort zone for many many years.
I used read comics more than I ever read books, much to the dismay of my parents, and the rush I got from them is what I look for now when it
comes to movies, regardless of their origins. Today, reading comics all day wouldn’t seem like the ‘waste of time’ it did back then. Most parents nowadays would be happy to see their kids reading anything rather than spending another 16 hours without toilet breaks playing Call of Duty. Comics grew into graphic novels and out of that came a multi billion dollar genre for movies all of its own, and provided the inspiration for many more beyond that – eg, did you know that RED, the extremely underrated 2010 action/comedy starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren was adapted from a graphic novel? Just because it’s not dressed in a cape and shooting lasers out of its eyes doesn’t mean your entertainment fix hasn’t been harvested from the fertile comic paddy fields.
Of course, 2012’s biggest films will probably be comic book films and while the ultimate winner may not be in the shape of a burning skull it’s still sure to be a toss up between the respective returns of the Spider and the Bat. But let’s not forget the other comic book gems to be brought to us in the near future – Marvel studios will see whether the cross marketing that worked so well with their comics works just as well with their movies when The Avengers hits us this summer, the new Judge Dredd is also pencilled in for an autumn release this year (originally it started as a strip in the UK’s own 2000AD comic – who isn’t excited?), not to mention the Thor and Woverine sequels as well as another Superman reboot (Man of Steel) scheduled for release next year.
Such is the importance of comics to popular culture these days there are even magazines to help you keep abreast of everything that’s happening. Comic Heroes magazine, published by the home of SFX and Total Film magazines, have just released their latest issue (11) with their run down of the top 50 Superheroes ever seen. Sure enough all my favourites are there, but not necessarily where I would put them. Given what we’ll see on our screens this summer it shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that Spiderman and Batman make the top five. If you want to see where your favourites are CLICK HERE.
All this talk of comic book films gets me thinking – there’s so much source material around that the scope for which films can be made is huge. Most of the obvious ones have been, or are being, done. But what comic book adaptations would make a really good film, as opposed to just make really good money?
My first choice would be for a Cloak and Dagger movie. I know, I know. Cloak and Dagger aren’t exactly Superhero names that trip of the tongue, and their series wasn’t long
lived, but the comics had a story and a mythology that really captured my imagination. At the time it was quite a dark and gothic tale for the comics world, which would really work well on camera today, and the artwork from the original series was amazing. I even spoke to someone at Marvel studios about this years ago but nothing ever came of it – more on Cloak and Dagger here. See if you agree. If not, let us know which comics you think are ripe for a successful movie adaptation and why. Who knows what might happen……