10 Franchises We’d Love To See As Comic Books
February 24, 2016
Growing up, my two greatest loves were horror movies and comic books. So when Marvel very briefly flirted with doing a series based on A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, it was nirvana for me! (
Read all about it here.) Although cancelled after 2 issues, other comic companies in the early 90’s picked up the mantle and were offering a diverse batch of original horror stories in comic book form.
Innovation Comics had books based on PSYCHO, CHILD’S PLAY, DARK SHADOWS, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, QUANTUM LEAP, LOST IN SPACE and many, many more. For a brief period, Topps Comics produced a JASON GOES TO HELL adaptation, as well as a JASON VS LEATHERFACE mash-up! And even Full Moon were producing comic book versions of their PUPPET MASTER and SUBSPECIES series.
In the last decade, horror franchise comic books are common place. You can find EVIL DEAD’s Ash battling either Freddy or Jason or RE-ANIMATOR’s Herbert West or even Marvel Zombies! But there are other franchises that’d be ripe for comic book storytelling. Here’s 10 franchises we’d love to see get their own comic book adaptations.
FREDDY VS JASON VS PINHEAD
One of the initial endings for 2003’s FREDDY VS JASON was that the title characters would be unable to kill each other, and hence both end up in hell. In what would’ve been a fun little addition to the proceedings, Pinhead would’ve emerged from the dark and interrupted to ask “Gentlemen… Now, what seems to be the problem?” As an ending, it’d be a tremendous amount of fun, but realistically the rights to the character were set up elsewhere, which would’ve made it impossible for the mash-up. However, I can’t possibly imagine what results adding Pinhead to that mix would net, and so I’m curious. It was hard enough getting the mythologies of both Freddy and Jason in line, how would Pinhead factor in? Well, in comic book form, budget is of no concern so they can get really, really wild and inventive, both with hell scenarios and Freddy’s ability to manipulate nightmares. Would Freddy be able to delve back into Pinhead’s memory when he was human (as shown in HELLRAISER 2) and uncover something interesting? Or is there nothing left but the demon from hell to battle?
Right now, the most well-known version of Norman Bates resides in the A&E hit series BATES MOTEL, but I still feel there’s a lot of unmined material in the original franchise left to explore. The only time Norman and “Mother” have appeared in comic book form is in the 3 issue adaptation from Innovation Comics. However, it’s just a straight shot for shot remake of the Alfred Hitchcock movie, minus one detail. The likeness of Norman Bates looks nothing like Anthony Perkins and instead resembles how he’s described in Robert Bloch’s original novel. Artist Felipe Echevarria had told me once that at the last minute, Perkins suddenly refused his likeness rights and hence they had to change Norman’s comic book appearance. I always thought a fun way to remake the original PSYCHO would be to take the backstory elements from PSYCHO IV: THE BEGINNING, opening on the murder of Norma Bates and her lover and dove tailing it into the events we see in the original PSYCHO, but all from Norman’s point of view. You can fill in the gaps of his first murders and years as the sole proprietor of the Bates Motel leading up to the arrival of Marion Crane and eventually Arbogast. We can watch Norman’s slow descent into pure madness as more and more people keep coming to the motel and uncover what’s really been going on there.
TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE PART 2
Northstar Comics had done a 4 issue adaptation of LEATHERFACE back in 1990 and later Topps Comics had done a JASON VS LEATHERFACE book that featured a very loose adaptation of the Sawyer family as we saw them in the first 2 Tobe Hooper helmed features. But here’s the thing – whereas the original family in PART 1 were scary and sinister, the version we see in PART 2 are hilarious and twisted. I want to see the further exploits of Chop Top, Drayton and sexually confused Bubba. I also loved Dennis Hooper’s Lefty, as well as Caroline Williams Stretch. In the comic book world, anything can happen! What if both Lefty and Leatherface survived the cave in and explosion? What if a scarred up Drayton also survived and was on the run with the rest of the family and a wounded, bad-ass Lefty was still hot on their trail as they flee all over Texas? I would love to spend more time with the versions of the Sawyer’s we met in TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2!
I love what Lamberto Bava did with his DEMONS and DEMONS 2. But he only scratched the surface (pun intended) of what can be done with these evil beasts and I want to see more! Think of DEMONS in the context of zombies or the world of THE WALKING DEAD. In the movie, if you’re scratched by a demon, you slowly become one – cool transformation and all! By the end of the first film, the “demon” outbreak has escaped that little theater and now the world has become a post-apocalyptic wasteland overrun with demons. We’ve never gotten to see that kind of world where people are constantly on the run and hiding from full-fledged demons! How cool would that be? I want to pick up with that truck driving off at the end of the first DEMONS movie and see what happens next!
CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD
And while we’re on the subject of zombie tropes and doing something new and unique with them, on top of demons, we’ve never really seen anyone fully exploit the “supernatural” zombies as presented in Lucio Fulci’s classic CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD. Every time I watch this movie, I’m in awe of how different it is from all other zombie movies. You’ve got the ghost of a suicidal priest, people that bleed from their eyes and barf out their insides when they get “infected” and vengeful zombie ghosts that appear at random. I’m tired of traditional zombie/survival stories. How creepy and great would it be to follow a zombie story where the rules aren’t clear and the supernatural element is front and center?
There were a slew of creepy little critter movies that came out of the 80’s including everything from GREMLINS to GHOULIES and beyond! And one franchise that often got lumped in as another knock off was CRITTERS. But given both the horror and radical science fiction mythology set up by the original, there’s so much more here than meets the eye! You’ve got this species of semi-cute, furry porcupine style critters that feed on humans. They’re also kind of quirky and funny! Then you have a group of faceless alien bounty hunters hot of their trail that can morph into anyone they please. Wouldn’t you want to see the Critter planet where these little suckers come from? Or learn more about these bounty hunters and what other aliens they’ve tracked in the galaxy? What about the cross-over possibilities? The CRITTERS bounty hunters versus PREDATOR? Versus ALIENS? So much to be done here and in comic book form, skies the limit!
If you’ve read any of my previous work, I often cite SCANNERS 3: THE TAKEOVER as one of my favorite sequels. Sure, it’s a bit goofy, but as I stated in this write-up, SCANNERS are practically the X-MEN and it’d be awesome to combine the mythologies of the films into one epic comic book series. Why can’t we have a world where Revok is still running wild and recruiting a series of SCANNERS in a plot for world domination? And then there’s the rival leader Helena from SCANNERS 3? You’ve got her brother Alex, one of the most powerful scanners in the world on the opposing side prepared to do anything to stop her. And he can join forces with Detective Samuel Staziak, aka the Scanner Cop! The Scanners would totally thrive in a comic book environment.
BASKET CASE 2
I’m a huge fan of Frank Henenlotter’s NY-based cult classic BASKET CASE, but believe it or not, I’m an even bigger fan of it’s absolutely insane sequel BASKET CASE 2. In it, Duane and his twin brother Belial are rescued by a woman named Granny Ruth and her granddaughter that run a private facility outside of the city. Its residents? They’re all rather bizarre and deformed characters that would be unappealing to regular society. Just the mere sight of these amazing creatures created by Gabriel Batolos would fuel any writer’s imagination. What if the X-MEN were far, far more terrifying in appearance, yet misunderstood creatures like Frankenstein’s monster? What if someone threatened them and their way of life? Would you fault them for fighting back? You can probably throw in some crazy supernatural stuff, or Lovecraftian inspired monsters and you’d have the wildest and weirdest comic book series ever!
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
Look – Freddy’s already been in dozens of comic book titles from Marvel, Innovation and Wildstorm Comics. But since the Platinum Dunes reboot a few years ago failed to connect, and it seems that the movie franchise is dormant, maybe it’s time we let some vibrant comic writers take a crack at the dream demon? Again, doesn’t have to be in continuity with the movies. I rather liked the non-descript time table of the Marvel 2 issues series. The Innovation books managed to bring back a ton of the characters from the sequels including Alice and Dr. Gordon, so that’s a direction they could take. I’ve just had enough of Freddy battling other baddies. Let’s see him solo, invading kid’s dreams and getting back to the basics!
This one is fairly obvious, but wouldn’t it be great to have a new anthology series based on CREEPSHOW? After all, it was inspired by all the classic EC Comic titles like TALES FROM THE CRYPT and VAULT OF HORROR. You know what’d be even cooler? Since the movie was created by George Romero and Stephen King, and “shared universes” is such a big thing in the franchise cinema these days, what if all the mini-stories in the CREEPSHOW comic book were one-off tales of secondary characters from previous King or Romero stories? Could we get a sequel story with Sarah from DAY OF THE DEAD on the Island? A prequel tale for MARTIN? Maybe another group of kids that went up against IT and failed? Or a story from the point of view of a killer that gets discovered by THE DEAD ZONE’s Johnny Smith? The possibilities are endless. We deserve more CREEPSHOW!