10 Obscure Comics That Should Be Movies - Mania.com


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10 Obscure Comics That Should Be Movies

Film-friendly funnybooks far from the mainstream

By Chad Derdowski     October 14, 2010
Source: Mania

10 Obscure Comics That Should Be Movies (slideshow)
© Mania

Every time you turn around, it seems that Hollywood is mining the world of sequential art for new properties to exploit. While the so-called “built in audience” doesn’t always prove substantial enough to turn a comic flick into a hit (we’re looking at you, Kick Ass, Scott Pilgrim and The Losers), it’s nice to know that someone is recognizing the vast amount of potential the four-color world has to offer.

These days, it seems that Tinseltown is ready to not only look beyond the world of tights n’ flights but even into more obscure realms of books that might not have been blockbusters when they hit the stands. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of lesser-known titles we think would be worth Hollywood’s time – and yours – on the big screen.



10. The Five Fists of Science

Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla and Bertha von Suttner join forces to bring about world peace through scientific know-how and media manipulation. Meanwhile, the dastardly forces of Thomas Edison, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie and Guglielmo Marconi are busy with the construction of the Innsmouth Tower, merging the dark arts with the Industrial Age. Steampunk concepts, Lovecraftian overtones, historical fiction… and with any luck, it’ll inspire viewers to pick up a history book in order to get the references.



9. Battlefields

When he’s isn’t busy skewering religion and superheroes in books like Preacher and The Boys, Garth Ennis writes a pretty nifty World War II story. His Battlefields mini-series’ focus on the lesser known or completely forgotten tales of WWII including Russian female bomber pilots or British tank men. These aren’t the tales of highly trained, elite forces but of the regular soldiers just doing what they do, putting their lives on the line. These are exceptional tales of brutal environments and heart-wrenching sacrifice.



8. Creature Commandos

So Warner Brothers is looking to make some dough off of some DC Comics properties, eh? Well how about a team of monsters, including a vampire, werewolf, Frankenstein monster and a lady with Medusa hair fighting Nazis and dinosaurs in World War II? What part of that doesn’t appeal to you, as a potential ticket buyer? If you didn’t answer “nothing”, you’re not cool in our book and shouldn’t expect to be invited to any of our parties in the future.



7. Street Angel

This gem from Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca takes place in Wilkesborough, the worst ghetto in Angel City, and features a 12-year old heroine who happens to be a dangerous martial artist and the world’s deadliest homeless skateboarder. Street Angel is a brilliant satire of superhero comics featuring mad scientists, ninjas, time-traveling Spanish Conquistadors, an Incan Sun god and Jesus Christ. If that doesn’t have “blockbuster” written all over it, we don’t know what does.



6. Echo

When Julie Martin witnesses a munitions exercise in the desert, a top secret alloy bonds to her skin and sets in motion a terrifying chain of events. As it turns out, the alloy was created by a group of scientists and (naturally) co-opted by the military to be a weapon. Like any Terry Moore comic, Echo features down-to-earth, realistic female characters, but it’s also got great action, hard science fiction and a bit of conspiracy theory thrown in! There’s a lot of potential for crossover appeal with this one.



5. Tellos

Created by Todd DeZago and Mike Wieringo, Tellos is a fantasy tale featuring half-human creatures, swashbuckling pirates, dragons and genies on a quest to discover the mystery of a young boy’s origins and escape the wicked machinations of a boy-wizard who is out to get them. It’s good, old fashioned fun that appeals to kids of all ages and was unfortunately cut short when Wieringo died in 2007. We think it would be a fitting tribute to his talent to see this marvelous story brought to life on the big screen.



4. Boilerplate

Originally created by artist Paul Guinan and featured on a website, Boilerplate was intended for comics but instead wound up as the subject of an illustrated history of the mechanical marvel’s fictional exploits. Using a 12-inch articulated model of this 19th century robot, Guinan and his wife Anina Bennett photoshopped the character into a variety of historical settings. Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel is a faux-history book that is dying to be turned into a faux-documentary.



3. Beasts of Burden

The Eisner award-winning series from Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson is an amazing comic that definitely deserves the big screen treatment. Described by Dorkin as “dogs and cats vs. evil”, this series features a group of intelligent pets who form a group to take on mystical threats terrorizing the suburban town of Burden Hill. Imagine Milo and Otis or Babe with less sentimental stuff, more action and a truckload of ghosts and goblins and you’re not too far off.


