Entertainment Magazine

10 Indie Comics for the Big Screen

Posted on the 06 December 2012 by House Of Geekery @houseofgeekery

posted by Slam Adams

You may have seen an awesome animated short making its rounds around the internet based on the Dark Horse comic, The Goon, and featuring the voices of Clancy Brown and Paul Giamatti. It was made by animation and visual fx company, Blur Studios, who hoped to make a feature length version. They hit a snag on financing, but their relationship with David Fincher (they created the opening credits of his The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) got them a nice short and a presentation at ComiCon in order to gain some investors. No one bit, except for the fans. So, they started a donations campaign at Kickstarter.com where the fans can volunteer funding for Blur to make a story reel (like a rough draft of the movie) to help better pitch the project to the major studios. As of November 16th (ish), they made their goal and are one step closer to bringing a beloved comic book, one not made by either Marvel or DC, to the big screen.

Not that there is anything wrong with Marvel or DC, but at a certain point they painted themselves into a costumed crime-fighter corner and have done the bare minimum to diversify. The general public doesn’t realize that the comic industry has more to offer in terms of real depth, pulpy goodness, and (usually) a great balance of both. So here are 10 other comics not from Marvel or DC’s stables I would love to see on the big screen:

i kill giants

Barbara Thorson and her big whammer

10. I Kill Giants
What is it:
This Image Comics series is brought to you by writer, Joe Kelly, who is one of the main reasons why Deadpool is such a beloved character. He gets how silly these kind of books can be, and he sees no reason why that should exclude them from being emotional or meaningful. He presents our world through the eyes of a 5th grade girl with an overactive imaginations, who believes our world is being terrorized by giants. Armed with a Norse war hammer, she is the only one able to stop it.
How I would do it:
The book as a great anime-inspired look that is a bigger part of the charm than say any number of artists who have taken over Spider-Man for a limited amount of issues. An animated feature would be the best way with some like Chloe Moretz Grace voicing the lead. She has the kind of spunky cadence that can really bring the character to life as well as a surprisingly sharp understanding of emotional depth for her age.

Brad Pitt

Brian Wood’s The Massive

9. The Massive
What is it:
The title refers to a boat that belongs to an organization of environmentalists. It has gone missing, and we follow the adventures of its sistership, Kapital, as it searches for it in a post-apocalyptic new world. The kicker is that it seems no one event took down the world but rather a series of environmental disasters that all seemed to happen one after the other. The search for The Massive is the backbone to a much more interesting story revolving around the ship’s captain, Callum Israel, as he struggles to find personal meaning as an environmentalist with nothing left to save.
How I would do it:
It is an indie story on a blockbuster scale, and it will probably have trouble finding funding and a big audience. That small audience will be loyal and passionate about it though. A big name actor in the role of Israel would certainly help. He does kind of look like Brad Pitt and has the same demeanor as Pitt’s Moneyball role, Billy Bean (which I thought was an excellent subdued performance).


Allison Scagliotti as Cassie Hack

8. Hack/Slash
What is it:
Cassandra Hack is a gothic high schooler who’s mom turned out to be a slasher. In her world, a slasher is a serial killer who was too angry to stay dead. When her serial killer mom came back from the dead, Cassie killer her and made it her mission to keep slaying slashers across the country. She teams up with Vlad, a muscle-bound simpleton she mistook for a slasher one time. Whenever a horror story goes out to focus on an iconic hero rather than an iconic villain, they feel more action-packed and sarcastic (think Ash in Evil Dead 2 or Army of Darkness). They are way easier to empathize with than the charming but painfully 2 dimensional final girls.
How I would do it:
It is all about casting Cassie Hack as perfectly as possible. She needs to be sexy while rocking a goth/punk/alt chick style. She needs to match quips with the best of them and have enough attitude to justify her action hero cred with her small stature.It is those reasons why I am still watching Warehouse 13. For Allison Scagliotti.

Cowboy Ninja Viking

Duncan surrounded by his other personalities

7. Cowboy Ninja Viking
What is it:
Cowboy Ninja Viking revolves around a defunct counter-intelligence project that hired operatives suffering from dissociative identity disorder. They would condition them into agents known as Triplets, They would have a dominant identity and 3 other identities with specific skills. When the project went away, the remaining triplets were hired as contract killers. The hero, Duncan, who is a cowboy, a ninja, and a viking, is hired to go after these rogue triplets. It is pretty oddball to read, especially when Duncan is basically having conversations with himself.
How I would do it:
Cowboy Ninja Viking is so off the wall, and that is why I like it. It needs to embrace this. The quick, odd tone of the movie reminds me of Joseph Kahn’s Detention. The fact that his previous illegal racing action flick, Torque, was supposed to be The Last Action Hero of illegal racing action flicks but was received as Asylum’s version of The Fast and The Furious, I’d like to see him take another bite of the pisstake-version-of-action-movie apple. As for casting, Ryan Reynolds keeps coming to mind. I like him as an action hero, and his experience in comedy clearly would help with the bantering with himself. I’m just hesitant since he is literally up for every comic book movie. Sharlto Copley might be a more inspired choice.

Criminal Macabre A Cal McDonald Mystery Steve Niles

Cal McDonald drawn as Tom Jane

6. Criminal Macabre
What is it:
While WB was so busy stripping John Constantine of most of his physical attributes, they probably could have just run with Steve Niles’ occult P.I., Cal McDonald, from his Criminal Macabre series and been more successful. He is a cynical, chain-smoking, drug-abusing police department washout who has become a de facto monster hunter with the help of a colony of underground dwelling ghouls. He is funny in a sarcastic, deadpan way, and pretty much all of his investigations end up with him just killing all the bad guys. He is like a ‘80s action hero transplanted into a post-modern horror world, where magical means of slaying them (like silver and garlic) have been evolved out of the gene pool by years of inbreeding.
How I would do it:
Easy! Cast Tom Jane! Jane has been working with Steve Niles on a few different projects and from that relationship came the trend of using Tom Jane’s likeness for a number of Cal McDonald books. He has gone as far as to say he was born for the role, and if he was as passionate, maybe he’ll direct it as well. His directorial debut, Dark Country, was impressive, and he helped produce Dirty Laundry, his Punisher short film on youtube.

