With graphic novels becoming widespread with the arrival of big movies such as "300
," "Sin City
," and "V for Vendetta
" that gathered huge audiences, new interest arose in the stylistic hard cover comics. A graphic novel is a type of comic book usually aimed at adults with a long and complicated story that eventually does have a distinct ending. It can also be a collection of comic books bound into a single collection under a particular story arc. In any case, the world is becoming more enamored with comic book as blockbusters like "Iron Man
" and "The Dark Knight
" keep coming along, but there is a wealth of graphic novels left to be discovered. Below is a look at a few who deserve a chance to be introduced to mainstream media, but whether the world is ready for them is anyone's guess!
Warren Ellis seemed to be inspired by Hunter S. Thompson
and "A Clockwork Orange
" before creating this often strange but fascinating story of dystopia and free speech. The main character, Spider Jerusalem, is a gonzo journalist
who fights the corruption of politics and the power hungry and usually gets only bad luck because of it. He fights not one but two Presidents and takes them down through his use of the written word, truth, and help from his team of writing assistants. The futuristic and creepy world of 'The City' where Spider writes from is a perfect setting for a talented set designer, and in the hands of a master actor, Spider's character could be an unforgettable role. Then again, it is difficult to say whether this sort of story would be favored or impaled in today's tense political mainstream, yet that's never stopped creative minds before. It is a perverse and heartbreaking story of a man who wants to change the world before it loses all aspects of good, but loses his sense of self along the way. There have been whispers before of a movie coming out, but no time like the present. Take advantage of the comic book frenzy, Ellis!
Yes, there was a movie about "Hellblazer," although comparing "Constantine
" with this comic is enough to make a fan ill. Keanu Reeves
had little in common with the blonde haired British punk bisexual John Constantine other than a smoking habit and a suit, but enough about that. It would be amazing if the world of "Hellblazer" could be reinvented, for it is a comic that has drawn several famous comic book writers and novelists. Perhaps what draws them is the supernatural magic world where demons, angels, witches and monsters walk in the shadows of the modern world. It could also be the main character himself, a confidence man who walks the line between good and evil with a sardonic glint in his eye and usually survives through lies and trickery more than actual force. In any case, with the talent of someone like Guillermo del Toro who loves magic realms and visual stunts, this movie could certainly live up to the potential of the comic while introducing moral questions and still make Constantine the compassionate backstabber he is. Alan Moore created a masterpiece in this character, and the multiple spin-offs prove how popular it could be... if given a real chance.
What do you get when you take a southern priest named Jesse Custer and give him the Word of God after a lifetime of incest, abuse, and tragedy? You get one angry preacher! "Preacher" was written by Garth Ennis and is an unapologetic religious, supernatural, romantic, violent, dark, angry, and redemptive story line. It often salutes western movies in a tongue-in-cheek way by having an illusion of John Wayne
serve as Jesse's confessor and friend. In the story, God has left Heaven and no one knows why, but Jesse is hit by the spirit of a creature named Genesis and knows he must find the Almighty to get some answers. Along for the ride is his former girlfriend and hitwoman Tulip O'Hare, and the devil-may-care Irish vampire named Cassidy. This trio hunt down God together against the police, Heaven, Hell, and everyone in between. It is a blunt and sometimes painful story to read as the characters get their lives ripped apart, but when the dust settles in the end, everyone gets what is coming to them ... and if that isn't a satisfying ending to an adventure I don't know what is! The story may be a little too dark for an average movie goer, so it is no surprise that there are rumors of HBO turning it into a TV series. Still, if that falls through, there is always the big screen.
Strangers in Paradise
"Strangers in Paradise" is a series written by Terry Moore and found itself a large audience of female readers who never thought they'd be interested in comic books. It was a mafia story; violent and decadent. It was a romance; complicated and beautiful. It was about two women and one man, and the lengths that they would go through to stay together. Set in modern day and featuring unique poetry scattered throughout each issue, the story focuses on Francine Peters and Katina "Katchoo" Choovanski, best friends and soul mates. Katchoo has a dark past involving prostitution, criminal activity, and violence behavior, but her love for Francine is what gets her through the day to day struggle. Francine is innocent, kind hearted, and a little on the chubby side, and she goes through a struggle of her own over her romantic feelings for Katchoo. David Qin sets this triangle on his head as a brother of Katchoo's former crime lord -- and lover -- Darcy Parker, who falls in love with Katchoo at first sight and becomes obsessed with her. Yes, it sounds a little like a typical love story, but open this beautiful black and white series and you will find it is far more than that. Strangers in Paradise won an Eisner Award in 1996, and a GLAAD award. It's popularity with a female audience and beautiful but harsh story could draw a good crowd to a film!
As a special treat, here are some graphic novels who are already in the works and/or announced to be coming in the future. Keep an eye out for these beauties!
Y The Last Man
-- A story about the last man on Earth after a mysterious ailment instantly kills all the others. Yorick travels the world looking for an answer behind the death, and a cure so that future generations and possible cloning could take place. This is a very funny comic on top of a horribly sad pretense, and New Line Cinema bought the rights to it last year. D. J. Caruso is said to direct.
-- The only comic book to win a Hugo Award, and audiences will get to see why in 2009. Set in an alternate Earth where superheroes and vigilantes are every day and nuclear war is on the horizon. "Watchmen" gets into the hearts and souls of the heroes when a crisis begins and they start being killed off one by one.
Story by Chelsea 'Dee' Doyle
Starpulse contributing writer