Click to viewWe used to love Frank Miller, before his comics work turned into schlocky self-parody. But even in his prime, Frank wouldn't be our first choice to direct a semi-major Hollywood movie, so we're sad that Miller's getting his shot at the brass ring with The Spirit. We can think of ten comics creators off the top of our heads who would do a better job of helming a movie than Frank, and here they are.
Paul Pope (writer/artist)
What he's famous for: His works range from the scifi title THB to the manga-esque Supertrouble to the future-Batman epic Batman: Year 100. He's also done comics for Toonami's website.
What we'd like to see: Pope's visual storytelling style is un-paralleled, but he's also a super-imaginative writer. His Batman is both more vulnerable, and more resourceful, than most of the super-lucky versions in comics or film. But we'd really like to see Pope do a movie version of a scifi epic like THB, the story of a teenage girl on Mars, and her superpowered bodyguard, who's a small rubber ball until you add water. (Then he turns into a huge super-guy.)
Mike Allred (writer/artist)
What he's famous for: Mostly, Allred is known for his series Madman, the story of Frank Einstein, a Frankenstein's monster-esque superhero, and his friends. Madmen is one of 100 projects that Robert Rodriguez is supposed to be turning into a movie. His earlier series, Graphik Musik, is well worth hunting down for storylines such as G-Men From Hell, now a cult indie movie. He also did a rock 'n' roll scifi story Red Rocket 7, and teamed up with Peter Milligan on the fantastic post-modern X-Men spinoff X-Statix.
What we'd like to see: Allred should wrest the Madman movie back from Robert Rodriguez, and do his own take on the brightly colored undead superhero storyline. After seeing Spy Kids, I'm sure Rodriguez could do a fun version, but I want to see Allred's own crazy vision on the big screen. And if Allred wanted to have Milligan help him with the script, after their incredible colllaboration on the X-Statix comics, that would be fine with us.
Chris Ware (writer/artist)
What he's famous for: He channels old-old-old-school comics masters like Winsor McKay (Little Nemo) in comics like Jimmy Corrigan or Quimby the Mouse. He also does a series of strips about a character called the Super-Man, who is like a messed up version of Superman with receding hair and a domino mask, who sometimes falls to his death and sometimes goes around killing people and wreaking havoc.
What we'd like to see: Give Allred a Michel Gondry-sized budget and let him make a weird off-beat movie with a bitter twist.
Darwyn Cooke (writer/artist)
What he's famous for: He helped super-writer Ed Brubaker revamp Catwoman in 2001, with a fresh look that combined the clean lines of Batman: The Animated Series (which Cooke worked on) with a gloomy noir sensibility. Then he went on to reinvent the origins of DC Comics' silver age characters with the miniseries DC: The New Frontier, which became a direct-to-DVD animated movie. Finally, he teamed up with Jeph Loeb to do a Batman/Spirit minseries, and then wrote and penciled a Spirit series for a year.
What we'd like to see: Scrap Miller's The Spirit and give us Cooke's on the big screen instead. I don't even care if Miller's done filming. Just include Miller's version as an extra on the DVD of Cooke's version. Cooke's series nailed what Miller's movie looks like it'll miss out on: the playfulness and vividness of Will Eisner's original comics. And Cooke found ways to bring the Spirit into the 21st century without losing what was cool about the character originally.
Grant Morrison (writer)
What he's famous for: God, where do we begin? Umm, okay. He's that rare comics writer who can dip our brains in acid with Vertigo series like The Invisibles or Seaguy, or take us on a wide-screen superhero adventure with JLA or New X-Men - and both stories are equally great. Superhero comics are lucky to have a number of great writers right now, including Brubaker, Brian Bendis, Mark Waid, Geoff Johns and Kurt Busiek. But none of them have Morrison's versatility and range. His graphic novel We3, which is the greatest cute-animal comic and the greatest cyborg comic ever, is supposed to become a movie at some point.
