Friday Feature - Comics to Films: What's left?

In the 80s, it was books; the 90s had video games; but in the 21st century, creativity-bankrupt Hollywood is mining the rich stream of comic-book inegenuity for characters and plots. It all began with The Crow, X-Men made it popular, then there was Spider-man, but now we've seen the more interesting prospects appearing: Wanted, Surrogates, even the incoming Kick Ass. After that we have a double dose of Reynolds in both Green Lantern and (squee) Deadpool, and Venom, Y: The Last Man and Preacher are still in development hell.

Of course there are a lot of comics that are absolute drivel, as with any medium, though comics have more than their fair share of misses. Personally, I think that is their secret. The quality-control level on comics is almost completely absent, meaning not only rubbish gets through, but truly brilliant ideas that no other medium would touch.

The question now, however, is: what's left? Hollywood has gone for the obvious titles, what else can they exploit before they move on to something else?

1) WE3

Brought to us by Grant Morrison, the man who single-handedly breathed life back into the flagging X-Men franchise, WE3 would best be described as Homeward Bound with rocket launchers. The story concerns 1, 2 and 3, a dog, a cat and a rabbit, experimented on by the government and turned into cyborg killing machines. When the project is shut down, the trio make a break for it and try to get home to their original owners; only, of course, the government are not so happy to let their investments go. Surprisingly touching for such a bonkers idea, a film version would be a truly original experience that would cross the generation barrier.

2) Fray

With Buffy The Vampire Slayer's adventures continuing in comic book form already, perhaps it's time for Buffy's comic spin off to take to celluloid. Melaka Fray is also a Vampire Slayer, only one from the far future, where vampires are commonplace and no-one really cares if they chow down on a few of the indigents who live in the city's lower levels. No-one, that is, but professional thief Fray. Not that it's that simple when Fray is caught between her police officer sister, a demon who wants to train her to kill his kind and the leader of the vampires who may have it in for Fray for a very personal reason.

3) Batman: Digital Justice

Going down in history as the first completely computer-generated comic, few people remember Digital Justice for its plot. In a utopian future society, Batman has grown old and died, but created an AI computer system to lie in wait for the Joker, in the form of an avatar computer virus, to return. When he does, he recruits the grandson of Comissioner Gordon to become a brand new, high-tech Batman. Oodles of gore and a few great ideas make this the next step for the Bat-franchise when Bale's antics get tired.

4) Ghost In The Shell

Okay, it's been done, and well; but the promise of James Cameron making a big-budget live-action Avatar-style remake is too awesome to ignore. If you're not familiar with GITS, you really should be as it is truly unique. Set in the far future, cyborg mercenaries form a secret police force investigating criminals who can computer-hack into people's souls. Gratuitous lesbian sex, over-the-top gore, awesome shoot-outs, stupid comic relief, discussions on Descartes, big explosions, far-right fascist morals and intelligent scifi: all in the same story; this needs a bigger audience.

5) Lenore

Whilst being little more than a series of skits, only some of which are about the titular character, there is nonetheless an overarching story in Roman Dirge's opus. The main plot concerns a cute little girl who dies tragically, but mysteriously returns to life after being embalmed; just a little bit wrong. Add in her sidekick Ragamuffin, a vampire cursed to live out eternity as a fangless ragdoll, and boyfriend Mr Gosh, who will not stay dead, no matter how many times Lenore goes stabby on his ass, and you have more than enough sight gags to keep you chortling and grimacing for 90 minutes.

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