Robot 6

Six DC Comics stories that would make great animated features

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Owls2

Some might say we’re experiencing the Golden Age of superheroes in film, but in reality it’s just live-action catching up to animation. Warner Bros. Animation has been a trailblazer in that area, with 26 feature films based on DC Comics’ characters since 1993. And with the recent release of Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, based on the 2011 Flashpoint crossover, we’ve come up with a half-dozen other DC series or arcs Warner Bros. could (and should) look to for future animated films.

crisis

Crisis on Infinite Earths

Warner Bros. Animation has already done Crisis on Two Earths, so imagine if it upped that that number to, well, infinity, with a streamlined adaptation of Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s 1985 epic. It’s been teased in no fewer than seven episodes of various animated television series, so it’s obviously been on the minds of producers. There’s the issue of the story’s complexity, but I think there’s a way to thread that needle and make a slicker adaptation of the Monitor and Anti-Monitor’s attempts to deal with the multiple universes. Who knows, maybe they could even adapt it to use the various continuities of DC animated universes over the years: Imagine Fleischer’s Superman meeting Timm’s!

Court of the Owls

Batman: Court of the Owls

Although the ink on these issues is just now dry, DC has a veritable gold mine waiting to be uncovered with a animated adaptation. Greg Capullo’s render-heavy art style might not make the easiest transition to animated fare, but this story arc seems ideal as a 120-minute animated drama. The storyline has quickly become a new classic, and taking Batman’s fight against the Court of Owls to animation would be a critical darling and a potential powerhouse at the cash register.

Whatever Happened

Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

We’ve seen Superman’s origin countless times, but what about doing one of his final days? All-Star Superman teased it, but imagine if DC Animated Universe took on Alan Moore and Curt Swan’s 1986 two-parter that brings the entirety of his rogues gallery down around his head while he and his closest friends and family hunker down in the Fortress of Solitude. It has an amazing pedigree given the talent involved, but it’s the story itself that really sells it — the last stand of the Last Son of Krypton.

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53 Comments

They have already spoken on the possibility of a Kingdom Come picture, though it was a few years back: basically, as soon as they can figure out a way to make a cartoon that looks like Alex Ross’ work, they’re doing it. But because they don’t know how to justify it artistically, they’re going to hold off

KnightSaga would be number one on my list. Of course, incorporating Vengeance of Bane and Sword of Azrael would be tricky and it’d have to be two or more parts, but damn would that be sweet.

I also want to see an animated Man of Steel (Byrne’s 80s reboot of Supes) or Secret Origin. Also, Red Son, Hunter/Prey, Long Halloween, Dark Victory, Sinestro Corps War, Panic in the Sky, The Man Who Laughs, Justice Society Returns, Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite, Batman: Murderer/Fugitive, Son of the Demon, Fourth World…

Uh, yeah, so a lot.

I’m just going to say this once: THE KILLING JOKE

I would watch the shat out of that movie!

About animating KINGDOM COME: I’ve said it before, produce it as a four-part miniseries with each chapter under 45 minutes in length. One chapter of the book equal to one chapter of the adaptation.

How about a new version of “The death of Superman” that doesn’t completely suck?

My understanding is that the DC Animation will only be producing content from the New 52 Universe from now on. The one coming up is the first 6 issue arc from Justice League. So I doubt anything pre-New 52 is not going to happen.

Personally though I would like a Sgt Rock, Unknown Soldier or Jonah Hex animated film.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

September 5, 2013 at 2:14 pm

It seems like way too many of the DC animated features are Batman and Superman stories. Let some of the other character get some screentime.

I’d like COIE with an Infinite Crisis follow-up, Sinestro Corps War, New Gods (though what story would you tell? An expanded origin?), Teen Titans: Judas Contract, and possibly a two-parter based on the first year of Azzarello and Chiang’s Wonder Woman.

So that gives you a bit of variety on the animated front.

On Wonder Woman, you’d have to cut out some of the long-term plot threads (mainly the struggle for Zeus’s throne, as that has yet to bear real fruit, despite Apollo having gained it) to focus on the child-rescue narrative, but it’d definitely work.

I haven’t been keeping up with the DC videos (I think the last one I saw was “Crisis on Two Earths”), and hearing that Bruce Timm has left makes me more skeptical of the quality of future releases. (Maybe his influence had already been diminished.) But if any story deserves to be brought to the attention of the animation audience, my vote would be “Superman: Secret Identity,” the brilliant mini-series by Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen. It isn’t “new 52″, but it isn’t set in the old DCU either, so maybe DC / WB would still consider it…

Francis: not so. They’re also adapting Grant Morrison’s BATMAN & SON arc, as well as doing a spinoff of the Arkham video games.

