So when will Webcomcis get "discovered"?

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 3rd, 2017, 12:17 am #1

I've been talking webcomics with various people online and off, and got to thinking- when will- if ever- webcomics be "discovered"?

Put it this way: It's obvious that the movie studios are getting fairly bereft of ideas, doing little more than either rebooting (or trying to reboot) well-loved old classics (IE, Ghostbusters) or mining comic books for material (IE, Marvel, DC, etc.)

At some point people are going to start clamoring for something new, something that's NOT a 40-year-old comic book, or a reboot-of-a-reboot-of-a-reboot. (Batman Vs. Superman in effect rebooted Dark Knight Rises, which was the end of a trilogy that rebooted the early 90s batnipple movies, which themselves more or less rebooted the character from the campy 60s TV show. Spider-Man, too, was rebooted from the first movie series, and his appearance in Civil War in effect rebooted him again. And so on.)

Now, there's some precedence. Men in Black, for example, was an indie, almost underground comic book that virtually no one had heard of before the movie came out. But the movie was big-budget enough to have a then-top-of-his-game Will Smith and still-high-dollar Tommy Lee Jones in it. Sin City was a somewhat more well known comic, but even here, again, it was only "well known", really, inside comic-enthusiast circles. Everybody and their grandmother's dog knows who Superman is, nobody had any idea who Marv was.

The original Spawn movie of 20 years ago, was another "indie" comic, from the only-slightly-more-known Dark Horse publishing- again, a character that virtually no one outside the comic-geek world knew of.

Cowboys and Aliens has an interesting story behind it- worth looking up, the author literally gamed the system to get it made - and was yet again another unknown indie comic, but managed to rate a big enough budget to land Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig.

Now, they're not gonna run out of paper comics anytime soon. Last time I read folding comics on a regular basis, just Marvel alone had 300-400 characters. There's at least another thirty-plus just X-Men they could use, more if you include the New Mutants.

BUT, I think people will start getting pretty darn tired of superhero movies in just a few more years. Once The Infinity Gauntlet wraps up, anything after that will seem a trite letdown (unless they want to bring in the Beyonder, but it'll take some snappy writing to keep that from looking like a "how can we top THIS?!?" hack.)

So, at what point will some studio mogul happen across A Redtail's Dream or Schlock Mercenary or Gunnerkrigg Court and "discover" webcomics as a source of fresh ideas?

I'm sure any "furry" strip would love to see Disney- or Pixar, or whoever- do a Zootopia-level take on their comic, but Disney, at least, is just scratching the surface of what's possible there. I doubt they need to buy out some dinky webcomic just for the idea of talking polar bears.

But for live-action stuff, who wouldn't want to see a big-screen version of Outsider? Or Godslave? Or for that matter, the author's earlier work Take Off! Grrl Power would seem too much of a superhero movie, unless it was written to be almost a parody, a self-aware take, kind of like A Million Ways to Die in the West.

A CGI Lackadaisy, if done as well as Zootopia, would rock. Skin Deep could work well, too, although it'd take a massive budget for all the motion-capture CGI.

Think it'll ever happen? If so, when?

Doc.
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Joined: February 2nd, 2017, 2:27 pm

June 3rd, 2017, 1:41 am #2

...would be Girl Genius. None of the other ones I follow would not translate to the big screen.

XKCD? Two hours of graduate-level math puns and programing jokes...

Questionable Content: All together now: SHUT UP, DORA.

Girls with Slingshots: Might work as a chick-flick as a young woman grows up realizing that she's an alcoholic her chubby best friend is a lez and life isn't going to get any better from here.

Oh how about Wasted Talent: Engineering humor and Canadian trail-bike culture.


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Joined: October 8th, 2014, 2:05 pm

June 3rd, 2017, 2:08 am #3

I have to agree about Girl Genius. It's got enough eye candy (in characters, tech, and BOOM) to appeal to 12-year-olds of all ages. (Case in point: I have Agatha tattooed on my back.)

Much as I'd love to see Freefall made into a film, I don't think it has enough drama to draw much interest in spite of Sam's best efforts. I don't think anyone has even died in there yet, have they?

