5 DC Comics Properties That Would Make Good Low Budget Movies, and 5 That Wouldn't

By Eric Diaz in Comics, Daily Lists
Friday, December 20, 2013 at 6:00 am

DC Characters That SHOULD Get The Small Budget Treatment

1. The Spectre

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Ok, so technically Marvel (or should I say, Marvel and Sony Pictures) beat DC to movie theaters with their own "Spirit of Vengeance" in the form of Nic Cage's Ghost Rider. But let's face it...no one freaking likes those Ghost Rider movies, because they are simply godawful. And ya know what? Ghost Rider is not as cool as the Spectre. The Spectre is a dead hard-boiled noir detective from the forties, fused with the embodiment of the spirit of vengeance... and Ghost Rider looks like a bad Hell's Angels tattoo. Spectre wins, even if he does wear green speedos.

In the comics, the Spectre works directly for God...like, THE God of the Old Testament and the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The mean one who's really petty. Unlike Ghost Rider, the Spectre doesn't just do a "penance stare"; he finds all kinds of sick, twisted ways to make the bad guys pay for their evil doing. Heck, Instead of making it a superhero movie, make it more of a twisted horror flick. A Spectre movie could easily be done in the $20 to 40 million range. AND, as an added bonus, by doing a Spectre flick you've already introduced the character for when they get to the ultimate Justice League movie in the form of Kingdom Come.

2. Deadman

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Much like the Spectre, this one's another ghostly character from DC, but one with a lot of potential for a medium sized budget film. In the comics, Deadman was originally Boston Brand, a trapeze artist who was killed, and whose spirit could inhabit various bodies, all in an effort to find the true culprit of his murder. This is a premise that could be done super cheaply, and if compelling enough, could be the basis of a decent ongoing film franchise.

Not too long ago, director Guillermo del Toro was announced as developing a movie version of Deadman, but I haven't heard anything about that for years now, so I'm going to assume it is scrapped. I know that Deadman is supposed to be one of the many supernatural characters featured in del Toro's planned Justice League Dark movie (along with the Spectre possibly) so maybe the concepts for Deadman just fused into those for that. Deadman, though, is a hero who is cool enough to be introduced in his own movies first. Whether or not del Toro is the man behind the camera or just a producer, someone out there should make a reasonably budgeted and cool Deadman movie.

3. The Doom Patrol

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Ok, by including this one I'm being a bit of a hypocrite, as recently here I said that the Doom Patrol has a snowball's chance in Hell of getting their own movie. But hey, that was before I heard Warner Brothers was entertaining the notion of doing these mid-range and smaller budget movies. What? I'm not Nostradamus - how was I supposed to know they were gonna go and do that?

Obviously, the main problem with the Doom Patrol is the same as always; you'd still have to differentiate this property big time from the X-Men, a comic which they share many similar sensibilities, except one is super famous, and the other one no-one has heard of beyond geekdom. so maybe don't have their lead be the Chief in a wheelchair like Professor X ,for starters. Then, focus more on the Grant Morrison era Doom Patrol, who were more a buch of organized freaks and less a group of superheroes. Characters like Robotman, Rebis (a hermaphrodite wrapped in bandages that is home to a negative energy being) and Crazy Jane (a woman with multiple personalities which each have their own power) are the kinds of characters who don't have to break the bank to bring to life on screen, and whose weirdness might make for a great oddball movie, like something Tim Burton would have made before we all got sick of him. All I know is that If I ever go to the movie theater and see the Doom Patrol travelling around the globe on Danny the Street, their sentient, living, transvestite city block, then all my nerd dreams will have come true.

4.The Outsiders

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Kind of like the team the Defenders are for Marvel, DC's super team the Outsiders have never really had a line-up of heroes that really broke out and could be considered their most popular, so if one is to make an Outsiders movie, no fanboy is going to be screaming bloody murder about how they decided to leave Metamorpho off the team and how dare they! When it comes to the Outsiders, sadly no one really cares enough.

The basic idea of the Outsiders from their original inception in the eighties was that Batman leaves the Justice League and forms his own team to deal with more down to Earth problems, which he felt the League didn't. Original members included characters like Black Lightning and Katana, and later incarnations (including a team led by Nightwing) had a totally different team with characters like Grace and Thunder.
An Outsiders movie could keep the basic premise of a more street level team, possibly formed by Batman (either on or off screen) and it can be filled with an assortment of DC Comics' more obscure, more street-level characters, whether they were actual members of the Outsiders in the comics or not, because unlike the Avengers or the Justice League, the fanbase is too small to give a damn. And a modestly budgeted Outsiders movie is the perfect showcase for characters that just wouldn't cut it in a JLA movie, much less on their own. This one's a no brainer.

5. Death

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Although lately there have been rumblings about a big budget movie version of Neil Gaiman's Sandman starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, years ago there were plans to bring the Sandman's sister Death to the big screen in an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's mini-series Death: The High Cost of Living. In fact, Gaiman had previously confirmed that he was planning on writing the script and directing it himself, with Guillermo del Toro as executive producer.

For whatever reason this never came to fruition, but now might be the time to dig up this idea and give it another whirl, especially in this initiative to make smaller budget films based on DC characters. While there is no way to do a Sandman movie on the cheap, Death: The High Cost of Living could be adapted for very, very little, as the whole story is a rather small and intimate one, about the embodiment of Death taking one day every century to live her life as a mortal human being. If Sandman is indeed being made, this would be an excellent companion piece.

Previously by Eric Diaz:

The Ten Worst DC "New 52" Costume Redesigns

The Top Ten Substance Abusers in Comics

Nine Reasons a Flash TV Show Could Be Better Than a Flash Movie

The Ten Heroes Most Unworthy Of Justice League Status (Who Joined Anyway)


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