Written by: Matt Molgaard
It isn’t uncommon to read a novel that makes you think, you know, that should be a movie! It happens all the time. And people talk about those novels because we often see them eventually make their way to the screen in one package design or another. Maybe we spot a new Stephen King miniseries. Maybe Clive Barker’s got a new flick coming out based on that novel you’ve been itching to see for ages. Well, graphic novels are also transferred to film from time to time, even if the masses don’t always recognize or realize it. The Watchmen series was eventually bundled and released as a stellar graphic novel, and it hit the big screen courtesy of Zack Snyder back in 2009. While it wasn’t remotely near as moving as its source material, I actually quite enjoyed it. Steve Niles’ jaw-dropping piece, 30 Days of Night got the theatrical treatment in 2007, and for my money it’s one the greatest vampire flicks to hit the market in the last 25 years (with only From Dusk Till Dawn and Let the Right One In equaling or surpassing it). Novels aren’t the only works of fiction that give birth to great films. We just don’t talk about graphic novels quite as much, for some odd reason.
You may think me crazy, noting the current popularity of comic books and graphic novels, but I’m speaking from experience. In 2007 I was in the middle of three-year hiatus from comic books (not because I wanted to be, but because money was tight and digitals hadn’t yet taken off) when 30 Days of Night was released. I caught it on the big screen, loved it, returned for a second theatrical run and loved it more. When it was released, I bought it. I’d seen it probably four or five times before I actually caught the fact that it was based on a graphic novel. No lie. Did I feel a little silly? Absolutely. On a professional level I’ve been involved in film/literature of some sort since 2007. I should have known that was originally in print, with creepy ass artwork from Ben Templesmith. But I didn’t. There probably a lot of people out there that didn’t.
How many people didn’t initially realize that 300 was a graphic novel before a wildly entertaining movie? How about The Crow, A History of Violence or From Hell? What about Red? I didn’t know that was a graphic novel until early this year. But I don’t want to ramble all day, I want to move onto this list, so let me hammer home the point for you: We need to be talking about graphic novels more than we are. That probably means we need to be reading them more than we are. There are some brilliant pieces out there, some of which feel perfectly suited for a transfer to the big screen. The following are the 10 best of the bunch!
10. Crossed – There’ve been talks of this one hitting the big screen for nearly four years. Will it happen? Probably. When it happens is an entirely different riddle to work out. This one is ultra-violent and about as extreme as it gets, but it’s actually a really cool approach to zombies.
09. Welcome to Hoxford – A friend of mine informed me some time ago that Ben Templesmith’s, Welcome to Hoxford was getting the cinematic treatment and to be honest, I don’t know how much, if any, truth there is to that. What I do know is I’d love to see it. It’s been too long since we’ve seen a top notch werewolf flick hit the market.
08. The Walking Dead – This is what they call a no-brainer, right? The book kicks ass, AMC’s live action series kicks, why not shoot a feature length, R-rated film to move the story along even faster? In fact, why not a series of films? Maybe a trilogy, released every other year as direct companion pieces to AMC’s show. That sounds like a stellar idea. Someone tweet this article to Kirkman and AMC reps, ASAP.
07. Batman: The Long Halloween – Look, we all know Bruce Wayne/Batman’s story. We’ve seen it onscreen more than a single time, and it’s well documented and oft-read thanks to plenty of reissues. We get it. Why not just take amazing arcs and turn them into one-off type of films? Batman: The Long Halloween is an astonishingly dark Batman tale, and it’s got all the goods required to translate well to film and tap a nerve with genre fans. I know Nolan touched on this one briefly, but it deserves an outright transfer, as it’s riveting from the jump.
06. Locke and Key – Joe Hill’s brilliant brainchild cemented its place in history damn near immediately. It’s engrossing, and it deserves such treatment. It’s also weird in a Lovecraftian kind of way, almost avant-garde at times, and damn creepy, and I love it. Will we see this one delivered in a celluloid package in the future? You bet we will.
05. Severed – This one flew under the radar, to an extent, and there’s no reason for it. It’s extremely well written and loaded with crazy depth and memorable sequences. There’s something very Hitchcock about this tale, but make no mistake, while very psychological in general tone, Severed isn’t exactly a tame piece of work. It is however, just the kind of story that would make for fine film. Frank Darabont would be perfect behind the camera for this one!
04. Sweet Tooth – I’ve been told Sweet Tooth isn’t horror, but I would disagree. Post-apocalyptic world? Check. Monsters? Check. Murder? Check. It’s all here, and then some. What makes this story so riveting is the fact that it’s a highly, highly emotional piece that at times, really yanks at the heart strings. There’s a gorgeous story, as bleak as it may be, in waiting here, and I think it would make for a fine flick. It could conceivably appeal to an extremely wide range of cinema freaks, if the right crew were to get behind it.
03. Hack/Slash – Cassie kills slashers, had a lunatic for a mom and hangs out with an oddity known as Vlad. She’s also insanely cool, funny and completely cold-blooded. She’s great, and if the right crew get behind this one, the film could be great as well. We’ve been hearing that Tim Seeley’s brainchild would get the big screen treatment for years now, and I’ve got to say it’s time. Hell, it was time a number of years ago. Kick ass read that’s screaming for the transfer!
02. Tomb of Dracula – This vintage Marvel piece is absolutely amazing. This is the kind of book that forces fans to totally and completely fall in love with Dracula and the entire mythos all over again. But that’s the beauty of it, it’s not a piece that’s confined to a strict origin outline, there’s all kinds of crazy crap happening in this one, and despite the fact that it’s a Marvel release, it’s relatively unforgiving. An absolute must read!
01. Black Hole – Killer venereal disease? Say no more. We’re all in. A genius adolescent allegory piece, Black Hole is beautifully illustrated and wonderfully written. In fact, it’s the kind of book that makes a writer want to write, and an artist want to draw. It’s also the kind of book that leaves fans crying for a cinematic rendition. As close to perfect as you can get, Black Hole only gets better with each read, and it deserves the chance to impress those who favor an awesome movie over a monumental book. This story should be mind-blowing in any format!