The Comics 8 Ball 04.21.14 Top 8 Best & Worst Comic Storyline Adaptations
Posted by Anthony Kennedy on 04.21.2014
From the poor versions of the Dark Phoenix Saga and the Galactus Trilogy to the excellent work on X-Men's "God Loves, Man Kills," Scott Pilgrim and more, 411's Anthony Kennedy counts down the top 8 best & worst comic storyline adaptations!
Welcome back to the Comics 8 Ball in the Movie Zone! Per usual, I'm Anthony Kennedy and I'll be your guide in our intellectual trip through comicdom. As always, we will be tackling a topic and providing you the top 8 selections related to comics. One thing to please understand, these are meant to be my personal takes and not the definitive list on the subject. Although I do consider myself somewhat an expert, feel free to disagree and I'll freely admit you're wrong. (No hard feelings tho?) With that in mind, let's get to this week's topic!
But first… we have some more READER FEEDBACK! Truly glad last week's topic of Most Wanted Comics Story Arc Adaptations was so well received and sparked such heated discussions.
Jay: I would have to say that observation about SHIELD being only 5 to 10 years old was inference, not an implication. I never got that sense from SHIELD in any of the films. They also allude to SHIELD's formation in the Agent Carter one-shot. They are a more secretive agency, which is why Stark never heard of them of in Iron Man 1. So this is definitely not a retcon. Especially considering that SHIELD probably would function similar as it does in the comics, in which SHIELD has been around for quite some time.
I can see your point, but Tony Stark is one of the world's smartest men and his company is ONLY known for making the best weaponry. So I find it hard to believe that he would not have known of them before the events of Iron Man if they had been around that long. Don't forget, the reason they reached out to him had nothing to do with the appearance of Iron Man, but they approached him after he escaped from the Ten Rings. Again a nitpick, but I noticed it.
CyberVenom: Awesome list. I gotta call out that Infinity Gauntlet shouldn't be allowed. The 2nd season of Super Hero Squad show was very loosely adapted from the story.
10. Marvel Zombies. A hard R animated movie. It'll never happen, but a boy can dream.
9. The Authority, Volume 1. I could easily see a major franchise.
8. Kingdom Come. I want it in Bruce Timm style!
7. Old Man Logan. Live action with Eastwood.
6. The War of Light. Starts at the Sinestro Corps War all the way to Brightest Day (and maybe beyond!)
5. Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow. Live action.
4. Superman/Batman: Generations
3. Marvel vs. DC/Amalgam
2. Demon in a Bottle
1. The Killing Joke
Some really great and inspired selections here. Love your idea for "Marvel Zombies". I think we'll never see a feature film adaptation of "Demon in a Bottle" or "Kingdom Come", however, as Marvel and DC is way too protective of their characters to explore those comics on film.
Dude: Long Halloween anyone?
In the rebooted Batman franchise I could envision the Loeb-Sale source material being tweaked a bit for the silver screen. However, I hope they would seriously cut back on the amount of villains as we don't want a situation where there are too many characters that are not given enough time to be fully flushed out for this potential film. Instead, I'd go with an animated mini-series on Cartoon Network as the best way to adapt this 12-part series.
Jason Andreas: I actually thought Hush would have been a fantastic arc for the third Nolan Batman film - it's grounded enough that it would be easy to keep in a 'realistic' setting, but a compelling drama. Maybe not a *direct* adaptation, but as the basis for a story, all the skeleton is there.
Replace certain figures with Nolanverse-level guys (Clayface could just be an incredibly gifted actor, mimic and make-up guy, for example) and you'd be on to a winner.
Would have worked much better, imo, than the mess we ended up with.
Agreed, "Hush" is a great storyline, but worry that it may be a cluster with so many villains to introduce. I think the best we can hope for is a DC Home Video release.
CyberVenom:For the flack that story receives, I'd love to see an animated Hush in a Jim Lee style!