What we'd like to see: I'm torn. Part of me wants to see Uncle Grant tackle a big zoomy superhero fight story along the lines of his JLA arcs like Rock Of Ages. Part of me wants to see him do a more quirky, weird indy project like his Bollywood epic Vimanarama. Ideally, I'd like both, or a fusion of the two: a big action movie with a weird odyssey into crazy-land halfway through. (Oh, and just in case someone is going to claim writers shouldn't direct movies, I'll just say two words: Joss Whedon.)
Gail Simone (writer)
What she's famous for: Simone went from being one of the comics industry's staunchest critics (with the "Women In Refrigerators" website) to one of its rising star writers, with comics like Birds Of Prey and Wonder Woman. Her original series, like retired-superhero saga Welcome To Tranquility, are also well worth checking out for their quirky characters like the Emoticon, a supervillain with a mask that reveals his emotions. But her crowning achievement may well be Villains United/Secret Six, the saga of a group of supervillains who are just trying to get ahead and avoid getting smushed by other supervillains.
What we'd like to see: A Secret Six movie, no question. A PG-13 epic with gunplay, betrayals, twists, and supervillain-on-supervillain sex.
Evan Dorkin (writer/artist)
What he's famous for: He's probably most famous for creating Milk And Cheese, the "dairy products gone bad" who look so cool on a T-shirt (and are a tad boring on the comics page, sorry.) But his best work is elsewhere, including the Dork anthology and its "Eltingville Science Fiction Club" stories, which got made into a Cartoon Network pilot. Just watch this. We'll wait for you:
He also worked on the animated Superman series along with his longtime collaborator Sarah Dyer, produced a surprisingly brilliant comic about superhero Mad-Dog to tie in with Bob Newhart's short-lived Bob sitcom, and made a bunch of Bill And Ted comics that were better than the second movie and spinoff TV series.
What we'd like to see: Give Dorkin (and maybe Dyer) a huge budget and just let them go crazy. Given that he excels at little short gags in Dork, a big-screen Dorkin film would probably have lots and lots of weird little funny bits that barely connected to anything else, and then there would be moments of surprising pathos... followed by someone's eye getting stabbed out. Fun!
Carla Speed McNeil
What she's famous for: She writes and draws the ongoing science fiction adventure series Finder, which deals with issues of identity and authenticity in a far-future Earth. My favorite storyline is "Dream Sequence," about a weird semi-crazy guy whose mind forms the mainframe for a super-popular virtual reality environment, and all the people who want a piece of him.
What we'd like to see: A big-screen version of Finder, directed by McNeil.
Mike Baron and Steve Rude (writer and artist)
What they're famous for: Okay, I'm getting a bit old-school here, but this is a science fiction site, and it would be remiss to leave out Baron and the Dude. They co-created Nexus, a science fictional superhero comic about a guy who has nightmares about very bad people whom he must assassinate. Luckily (?) the weird creature that gave Nexus the nightmares also gave him the power to kill those bad people, and make the dreams stop. But the real stars of Nexus are the huge universe Baron and Rude created, including supporting characters like the stalwart Judah The Hammer and the slippery politician Vooper. The comic recently had its 100th issue.
What we'd like to see: The very first Nexus trade paperback would make a fantastic movie, introducing the main character Horatio Hellpop and his space-faring adventures, including his early relationship with Sundra Peale.
Mike Mignola (writer/artist)
What he's famous for: Mignola's most famous work, Hellboy, has already been turned into two movies directed by the superb Guillermo Del Toro, with Mignola's involvement. He's created a whole world of Hellboy spinoffs, including BPRD and Lobster Johnson. He's also done tons of work on other comics, and created the super-popular one shot The Amazing Screw-On Head.
What we'd like to see: Maybe Mignola could direct Hellboy 3 himself? That would get around his recent concerns that Del Toro will kill off his hero in ways that could make further comic-book adventures feel redundant. And even though we love Del Toro's visual style, we'd love to see how Mignola's own twisted eye would translate to movies. Also, Screw-On Head was made into an animated pilot by the Sci Fi Channel, but what about live-action version?