THE NIGHTLY NEWS by Jonathan Hickman

2. The Nightly News

An enigmatic figure known as The Hand leads a cult comprised of citizens who have seen their careers, marriages and lives shattered by the various errors and retractions of the media. A revolution of the Fight Club variety ensues. It’s a scathing condemnation of corporate news media that’s more concerned with ratings and money than facts. The Nightly News is packed with statistics, violence and righteous indignation and is a story that demands to reach a wider audience – and what better place to do that than in the movie theaters? One can only hope a film version would find a way to pack the unique visual punch that Jonathan Hickman’s graphic novel does.



1. Life On Another Planet

It’s odd to think of a Will Eisner comic as “obscure”, but we haven’t met too many folks who haven’t read this classic. It tells the story of the first evidence of extraterrestrial life reaching earth – a signal from space. When news of the signal leaks, the reader is invited to follow various intersecting plot lines featuring a cult, a corporation, the KGB, scientists and politicians. The story is less about science fiction and aliens and more about the repercussions of the news of such an event. Like most of Eisner’s work, it’s a story about the nature of humanity and is absolutely brilliant.



In addition to writing features like this one and the weekly Comicscape column for Mania.com, Chad Derdowski can also be found on the Zod Complex podcast, a gathering of informed geeks discussing graphic novels, sequential art and funny books. Find them at ZodComplex.com today!


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DaForce1 10/14/2010 9:26:37 AM

 Another DC property, Camelot 3000. In the year 3000, aliens are invading Earth and winning, and a teenager trying to escape them accidentally reawakens King Arthur in his crypt where he has been asleep all this time. Add in that Arthur finds his reincarnated knights, a more demonic Merlin, and a creepier Morgan LeFay, and you have not only a decent sci-fi movie, but another take on Arthurian legend as well.

karas1 10/14/2010 9:38:07 AM

Arion, Lord Of Atlantis.

Tevii 10/14/2010 10:10:06 AM

I dont know if you would call it obscure, but its definitely not the average fare..... ELFQUEST NEEDS TO BE MADE INTO A MOVIE & MADE CORRECTLY
(and if they use the same shrinking techniques that they used in LOTR... then JARED PADALECKI actually LOOKS like a brunette Cutter)

lusiphur 10/14/2010 10:30:46 AM

Poison Elves.  Another story cut short by the illness and eventual death of its creator, Drew Hayes.  Would make a fun movie.

You're right Tevii, Elfquest deserves a big screen treatment.  Hell, I'd settle for a CGI version if that's what it takes.

Rheul_home 10/14/2010 10:49:15 AM

I thought Boilerplate was getting made or at least there was some buzz about it a few weeks back

littlemikey979 10/14/2010 11:15:46 AM

They all sound like they are great stories. I can see Hollywood f*cking up all these up. That should be the title of the article "10 Obscure Comics That Should Be Movies That Hollywood Would Ruin"

ysidoro1701 10/14/2010 11:34:03 AM

Karas I thought I was the only person who rememberd Arion.  I enjoyed him more when he was a backup story in Mike Grell's Warlord than when he had his own book though. 

Kmandi would be one I think would make a good movie or series or the Metal Men

da82kid 10/14/2010 11:39:20 AM

In the Nightly News synopsis, there's a cult called the Hand; I know that Marvel has a cult of ninjas and assassins called the Hand; I know this is a silly question but did Marvel try to sue them for the name even though both groups are totally different? 

SarcasticCaveman 10/14/2010 12:14:23 PM

Another obscure comic that had nothing to do with any movie or TV show was Avatar.  I forget the details (it's been at least 10 years ago), but a group of heroes and a group of villians all had an aspect of a god that gave them powers.  I remember the protagonists were able to exist anyplace that people imagined COULD exist, so they made thier secret base in cyberspace.  Pretty cool stuff.

karas1 10/14/2010 3:33:01 PM

I remember Arion fondly.  I had a bunch of con sketches of the Arion characters by Jan Dursema but I lost them all when all the stuff in our storage compartment went bye bye.  Damn I miss some of that stuff.

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