As the superhero film genre grows, the concepts for the next big Marvel or DC film are often taken directly from their original source material: comic books. Each movie draws from the hero’s literary canon, whether it’s a specific team up, conflict, costume style, or even the film’s title. This not only delights comic book readers, but it exposes fans who have never read a comic to a version of classic and contemporary stories in a more widely viewed format. However, there are still countless superhero stories that have not yet reached the big screen. Here are 10 superhero comics that should be made into movies.
10. Rogue and Gambit (2018)
By: Kelly Thompson and Kris Anka
Hollywood is desperate to get a movie featuring X-Men fan favorite Gambit off the ground. So, why not pair him up with longtime love interest, Rogue, scale down the story to the one featured in this comic, and create a team up that will attract audiences? With a powerful female hero who can kill with one touch and her energy-wielding, trench coat-wearing guy by her side, filmmakers would have the opportunity to redeem both cinematic versions of these characters and raise them to the high status that they hold in the comic book world.
9. Green Hornet: Omnibus (2017)
By: Kevin Smith, Artist: Jonathan Lau
Adapted from writer/director Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet film script that was scrapped for the one that was made into the 2011 flop, this story could redeem the character’s cinematic reputation. Smith’s story tells the origin of Britt Reid Jr., spoiled rich son of the original Green Hornet who takes up his father’s mantle upon his untimely death. This book is a fun origin story that dusts off these classic characters and updates them for a modern audience. And because it was originally a screenplay, the script and storyboards are technically already finished.
8. Incredible Hulk Vol. 1 #180 and #181 (1974)
By: Len Wein, Artist: Herb Trimpe
Fans finally looking for a “good” Hulk movie could find it in his most famous appearance, where he fights a certain regenerating mutant by the name of Wolverine. While the movie can’t be a two-hour long fight, teasing this epic comic book battle using today’s impressive special effects could be just the hook that the movie needs to make for a fun and entertaining Hulk story. Now that the Marvel characters owned by both Fox and Disney are able to play together, it makes this concept much more plausible. What’s less likely is that it will be fan favorites Mark Ruffalo and Hugh Jackman embodying their respective characters onscreen.
7. Batman: No Man’s Land (1999)
By: Various writers and artists
A movie set in a Gotham City leveled by a major earthquake can inspire multitudes of potential storylines that will fill two hours of screen time. Disaster movies draw audiences, and those who would have liked to have seen more of the locked down Gotham in 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises can get their fill in this story. A decent scriptwriter can pull some of the best moments of this story’s run and craft a gritty, sophisticated plot around the spectacle. It will also be able to introduce film audiences to Barbara Gordon post-gunshot wound, taking on the mantle of Oracle as she helps Batman maneuver through the rubble of his damaged city.
6. Spider-Man: One More Day (2007)
By: J. Michael Straczynski and Joe Quesada, Artist: Joe Quesada
Comics fans: bear with me here. This book enraged a lot of readers on its release, forcing Peter Parker to choose between wiping out the memory of his marriage to Mary Jane Watson or letting his mortally wounded aunt die (he chooses the former in an unnecessary reset of the character’s timeline). But a film version would have the opportunity to do things right: to set up a situation for Peter Parker (or a more current version of Spider-Man, Miles Morales, if they want to get truly original) to choose between two life-altering realities and to watch him struggle with his choices, similar to the revered Flashpoint storyline that D.C. Comics produced in 2011. After all, Spider-Man fans love to see the hero battle his humanity as much as any member of his rogue’s gallery.
5. Batman: A Death in the Family (1988)
By: Jim Starlin, Artist: Jim Aparo
The Batman cinematic universe has only ever incorporated Dick Grayson as young sidekick, Robin, when, in fact, there have been several characters who have taken up the Robin mantle over the years. One of these characters was Jason Todd, Grayson’s replacement and headstrong teen who didn’t always follow orders. So, when fans were asked to vote on whether or not to kill him off, as the cover reveals, they voted yes. A film adaptation of this tragic story could explore the complex relationship between Bruce and Jason, one that the comics explored for years after his death and eventual resurrection. A filmmaker looking to tell a humanizing story about a flawed father/son relationship would have a field day with this source material.
4. Superman: The Wedding Album (1996)
By: Dan Jurgens, Karl Kesel, David Michelinie, Louise Simonson, Roger Stern, Artist: Various
It’s about time a prestigious comic book couple gets married on screen. While you technically have to count Reed Richards and Sue Storm in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, I’m talking about a memorable, epic event with supervillains shaking things up, as usual. As a result, I’ve chosen Superman and Lois Lane since their story is classic, strong, and long overdue for a happy ending. Directors still draw from 1978’s Superman: The Movie when crafting their own contemporary superhero stories, and the character’s inception in comics in 1938 and ongoing popularity makes him worthy of such a spectacle, as long as it is done right.
3. Batman: The Long Halloween (1996-1997)
By: Jeph Loeb, Artist: Tim Sale
While Christopher Nolan’s 2008 masterpiece, The Dark Knight, borrowed several elements from this iconic story, a more straightforward telling of The Holiday Killer’s year-long rampage on Gotham City deserves its own incarnation. Audiences would get to see villains never before seen on the big screen, such as The MadHatter, Solomon Grundy, and The Calendar Man. They would also get a more fleshed-out version of Harvey Dent’s fall from hero district attorney to one of Batman’s most notorious supervillains. The mob presence adds a certain authenticity to the story as well, making it more than just a picture book for adults but a gritty story full of corruption, mystery, and tragic heroes.
2. Ms. Marvel Vol. 1 (2014)
By: G. Willow Wilson, Artist: Adrian Alphona
How about a superhero movie for teen girls? Kamala Khan could be the identifiable hero that would appeal to this demographic. The Pakistani-American adds a multicultural layer to the genre while still being a relatable teen girl who just happens to acquire some intense superpowers. This story contains dozens of playful, colorful images that would look good on screen and features a fun character who would make the perfect complement to Tom Holland’s Spider-Man.
1. Batman: Hush (2002-2003)
By: Jeph Loeb, Artist: Jim Lee
My personal favorite Batman story makes the No. 1 spot simply because of all of the beats it hits: emotional, action-packed, and spectacle-filled. The scale of this film would be huge from a casting perspective alone. It calls for appearances from multiple Batman villains and sidekicks along with cameos from Superman and Lois Lane as well as the introduction of the title character himself: Hush. It also calls back to previous Batman stories, which would allow the film to explore Bruce’s past beyond that iconic but overdone fateful night in crime alley, from his childhood friendship with skilled surgeon, Tommy Elliot, to the loss of his surrogate son and former Robin, Jason Todd. His team up with Catwoman is another element that audiences would welcome as the two weave their way to the end of the shocking reveal of the orchestrator of the story’s mayhem. I’d be first in line to see this movie on opening night.
Laura Smith is an office worker by day and a middle-grade author and blogger by night. She has self-published three novels, writes for HubPages, and is a volunteer editor and reviewer for LitPick. She lives in Pittsburgh. Learn more at www.Laurasbooksandblogs.com.