10. ‘Mazing Man.

Medium: Art film.

Pitch: Iron Man for the indie crowd.

Dream lead: Peter Dinklage of course.

Dream director: Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer) or Zach Braff (Garden State)

‘Mazing Man was a charming little book that ran for one year way back in 1986. Published by D.C. and created by Bob Rozakis and Stephen DeStefano, it told the story of Sigfried Horatio Hunch III, a crazy midget from Queens who wore a yellow helmet, cape, boots and gloves, and red-polka-dotted boxers, and did good deeds like irritating guidos and teaching children to speak respectfully to their elders. ‘Maze’s best friend was a talking dog named Denton who was a comic book creator–something they never really bothered to explain. The book was so great that even Frank Miller agreed to do a cover. But it didn’t help. The book was cancelled quick. It would make a beautiful chick-flick superhero movie—maybe starring that Harry Potter kid. Note: If they make this film, better include the Letters to the Editor page. ‘Cause I had several printed, under my former nom-de-plume, “Nage.” Now go out-nerd me.

9. Power Pack

Medium: Animated film or cartoon series.

Pitch: The Incredibles, with space action.

Dream studio: Pixar.

Perfect for kids, Power Pack launched in the 1980s to some success, and were recently rebooted in serialized mini-series that team the four kids up with various Marvel heroes. The simple tale is right out of Pixar: Dense scientist dad and mom kidnapped by aliens, white-horselike alien gives powers to their offspring, kids go into space and save the day.

8. Dreadstar

Medium: Sci Fi summer film.

Pitch: Star Wars meets Starship Troopers.

Dream lead: Keanu dyed blonde.

A man whose praises are too-often undersung, Jim Starlin created Dreadstar for Marvel’s first big imprint line, Epic Comics. Vanth Dreadstar was a blonde goateed swashbuckler who wore a blue hoodie and fought an evil empire that threatened to take over the universe. Although it trod ground familiarly plowed by George Lucas, it had enough “serious” elements to sustain it as a wholly original book, from cybernetic telepath Willow’s horrific origin to issue 10, in which Vanth loses his temper and beats an enemy to death with a thick chain, it was definitely aimed at adults, yet elements such as con-artist Skeevo and Willow’s monkey-like familiar brought a softer touch, and humor. An excellent early-1980s, genre-stretching book, it would make for a fun ride on the big screen.

7. Title: Hank Loves Janet

Medium: Prime time soap.

Pitch: Lois and Clark meets Jodie Foster’s The Accused.

Dream lead: John Krasinski and Emily Blunt

In the spirit of Lois and Clark, it would tell the tale of a gigantic man and his tiny lady. Beyond exploring the physics of their relationship, the end of the first season would feature a Very Special Episode in which Hank beats the crap out of Jan, and she gets Captain America to turn around and beat the crap out of Hank. From which we learn that if you’re going to beat your wife, make sure she isn’t cuckholding you with a super soldier. And that’s one to grow on.

6. We3

Medium: Animated Film.

Pitch: The Incredible Journey meets Robocop; unlimited stuffed animal/action figure potential.

Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly worked together on All Star Superman, which lots of people loved. To me, though, We3 reflects the peak of their collaborative process. The words back off enough to allow each panel to breathe, and, in turn, each panel pushes the reader forward to the next bit of verbal storytelling. We3 is about an adorable trio–puppy, kitten, and bunny–who have been bred to be killing machines. The paranoia mixed with cute sensitivity is a perfect fit for an animated film, even if it doesn’t bring with it the kind of audiences that would be drawn to a D.C. or Marvel superhero feature—or probably even to the nice little Hellboy animated film that debuted on Cartoon Network. Still, if a studio can manage to capture Quietly’s masterful artistic style, Morrison’s tale reads like a movie already. The heavy lifting is done.

5. Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius/Mini Marvels Power Hour

Medium: Kids cartoon on Disney.

Pitch: Calvin and Hobbes meets Nutty Professor, with short filler sketches featuring the Mini Marvels.

Dream lead: John Hodgman (The Daily Show) as the voice of H.E.R.B.I.E.

If the House of Mouse isn’t already looking into this, shame on them, especially now that the merger has been approved. The collected Franklin Richards one shots and Mini Marvels one-pagers are chock full of material that has the potential to be far more innovative, charming, and interesting than Marvel Super Hero Squad. And certainly more interesting than any supercartoons being done by Disney. Of course, the downside is that nobody seems to care about Saturday morning cartoons anymore . . .

4. Old Man Logan.

Medium: Hard “R” TV miniseries.

Pitch: Wolverine meets Terminator meets The Road.

Dream lead: Ron Perlman

Post-apocalyptic mayhem would be way more interesting, and would sell way more tickets, than Wolverine in Japan. Come on, guys!

3. Ex Machina

Medium: Indie film.

Pitch: Spin City meets The Greatest American Hero.

Dream lead: Rick Schroeder (NYPD Blue), as long as he can keep the anti-vaxxer wackiness down.

Jason Bateman would be perfectly cast as the star of Brian K. Vaughn’s superhero-turns-mayor story. I see the movie as taking a lighter approach to its topic than the book–perhaps even something like Spin City. Brian K. Vaughn’s brilliant poli-superhero book was never overly weighty on its own, but it does tend to take itself pretty seriously. Actually, it would also make a good TV miniseries.

2. Camelot 3000

Medium: Major motion picture.

Pitch: Knights in armor! Aliens! Lasers! Swords! Evil monkeybeasts!

Dream lead: Jeremy Renner (Hurt Locker)

I can’t believe nobody’s tried this one yet. Barr and Bolland’s 12-issue series was a blast—one of the best books of the early 1980s. It helped move DC away from relying solely on playing off its existing stable of characters and towards more experimental, high concept books that took place outside of the DCU. More importantly, the story has swords and lasers, aliens and outcasts, lots of sex, magic, betrayal, and triumph. Plus, it’s got a large group of heroes, any of whom could later get spin offs.

1. Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 8.

Medium: T.V. series

Pitch: Joss Whedon has already done all the work, in comic book form.

Dream team: Joss and whoever the hell he wants to work with.

‘Nuff said.

Leave a Comment