Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Is Kick-Ass Gonna Kick Ass?

Kick-Ass, inspired by the comic book Kick-Ass, is coming soon to a theater near you, but the movie has already attracted international attention, i.e. this article from The Guardian. The interview with writer Mike Millar poses an interesting question regarding the comics-to-film phenomenon: Should comics be written with the intent of cinematic adaptation? Of course, every writer wants to establish a franchise viable for cinema and cash in accordingly, but what does this make the comic medium other than a glorified storyboard? As a comic book fan first, I take issue (no pun intended) with this mentality; consider the following excerpt from Millar's interview:

"The trouble is that the superhero movies so far – and I don't want to be unfair to them because I think generally they have been good – have been made two generations after they've been created, and in Superman's case three generations after they've been created. So if the technology had existed to make a Fantastic Four movie in 1966 it would have been amazing, because you had Kennedy and the space race and all of that. But now, really, what is the Fantastic Four?"

The implication is, cinematic adaptation asserts viability, and without it, the Fantastic Four is . . . well, nothing more than a comic book, right? The elephant in the room is, forty years later, Marvel's founding family is still worthy of at least two feature films -- whether or not they were good is relative to Hollywood's desire to produce them. These characters are still worthy of attention. Will Kick-Ass be as viable 40 years from now? No, perhaps Millar realizes, now is the time to act, lest his creation fall by the wayside of pop culture. After all, comic book movies produced in conjunction with a new, monthly comic book have always paved the road to success in both industries . . .

. . . right, Todd McFarlane? Right, Frank Miller?

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