In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.
What fictional property would you like to see made into a comic book?
Easy! One of my favourite films of all time is Luc Besson’s Leon(released as The Professional in the United States but the extended version shown in Europe is superior). The story follows the unlikely friendship between an assassin for hire (Jean Reno in the title role) and the emo-before-it-was-cool 13 year old girl down the hall (Natalie Portman in her first and possibly still best role) he reluctantly takes in after her family is gunned down by a corrupt cop (the brilliant Gary Oldman) who was dealing drugs with her father. Leon saves Mathilda’s life and then Mathilda gives Leon something to live for. It’s a smart and oddly sweet character piece.
In the end, Leon is killed and Mathilda goes to boarding school; pretty much since I first saw the film I’ve wanted a sequel. But the idea of a comic book following the now 20-something assassin Mathilda is possibly even more enticing. I would seriously LOVE that.
My first thought was of the many crime and mystery series that I’ve enjoyed reading over the years. But Darwyn Cooke is already adapting Richard Stark’s Parker books, and since it’s impossible to compete with the awesomeness of that idea, I’ll look in another direction.
I’ve lost count of the number of comics professionals that I’ve heard mention HBO’s 5-season TV epic The Wire as an inspiration or influence. The way that this Baltimore-based show followed the intertwined lives of cops, criminals, politicians, and everyday citizens is a triumph of long-form storytelling. The Wire‘s artistic success is very much about realizing the potential for television as a medium, so I’d never suggest a straight-up adaptation of the series (much less a sequel, since the show built brilliantly to a planned ending). But The Wire introduced so many characters and subcultures that there are endless potential offshoots to explore. I’d love to see an anthology, or a series of one-shots or minis, in which the writers and artists who were inspired by this unique show had a chance to explore the nooks and crannies of its universe.
I’m tempted to take the easy, joking answer and say Newsies, the 1992 kids’ movie about singing newsboys in turn-of-the-century New York that is one of my favorite movies of all time. It has the Christian Bale factor, after all, and costar David Moscow was once engaged to the Alicia Masters of the Fantastic Four movie universe. But I can’t see a sequel or graphic novelization being all that dynamic in the sequential art format, and besides, Joss Whedon has pretty much already done a Newsies comic. He just called it his run on Runaways.
So my real answer, and one I think would actually make a fantastic comic book, is K.A. Applegate’s Animorphs book series, about a group of teengers using animal-transformation powers to save the world from an invasion of mind-controlling aliens. The five lead characters are dynamic and fun, with distinctive first-person voices that would lend themselves well to narration boxes, and I can easily imagine how the morphing, telepathic “thought-speak,” and battle scenes with variously alien races could be visually portrayed. The series’ 50+ books would be ripe for individual adaptation (much like the existing graphic novel versions of my other favorite childhood book series, The Baby-Sitters Club), but I would just as happily welcome a sequel, between-the-scenes adventures, or a whole new take on the concept.
There are so many, but I think the property I most want to see as a comic is the Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce. These books would shine as comics. The characters are distinct visually. There are close, intimate interpersonal scenes. There are huge magical events, storms, earthquakes and fires. The stakes are high, the solutions require knowledge and strength of will and cooperation. I would love to see Sandry, Briar, Tris and Daja on the comic page along with the Dedicates. And I would hope that Ms. Pierce would write the adaptation herself.
What about you? What story from another medium would you like to see adapted or expanded for comics?