DC has been adapting their stories into animated movies for years, but there are still some great comics waiting for the chance to shine on the screen
DC comics has a vast catalog of animated films adapted from fan-favorite comics, including Superman: Red Son, Batman: The Long Halloween and Justice League: The New Frontier. These straight-to-video movies usually boast impressive animated worlds and great casts.
DC's animated movies have been greeted with broadly positive reviews, and fans are always happy to see iconic fan-favorite comics brought to life. However, despite this, tons of brilliant DC comics have yet to see such adaptations. DC has a huge bedrock of great comics to draw from, and the only piece left of the puzzle would be to figure out which stories deserve to be adapted.
While James Wan's Aquaman made a billion dollars at the box office, the King of the Seven Seas hasn't had much of an impact on animation. Aquaman often appears as part of the Justice League in the team's animated efforts, but he rarely gets a chance to shine in his own adaptations.
Peter David's Aquaman, with art by Kirk Jarvinen, Martin Egel, Gene Gonzales, Jim Calafiore, and Casey Jones, did a great job of reinventing the character and his origin. David's Aquaman won over a lot of fans and eventually inspired Mamoa's Aquaman look. DC should really branch out and give characters like Aquaman more solo features, and this run is a perfect jumping-off point.
From the mind of comic geniuses Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, Flex Mentallo: Muscle Man Of Mystery is not a typical DC comic series. Flex Mentallo is a strange DC creation, and anyone unfamiliar with the character should definitely look to this series.
Morrison is in top form as they concoct all sorts of sci-fi concepts in this complex yet adventurous comic, and anyone looking to adapt such a work would have to go all out. If a DC animated adaption of Flex Mentallo: Muscle Man Of Mystery committed to the bizarre and beautiful world of Morrison and Quitely created, the fans will come.
Superman: Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow is a terrific straightforward Superman story from icons Alan Moore and Curt Swan. Taking place across two issues, the story could very easily be adapted into animated form without having to cut much out. On top of that, it’s an iconic and complex Man Of Steel tale that does a great job at understanding and challenging the iconic character of Superman.
Alan Moore goes about dissecting both Silver Age comic books and Superman’s morality in Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow, and it has gone down as one of Superman’s best adventures. An animated adaptation could utilize both a great cast and a great art department to emulate Curt Swan's visuals. It would undoubtedly make for a classic and interesting animated feature.
DC’s Earth One books were modern takes on classic DC characters and their origins. This included new origin tales for Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, but undoubtedly one of the best-received comics was Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko's Green Lantern: Earth One.
Retelling Hal Jordan’s origin in a darker and more grounded sci-fi environment worked surprisingly well. As well as boasting a terrific tale that at times feels like a big-budget sci-fi movie, Green Lantern: Earth One does a great job reinventing DC characters and displaying some great artwork. Green Lantern has fewer animated hits than characters like Batman or Superman, but this one would certainly go down well if adapted right.
Wonder Woman is really lacking when it comes to solo animated features, but with the live-action Wonder Woman films starring Gal Gadot proving to be hugely successful, DC should try their hand at adapting more of the character's material. And where better to start than Renae De Liz's The Legend Of Wonder Woman?
The Legend of Wonder Woman is a brilliantly told origin story for the Amazonian. De Liz does a great job of capturing the beauty and the soul of Wonder Woman and her world. The comic has a colorful art style, terrific characters, and a charming purity to it. Much of it will seem familiar to fans of Wonder Woman 2017, but this comic definitely stands on its own as its own story. And a story worth adapting at that.
Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's Batman: Earth One proved to be a very popular retelling of the Dark Knight's origin story. And while the animated adaptation of Batman: Year One has brought Batman’s traditional origin to life, Batman: Earth One offers a new and exciting take on the Caped Crusader's early years.
Batman: Earth One inspired many parts of modern Batman tales, from Gotham to The Batman. It’s a great take on Batman with fantastic art, and considering its critical acclaim and sequels, it’s only a matter of time before an animated adaptation rears its head. Cast a great talented team, emulate the comic’s terrific artwork and fans are sure to get hyped.
With Batgirl's new live-action film being shelved, fans are clamoring to see her adventures brought to life in one form or another, and animation may be the best place to do it. Scott Beatty, Chuck Dixon, and Marcos Martin's Batgirl: Year One shows Barbara adapting to life as a crime fighter and the constant struggles she faces.
Batgirl: Year One is very different from traditional Batman origins, and it's a much more playful look at Gotham City than most are used to. Barbara's character, strength, and humor are really well captured, and the art style is colorful and lively, which would work well in animated form.
Superman: Birthright is a 12-issue series by Mark Waid and Leinil Francis Yu that tells a revitalized version of the origin of Superman. Birthright as received widespread acclaim and has gone on to be considered perhaps the definitive Superman origin tale, even inspiring Henry Cavill’s Superman outings.
As well as boasting some incredible writing, Birthright has some incredible artwork from Yu, and imagining the panels in motion is such an exciting idea. It’s a series that could invite a great cast and direction and could go down as a definitive DC animated film for Superman if it were done right.
Grant Morrison and Dave McKean’s Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth is widely considered to be one of Batman’s greatest outings. An iconic story, Arkham Asylum is a downcast, gruesome and atmospheric trip into the psychology of Batman and his foes that inspired Christian Bale’s performance as well as the hit Arkham Asylum video games.
Any adaptation of such a raw comic would need to hit the nail on the head when it comes to animation. Talented artists and animators could really take Dave McKean's twisted and terrifying comic book artwork to another level. Such a unique-looking animated film would be a great project to greenlight.
Gerard Way's comic book outings have really taken on a new life recently. Umbrella Academy, created by Way and Gabriel Bá has been a hit for Netflix, but DC has failed to take Way's work for them and adapt it to other mediums.
Gerard Way's modern take on the Doom Patrol, with art by Nick Derington, is bright, lively, and brilliant. Way and Derington create brilliantly rounded and fun characters navigating a world of interesting and bizarre obstacles, and it's endlessly enjoyable. Any animation team would drool at the idea of getting to adapt such a vibrant and charming run, and DC fans and general audiences alike would be sure to take notice of such a unique DC feature.
NEXT: 10 Horror Comics That Would Make Great Animated Films
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