Today it’s hard to turn on you’re TV or watch a movie without seeing something adapted from novels, comics or video games showing up. Lord of the Rings, Superman and Lara Croft are just a few of the names that have made the jump between different media platforms. Sometimes the jump can be succesful both financially and critically, though every so often you find they bomb horribly on all fronts. Which leads me to beg the question, who thinks some of these things deserve to be reinterpretted?
News recently broke out that Neil Gaiman’s Sandman would be making the jump to TV. Comic fans seem to be about 50/50 when it comes to how they feel. I’ve seen opinions vary in such degree on twitter that one person claimed Neil Gaiman has lost his mind to another who said Sandman would only ever work with Gaiman behind the wheel. The Sandman series has both a visual style and an overall tone to it’s stories that personally, I’m not sure how well it will translate to TV, and if you can’t make something that’s going to please your 20+ years of fans why bother making it at all?
I’m not saying the Sandman series doesn’t stand a chance at being successful. I’ve seen things I thought would bomb turn out to be great. Especially with Neil Gaiman and Geoff Johns in charge of the series, it’s hard to argue that they’ll deliver on any promises they make. But look at how Jonah Hex, another legendary comic book character, fared when his story was adapted for the big screen. The film doesn’t do the character justice, and while it honestly could have been much worse (I’ll get to how shortly) the film didn’t even attract new fans to see it. Most times when an adaption fails to please the die hard fans, it at least entertains the new viewers who aren’t familiar with the character. When it comes down to Jonah Hex, it didn’t seem to find many fans, though I’ll admit I picked it up on DVD recently at Blockbuster for really dirt cheap.
Perhaps the biggest film adaptation flop ever is the movie we all love to hate, Howard the Duck. This film is so bad, I’m surprised Executive Producer George Lucas hasn’t made it disappear like he did the Star Wars Holiday Special! If you’ve never seen it, it deserves a once through so you can understand why it is so widely hated though you may want to be under the influence of some kind of substance so you don’t kill yourself. Let’s put it this way, there’s Duck boobs and a scene of near Beastiality (Human on Duck Coitus). Don’t ask me how they got away with it, the world may never know.
So again I ask, who sits back and decides to make these horrible adaptations? Not all of them are bad, as there are many great versions out there of our beloved characters. All I’m saying is someone needs to sit back and go “Hmm, I wonder if this will work…” And after weeks of deliberation they can go to a Studio and give them a thumbs up or thumbs down. God, I wish someone had given Howard the Duck a thumbs down before it got made. But with Sandman the television series officially in production, only time will tell if it makes the cut or if its destined for Aquaman-like fame. Hello Pilot, Goodbye Series.
Peter is an editor/writer for BigDamnGeeks.com and has a new weekly blog on Pop Culture Zoo. He says “Shazam!” on a daily basis and is always disappointed. He’s extremely giddy that he worked the word “Coitus” into an article.