Is there a hero or character in any of the indie publishers that could have the same marketability as say Spider-Man or Batman? More specifically, do you think there is a hero or character that could resonate with kids from an early age, then carry over into a their adult life?
Mai Byers: Wonder Woman! Again, I want to see more girls. As a girl I loved superhero and ninja stuff but was always dejected because there were no girls. I was a big fan of April O’neil from TMNT but felt frustrated that she was always having to be saved instead of kicking some butt herself. If there was a really big movie with Wonder Woman I think it could do a lot for getting girls into comics.
Asaph Bitner: There’s no character that I can think of off the top of my head that I could see being that marketable. Image (The biggest indie company as far as I know, and if any of them would try to compete with the big two, it would probably be Image), it seems to me, is more adult-oriented. Also, the way Image operates means that no one book or character get the disproportionate amount of attention from fans, or from the company itself, that enables such a rise in popularity as Spider-Man and Batman enjoy.
Alex Byers: Hmmm, from what I’ve read in Image, I can’t think of single characters that have that kind of marketability. The characters from The Invincible would probably be easiest. East of West is only going to resonate with a certain crowd. Let me take that back, Saga will have marketability due to the unique characters. That would be partly thanks to some characters looking like they came from FLCL. People would potentially cosplay the heck out of that series. I don’t think Image has any titles, that I know of, that are going to carry over from childhood to adulthood because they have too much realism for kids. There is something to that publisher that I think my generation of comic lovers have been looking for. Probably largely due to Image comics not being so mainstream and marketable.
Jesse Quick: In terms of marketability no company is going to match what either DC or Marvel has to offer. They don’t have just comic characters they have movie characters, action figures, cartoon characters, backpacks, pogs, parade balloons, lunch pales, they have an entire world of which the comics are actually a relatively small part and no company with “just” comic characters can compete with that in terms of marketability. However I do think that the characters could find a niche and resonate with kids to adulthood. Specifically Invincible who is interesting and written by Robert Kirkman which is just kind of a win right now.
Mike Sains: I can not help but feel like we are all missing an obvious answer. One that is right under all of our noses, but, sadly since I can’t think of it. I must agree with all of you. There simply isn’t a book that I can think of that has all of the right elements to turn into a Zeitgeist-level hit. Maybe Five Weapons or America’s Got Powers could hit big with the young adult audiences, but those are two of the more obscure titles in Image’s roster. I’m coming up empty, here. I hope someone suggests something to us in the comments section. : )
Will any of these choices or publishers ever be able to compete with Marvel and DC on film? Or, just like the comics, do you think it would be a smaller level of return financially?
Mai Byers: I don’t. Not really. Even if you’ve never read a Spider-man comic you know who he is. Same with all the other blockbuster titles that come out from the Marvel and DC. They are just going to get a lot of hype just from the character they are.
Asaph Bitner: I don’t think such a film would bring in Avengers or Dark Knight levels of money (although we could be surprised. Nobody predicted that The Walking Dead would be as big a TV hit as it turned out to be). But I could definitely see such a film make very good returns, even great ones.
Alex Byers: I think they can compete title by title, but not franchise wise. There isn’t enough sequel rich options available because all Image comics don’t stem from the same gigantic universe. Image titles are all stand alone and that is why they can’t compete against a universe of collective titles that can cross into each other. That’s apples and oranges.
Jesse Quick: I think on a comic by comic basis, yes Image has the raw talent to make it into the movie business. Their problem is that they aren’t going to be able to leverage themselves as easily as Marvel has. Not having a shared universe means each comic will essentially have to start out on its own merits, which is probably a good thing. But if they get enough movies out there to start their own movie publishing house, I could see them doing something special.
Mike Sains: Personally, I feel like if Image or Dark Horse established themselves as more adult-oriented action / drama films, they might be able to carve our their own place right next to some of the less successful Marvel releases and certainly blow right past some of the larger DC flops like Green Lantern. I don’t see why, even though they lack a cohesive cinematic universe, at least one publisher couldn’t make at least 50-100 million dollars on a few of their best titles.
Bonus-s-s-s: Of the indie comic iterations already on film (Sin City, Witch Blade, Spawn, 300, etc.) which is your favorite or least favorite so far?
Mai Byers: Sin City! I watched the movie first and then went through and read the whole series. Didn’t hurt that the cinematography was amazing.
Asaph Bitner: You mentioned Sin City and 300, and I like both movies a lot (I do need to clarify: I’ve only read some of the source material of Sin City and none of 300). Another indie adaptation I really enjoyed was Wanted. They seriously veered away from the comic, but it was a great, highly stylized action film with a pretty kick-ass ending.
Alex Byers: Favorite indies is probably Scott Pilgrim. But that’s mainly because Watchmen is now part of the machine.
Jesse Quick: I really liked Sin City. I thought it took risks visually that really really paid off as it had a style that still feels unique. The plot line was also kind of a risk as it had interweaving character arcs and came the closest to a shared continuity in a single film that we’ve ever seen. I also liked how it managed to keep its comic roots (with the narrations and effects which might as well have been splash pages) without losing its roots, it didn’t try to be darker than it needed to be nor did it try to hide from its dark roots. Plus it had Mickey Rourke in probably his best role ever so there.
Mike Sains: I would have to go Scott Pilgrim and Sin City as my two favorites. They were so fun to both look at and follow along with, even without prior knowledge to the books, themselves. The worst one, though, would have to be Spawn. John Leguizamo as The Clown still upsets me to this day. Let us all forget that ever happened. (I’m sad, now)