Comic Strips to Comic Flicks: Marv Wolfman movies they haven’t made (yet)
In recent years, we’ve seen a boatload of comic books and graphic novels make their way to the silver screen, from Big Two stalwarts like Spider-Man and Batman to independent titles like Scott Pilgrim and 30 Days Of Night. Among the various adaptations, though, is an overlooked veteran who has fueled some of comics biggest successes on the big and small screen: Marv Wolfman.
With this year marking his 43rd year in the comic industry, Marv Wolfman has done it all: he’s been editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, wrote one of the defining event series of all time in Crisis On Infinite Earths and created memorable characters such as Blade, Black Cat, Nova, Deathstroke and the New Teen Titans. He pioneered the idea of inventory stories at the major publishing houses, and as a creator he was the catalyst for companies to start crediting creators by name in comics. He’s been one of the key figures in comics adaptations in video games and animation, scripting episodes of Teen Titans, Batman: The Animated Series, Transformers, Spider-Man, Cadillacs & Dinosaurs and even some non-comics hits like Jem and The Garbage Pail Kids.
Marvel’s first major Hollywood success came thanks to the Marv Wolfman & Gene Colan creation of Blade, and his work on The New Teen Titans was one of the pillars of successful Teen Titans cartoon. But with all that work out there, comics still has a lot of Wolfman gems to offer movie producers. Here’s a highlight of some natural born hits coming from the mind of Wolfman and his collaborators.
Black Cat: There’s been three Marvel movies and no Black Cat? For shame! Felicia Hardy is far from the Catwoman analogue some people might thing, and she’s been the wild ex-girlfriend that Peter Parker has ran to time and time again when the going gets tough. Created by Wolfman and artist Keith Pollard in 1979, she’s got star potential written all over her. Black Cat was in the early scripts for both Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 and the aborted fourth Spider-Man film but that was ultimately not to be. Perhaps the newly rebooted film series could spotlight her in the 1st and 2nd movie and then give her free reign on her own movie. First actress I’d call for the role? Gossip Girl‘s Leighton Meester.
Jonny Double: Little more than a footnote in the DC history books at this point,this Wolfman & Len Wein creation could be fertile grounds for a movie or television series in the right hands. Jonny Double was a San Francisco private investigator who spent years working law enforcement, and makes a living now taking cases and showing off his anachronistic fondness for 60s culture. Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso did an excellent but overlooked limited series for Vertigo years back with this character, and that could be the prime starting point for an enterprising film producer.
Nova: Forget the fact that Marvel recently canceled his series and look to core of the character and worlds he inhabited. A down-on-his-luck hero not unlike Peter Parker, Richard Rider was transported to new worlds — The Last Starfighter-style — to save the universe. Although his concept bears some resemblance to DC’s Green Lantern, there’s enough there to veer around that impending movie franchise and push the character and his concept in an intuitive new direction. I’d love to see Marvel’s TV department go for a Nova animated series… who’s with me?
Deathstroke: Who says a movie about a villain can’t work? It’s all in how you portray him. This mercenary created early on in Wolfman’s run on New Teen Titans with George Perez is a multi-faceted character with loads of backstory to explore. Casting Ron Perlman to voice him in the Teen Titans animated series was a step in the right direction — how about they go all out?
New Teen Titans: Although the Titans were around before Wolfman and Perez came along, it wasn’t until they relaunched the series and introduced Cyborg, Raven and Starfire and turned the original sidekick members from pre-teens to full-on teenagers with all the angst that comes with it. Much in the same way that Chris Claremont rejuvenated the X-Men franchise in the 70s, Wolfman turned a dead-end superhero team into a concept that lives to this day. A generation of fans know the team from Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans animated series, so what if they capitalized on that and launched the Teen Titans into their own live-action movie.