Weekend Roundtable: Comic Book Characters Who Still Need Movies

These days, it feels like pretty much every comic book ever written has been turned into a mega-budget Hollywood summer tentpole movie, doesn’t it? Surprisingly, that’s not the case. For this week’s Roundtable, we single out some comics yet to receive the feature film treatment. Which of these do you think has the potential to be the next ‘The Avengers’, and which will probably end up more like the miserable ‘Green Lantern‘?

Mike Attebery

With the number of comic book movies coming out each year, it’s getting harder and harder to come up with a comic I enjoyed that hasn’t been turned into a movie. The closest I think of is ‘The Flash’, and frankly, after seeing the dreadful TV show that ran from 1990-1991, I’m not even sure that would be a good idea. Of course, visual effects have improved, and the reputation of comic book entertainment in general has grown over the past 22 years (holy hell… it’s been that long?!!), so maybe it would work. It couldn’t get any worse than this monstrosity, right?

M. Enois Duarte

As a kid, I was a big fan of ‘Ghost Rider’ (the first, original series run) and Red Skull, and we’ve now seen both characters used in movies. Unfortunately, the Johnny Blaze films are a complete travesty. Besides them, I loved Gambit and Deadpool. Of those two, the adventures of Deadpool would be absolutely awesome to watch on the big screen. Granted, both characters were seen in the ‘Wolverine‘ movie, but that doesn’t count because their roles were completely underutilized, near inconsequential and very unlike their comic depictions. Deadpool deserves – nay, needs – his own dedicated film.

Pick any number of his comics and you have something ready-made for a movie. If not, then have him join a team where he has a bigger role. Since so many characters in the ‘X-Men’ universe have already been killed off thanks to ‘X-Men 3‘, maybe he can be recruited by Wolverine for the Weapon X Project. The new team can have a showdown with Apocalypse or perhaps do battle with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and Agent Zero. Either way, I’d love to see a Deadpool movie.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

The title page to Paul Grist’s ‘Mud Man’ #1 tells readers that they’ve just been introduced to “your new favourite superhero comic,” and… well, that’s not far off. There’s not a whole lot on the shelves like ‘Mud Man’ these days. Its clean, stylized artwork and wide-eyed, teenaged superheroics harken back to the Lee/Ditko days on ‘Amazing Spider-Man’. It’s a reminder of just how much of a blast comics can be, and I’d love to see something that infectiously fun be adapted rather than yet another grim, gritty, nothing-will-ever-be-the-same angst-fest. Besides, who wouldn’t pay $8 to see an accidental superhero whose body sporadically turns into mud?

Steven Cohen

“The Lord of Dreams learns that one must change or die, and makes his decision.” While deceptively simple, that one sentence summary by series creator Neil Gaiman could not be more appropriate. A sprawling epic of dark fantasy, ‘The Sandman’ remains one of my favorite comic books. In 75 issues, the author is able to effortlessly weave a multi-cultural mishmash of otherwise discordant mythologies and legends into a cohesive whole, creating a powerful narrative about storytelling, progress and, of course, dreams. Deeply layered and intricately plotted, the series proves that comics can be literature too, and that poetry can come in all shapes and sizes – even funny little balloons floating above characters’ heads.

While there have been several attempts at a big screen version in the past, so far the series has evaded Hollywood’s grubby hands. I honestly can’t say that I’m terribly disappointed, since a movie adaptation would likely have to be simplified to such a degree that the end product would bear little resemblance to Gaiman’s nuanced masterwork. Most recently, an HBO series has been rumored, and if done right (‘Game of Thrones’ style), I can actually see it working. For the time being, though, it would seem that any potential adaptation will have to remain a faraway glint floating endlessly in The Dreaming.

Josh Zyber

Even though I chose this week’s topic, I’m at something of a disadvantage here. I wasn’t much into comic books as a kid, and superhero comics least of all. Most of the few comics I read have either already been turned into movies, or were based on film properties in the first place. However, one title that might qualify here is ‘Groo the Wanderer’, Sergio Aragones’ parody of ‘Conan the Barbarian’ and other sword & sandal adventure stories.

The title character is a total buffoon who travels the land in search of odd jobs and mercenary work. His only skill is that he’s an expert swordsman, who delights at the chance to leap into battle crying his catchphrase, “Now Groo does what Groo does best!” Yet his combination of incredible fighting skill and equally incredible stupidity means that he’s liable to forget which side he’s fighting for and just slaughter everyone all around him, which happens frequently.