Gunnerkrigg Court has potential; it could be spun to attract Twilight & Hunger Games fans easily enough. (Mark Hamill as Coyote, anyone?)

If it ain't broke, I'll fix it!
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Joined: October 28th, 2014, 1:06 am

June 3rd, 2017, 3:58 am #4

I've been talking webcomics with various people online and off, and got to thinking- when will- if ever- webcomics be "discovered"?

Put it this way: It's obvious that the movie studios are getting fairly bereft of ideas, doing little more than either rebooting (or trying to reboot) well-loved old classics (IE, Ghostbusters) or mining comic books for material (IE, Marvel, DC, etc.)

At some point people are going to start clamoring for something new, something that's NOT a 40-year-old comic book, or a reboot-of-a-reboot-of-a-reboot. (Batman Vs. Superman in effect rebooted Dark Knight Rises, which was the end of a trilogy that rebooted the early 90s batnipple movies, which themselves more or less rebooted the character from the campy 60s TV show. Spider-Man, too, was rebooted from the first movie series, and his appearance in Civil War in effect rebooted him again. And so on.)

Now, there's some precedence. Men in Black, for example, was an indie, almost underground comic book that virtually no one had heard of before the movie came out. But the movie was big-budget enough to have a then-top-of-his-game Will Smith and still-high-dollar Tommy Lee Jones in it. Sin City was a somewhat more well known comic, but even here, again, it was only "well known", really, inside comic-enthusiast circles. Everybody and their grandmother's dog knows who Superman is, nobody had any idea who Marv was.

The original Spawn movie of 20 years ago, was another "indie" comic, from the only-slightly-more-known Dark Horse publishing- again, a character that virtually no one outside the comic-geek world knew of.

Cowboys and Aliens has an interesting story behind it- worth looking up, the author literally gamed the system to get it made - and was yet again another unknown indie comic, but managed to rate a big enough budget to land Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig.

Now, they're not gonna run out of paper comics anytime soon. Last time I read folding comics on a regular basis, just Marvel alone had 300-400 characters. There's at least another thirty-plus just X-Men they could use, more if you include the New Mutants.

BUT, I think people will start getting pretty darn tired of superhero movies in just a few more years. Once The Infinity Gauntlet wraps up, anything after that will seem a trite letdown (unless they want to bring in the Beyonder, but it'll take some snappy writing to keep that from looking like a "how can we top THIS?!?" hack.)

So, at what point will some studio mogul happen across A Redtail's Dream or Schlock Mercenary or Gunnerkrigg Court and "discover" webcomics as a source of fresh ideas?

I'm sure any "furry" strip would love to see Disney- or Pixar, or whoever- do a Zootopia-level take on their comic, but Disney, at least, is just scratching the surface of what's possible there. I doubt they need to buy out some dinky webcomic just for the idea of talking polar bears.

But for live-action stuff, who wouldn't want to see a big-screen version of Outsider? Or Godslave? Or for that matter, the author's earlier work Take Off! Grrl Power would seem too much of a superhero movie, unless it was written to be almost a parody, a self-aware take, kind of like A Million Ways to Die in the West.

A CGI Lackadaisy, if done as well as Zootopia, would rock. Skin Deep could work well, too, although it'd take a massive budget for all the motion-capture CGI.

Think it'll ever happen? If so, when?

Doc.
Ursula Vernon blogged some months ago that Disney had optioned something of hers. I don't think she said what it was. She also said it wasn't much money, (more than enough to pay off her bills though). A Disney version of almost anything she's written would be awesome. Some of it's aimed too young, and some, (like Jackalope Wives) is too adult, but Digger would make a good movie I think.
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Joined: May 22nd, 2016, 10:05 pm

June 3rd, 2017, 5:34 am #5

I've been talking webcomics with various people online and off, and got to thinking- when will- if ever- webcomics be "discovered"?

Put it this way: It's obvious that the movie studios are getting fairly bereft of ideas, doing little more than either rebooting (or trying to reboot) well-loved old classics (IE, Ghostbusters) or mining comic books for material (IE, Marvel, DC, etc.)

