After Watchmen, What’s Unfilmable?


Finally catching up with my Wired work for Morphizm. I’ve got so much backlog I don’t even know where to start. So I might as well start with the most popular. This list of five killer books and comics that may now inherit Watchmen‘s mantle as what Alan Moore called the most “unfilmable” texts around was a popular read. Have at it!

After Watchmen, What’s ‘Unfilmable’? These Legendary Texts
[Scott Thill, Wired]
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Writer: Frank Miller
Lame excuse: Batman’s too old. Quick, what helped Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight rake in more than $1 billion worldwide? Tech noir, and an untimely death. That pretty much encapsulates Miller’s milestone comic, which catches up with an aging Batman nearly trampled underfoot by a strange new technoculture of media overload, gang warfare, geopolitical intrigue and a compromised Superman.

Not that fans, including Gaiman, could resist dreamcasting the possibility. Once Miller’s comic exploded into pop culture, Gaiman explains, “there was all this talk about whether Clint Eastwood could do it. If they actually made The Dark Knight Returns with Clint, I would have gritted my teeth and seen it. It probably would have been awesome.”

An elderly Batman is only the appetizer. In The Dark Knight Returns, villainous geriatrics like Joker and Two-Face either die or succumb to failure. The death of Heath Ledger, the actor who played Joker in The Dark Knight, no doubt garishly contributed to the blockbuster’s allure, but re-creating the haunting suicide of Batman’s nemesis onscreen is another matter entirely. As is the matter of Superman killing Batman, come to think of it, or the entry of yet another Robin, this time a tomboy who haunts the Caped Crusader’s steps.

But if the success of Nolan’s Dark Knight proved anything, it’s that fandom wants Batman’s younger model to stick around for awhile. Leaping from his early years to his last in Miller’s Dark Knight Returns might not be the smartest cinematic move to make. But hey, a past-it Bruce Wayne made the underrated animated series Batman Beyond a show worth watching. Done right, bringing Miller’s graphic novel to the big screen would be a brave, and lucrative, move.

Chance in hell? Definitely. Come back next decade. Bring your wallet. MORE @ WIRED

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