I haven’t read it in ages, but I remember the comic being really funny. How would it fare as a movie? In the right hands, it could be very entertaining. Unfortunately, humorous comics have a lousy track record of being adapted into movies. In the wrong hands, this could be the next ‘Howard the Duck’. Perhaps it’s best that Hollywood hasn’t gotten its grubby hands on this one yet.

Now it’s your turn to tell us in the Comments about which comic book characters you’d like to see make the transition to the big screen.


  1. Shayne Blakeley

    S.C.U.D. The disposable assassin

    Lobo (I hear he actually is getting a movie soon, and I’m terrified it will be watered down.

    Evil Ernie & Lady Death

    Spawn needs to be redone badly

    Venom suffers from the same problem as Deadpool in that his movie appearance was a travesty

  2. Jason

    Savage Dragon

    a proper Juggernaut movie would be cool. You know, one where he’s not a mutant. WTF was up with that?

    Aqua Man! JKJKJKDFO

  3. Barsoom Bob

    Please shoot me in the head before making anymore comic book superhero movies, thank you.

    On second thought :
    How about Mr. Natural or the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers or something from the Tijuana bibles. Actually I saw some claymation footage of the FFFB that somebody is working on. Their motto: “dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.” Ah, those were the days.

    Back to reality, we have another very interesting real picture to start getting hot and bothered about. Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity had a work in progress screening and was describe even in it’s unfinished form as being ” a level above next level shit”

  4. JM

    To subvert the trend, I propose an all-female Marvel VS DC battle royale.

    Elektra, Sif, Scarlet Witch, Psylocke, Mystique.


    Poison Ivy, Zatanna, Wonder Woman, Death, Talia Al Ghul.

    With an ‘X-Men 2’ meets ‘Watchmen’ sort of story. R-Rated, please.

  5. The Mexican Space Ship

    I’ve never seen FF4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, but it would be cool for The Silver Surfer to have his own movie complete with the whole cosmos backdrop and having to battle Thanos, Mephisto, etc. Also, appearances by the cosmic powers like the Living Tribunal, Eternity, Master Order and Chaos, etc. Oh, and not to mention the appearances guys like Warlock, Captain Marvel, female Nova, etc… yeah…

  6. August Lehe

    I always liked BLACKHAWK, but I’m not real sure ANYBODY ELSE remembers them at all. I’M also not sure I WOULD go see it myself!

  7. Phoenix Carter

    I would love to see Invincible on the big screen. However, I always thought that Joss Whedon would be perfect to write and direct, as I think he is the only one that could do it any justice. With him tied up in the Avengers I doubt it will ever happen

  8. Brian H

    The Dark Horse Terminator comics nailed some of the original aspects of the story- T-800’s violently roaming around trying to win the war from the past.

    The Dark Tower comics were immensely popular and well drawn, but I think there is already some Hollywood mess involving the Dark Tower.

    Plus, they already made a movie about Gorilla Grodd, the Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

    I recall that WildC.A.T.s cartoon being pretty good, maybe they can make that.

    I loved Kick-Ass and I still like Unbreakable- forget about “comic book movies,” if they would just try to make good movies(good characters and a decent story) that happen to feature super heroes, people will go see them. It is just that whole cart before the horse, Green Lantern style of production that makes people gag when they hear the term “comic book movie.”

    You just imagine the director and the producers on set saying things like, “We have to completely re-shoot all of last week. People this is a comic book movie, try to look goofy and act stupid. My main characters had either be extremely sad or extremely happy go-lucky, no in-between. You’re only motivation is that you are in a comic book movie.”

  9. JM

    Since ‘The Avengers’ made $650M its first week, I wonder if Joss Whedon will get to make ‘Wonder Woman’…?

  10. I would be happy to see that R-rated ‘Deadpool’ screenplay from the ‘Zombieland’ guys get made. My friend read me the opening sequence from the leaked script (wink-wink) and it was pretty visionary.

  11. StarMenace

    Definitely would love to see a Flash, Wonder Woman, or even a remade He-Man movie but more than that would be to see a movie based off of Orson Scott Card’s book, Ender’s Game. Not a comic but one of my favorite books of all time. Really wish they’d make that into a movie.

    • Josh Zyber

      An Ender’s Game movie is in the works for release next year. Directed by Gavin Hood, of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Asa Butterfield from Hugo is Ender. He’s currently 15, which means that the age of the kids has been bumped up to be teenagers to appeal to the Twilight and Hunger Games audience.

      So, yeah… Not so promising.