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Paramount Making A Movie Out Of DC Comics Graphic Novel The Mighty -

Paramount Making A Movie Out Of DC Comics Graphic Novel The Mighty -

Having just seen X-Men: First Class (it was great) and with Green Lantern and Captain America coming our way, it is a good moment to revisit the state of the comic book movie. The news that Paramount has optioned The Mighty, a creator owned titled from writers Peter Tomasi and Keith Champagne and artists Peter Snejbjerg and Chris Samnee means that movie producers are looking beyond established superhero characters for material. The reason for this is obvious, they don't have a choice. The comic book characters with "name recognition" are gone. For all the hype associated with Green Lantern, the vast majority of movie going public do not know the character. This fact haunts Warner Bros. executives like the ghost of Speed Racer.

As I have mentioned before, the comic book movie offers benefits, but those benefits are not as simple as they seem. Comic book movie have the potential to draw a big audience because the character is a known cultural artifact. That same knowledge however is a hindrance. If you are making Superman, it needs to look and feel like Superman. This explains both the strength and supreme weakness of Bryan Singer's Superman Returns (2006). Singer's love of the character and Richard Donner's Superman (1978) hampered his interpretive vision. Still, the concern Singer had, is the concern every creator faces, if you change the character too much, people don't want to see it.

Thus, you need fans to look upon your film and like what they see. The problem is that you need the general public as well. The film must be broadly conceived to attract the marginally interested viewer who has never heard of the character. Yet it must be cool enough that diehard comic fans, hipster, techies, geeks, and all manner of cultural explorer will tell their normal friends "the new ______movie is coming out and you gotta see it!" People ask me about comic book movie constantly. Is Green Lantern going to be good? Who is Green Lantern? I like Ryan Reynolds (this is a girl...and some boys), but I'm not sure about the whole Green movie with the big headed alien.. what is that?

What is the executive nettled in the cold loving arms of an international media conglomerate to do? The answer is that he or she must do exactly what they would so with an adaption of any literature. You make a good movie. If you are adapting Shakespeare, you still need to make a good movie. The source material is good, but you don't blindly follow something written in the sixteenth century. For all the inherent value in the text, the best directors look at the bard and make the call about leaving this in, and taking that out. Comics are no different.

The best comic to film adaptations are "true to the source material" but focus on making a great movie. This is why some the best comic book movies are based on characters people don't know. In that scenario you get the best of both worlds. You have a small and dedicate geek community that will cheer you on (The Mighty Rocks!!) and a general audience that is a blank slate that you can introduce to the property.

Ironically, Matthew Vaughn, the director for X-Men: First Class spoke openly about his belief the comic book genre was being exhausted by movie studios eager to cash in on the trend. His efforts in X-Men:First Class and Kick-Ass demonstrate this genre, like any other can thrive with creative effort by those in front and behind the camera.


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