Thank you, Deadpool. Thank you for kicking the door open for R-rated comic book movies that don’t suck. Thank you for showing Hollywood and Marvel and everyone out there that you can make a comic book movie for adults and it will still make money.
As a matter of fact, a great deal of money seeing as to how Deadpool is the most financially successful R-rated movie OF ALL F*CKING TIME. After that they took an other shot at it with Logan and gave us one of the richest, most moving comic book films of all time, filled with nods to the old-school westerns our parents grew up watching. Those two films just forever changed the landscape of the comic book movie.
Frankly, the way some material is watered down for some PG-13 comic movies just isn’t okay. Now that Deadpool and Logan have forever changed how Hollywood sees the R-rated comic book movie, we have to wonder what other badass R-rated comic book movies we will be getting next (fingers crossed for Venom being a hard R).
Here are fifteen very adult-oriented comic books that should be made into R-rated movies STAT!
(Presented in no particular order)
Locke and Key
Locke and Key was a comic book series about a family who experience a tragedy and move away to escape it, only to end up in a house that has a myriad of morbid secrets that slowly reveal themselves and start tearing the family asunder. Written by Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill, the series packs plenty of scares, some gore, some genuine emotion, and is very much like a modern take on the fairy tale that the whole world would become smitten with if given the chance.
Though there have been rumors of this being a TV show, only the pilot exists so far and getting your hands on it is next to impossible (trailer above). Would LOVE to see what they could do with this story and the freedom of an R-rating, so they don’t have to skimp on the gore, death, or mature subject matter.
Rumor is this one (like example above) may have already landed a show deal, and judging by American Gods, that could be a really good thing, but I cannot help but feel like this story could work really well in a 2 hour + movie chocked full of brooding atmosphere and violence.
Scalped is about life on a Native-American reservation where an ex-con is sort of tricked into being part of the law that patrols the somewhat lawless land. Could be very “The Revenant” if they did it right. It also offers a better glimpse into a life and culture many of us know little about.
Johnny the Homicidal Maniac
This one would be a hard sell, and even getting an R-rating on this comic book movie would be tough as it is BRUTALLY violent (as if the name didn’t give that away already). JTHM as fans call it is a book about a malcontent named Johnny who has to paint his walls in the blood of his victims to quiet the demon voices.
But it is very self-aware and satirical, with nods to Cthulhu and other pop culture phenomenon and it could be the “Shaun of the Dead” of gory comic book movies because it is just that f*cking good and twisted and funny. I wouldn’t hold your breath for this one, though. (side note, creator of JTHM is also the creator of the beloved Invader Zim cartoon from the 90’s).
You get a briefcase, you get a job to do, and you have exactly 100 bullets to do it. Sounds simple in premise, but once you crack the surface of this broody, noir story, you realize this thing has so many complex and interweaving layers and characters that jaws would drop if this were adapted properly.
There are also many storylines that run in 100 Bullets, they could adapt it like Sin City and pick specific chapters, characters, and stories to tell (and they have so much grade-A material, you could make it a series of films). Make this movie with Tom Hardy (like rumored) and watch it rake in the billions.
Robert Kirkman of Walking Dead fame also has done a superhero comic called Invincible about, well, an invincible (or is he?) superhero facing all the tropes you see in comic books, only Invincible flips it with extreme violence, compelling characters who evolve and devolve across the series, and a father and son relationship that needs to be seen to be believed. Won’t spoil anymore than that. Just put it this way: Your Dad is not as bad as you thought.
And with Kirkman’s work being so hot right now, it is actually kind of shocking someone hasn’t been smart enough to make this movie yet. It would be the movie Kick-Ass could’ve been.
Neil Gaiman. American Gods. Do I even need to say more? He also wrote this DC Vertigo series about the titular king of dreams, and MY GOD, it is a comic book that changes the lives of those who read it. There is so much going on, and to see characters like Death and the Sandman represented in such a way where they are palpably believable is unheard of.
There are also some truly disturbing horror elements to Sandman (the diner scene, that is all I need to say) that would launch Sandman into R-rated comic book movie territory quickly. Rumor is Joseph Gordon-Levitt bought the rights and intends to play the main character (which would work really well) but little else is known at this point.
Okay, I want you to imagine Batman (not the last time I am going to ask you to do this in this article, by the way) and now I want you to imagine him EVEN MORE out-of-his-mind and having no issues whatsoever with killing and maiming people. Pretty fucking cool, right? Well, that is basically Moon Knight (much more to the story than that, but same overall feel, except Moon Knight is in all white).
I mean, dude skins a guy’s face and puts it on a mask in his house. How many comic book movies would be brave enough to go THERE!?