OMG
court of owls done in the animation style of Batman: Gotham Knight – deadshot
would be beyond incredible.

Right on, Chris D. Death of Superman stunk. If you’re gonna do it, do it right (as a trilogy).

Same with COIE. Give the story enough running time to breathe. The Fleischer Supes meeting the Timm version has been a dream of mine for a long time, but I doubt we’ll ever see it.

All hope isn’t lost, though: the recent Flashpoint movie had a very tight script, and was better than the comics.

Honestly, the standout storyline in the recent period that would make a fantastic animated film is the upcoming Shazam hardcover by Johns and Frank. The comic is very much framed in the way a movie plot is written, complete with the blockbuster ending. It’s my clear choice to get an animated film treatment.

I support the notion of an animated Kingdom Come film.

Two words:

Motion Capture.

The problem with adapting a lot of these stories is the relatively low budget that Warner allocates to these movies. They managed to get around that by breaking up DKR into two parts, but approximating the styles of people like George Perez and Alex Ross is probably way above their budget. That said, I’d watch a Judas Contract movie in any animation style provided they got the characters even close to what Wolfman wrote.

Others I’d love to see:

Movie length versions of the Showcase Presents style Dirty Harry Spectre, Weisman Black Canary and Jane Jonah Hex
Green Lantern/Green Arrow Hard Travelling Heroes. Set IN THE SEVENTIES!
Doom Patrol: Painting that Ate Paris
Long Halloween
Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia
Flash of Two Worlds
Flash: Iron Heights
Trial of the Flash
Starman: Sons of the Father
Suicide Squad (Ostrander Style. Maybe the Firebird mission in russia)
Secret Six: Villains United
All Star Superman Extended Edition
Huntress: Knight’s Daughter (Helena Wayne)
Huntress: Cry for Blood (Helena Bertinelli)
The Heckler
Selina’s Big Score produced/animated/storyboarded/directed by Darwyn Cooke
All Star Batman and Robin with Diedrich Bader as the voice of the Goddamn Batman.
Paul Kirk: Manhunter (the Simonson story from Detective 337-343)
Hitman: Ace of Killers
Formerly Known as the Justice League
Legion of Super Heroes: Death of Ferro Lad
Sandman Mystery Theatre: The Hourman
Swamp Thing: The Anatomy Lesson
Green Arrow: Longbow Hunters
Challengers of the Unknown Must Die
Gotham by Gaslight
The Authority (probably the one where they fight the Ultimates)
Lex Luthor: Man of Steel
Batgirl Year One
Shade the Changing Man (Ditko Style)
Every single issue of the O’Neil & Cowan Question series from the eighties done as an individual hour-long animated movie. Yes, including the Quarterlies and Annual crossovers with Detective and Green Arrow.

Oh, and, DavidB: Hamill has said he would come out of retirement to do Killing Joke, even if it’s just the song.
http://www.themarysue.com/mark-hamill-would-voice-joker-for-killing-joke/

The One and Only

September 5, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Teen Titans:The Judas Contract, was supposed to be one of the early releases right after SUPERMAN:DOOMSDAY and JUSTICE LEAGUE:New Frontier. But despite two popular series, and a successful DTV release it was decided not to do it because of “no interest” in the property. I’m surprised it wasn’t dusted off during YOUNG JUSTICE’S run. With Aquaman getting heat recently, although still not getting much respect, I’d love to see a JUSTICE LEAGUE:THRONE OF ATLANTIS adapting the Justice League/Aquaman crossover.

Though unlikely due to licensing issues, I would love an animated adaptation of Joker / Mask… seems perfect for a toon

court of owls ??
please god no

kingdom come would rule

THE KILLING JOKE

Captain Carrot (and the Zoo Crew) !

That’s a Hit right there!

@dregj What was wrong with The Court of Owls?

The only one on that list that has a chance in hell of being made is Court of Owls. I honestly feel that the animated universe’s days are numbered. Somebody, either at DC or Warner Bros., just does not understand the community that buys these films completely. Of course, they only look at the gross units moved, not the retail numbers. Sure, Wally World, Target, Best Buy, Amazon, and others will buy a huge volume while the live-action films do well, but once that ship sails, they will cut their orders significantly if the titles are not something the fans vocalize that they want to buy. All the bean counters will see is the cut in gross volume order numbers and will order funding to be cut more and more until the films can not be made.