At some point people are going to start clamoring for something new, something that's NOT a 40-year-old comic book, or a reboot-of-a-reboot-of-a-reboot. (Batman Vs. Superman in effect rebooted Dark Knight Rises, which was the end of a trilogy that rebooted the early 90s batnipple movies, which themselves more or less rebooted the character from the campy 60s TV show. Spider-Man, too, was rebooted from the first movie series, and his appearance in Civil War in effect rebooted him again. And so on.)

Now, there's some precedence. Men in Black, for example, was an indie, almost underground comic book that virtually no one had heard of before the movie came out. But the movie was big-budget enough to have a then-top-of-his-game Will Smith and still-high-dollar Tommy Lee Jones in it. Sin City was a somewhat more well known comic, but even here, again, it was only "well known", really, inside comic-enthusiast circles. Everybody and their grandmother's dog knows who Superman is, nobody had any idea who Marv was.

The original Spawn movie of 20 years ago, was another "indie" comic, from the only-slightly-more-known Dark Horse publishing- again, a character that virtually no one outside the comic-geek world knew of.

Cowboys and Aliens has an interesting story behind it- worth looking up, the author literally gamed the system to get it made - and was yet again another unknown indie comic, but managed to rate a big enough budget to land Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig.

Now, they're not gonna run out of paper comics anytime soon. Last time I read folding comics on a regular basis, just Marvel alone had 300-400 characters. There's at least another thirty-plus just X-Men they could use, more if you include the New Mutants.

BUT, I think people will start getting pretty darn tired of superhero movies in just a few more years. Once The Infinity Gauntlet wraps up, anything after that will seem a trite letdown (unless they want to bring in the Beyonder, but it'll take some snappy writing to keep that from looking like a "how can we top THIS?!?" hack.)

So, at what point will some studio mogul happen across A Redtail's Dream or Schlock Mercenary or Gunnerkrigg Court and "discover" webcomics as a source of fresh ideas?

I'm sure any "furry" strip would love to see Disney- or Pixar, or whoever- do a Zootopia-level take on their comic, but Disney, at least, is just scratching the surface of what's possible there. I doubt they need to buy out some dinky webcomic just for the idea of talking polar bears.

But for live-action stuff, who wouldn't want to see a big-screen version of Outsider? Or Godslave? Or for that matter, the author's earlier work Take Off! Grrl Power would seem too much of a superhero movie, unless it was written to be almost a parody, a self-aware take, kind of like A Million Ways to Die in the West.

A CGI Lackadaisy, if done as well as Zootopia, would rock. Skin Deep could work well, too, although it'd take a massive budget for all the motion-capture CGI.

Think it'll ever happen? If so, when?

Doc.
Actually, my first thought is that you seriously underestimated the age of most of these comic book series. Marvel's are mostly from fifty years ago, except Captain America, which started during WWII. DC's big three, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman all started during the 30's.

That's actually part of the answer. It took decades for enough fans-of-the-genre to get enough clout in Hollywood to get those comic books put into serious movies. Evn then, there's a lot of failures. (Marvel's success, I think, is due in large part to Stan Lee.)

Anyway, there's no money being made in web comics (that I know of). Therefore, Hollywood probably won't be interested.

I'm not sure that Hollywood being interested would be a good thing. For every successful and wonderful adaptation out there (Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, 2001: A Space Odyssey, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harry Potter, to name a few) There are a dozen (or more) horrible bombs. Like the Green Lantern movie, the Jan Michael Vincent version of Damnation Alley, the adaptation of Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising or the John Carter movie.

These were not only horrible movies and financial failures, they pretty much guaranteed that these wonderful books will never be made into decent movies.

All's not lost, though. The bande dessinée (or French-Belgian graphic novels) have never been super popular in the US, but the TinTin movie did well and a movie based on the even more obscure Valerian & Laureline is coming out next month.
Love thou the rose, yet leave it on its stem. -- Edward Bulwer-Lytton
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Joined: May 22nd, 2016, 10:05 pm

June 3rd, 2017, 5:43 am #6

I have to agree about Girl Genius. It's got enough eye candy (in characters, tech, and BOOM) to appeal to 12-year-olds of all ages. (Case in point: I have Agatha tattooed on my back.)

