Comics, Movies

A Movie with Deadman, Swamp Thing and John Constantine? Directed By Guillermo Del Toro? Yeah, Right.



This bit of comic-related movie news hit the nerdwebs this month:

Our friends over at Latino-Review have just broken one hell of a story. According to the site, Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pacific Rim) will soon begin work on a DC Comics adaptation for Warner Bros. called Heaven Sent, and it will bring together some of the most well-known supernatural characters from that comic book universe, including:

? Deadman
? The Spectre
? Swamp Thing
? John Constantine
? Phantom Stranger
? Zatanna
? Zatara
? Sargon
? Etrigan the Demon

[…] Warner’s lawyers are currently hard at work on making sure they have the rights to bring each of these characters to the big screen…

Del Toro has said he’d “love to” do the movie, but there have so far been no reports of actual contract negotitations or scripts being written. Never mind that Warner Bros has only recently announced the release date of the “Justice League” movie (you know, the one with the only DC characters most people have actually heard of). In short, putting Heaven Sent together anytime soon would be quite a trick. Ha ha.

So we’re supposed to believe del Toro will make this a reality any time soon? The man’s picture is in the dictionary next to “development hell,” whether you’re talking about movies (At the Mountains of Madness, Drood, Frankenstein, The Haunted Mansion, Hater) or video games (Insane). Through some combination of bad luck and poor resource management, del Toro’s name gets attached to ten times as many projects as he can possibly complete. In other words, there’s no reason to believe Heaven Sent won’t end up on the growing scrap heap of fanboy dreams.

But just in case, here’s a quick rundown of the assumed characters:

And look at this costume! It’s ridiculous!

Real Name Boston Brand. “Boston Market” having already been taken.
Abilities: Flight, invisibility, able to possess any living thing and manipulate them, presumably to make asses of themselves in public. At least, that’s what I’d do.
Looks Like: an albino Blue Man, if such a thing is possible.

The Spectre
Real Name Jim Corrigan
Abilities: The Spectre is essentially the embodiment of the Wrath of God, which makes him nigh-omnipotent. Seriously, how do you write that guy? “Spectre, help us!” [Spectre snaps fingers, sinister villain evaporates] “Thanks, Spectre!”
Looks Like: an extremely pale luchador.

Swamp Thing
Real Name: Alex Olsen/Alec Holland
Abilities: Controlling and manipulating all plant life, which is a lot cooler than it sounds, especially if you like the chronic.
Looks Like: a thing from a swamp.

John Constantine
Real Name: John Constantine
Abilities: Constantine is a magus, described occasionally as the most powerful magician in the world. He’s also a con artist and a misanthrope who gets his friends killed, more often than not.
Looks Like: not Keanu Reeves. Actually, ex-Police frontman Sting was the visual inspiration for the character.

Phantom Stranger
Real Name: ???
Abilities: Immortality, plus he’s practically omniscient. Sounds exhausting.
Looks Like: A blinged out Blues Brother.

That looks uncomfortable.

Real Name: Zatanna Zatara
Abilities: Sorcery, rocking one hell of a leotard.
Looks Like: a busty Claire Forlani, or a bustier Katy Perry. “Busty” being the operative word.

Real Name: Giovanni Zatar … he and his daughter should probably try a little harder when it comes to maintaining a secret identity.
Abilities: Magic, often performed by saying the effects of the spell backwards. This is in no way annoying to his colleagues.
Looks Like: a shorter-haired Dr. Orpheus.

Real Name John Sargent. That’s more like it.
Abilities: Again, magic.
Looks Like: Professor Quirell from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Etrigan the Demon
Real Name: Jason Blood
Abilities: Superhuman strength, sorcery, telepathy, breathes hellfire. Demon stuff, in other words.
Looks Like: Well, a demon. Oh, and did I mention he speaks in rhyming couplets? Combined with the backward spellcasting, things are going to get tiresome pretty quickly.

When you consider del Toro’s track record, the fact next to no one has heard of these characters, and WB’s lack of initiative to get any of its super team properties off the ground, I really don’t see this happening. And if it does, I’m afraid you’re going to be looking at a bigger budget Mystery Men.

This piece originally appeared in Art Attack, a Houston Press blog. While we look for a new editor for Topless Robot, we’ll occasionally be publishing stories from Voice Media Group sites.

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