American Vampires

Skinner Sweet in WWII

5. American Vampire
What is it:
Before Scott Snyder was knocking it out of the park with Batman and Swamp Thing, he was writing this vampire serial for DC’s Vertigo imprint (which is still technically non-DC, there is 2 more Vertigo titles in the list, so I am sticking to it). the story chronicles the evolution of new vampire species that seem to coincide with the birth and development of the United States. It has already spanned a period starting in the Old West and progressing to the good old blacklisting days of the 1950s. The constants seem to be the outlaw Skinner Sweet who was the first American Vampire and Pearl Jones, an aspiring actress from the ‘20s who was sired by Sweet.
How I would do it:
It is official. We are living in a post-Twilight world, and hopefully, we can return to more classic vampire stories. Or at least gory scary ones, right? This can be it. While this story might not take place on the battlefields of Middle Earth, it is still epic. Epic like Forrest Gump and O Brother Where Art Thou are epic. They turn the creation of the United States into a fable; it just needs the right director to bring it to the screen, someone who is Sergio Leone and George Romero rolled into one. The Devil’s Rejects Rob Zombie could be good as long as Halloween Rob Zombie doesn’t show up.

Garth Ennis Preacher Jesse Custer

Walton Goggins as Jesse Custer

4. Preacher
What is it:
Jesse Custer is Texas preacher who is possessed by Genesis, a divine being made by the union of an angel and a demon. Jesse goes on a roadtrip with an old girlfriend and an Irish vampire literally searching for God, who left Heaven after the birth of Genesis. Along the way, they run into many obstacles including Jesse’s redneck family, the German leader of a secret organization that controls all the governments and protects the bloodline of Jesus Christ, and The Saint of All Killers, who is exactly as he sounds.
How I would do it:
Preacher is at times profane, blasphemous, violent, gratuitous, and completely and utterly offensive. It’s why I like it. Not many stories, let alone comics, can throw so many punches and come out the other end as a fan- and critic-favorite. This is no time to walk on eggshells. You have to deliver it in all its glory. The last person I heard attached to the project was Skyfall director, Sam Mendes, who I believe is pitching it as a tv series. As for Jesse, Walton Goggins is older than Jesse is meant to be, but he is one of the most intense actors working today constantly ignored for his amazing tv work on shows like The Shield and Justified. I think he would knock this character out of the park.

Robert Kirkman's Invincible


3. Invincible
What is it:
Invincible is like the best parts of Superman, Spiderman, and Kick-Ass all rolled into one. Mark Grayson is Invincible, a half-alien, half-human superhero with super strength and the ability to fly. When he is not crime-fighting, he is an insecure high schooler. And when he is crime-fighting, it is surprisingly bloody and violent. When his father, the hero Omni-Man, turns on the planet he swore he would protect, Grayson steps up as the new world protector.
How I would do it:
Invincible should be done like a classic superhero blockbuster. It’ll be one of those things that look generic but ends up being really cool. In fact, saying that out loud, it might be destined to flop and become a cult classic no matter what. Shame!

Freaks of the Heartland

Freaks of the Heartland

2. Freaks of the Heartland
What is it:
In a small Midwestern town, Trevor cares for the younger brother his parents keep in the barn. Will was born different. At 6 years old, he is already bigger than Trevor, and he is as strong as he looks. Their parents do not seem to care about him at all. Their mother might be ignoring him, but their father is downright abusive. When Trevor has had enough, he lets his brother free, and the 2 of them run away from home followed by an angry mob obsessed with keeping Will’s existence a secret.
How I would do it:
Freaks of the Heartland is one of those monster movies that prove that humans are the worst monsters of all. It has a sun-soaked Southern (technically Midwest) look to it, and it has a real slow burn tone and pacing. It is like a mix of Stand By Me and The Mist. It has Stephen King written all over it. For that reason, I think Frank Darabont should direct it. He has found the roots of human nature in King’s work more so than any other director.

Brian K. Vaughn's Y The Last Man

Yorick and his monkey, Ampersand

1. Y: The Last Man
What is it:
Escape artist, Yorick, and his pet monkey, Ampersand, are the only surviving mammals with a Y-chromosome, after for some mysterious reason, the rest of them drop dead. The infrastructure of the USA falls apart as the surviving women think extinction is all that is left. Yorick becomes a pawn in a global power struggle as the new President assigns a mysterious government agent to escort him to Boston. There they will meet a brilliant geneticist, Dr. Allison Mann, who may be able to prove how Yorick is immune and create a cure. It ran for 60 issues and is easily one of the best books of the ‘00s and possibly of all time.
How I would do it:
This project has time and time again been pitched as a tv series due to the serial nature of comic books leaving it with a whole lot of source material. TV is fickle though. The wrong backers and that project will continue getting produced as long as its making money. Even though the status quo is changing, it is still more often than not that shows are forced to become bad before they are allowed to end. And that is if it catches on with people in the first place. I think a movie serial (like a trilogy, give or take an installment) would be the very best way to go. The budget would be much better to get the right talent and visuals, and it would cut down on some of the subplots so they can focus on the premise, which is Yorick’s role as the last man on Earth.

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