In theory and name, Animal Man sounds like cheese, but you need to understand, it is anything but. Especially the most modern reboot of the book, which deals with almost Cronenberg levels of body-horror, while also lamenting about societal issues.
I know, it sounds insane. Political aggrandizing mixed with nightmarish body horror does not sound like a fun cocktail, but Animal Man has so much going for it, and a good R-Rated movie would expose this amazing character to more people.
Also, it is so wickedly different it would turn some heads in the process.
Y-The Last Man
A very simple premise. All men on earth die out except for one, and he does magic tricks and has a pet monkey. Thing is, only the men died out, not the women. Do you see where I am going with this?
So Y is a dystopian comic, but with genuine moments of lightheartedness and creativity galore. It would also be interesting to see how outrage culture would react to such a film and idea. You THINK being the last man on Earth when the earth is filled with women would be fun, but as this story shows, not everything is as simple as it first appears.
Okay, I know I have been putting some rarities and comics no one has heard of on this list, so I think it is time to take things back to mainstream Marvel. The most recent lineup for X-Force consists of mutants who have no problem doing the dirty work that teams like the X-Men and the Avengers won’t. This means you have fan favorites like Domino looking hot as shit and shooting dudes in the face. What is there not to like about that? Plus killer Wolverine doing what he does best!
It would end up being like Marvel’s version of Suicide Squad, only darker and (probably) far better.
We have all been waiting on this one for a long time now. Though a Spawn movie came out in the 90’s, it was marred by a PG-13 rating, bad budget, and shitty CG. Whereas the comic was an almost Faustian tale of redemption, the movie became another Batman clone, when it had so much more potential than that.
Creator Todd McFarlane SWEARS an R-rated reboot will be coming out that is much truer to the comic than the original movie, but he has been saying that for decades now and we have seen no proof. Still, it is nice to dream. Also, HBO’s animated show (seen above) was pretty dope, so there is that.
This is where the list gets a little dicy. You see, Crossed opens with a crazed lunatic fucking the blowhole of a dead dolphin. Yes, you just read that correctly. Crossed is SO FUCKED UP AND BRUTAL, it would probably land an NC-17 rating, but the shit is just so twisted and jarring, there are people who would pay to see it and be traumatized by it. It is like zombies on speed and viagra who also have rabies.
Crossed is about a virus that turns people into feral, insane, out-of-control kill/rape machines. They get these weird crucifix burn mark on their face, and their only goal is to rape and kill and maim everything ceaselessly. Crossed would be a very scary and unique twist on the “zombie virus” movie trope and I would be both scared and curious to see how well that adapted to film. Maybe just leave out some of the incest.
Speaking of incest…..
Remember when I asked you to think about Batman? I want you to do that again, but this time, imagine him as a bad guy (in all white again for some reason) who GETS OFF on violence and chaos, and you have a pretty good idea what Nemesis is about.
Nemesis is a comic book that follows the bad guy instead of the good guy for once. We see him kill cops. We see him make a brother and sister have sex, it is some really awful stuff. But let’s not forget, we live in a world where A Serbian Film exists so don’t act like Nemesis isn’t possible because it is TOO dark.
Speaking of the dark, nothing darker than a….
Perhaps my very favorite graphic novel of all time (that took author and illustrator Charles Burns a DECADE to finish), Black Hole takes the idea of STD’s and mutates them (see what I did there). Taking place in Seattle in the 70’s, Black Hole presents the readers with the idea of an STD that gets transmitted around one small town through it’s sexually active high school students. What makes it so exceptional is that the disease turns said people into mutants. One girl will grow a tail for example, while a boy will be afflicted with boils all over his face or a forked tongue. It is body horror at its psycho-sexual best, and the world needs to see it realized from start to end.
Saddest part is, David Fincher (the greatest director alive, by the way) is so passionate about Black Hole, owns the rights and has tried and tried to no avail to make it happen. But mark my words, we WILL get a Black Hole movie one day.
Fuck Star Wars (and I love that shit). Fuck the Mass Effect series (and I loved that shit up to part 3). Fuck Battlestar Galactica reboot (which was tight AF). When it comes to a science fiction opera that is as good as sci fi gets, nothing can touch Saga right now.
To even try to explain Saga to you would be daunting, but I can tell you it has the old “two different species who shouldn’t mate mated and created something amazing” trope so many comics use (Preacher as one example). But Saga goes one further by taking those Romeo and Juliet elements and placing them in space. It is a love story, an action story, a drama, a tragedy, and everything in between. But there is sex, violence, inappropriate humor, and all the other wonderful elements that would land it an R-rating. Still, though, if this does not get made, I am gonna be pissed.
So which of these would you most want to see? What cool, adult comics did we leave off the list? Hit us up in our comments and let us know!