Much as I'd love to see Freefall made into a film, I don't think it has enough drama to draw much interest in spite of Sam's best efforts. I don't think anyone has even died in there yet, have they?

Gunnerkrigg Court has potential; it could be spun to attract Twilight & Hunger Games fans easily enough. (Mark Hamill as Coyote, anyone?)
It's storyline could easily be made into a trilogy. The characters are interesting and there's enough drama, humor and action for movie-goers of all ages.
Love thou the rose, yet leave it on its stem. -- Edward Bulwer-Lytton
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 3rd, 2017, 8:48 am #7

...would be Girl Genius. None of the other ones I follow would not translate to the big screen.

XKCD? Two hours of graduate-level math puns and programing jokes...

Questionable Content: All together now: SHUT UP, DORA.

Girls with Slingshots: Might work as a chick-flick as a young woman grows up realizing that she's an alcoholic her chubby best friend is a lez and life isn't going to get any better from here.

Oh how about Wasted Talent: Engineering humor and Canadian trail-bike culture.

I don't necessarily mean a "direct translation". IE, lift Black & Blue and translate it to the big screen, frame-by-frame, like they did 300. (Although that'd be cool. )

The idea I'm trying to get across here is that moviegoers are going to get as tired of superhero movies, as they were in the sixties over Western movies. (Something like half of all movies produced in the late 50s to early 60s were Westerns- John Wayne alone did something like 170 movies, over half of which were westerns.)

At some point, moviegoers are going to want something new. Not a reboot of a rebooted reboot. New and interesting.

And webcomics offer something like that. Girl Genius would make an excellent one, but the storyline would have to be drastically pared down, and two thirds of the characters omitted or deleted.

Questionable Content makes a great webcomic, but isn't quite wild enough to make a good movie. You could make something of the "illegal robot fighting league" thing, but there's no reason to buy that particular property from QC- besides, it'd be seen as a ripoff of Real Steel.

One I'd LOVE to see would be Spacetrawler. It's a very well done, standalone storyline, that with only a little bit of paring down, could be pretty easily turned into a movie. Live-action-with-CGI like Guardians of the Galaxy, or all-CGI like Zootopia.

Some other sadly-long-departed strips that would make for a good movie might be <i>Sin Titulo
(archives unavailable) which was a pretty good psychological thriller, Twenty Seven, which would be another sorta-horror thriller (and which the authors have already tried to pitch as an indie short film) Fleep, which takes place entirely within the confines of a single phone booth (and unlike Phone Booth, I mean entirely within- neither the protagonist nor the audience can see past the walls of the booth) Bookhunter, by the same author, or the long-dead and oft-lamented Monica Furious, which would make a great cyberpunk, digital-future action flick.

Doc.</i>
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 3rd, 2017, 8:57 am #8

It's storyline could easily be made into a trilogy. The characters are interesting and there's enough drama, humor and action for movie-goers of all ages.
Freefall is a bit too... benign, I guess is a good word. There's very little cinematic action.

It'd take a serious rewrite, and you'd have to change major parts of the plot. Like start with the first test flight of Sam's ship, then the strm, then the flood and rescue, then Florence getting lost and injured, then running into the vet.

After that, what? Finish repairing the ship? Make another trip to the Golden Trough? No, you'd have to change it so there's a bad guy- a real bad guy, not just Kornada. A couple of Ecosystems Unlimited goons out to either capture or kill the wolf, leading to chase where a wounded Florence and a "why is this happening to me?" Winston have to make their way through steam tunnels and access ducts to get away, while Sam and Helix foment an AI-rights robot rebellion or something.

And I'm not just dumping on Freefall- my own strip has no cinematically-interesting storyline, so an entirely new- and considerably more interesting and faster paced - plot would have to be written.