Captain Carrot! Love that one! It should be a series on Cartoon Network!

Killing Joke with Kevin Conroy and Mark Hammil would be just perfect!

By the way, @KC, I would love to have a Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew movie made. Heck, I would buy three copies!

James Robinson and Paul Smith’s The Golden Age

Whatever Happened is not that good.

For a New Gods piece I would adapt Jim Starlin’s Cosmic Odyssey. It has a complete NG heavy story with Hightfather, Darkseid, Orion, Metron, Forager, Lightray and Parademons as well as an eclectic cast of DC heroes headlined by Batman and Superman and a bunch of characters that fans would already be familiar with their animated counterparts: John Stewart (Justice League,JLU,Young Justice), Starfire (Teen Titans Go), Dr. Fate (JL, YJ), The Demon (JL), Adam Strange (YJ).

^ Oh and Martian Manhunter of course!

I would love to see all of these adapted along with The Killing Joke, Batman: Hush, Batman: The Long Halloween. Justice League:Throne of Atlantis would be great and give a push to Aquaman.
Thing about it is doing solo adaptations of other DC characters give WB cold feet. Flash worked well in the Flashpoint Paradox. They had Batman… Batman sells. It bulit up The Flash.
I hope the tv show succeeds along with The Flash movie. It could open a door of opportunity with not only the Flash, but other characters as well.
Superman and Batman sell. Green Lantern and Wonder Woman done good, but not good enough. I think things like Crisis on Infinite Earths , Kingdom Come, Batman Court of Owls, Whatever Happened to the man of Tomorrow? would do good because of Batman and Superman being in them.
I would love to see Shazam and The New Gods, but that would be tough to sell.
Justice League:War will do good things for the other characters like Cyborg, Shazam, etc. Justice League movies do well, because again Superman and Batman are in it.

I would like to also see Superman: Birthright and Batman:Earth One.

Morrison’s Animal man

Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga

Justice League of America #200

Alex Ross’ Justice would be awesome

Also the Sinestro Corps War.

Sinestro Corps War, Blackest Night, Superman: Red Son

Unfortunately, due to the low sales figures of the Green Lantern and Wonder Woman movies (both were pretty good, especially WW) DC/WB isn’t going to make any more solo flicks outside of Superman and Batman.

Batman: Long Halloween. Adapting Tim Sale’s artwork to the animated medium would be awesome. I guess this would only come about if Jeph Loeb stopped being Marvel exclusive.

“My understanding is that the DC Animation will only be producing content from the New 52 Universe from now on. The one coming up is the first 6 issue arc from Justice League. So I doubt anything pre-New 52 is not going to happen.”

It’s bad enough that DC is screwing over their own comics, why can’t they leave the animation division alone?!

I wouldn’t mind seeing a few movies based on the Giffen/DeMatteis JLI bwahaha stuff.

If they were going to to an animated treatment for Court of the Owls, it would be best if it were in a mini-series format. You could even have it air on Adult Swim. Make each episode thirty to forty five minutes. The story is really big and there are a lot of great memorable moments that I feel may be over looked or not used due to it being condensed into a two hour movie.

Judas Contract needs to be the next movie.
The first Grayson/Damian team-up.
Who Is Donna Troy?
Flash of Two Worlds
Green Arrow and Speedy’s origin

I always thought, until the New 52, that the JLA/JSA/ASSq cross-over would be a great film. It would be easily adapted into just being a JLA/JSA movie by just using the WWII JSA characters, rather than their modern day versions. The whole Per Degaton mucking about in time and messing with the Cuban Missile Crisis, and then, WWII would be a good storyline. The Modern day JLA being forced to go back and risk changing time by working with the JSA to make things right would be a fun homage to the classic JLA/JSA crossovers.

Hitman’s “Zombie Night in the Gotham Aquarium” pleeeeeeeeeeeassssssseeeeeee

Not enough people are buying the DVDs. If you look at the sales, the films about Green Lantern and Wonder Woman are the lowest. They seem to follow a cycle of Batman movie, Superman movie, and Justice League movie (which they are just now breaking by doing JL:War after JL: Flashpoint Paradox).

Of the six stories you mentioned in this article, I think Court of Owls and Kingdom Come are the most likely to be considered.

