Right now Marvel and DC have cornered the market of comic book superhero movies in Hollywood. Marvel is currently kicking ass, and DC seems to have a plan in place that they are finally executing with the release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. But there are still a ton of great comic book characters out there that are not a part of Marvel or DC that would make awesome movies, and I’ve put together a list of other comics that I was a huge fan of in the '90s.
I spent a lot of my time as a teenager in the early '90s at my local comic book shop, Legacy, in Glendale, CA. It was there that I was introduced to a ton of comic books that I got hooked on in that era. Image Comics was exploding at the time, and that’s what I was reading a lot of along with several other comics that weren't a part of the Marvel and DC universes.
Here are 10 comic books that I would love to see eventually get film adaptations:
WILDC.A.T.S – Wildstorm/Image Comics
WildC.A.T.s is about a team of superheroes created by comic book artist Jim Lee and writer Brandon Choi in 1992. The team consisted of the characters Spartan, Zealot, Voodoo, Grifter, Warblade, Void, and Lord Emp.
The comic book's premise revolved around the centuries-long war between aliens called Kherubim and Daemonites. Kherubims were a nearly immortal and human-looking alien race with exceptional powers and skills. They traveled to Earth where they breeded with humans, populating the planet with “Half-Breeds.” Daemonites had a fearsome appearance, and also possessed various superhuman abilities including body possession and mental control over human beings.
The comic did spawn an animated TV series in 1994 that I had a blast watching during its short-lived 13-episode run. There was also a toyline at the same time, and I still have some of the action figures in their original packaging.
DC Comics now owns the rights to the characters, but it wouldn’t fit in with any of the films that Warner Bros. is currently developing. This would have to be a stand-alone film franchise.
Danger Girl – IDW Publishing
Why in the hell don’t we have a Danger Girl movie yet!? It seems like a no-brainer. This is a comic book that any teenage geek would love. I had poster art in my room, and even have the action figures that were made, still in the original packaging. There was also a video game adaptation for the original PlayStation, but unfortunately it sucked.
The comic series was created in 1997 by J. Scott Campbell and Andy Hartnell, and it centers on an anonymous group of female secret agents who are sent on adventurous missions that are in the same vein of James Bond and Indiana Jones. They are led by a former British Secret Service Agent named Deuce. The characters include Sydney Savage, Natalia Kassle, and Silicon Valerie.
I think a movie based on this comic would be epically popular. Three hot secret agents kicking ass could go so wrong, but could also be so right if the right talent was brought on board to develop it.
The Maxx – Image Comics
The Maxx was created by Sam Kieth in 1993, and his first appearance was in Primer #5, published by Comico Comics. I thought the storyline for this comic was incredibly cool, and the main character just had this insane look that would be cool to see brought to life on the big screen.
The series followed the adventures of the hero who was a part of both the real world and an alternate reality referred to as the Outback. In the real world the Maxx is a vagrant, a “homeless man living in a box,” while in the Outback, he is the powerful protector of the Jungle Queen. The Jungle Queen exists in the real world as Julie Winters, a freelance social worker who often bails the Maxx out of jail. While the Maxx is aware of the Outback, Julie is not, though it is integral to both of their stories.
MTV had an animated series of The Maxx back in 1995, and it was pretty damn cool. I really liked the style of it. It translated really well to animation, and if they made a feature film, I think it would work best as a CG animated film.
PITT – Image Comics/Full Bleed Studios
Pitt is a human/alien hybrid that was created by an alien race known as the Creed. Well, he was actually created by artist Dale Keown, but you know what I'm saying. Pitt is a genetically engineered killing machine, and if you couldn't already tell, he's more alien than human. The character has red pupil-less eyes, gray skin, insanely sharp oversized teeth, and claws.
Pitt has crazy superior strength, and uses pain as a stimulant. He can leap 10 km in one bound. He also has razor sharp claws that can possibly tear through anything. The character is extremely durable, and is able to survive attacks that would kill or disable superhuman beings with relative ease. Pitt can heal near fatal wounds very quickly. He also has limited psychic powers, and uses his opponents' aggression to lock on to his enemies.
Pitt goes through life protecting the Earth and his half-brother Timmy from the Creed alien race. With the special effects that we have today, and seeing what ILM is doing with the Hulk, it would be so cool to see Pitt brought to life in the same way.
The Darkness – Top Cow Productions
This comic series was created by Marc Silvestri, Garth Ennis, and David Wohl. He made his first appearance in Witchblade #10 in 1996. The Darkness tells the story of a Mafia hitman named Jackie Estacado who became became the bearer of the Darkness on his 21st birthday. He is an elemental force that allows him to wield a power that gives him access to an otherworldly dimension and control over the demons who dwell there.