Doc.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 3rd, 2017, 9:04 am #9

Ursula Vernon blogged some months ago that Disney had optioned something of hers. I don't think she said what it was. She also said it wasn't much money, (more than enough to pay off her bills though). A Disney version of almost anything she's written would be awesome. Some of it's aimed too young, and some, (like Jackalope Wives) is too adult, but Digger would make a good movie I think.
A Zootopia-quality Digger would rock. Digger was an excellent, self-contained, relatively fast-paced storyline that could indeed make for a very good movie. You certainly wouldn't be accused or ripping anything off, or rebooting anything, making that one.

But actually, as Disney is still kind of a kids-movie company, it might be more likely that one or more of the Dragonbreath or Hamsterprincess works were what they were after.

Doc.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

June 3rd, 2017, 9:41 am #10

Actually, my first thought is that you seriously underestimated the age of most of these comic book series. Marvel's are mostly from fifty years ago, except Captain America, which started during WWII. DC's big three, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman all started during the 30's.

That's actually part of the answer. It took decades for enough fans-of-the-genre to get enough clout in Hollywood to get those comic books put into serious movies. Evn then, there's a lot of failures. (Marvel's success, I think, is due in large part to Stan Lee.)

Anyway, there's no money being made in web comics (that I know of). Therefore, Hollywood probably won't be interested.

I'm not sure that Hollywood being interested would be a good thing. For every successful and wonderful adaptation out there (Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, 2001: A Space Odyssey, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harry Potter, to name a few) There are a dozen (or more) horrible bombs. Like the Green Lantern movie, the Jan Michael Vincent version of Damnation Alley, the adaptation of Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising or the John Carter movie.

These were not only horrible movies and financial failures, they pretty much guaranteed that these wonderful books will never be made into decent movies.

All's not lost, though. The bande dessinée (or French-Belgian graphic novels) have never been super popular in the US, but the TinTin movie did well and a movie based on the even more obscure Valerian & Laureline is coming out next month.
That's actually part of the answer. It took decades for enough fans-of-the-genre to get enough clout in Hollywood to get those comic books put into serious movies.

-The fans didn't drive the "superhero boom". They were the target audience, yes- the kids reading comics in the 80s and 90s are old enough to be their own demographic now.

The thing was, nobody took superhero works seriously for years- decades, really. We had things like the crappy Captain America movie and even crappier Spider-Man TV series back in the late 70s, and the not-really-true-to-the-character Batmans of the 90s.

It finally took the success of the first X-Men film in 2000 to turn the tide. It was a big-budget, star-laden film that, thanks to a director who was a true enthusiast of the source material, stayed, well, true to the source material. (At least, given cinematic limitations of time.)

That showed Hollywood in general that a "comic book movie" could succeed- not just succeed, but become a blockbuster. And they realized that hey, there's like fifty years worth of comics out there, spanning hundreds of titles and hundreds of well-known, even iconic characters.

Marvel tried to cash in by selling off the rights to Spidey, the Fantastic Four, and some others (some of which happened long before the X-men movie came out) before realizing that those other studios were basically destroying the franchise- IE, the crappy third Spider Man, the almost-as-crappy third X-Men- that actually killed off a prime character just because the director personally didn't like him! - the crappy first Hulk, the crappy first Fantastic Four, and so on.

However, thanks to an influx of cash from the successful ones (the two X-Mens, the first two Spideys) Marvel decided to launch their own studio- after all, who better to handle their characters than their creators?

That led to the first of the "Marvel Cinematic Universe" movies, Iron Man, which knocked it out of the park. Then, brilliant planning and more brilliant movies and they've got a franchise going, which they then sold to Disney for approximately All The Money.

Anyway, there's no money being made in web comics (that I know of). Therefore, Hollywood probably won't be interested.

-Yes and no. Unfortunately, today, movie makers are a bit gun-shy, especially on the big-ticket movies ($100M budgets and up.) And so want the "assurance" of a ready-made, built-in audience to target.

But that doesn't mean you can only make movies of things people already know about. There were no "cyborg police officer" fan clubs before RoboCop came out, there was no long book series on the Titanic before that movie was filmed, and there was no big resurgence in Egyptology gripping the nation before Stargate was made.

Hell, I'm old enough to remember when action movies were written specifically for an actor: Commando, Bloodsport, Demolition Man, Predator, Cyborg, Lethal Weapon, ad nauseum.

Doc.
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