I would love to see a Teen Titans movie, or a movie from the Earth-16 universe of Young Justice.

I could go on for days here.

Of those mentioned in the original article, I think only “Whatever Happened…” would work in the current format of the features. Kingdom Come or Crisis could never be done right in 75 minutes, and I wouldn’t want to split them up.

As much as I’d love it, Golden Age has no commercial viability whatsoever (Alan Scott GL being the closest thing to a recognizable character) , and the main storyline might be deemed either too contrived or too controversial outside of comics form

Of those mentioned, in the comments, Red Son, of course. Sins of ther Father, Golden Age Hourman/Sandman, Cosmic Odyssey, JLA #200 and the JLA/JSA/A-SS crossover would all be be great.
Here’ s a few more pre-New 52 continuity:

Batman: The Cult
JL: The Weird
Flash: Terminal Velocity (could be with Barry, if necessary, but bring in Jay, Max, maybe Bart, and intro the Speed Force)
JLA: Hyperclan
Legends (sort of adapted on Smallville)
JLA/JSA: Virtue and Vice
Batman: Prodigal (a streamlined version of the 1st time Dick was Batman, vs. Two Face would be sweet”
The Joker: Devil’s Advocate
A Knight in Bludhaven (the best comic version of a pilot for a live-action series if i ever saw one)
Superman/Batman: A Dark Knight in Metropolis

Early Elseworlds in the style of the artist like Batman Holy Terror by Breyfogle, Gaslight in Gotham by Mignola, Red Rain by Jones. Other Elseworlds would work better animated than they did in comic form like Speeding Bullet (Kal -El is Bruce Wayne) In Darkest Knight (Bruce Wayne is Green Lantern)..

I still want a Flash animated series too. and a Jack Knight live action one. and definitely a Nightwing live action series.

time and time again when asked. Dc animation has said no to kingdom come because they can’t figure out how to translate alexs art to animation and also don’t want to wreck it by having to cut some of the stuff out to make it fit their time frame. what ever happen to the man of tomorrow surprised given they animated the man who has everything dc has not done this alan moore story too animatied. crisis would be interesting to see done .

I think we have yet to see Azrael animated, so I wouldn’t mind seeing the Knightfall saga animated as well.

Kingdom Come, Sinestro Corps War, Great Darkness Saga, Long Halloween and Captain Carrot all get my vote.
Cosmic Odyssey would also be awesome. That’s probably the only way you’re ever gonna see the New Gods featured in a cartoon.
As for stories that I personally think would be great cartoons, but will absolutely NEVER happen: there was a Blue Devil “Summer Fun” issue waaay back in the 80′s that featured a bunch of the supernatural heroes which was pretty fantastic, Maybe as an animated short?

Also, is there any particular reason why these have to be adaptations? How about feature-length continuations of shows like Young Justice or Green Lantern?

Batman: Year One… again because the last adaptation was horrible.

Knightfall would be awesome but they’d probably have to make it a trilogy.

I’m usually not a hater, but seriously, could CBR pick any more obvious choices? How about a list some serious thought went into instead of retreading the same famous stories over and over again.

THE JUDAS CONTRACT — ONE OF THE BEST STORYLINES EVERY WRITTEN WITH THE BEST TEEN TITANS TEAM EVER – THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE

I don’t care what storylines they adapt as long as they get rid of that dreadful anime style they’ve trended towards. Personally, that’s whats turned me off of the recent features. I just don’t like the look of it. Do other fans like it?

i would to see a movie on lesser known heroes..or villains. tahts woud be great.

I am a big Batman fan but DC animated Universe has been shoving way too much Superman & Batman down our throats. Would love to see anything related to New 52 Aquaman. It has been one of the best things to come out of the New 52. Other than that I would love to see a movie that picks up the Young Justice story at the end of season Two where the team was going after Vandal Savage. Also how about a Pre-New 52 Suicide Squad, Secret Six, or Birds of Prey or Doom Patrol film. Even more Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, or Shazam! Anything but just more Superman & Batman stories. DC needs to show that this brand is bigger beyond those two!

I can already picture the perfect voices for the Monitor and the Anti-Monitor: James Earl Jones for the former, and Christopher Lee for the latter. Alternatives would be Delroy Lindo (for the Monitor) and Leonard Nimoy (for the Anti-Monitor–think of his voice for Galvatron from Transformers: The Movie (1986)).

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