The character has a ton of abilities that includes superhuman strength, agility, speed, and invulnerability. He also has the power to fly, shape-shift, and teleport, as well as telepathy, accelerated healing, and martial arts.
Dimension Films was supposed to make a movie back in 2004, but it never happened. Then in 2009, Top Cow announced that a live-action film was in development, but that seems to have fallen apart as well. Someone just needs to get their act together and make it happen!
Youngblood – Image Comics
Youngblood is a superhero team that was created by writer and artist and Rob Liefeld, and they made their debut in 1992. The superteam is overseen by the United States government, and the members of the team include Shaft, a former FBI agent and archer whose bow uses magnets to propel its arrow instead of a string; Badrock, a teenager transformed into a living block of stone; Vogue, a Russian fashion model with purple and white skin; and Chapel, a government assassin.
Youngblood also had a cool action figure line, many of which I own. There was also supposed to be an animated series in 1995, but it never happened. You can see a clip that promoted the series on FOX below.
Astro City – Image Comics/Vertigo Comics
Astro City is one of those comics that had such awesome potential to be an incredible film. The comic was co-created by Kurt Busiek and artist Brent Anderson. The character designs and cover for the comic come from Alex Ross. It was first published in 2005, and a movie version of this needs to happen. It would be quite the undertaking since there is a large cast of characters living in such an interesting and vast world. It would be so amazing, though.
The comic was really interesting in that it explored how ordinary people, heroes, and villains lived in a world full of super-powered beings. Some of the heroes that reside in the universe included Samaritan, an extremely powerful hero and Superman analog; The Confessor, a mysterious vigilante detective; Crackerjack, an egocentric, reckless crime-fighter with amazing agility and a staff weapon; The Hanged Man, a ghostly figure who appears as a floating apparition with a burlap sack over his head and a noose around his neck; The Gentleman, a super-strong, immaculate, and unfailingly-polite hero active in Astro City who is always impeccably dressed in a tuxedo; Jack-in-the-Box, a clown-themed vigilante with no known powers but agility and an arsenal of clown and toy-inspired weaponry; and more.
In 2003 there was an attempt to make an Astro City movie at Working Title Films, who acquired the rights. The option they had eventually lapsed and the creator took it to other parties, but nothing has happened yet.
Magnus Robot Fighter – Valiant Comics
This comic was originally created by writer and artist Russ Manning in 1963 for Gold Key Comics, but it made a comeback to comics in 1991 thanks to Jim Shooter and Valiant Comics. It was later rebooted in 2010 by Dark Horse Comics. I was first introduced to the comic in the '90s, and freakin’ loved the characters, story, and style.
The story is set in the year 4000, in a world in which humanity has become dependent on robots. Magnus is trained from infancy by his robot mentor to protect humans against both rogue robots and humans who used normal robots for evil purposes. The guy is a skilled martial artist who can break steel with his bare hands. He’s a complete badass!
I think this could be an amazing film franchise. I’m surprised after all of the years that this has been around it hasn’t happened yet. It seems like a golden opportunity to do something incredible.
Harbinger – Valiant Comics
This 1992 comic book was created by writer Jim Shooter and artist David Latham. It is about a group of super-powered teenage outcasts known as Harbingers. The main character is Peter Stanchek, who is a psionically-charged harbinger that has the power to potentially reshape the course of human history.
I always thought that this series would make for a great film. Back in 2008 Paramount Pictures acquired the rights to it and hired Brett Ratner to direct. Luckily that all fell through. I would hate to see Ratner try and do something like this. It was recently announced that Sony Pictures picked up the rights with Valiant Entertainment's Dinesh Shamdasani and Eric Heisserer writing the film.
Hopefully the project actually makes it into production, and it doesn’t fade away like many of these other film productions have that are on this list.
Solar: Man of Atom – Valiant Comics
Solar is a superhero that was first created by writer Paul S. Newman and artist Matt Murphy in 1962 by Gold Key Comics. It reemerged in 1991 at Valiant Comics, and it was pretty spectacular. The comic landed on Wizard’s top ten list of best comics in the last 15 years.
The story centers around a character named Dr. Raymond Solar aka Phil Seleski, who is a scientist that specializes in nuclear physics. When trying to stop a nuclear fusion reactor from melting down by jumping in and banging on it with a hammer, he is turned into a being of pure energy. He has the power to draw upon his stored-up energy at will, and he can release it into any form he wants. He can also use it to defy gravity, manipulate matter, and even travel through time. His powers are limited by his mind's ability to think them up.
The comic isn't really well known, but it features some epic storytelling that used real science and complex ideas that would sure make for an amazing film. It follows the character as he tries to fix the events that led to his change and find a way he can fit in with the world with what he has become. In a nutshell, it's about him coming to terms with the fact that he now has the power of God.
So what do you think? Do you want to see any of these comics turned into movies?