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Ten indie comics that need to be indie movies

The indie comic world is filled with film and TV potential. Here are ten indie comics we’d love to see become indie movies.

Ten indie comics that need to be indie movies

While we’re enjoying the golden age of superhero movies, there’s an entire genre of comics that haven’t been adapted for the big screen yet – indie comics. When most people think about comic books, they think of either Batman or Spider-Man; Marvel or DC. But there are thousands of comics from other publishers that are begging to be adapted.

Most comic fans immediately want to go for some of the big ones, like Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. But much like The Walking Dead and Preacher – two other famous indie comics – Saga would work better if HBO or another cable network adapted it. The same could be said of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Bitch Planet.

However, some series would make great movies and possibly even franchises. The indie comic world is filled with film and TV potential. Hopefully, eventually filmmakers will see the potential and deliver us some magic. Here are ten indie comics we’d love to see become indie movies.

'Wicked + Divine'

Wicked + Divine

Team behind the comic: Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

Logline: Gods are resurrected as young pop culture icons

Dream director: Jim Jarmusch

What this could look like: The visual flavoring of this would make a truly interesting experience. Every ninety years, the gods come back and they’re adored by the masses . . . for a time. Within two years, they’re all dead. It’s a story about obsession with icons, how we break them, and how we love our idols so much, we eventually destroy them. It’s fun, witty, dark, and filled with music. A perfect set up for a memorable, low-budget film.

'Rat Queens'

Rat Queens

Team behind the comic: Kurtis Wiebe and Owen Gieni

Logline: Foulmouthed humanoid rat girls defending their town against monsters

Dream director: Greta Gerwig

What this could look like: As an indie animated film, there’s a lot a filmmaker can do here. The four characters in it are delightful. Audiences will fall in love with the childish and very violent Betty, who has a severe candy addiction. A cool 2D animation style similar to The Breadwinner would give the story the look it needs to make us feel like we’re right there.

'Young Terrorists'

Young Terrorists

Team behind the comic: Matt Pizzolo and Amancay Nahuelpan

Logline: The daughter of a wealthy globalist finds her father is actually a member of a secret new world order aiming for world domination

Dream director: Ryan Coogler

What this would look like: In today’s political climate, post #MeToo Young Terrorists would be a visceral punch to the face. The kind we enjoy, like The Handmaid’s Tale. Done right, it would be the kind of movie people talk about for years and professors include in their college syllabi just so they would have an excuse to watch and talk about it.

'Black'

Black

Team behind the comic: Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith III

Logline: Kareem Jenkins is a young Black American who is gunned down by police

Dream director: Jordan Peele

What this could look like: While there are plenty of superhero movies out and coming out — and a few indie movies that utilize the superhero tropes – Black is a superhero story that is truly unlike all the others. It’s the kind of story we hear about all too often.

But his police shooting is just the beginning of his story. He discovers that superpowers do exist, but only Black people have them. Many of the themes of the series echo what audiences have already seen in Black Panther. But while the Marvel epic movie was massive in scale and size, Black can bring those themes a little closer to Earth.

'Sex Criminals'

Sex Criminals

Team behind the comic: Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

Logline: Sex Criminals gives us sex, superpowers, and bank heists

Dream director: Lake Bell

What this could look like: Jon and Suzie realize that they both share a special power – when they orgasm, time freezes. And so to save a library, they have sex, freeze time, and rob a bank. Then they keep doing it. Though it could easily be just a pornographic throwaway, the book manages to be whimsical, heartbreaking, and (most of all) a lot of fun. Perfect for a single film, and it would barely need a budget. Just a lot of merkins.

'The Black Monday Murders'

The Black Monday Murders

Team behind the comic: Jonathan Hickman and Tomm Coker

Logline: Magic + noir = awesome

Dream director: Denis Villeneuve

What this could look like: In The Black Monday Murders, bank cartels run the world with occult magic. There are evil popes, Russian vampire oligarchs, aristocratic sorcerers, and, of course, hitmen. Crime stories hardly come any stranger than this, and with the right style, audiences would feel the horror of The Witch with the intrigue of Se7en.

'Moonshine'

Moonshine

Team behind the comic: Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso

Logline: A rum runner from New York City goes to West Virginia to negotiate for the best moonshine in the country

Dream directors: Coen Brothers

What this could look like: Historical movies do pretty well come Oscar season, and Moonshine’s prohibition-era story already has Academy Award written on it. The city slicker thinks it’s going to be easy, but he underestimates the deep country moonshiners. West Virginia vs. New York. Overcoats vs. Overalls. Just make room in the Kodak theater now.

'ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times'

ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times

Team behind the comic: Andrew MacLean

Logline: What if Mad Max had a cat named Jelly Beans?

Dream director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson

What this could look like: Aria and her feline companion wander through a wasteland on a mission to find an ancient artifact of devastating power. Then she can go home. But first, she’ll have to face mutant savages and warlords. Nobody really puts apocalypse with words like quirky and cute, but ApocalyptiGirl could be that movie.

'Curse Words'

Curse Words

Team behind the comic: Charles Soule and Ryan Browne

Logline: A dark wizard called — ahem — Wizord comes to our world to destroy it

Dream director(s): Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg

What this could look like: This is the closest project to a comedy on this list (indie comics are so dark!). When Wizord gets to New York City, he realizes that Earth is kind of awesome. A lot better than the nightmarish realm he came from. So instead of annihilating humanity, he decides to protect us. Sure, he’s an asshole and he might not be as powerful as he claims, but that just adds to the character’s charm.

'Deadly Class'

Deadly Class

Team behind the comic: Rick Remender and Wesley Craig

Logline: Kings Dominion High School teaches kids how to become Assassins

Dream director: John Carney

What this could look like: Who doesn’t want a good excuse to go back to the punk vibes of the 80s? Deadly Class gives us that and murder. But even in a school where everyone is learning to be a murdering sociopath, there are still the outcasts, and these kids band together as they try to (literally) survive finals. A great concept for a film, with the perfect excuse to use Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It”.

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Roman Colombo earned his MFA from Rosemont College in 2010 and has been teaching comics and movies at Philadelphia area colleges ever since, including Temple University and Drexel University. He has several publications in journals such as The Bookends Review, Monkeys Fighting Robots, The Rusty Nail, and monkeybicycle. He's also the author of Trading Saints for Sinners, his first published novel. Film is one of his biggest passions in life, from both the filmmaking aspects and the moviegoing experience. You can usually find him in a movie theater.

rcolombo@filmdaily.co