Marvel and DC superhero movies get all the headlines, but did you know there are other comic publishers out there? And they are also making great comics — like Scott Snyder’s Wytches, above — that may make their way to the silver screen? It’s true! Here’s 40 future films from all the other guys you need to know about.
This Radical Publishing comic was originally due out last year, so we’ll see if it happens. We hope it does, though because the premise is pretty great — someone keeps buying real estate where horrible tragedies have happened in order to discover how to make the ultimate haunted house.
Archer & Armstrong
We’ve talked about how great Fred Van Lente’s revival of this Valiant comic is on many occasions; it’s about an immortal lush and the young, religious cult-raised assassin ordered to kill him, and how they become best buds while fighting the Illuminati, dinosaurs, hoboes, and more. Supposedly this will be the third comic Valiant adapts to a movie, although we wouldn’t mind it sooner.
Brian Haberlin’s 2001 scifi Image comic was optioned for a movie almost as soon as it was published. It’s like Predator and The Thing — an alien escapes an even more secret government installation in Antarctica, and stalks the soldiers there. Bad Santa 2 writer Johnny Rosenthal was hired to pen the script in 2012, but that’s the last we’ve heard of it.
Beasts of Burden
If there’s a comic that truly deserves a movie adaptation, Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson’s Beasts of Burden has to be near the top. A group of pets band together to keep their neighborhood safe from supernatural threats — it’s funny, dark, sometimes heartbreaking, and very, very good. Shane Acker, director of 9, was announced to be directing the CG movie back in 2013, but no word since then.
The movie of Charles Burns’ acclaimed coming-of-age horror comic (which was first published by Kitchen Sink, then Fantagraphics) was announced way back in 2005. David Fincher was attached to direct for a while, but it doesn’t seem to be on his to-do list — which is a shame, because he’d be perfect to make a movie about a bunch of teens in the ‘70s who contract an STD that gives then horrifying mutations.
Valiant’s formerly dead, nanotech-infused soldier will be among the first of the publisher’s superheroes brought to film, as was so recently announced. In fact, Sony is so confident that they already have some plans to make a sequel, as well as a crossover movie with Valiant’s other comic-to-movie team Harbinger (see below).
Breath of Bones
30 Days of Night’s Steve Niles wrote this Word War II story about a British pilot who crashes near a Jewish village, where the people have created the legendary Golem to protect them from the Nazis. The movie adaptation was announced in 2014.
As the title suggests, this Dark Horse kids comic is about a half-chicken, half-rabbit who pals around with a turtle yet fights “demonic critters.” Sony Pictures Animation optioned it to make a CG movie back in 2011, but seems to have never even ordered a script written.
One of many, many Mark Millar comics on this list, the recently published Chrononauts is about two science bros who time travel through history, in front of a live studio audience. Universal snagged the rights just last month.
The long, long, long awaited reboot of The Crow seems to have finally picked up some steam, now that Boardwalk Empire’s Jack Huston has been cast as the vengeful make-up enthusiast. But remember, lots of people have been cast as The Crow for the remake, including Bradley Cooper, Luke Evans, Tom Hiddleston, and more. Production is supposedly finally supposed to start this year, so we’ll see.
This vampire comic from Boom Studios has a clever twist — it’s about the humans who take care of the vampires in the day, while they’re asleep. Well, that and the mob war-like battles between vampire clans. Universal got the movie rights in 2013, and hired black list writer Will Simmons to write the script late in 2014, so it should still be on track.
As we’re fond of pointing out, Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen’s scifi epic Descender was optioned even before the first issue came out, and once you read the Image comic, it’s easy to see why — it’s a tale of a young robot companion and mysterious giant robots from the depths of space, in a far-off future of infinite potential. If there’s one comic on this list that’s mostly likely to get made, I’d put my money on Descender.
Richard Starkings’ long-running Image comic is about genetically modified African animal-human hybrids, who were raised as unquestioning soldiers of a mad scientist; but they were freed, and now live in a society that doesn’t trust them at all. Starkings himself said he was still working on the script, just last year.
Emily the Strange
Young goth girl Emily has been a star of comics and merchandise (lots and lots of merchandise) since Dark Horse debuted her in 1993, and the idea of a CG animated movie has been floating around Hollywood since at least 2005. At the moment, Universal has the rights and Chloe Grace Moretz has been cast as Emily — but she was cast back in 2010, so maybe don’t hold your breath.
Not to be confused with Isaac Asimov’s classic scifi series, Boom Studios’ The Foundation is about an organization — a foundation, if you will — determined to stop Nostradamus’ prophecies from coming true. It’s part of Fox’s development deal with the comic publisher, which includes several other titles, as you’ll see.
This team of super-powered teens is Valiant’s answer to the X-Men, and the second of Valiant’s comic stable to come to movie theaters courtesy of Sony. Like Bloodshot, Sony is already planning on making two Harbinger movies, which will be followed by…
…a crossover movie where Bloodshot, a former hunter of those with Harbinger powers, decides to fight on their behalf. Apparently Sony plans for all four Bloodshot and Harbinger movies to premiere before Wars, so I wouldn’t expect this until 2010 at the earliest.
This epic from Blake Masters and Boom is like a scifi Spartacus — in a future world where corporations have armies of subjugated clones, one soldier escapes and begins a revolution to free all his fellow slaves. Paramount grabbed this in 2012.