Have to co-sign this sentiment. Loeb and Lee on Batman, it was the must-read event in 2002. Furthermore, it did have the side effect of making readers want a resurrection of Jason Todd.
BoycottWWE:As excited as I am for Thanos in the MCU, I just don't think they can make any single movie worthy of the Infinity Gauntlet storyline. The bad assness of Thanos accomplishing the flat out unaccomplishable demands at least two movies. You can't put what he did fully into one movie when you have to explain it to people that haven't read the comics. You also can't let those that read the comics expect to see him come to power and lose it all in one movie. The man owned all of the universe and decimated the cosmic beings...that story stands the test of time!!! Marvel knows it, and tried again twice with Infinity War and Infinity Crusade, and couldn't equal that awesomeness again. Infinity was great until the highly anticlimactic end....and I think part of that is just because Thanos is built up to be so awesome that without him flat out winning(only to foul it up in the end as all canon villains do), it seems unrealistic.
I wholeheartedly agree about one movie not being enough time to tell the entire story. However, they can utilize Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy to advance the story of Thanos acquiring the Infinity gems. Let's not forget that Marvel was able to tell the bulk of theInfinity Gauntlet in only six issues. They'll have to omit Silver Surfer and Dr. Doom's involvement as they're FOX properties, but they can rectify that by shifting the focus around the Guardians and Avengers characters.
keith: I always thought Kingdom Come would have been a great live action movie as well with Russell Crowe as Superman, Clint Eastwood as Batman, Robert Duval as the preacher (cant remember his name) and The Rock as Captain Marvel. Smaller role would be Vin Diesel as Magog
I love those casting choices. Don't think I'd have a problem with any with the exception of wanting to see if they could get Michael Keaton to come back as Batman. Other than that, good job!
Thanks to everyone who commented.
Top 8 Best & Worst Comic Story Arc Adaptations
Last week I tackled the Top 8 Most Wanted Comic Story Arc Adaptations, this week I wanted to dedicate the 8 Ball to the 8 times Hollywood got it really right and extremely wrong. Let's be honest, as fanboys we're clamoring to see some of the best comic book stories from the 75 years of the medium get adapted to film and television. Unfortunately, we need to let this week's column be a reminder of being careful of what we wish for. With that I present the Top 8 Best & Worst Comic Story Arc Adaptations.
"The Dark Knight Returns" (The Dark Knight Returns): Even as a direct adaptation, they captured the tone and feel of Frank Miller's classic.
"Kick-Ass" (Kick-Ass): Confusing marketing aside (I thought it was a comedy), a very good adaptation to the source material.
"League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1" (League of Extraordinary Gentleman): Alan Moore's masterpiece deserved better. They really felt they had to shoehorn more Tom Sawyer?!?!?!
"Prison Assault" (The Walking Dead): Folks have had their issues with the TV show, but they got it right with the two key plots.
"Wolverine Limited Series" (The Wolverine): A great way to soft reboot the Wolvie franchise after X-Men Origins.
#8 "For the Man Who Has Everything" Superman Annual #11
Adapted for:Justice League Unlimited Most Egregious Offense to Source Material: The downplaying of the iconic line "Burn!" Comic Fanboy Consensus: Positive.JLU earned a reputation for being one of the best comic adapted cartoon prior to adapting Alan Moore's classic. In 30 minutes, they gave longtime fans a faithful portrayal of the Man of Steel story.
#7 "The Galactus Trilogy" Fantastic Four #48-#50
Adapted for:Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer Most Egregious Offense to Source Material: Making Galactus a shapeless, faceless space cloud. Comic Fanboy Consensus: Negative. The FF film series had a host of issues that fans hated before producers had the audacity to take a massive dump on the brilliant Lee-Kirby end of the world story arc. GALACTUS WAS A SPACE CLOUD, no Uatu and a film narrative to portray Marvel's first family as "family comedy" effectively spelled the end of their first foray into films
Adapted for:Wanted Most Egregious Offense to Source Material: The Loom of Fate. Comic Fanboy Consensus: Negative. Mark Millar's mini-series was a smartly written comic outlining what happens when the bad guys won and all the issues they have maintaining this new world order. The film stripped away most of this to give us bullet time, adrenaline pumped assassins carrying out hits from a loom. WEAK!
