Cinema is finally tooling up for its bloody battle against the censors and comic book movies are finally leading toward their intended origins, while more and more R-rated films are sneaking into cinemas. Past mistakes like Spawn and Punisher are forgotten in a resurgence of wisecracking potty mouths and clawed Wolverines. While some #superhero films still limit their splashes of violence to final battle scenes or grisly origins, the pages that they come from are dripping with red ink. For too long we have been kept happy with Peter Parker for kids and Tony Stark's grinning face.
With the runaway success of the likes of #Deadpool and #Logan, and with a rumored Lobo film in the works, we could finally be getting the comicverse that adults deserve. DC is unsurprisingly circling the pot of gold that is R-rated films, and with such gritty source material to go on, is the #comicbook powerhouse ready to take the plunge? As we long for for the blue-skinned Lobo, there are so many other #DC comic book entities that lend themselves for a bloody R-rating. Bye bye Batman, the joke's on the Joker, and no way Nightwing, because here are 5 more R-rated comic books that need an R-rated feature film.
1. The Authority
Unafraid of its ultra-violent stance, The Authority was actually censored during its run, particularly following the Mark Millar and Frank Quitely takeover after issue #12. Following a team of superheroes who were unafraid to get the job done (no matter what the cost), The Authority could serve as the studios very own dark Avengers or more grown up Justice League, this is especially true considering that most of the characters were actually created as a homage to Marvel and DC's existing entities.
Remembered for probably the wrong reasons, the most violent scene sees escaped hero the Midnighter go back and slaughter all the replacement Authority heroes; however, If that wasn't enough, there was also the time that the Midnighter sodomizes hero the Commander with a jackhammer for raping his partner Apollo. The Midnighter served as the Batman character that we secretly really want, kicking ass and slaughtering villains left right and center. If The Authority doesn't get made, a Midnighter-centric story should somehow be brought to our screens.
Why no one has made a film about a dead trapeze artist, who can possess the living and solves crimes, is a damn mystery. The recent, but so-so, Justice League Dark animation showed just how funny Deadman could be, almost setting him up with Deadpool-esque NSFW humor. Deadman himself comes from controversial origins, representing the first known depiction of narcotics for a story approved by the Comics Code Authority.
Guillermo Del Toro has previously expressed an interest in creating a live-action Deadman, but that project seems as dead as the titular character. There have also been several crossovers between the character and the likes of Batman, so with the #DCEU obviously expanding, Deadman should definitely swing in for a visit.
3. The Boys
Although no longer technically featured under the DC umbrella, Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson's co-creation could surely be persuaded back into the fold with the temptation of an feature-film. The running joke that it out preachers Preacher, The Boys could be nothing less than R-rated, but even that would be a struggle — this is one comic that should technically be banned!
The Boys perfectly fits the anti-superhero tone for those who are a bit fed up of flying fops saving the day. Basically, all superheroes are bastards. The Boys are a black-ops CIA team who keep the supes under control, usually with violence or blackmail. Scenes of horror include the President being mauled by a wolverine (no, not that one) and a Russian crime boss being killed with an exploding vibrator. Well, you can't knock them for their imagination.
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Published by DC from 1997-2002, Transmetropolitan gifted us one of the most violent comic book characters out there, renegade journalist Spider Jerusalem. For those who are yet to dip into the pages of the comic, it follows Spider into a dystopian world full of paedophiles and cannibals, held up by the succession of two power-mad presidents (how timely).
Spider's signature weapon is the "bowel disruptor" which causes the obvious, as well as rectal prolapse — and you thought Deadpool was high on the toilet humor. Way back in 2003, there were rumors that Sir Patrick Stewart's production company was interested in bringing the idea to our screens, later proposed as an animated web series with Stewart as Spider. Co-creator Warren Ellis had said that he envisioned Tim Roth in the lead role, but as of 2010 it was confirmed no such plans were in the pipeline. Although Transmetropolitan is almost a step too far, it could serve as a modern day Clockwork Orange.
5. Before Watchmen
However, there is one R-rated superhero franchise that certainly already has an audience on and off screen - DC's Watchmen. One of the biggest gripes of Zack Snyder's 2009 film was the break-neck speed that we swept over the history of the original Minutemen. Packed full of gore-laden demises and poetic justice for the team of heroes, there is more than enough material for a whole universe of Watchmen films.
With an R-rating, Watchmen remains one of the most divisive superhero films out there, but is actually vastly underrated. Perhaps the landscape at the time wasn't ready for a film that was so sprawling, but with the Watchmen being officially accepted into DC comics with the Rebirth storylines, and a darker horizon coming, more Watchmen is a must.
While any of the above adaptations are a long way off, they also present more of risk than DC is used to. Even critically panned films like Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman were commercial successes, thanks in part to the already established world they were entering.
Recent news that DC is willing to take on R-rated films "given the right characters" gives promise to that we could soon be getting a more violent DCEU. However, bringing Spider Jerusalem or The Boys to our screens relies on a very small sect of fandom. However, with more gore than you can shake Deadpool at, it would be one bloody brilliant ball if any of them made it into production. One day DC, one day!
Check out the R-rated Logan trailer to remind yourself that it was the superhero film we all deserved,and don't forget our poll below!
Which adaptation would you most like to see?
(Image source: DC)