Another Mark Millar/Image Comics joint, Jupiter’s Legacy asks “what it would be like to grow up as Wonder Woman and Superman’s kids.” As the comic shows, not great, as the younger generation of superheroes is daunted by the exploits and idealism of their elders. It seems a bit weighty for a superhero movie, but Millar announced he personally is trying to bring this Legacy to the screen just earlier this month.
Zenescope is best-known for their multitude of sexed-up fairy tale comics, but their first title to make it to Hollywood was The Library, a spin-off about two teens who travel to various world through the books of the titular library. Mythology Entertainment is working with the publisher on the adaptation.
Locke & Key
It’s been an IDW comic, a TV series and a movie, but it’s a testament to how good Joe Hill’s supernatural haunted house tale is that Locke & Key is still kicking around Hollywood. Right now, producer Alex Kurtzman has the rights and wants to make it a full movie trilogy for Universal, and the scripts are being worked on.
Lore is yet another one of those “ordinary person discovers he/she is a member of an elite secret organization designed to protect the world from creatures from folklore” stories. This may be why there’s been virtually no news on the movie since it was first announced in 2010, even though The Rock is technically attached.
This Boom graphic novel was written by Fast & Furious 7 director James Wan, so it has better odds than most of getting on-screen. It’s a about a man who discovers his inoperable tumor is actually a strange parasite that gives him powers, with the requisite evil conspiracy and shadowy past. However, Wan is also the frontrunner to direct Aquaman, so Malignant Man might be put on the backburner.
Matt Kindt’s critically acclaimed conspiracy series from Dark Horse literally just ended. It’s tailor-made for a movie — a true crime writer who discovers a secret government agency of superpower spies? — so it should be no surprise that Ridley Scott himself is on board to produce it.
Imagine Fast & Furious without any cars. A bunch of teens discover a stash of drugs that gives them super-speed, and immediately start thinking about how they can use it to make money (legally or otherwise). This is another Mark Millar comic he personally is bringing to Hollywood.
Morgan Freeman’s production company optioned this Image comic, a scifi tale about a pirate who finds himself stranded on a strange planet full angry aliens, cyborgs and more.
Originally a webcomic, Polar proved so good Dark Horse published it and Constantin Film snagged the movie rights in short order. It’s about an ex-assassin who tries to protect the child of one of his targets, as assassins are wont to do.
Queen & Country
Greg Rucka’s Oni Press spy comic tries to show the danger and the politics of actual espionage, and has garnered quite a following. The movie adaptation has been kicking around Hollywood for years, but now that Ellen Page has signed to star and Ghosted director Craig Viveiros is board, maybe it’ll finally happen.
Boom Studios’ retelling of Jane Eyre from Rochester’s perspective still isn’t out, but that didn’t stop Fox 2000 from grabbing the rights to it in 2013. Heck, they actually got the rights from Archaia, before Boom even bought them. Crazy.
Attack the Block’s Joe Cornish signed to direct Royden Lepp’s comic about a jetpack-wearing boy who defends a farmstead against various robots, but back in 2012. There’s been little word since then.
The last title in Valiant’s movie deal, Shadowman is a hero who uses the powers of darkness to fight the darkness, and the monsters inside it. The supernatural superhero adaptation is currently being written by J. Michael Straczynski. Assuming Bloodshot and Harbinger do well, it’s a cinch that Shadowman will follow.
Sin City 3
Director Robert Rodriguez has announced a second sequel, but 1) A Dame to Kill For earned less than $40 million worldwide, which isn’t a lot, and 2) it took Rodriguez nine years to make the first sequel anyways, so I wouldn’t get your hopes up.
Creator Todd McFarlane says a remake is happening. He’s been saying it’s happening for more than a decade. Let’s move on.
Fox has very specifically grabbed this Mark Millar tale about a powerful superhero who saved the world 40 years ago, but lived a normal life after no one believed him — and then, of course, is required to save the world that ignored him yet again. Star Wars sequel writer Gary Whitta is working on the script.
Another Mark Millar comic, except this one is published by Marvel, not Image. And it’s definitely not part of the MCU, so don’t expect this Superman analogue to be hanging out with Captain America any time soon. Matthew Vaughn, who just directed the movie adaptation of Millar’s Kingsman, has the rights.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2
I’m not sure whether you should really count TMNT2 as a comic book movie or not. Yes, it started as a comic book, but it’s been owned by Nickelodeon and primarily been a cartoon for so long it seems inaccurate. Anyways, if you do, it’s due in 2016 with Arrow’s Stephen Amell as Casey Jones and Tyler Perry as Baxter Stockman.
The Umbrella Academy
My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way made the jump to comics with this story about a dysfunctional collection of superheroes, who are raised together to fight a bizarre, unknown threat. The 2007 Dark Horse comic has always been well-regarded, although the movie has been kicking around Universal for quite some time. Still, Way said just last year that a new script is forthcoming.
World War Robot
With a name like “World War Robot,” you know Ashley Wood’s graphic novel series has to be made into a movie eventually. The IDW title is currently in development with Jerry Bruckheimer.
Scott Snyder brought this series to Image in hopes of making witches scary again. So far, he’s succeeded, and New Regency/Plan B noticed — they grabbed the movie rights almost immediately after the first issue came out.
Zombies Vs. Robots
I think you can figure this one out, can’t you? It’s based on another Ashley Wood series from IDW (hey, the dude likes robots); Sony has the rights, and at the moment Chronicles of Narnia helmer Andrew Adamson is set to direct, under the less interesting title Inherit the Earth.