By Carter Glace, Staff Writer
What can be said about this year’s Academy Awards that hasn’t already been said? How about looking at movies that would make great comic adaptations? I mean, why not?
As a film student, I have played around with adapting comics for film, but never the other way around. And honestly, adapting films to comics is theoretically more challenging. How do you reduce millions of frames to single panels, capturing the same motion, mood, and energy of a film?
This year’s excellent pool of films actually has a few options that I believe would translate incredibly well to page, so without any further ado…
The intense, intricate and erotic thriller stands as my favorite film of 2016. “Handmaiden” works both as a tightly knit, well-to-do physiological crime film set in a gorgeously realized Victorian Korea and a lurid, absorbing lesbian romance that manages the seemingly impossible task of being simultaneously sleazy, vivid, empowering and sensual, all at the same time. The jaw-dropping estate would be simply gorgeous in ink, and the theme of women retaking their sexuality from voyeurs and pornographers would work even better in a printed format, given the film’s obsession with the painted and written pornographic medium. If nothing else, there is one scene of hysterical black comedy that simply has to be recreated in print.
I am personally starving for more horror comics, and “The VVitch” would make for a tense graphic novel. The slow, dread-filled psychological and religious horror could be beautifully realized in comic pages. The nightmarish period visions of witchcraft and Satan, the rich New England Puritan style, and the dreary greys and earthy colors would make something unique and worthwhile in the comic world.
At this point, does “Moonlight” need any introduction? Like “Fun Home” or “American Born Chinese,” the multi-aged story about an outsider coming to terms with their identiy is a perfect fit for the comic medium. A skilled creative team could flow from Chiron’s various ages in a musical, poetic and incredible way, creating something equally worthy of the Academy’s Best Picture.
The under-appreciated musical film of 2016 would be perfect for a Bryan Lee O’Malley style adaptation. With common characters, an energetic and musical tone and an awkwardly cute romance, this film is screaming for a vibrant, bouncy visualization of its moody towns and electric stages.
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
Poor Kubo. Probably the most ambitious film from Laika Films turned out to be their biggest underperformer. Hopefully the stop-motion adventure sees second life on blu-ray, but why stop there? The folksy epic feels like it would fit right into the world of comic books, with its colorful, vibrant action, fable-esque characters and rye sense of humor; “Kubo” would be just as entertaining and visually stunning on paper as on film.
“Moana” has quietly become one of my favorite Disney films. I love the characters, I love the message, and the art style is one of Disney’s best. I love the music. I love the episodic nature of the villains. I love how earnest and sincere it is about the culture it is depicting. And I love how it ends on a note where there are still countless adventures on the horizon. After all, Moana is a Wayfinder, so why not show her continued adventures on the sea? Much like “Hercules” and “Aladdin,” “Moana” is screaming for more adventures in this exciting world.
The long gestating passion project of Martin Scorsese is an embodiment of the “Every Frame a Painting” aspect, which makes it perfect for transitioning into the world of frames and panels. The stunning landscapes, harrowing brutality and quiet moments of reflection would be resonate and powerful in inked form. And frankly, a story about fighting for faith and religious-based torture would be something rare in comics: something harrowing, something potentially riveting.
I’ve been dying to see more historical and biographical comic sources since reading “The Fifth Beatle,” and what better canvas to work with than the aftermath of John F. Kennedy’s death? With more space to work with, it would be a golden opportunity to capture more of the administration, all from the eyes of the First Lady. The film itself was already sweeping, but a comic would have the extra space to make a true epic.