#5 "Scott Pilgrim"
Adapted for:Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Most Egregious Offense to Source Material: None really come to mind. Comic Fanboy Consensus: Positive. I can't say enough great things about this film. It was completely different from anything out at the time. Boosting unique narrative it kept the tone and feel of the comic, even down to the (in my opinion) wrong ending of Scott going off to live happily ever after with Ramona instead of my choice, the ride or die chick Knives.
#4 "Days of Future Past" Uncanny X-Men 141 & 142
Adapted for: X-Men: The Animated Series Most Egregious Offense to Source Material: Replacing Kitty Pryde as the time traveler for Bishop. Comic Fanboy Consensus: Positive. For a Saturday Morning cartoon, it was very dark depicting the grim future, deaths and making you think (in the third part where Magneto shows up) that folks were going to be merc'd…again. Love this three-part episode and shows that kids could handle more adult themed stories.
#3 "Dark Phoenix Saga" Uncanny X-Men #129-138
Adapted for:X-Men 3: The Last Stand Most Egregious Offense to Source Material: Having the love of Wolverine be the catalyst for Jean Grey to stop the destructive power of the Phoenix. Comic Fanboy Consensus: Negative. What did we expect from Brett Ratner? The unneeded off-screen death of Scott along with the disintegration of Professor X (???) still bother me as they fully steered the X-franchise toward being Wolverine also featuring the X-Men. As a X-Men fanboy, it greatly irritated me that the Slim and Red love story was put on the back burner to give Hugh Jackman more screen time. But even worse was relegating the most powerful and dangerous mutant on the planet, Phoenix, as plot device who was just waiting her turn to die in the end.
#2 "The Alien Costume Saga/Venom" Amazing Spider-Man #252-259/299-300
Adapted for: Spider-Man 3 Most Egregious Offense to Source Material: Emo Peter Parker jitterbugging with Gwen Stacey to make Mary Jane jealous. Comic Fanboy Consensus: Negative. It was a great set-up considering the crutch of explaining the Secret War could not be brought into the film, but the writers completely botched the Black Costume saga. There was no resonance that the costume was alive nor did it show the internal conflict going on with Peter. Further, I completely hated that what snapped him, somewhat, out of it's control was Sam Raimi's obsessions with Kirsten Dunst, I mean Peter hurting Mary Jane. Even more groan inducing was the way they rushed through Eddie Brock acquiring the symbiote and having the brilliant plan of (and stop me if you've heard this before) kidnapping Mary Jane.
#1 "God Loves, Man Kills" X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills
Adapted for: X-Men 2: X-Men United Most Egregious Offense to Source Material: Stryker not being a religious zealot and now being responsible for Wolverine receiving his adamantium. Comic Fanboy Consensus: Positive. Some argue that this is the greatest comic book film of all time. Even though they took some liberties with the source material (i.e. not playing up the prejudice that mutants had to deal with from a religious zealot and the atrocities being committed against them) they made a great film that let most of the cast shine, not just Hugh Jackman. What's more, they even managed to tease the next film in a logical manner with the "death" of Jean Grey
This definitely should spark some spirited debate on how Hollywood messed up some easy, great comic stories. That's my list, let me know where I completely missed and what didn't deserve inclusion at all.
With new of Prince and Warner Bros. music coming to terms on, I contributed to this week's Prince Podcast as we discussed the new deal signed, what and when we can expect a new Prince album and our Purple Rain 20th Anniversary wish-list. Prince and music fans in general should give it a listen.
Join me next week for another edition of the 8-Ball! Have a great week and don't forget to read the many other great columns, news articles and more here at 411mania.com! I still real to me damnit!