There's no denying it, movies about superheros and comic books are more popular than ever, and with the massive successes of Marvel and DC, it's no surprise that some of the smaller publishers are about to get in on the action.
It looks like there are two new comic-book films in the works, one from Valiant, and the other from Image.
Valiant has chosen to adapt its Archer & Armstrong series (running since the 90s), featuring an incredible martial artist and his partner, an immortal with a taste for booze! According to AICN, the script has been finished, and Valiant is looking to start production ASAP.
I think that this will make a fantastic live-action feature! For one thing, it promises a lot of hand-to-hand combat with some seriously flashy moves - I imagine fight scenes similar to those in Arrow, or between Bucky and Cap in The Winter Solider. A huge part of my love of superhero movies is about the fighting skills - I love seeing swordplay, knife fights and martial arts, and would much rather see two truly skilled opponents than people shooting blindly at each other.
I'm also excited to see Armstrong - not just for the probable comic relief of the big drunk dude, but because he is described as having "a penchant for mayhem and inebriated fisticuffs" and that makes me think he's my kind of guy!
Finally, I think that it is a very smart move on the part of Valiant to choose a duo who fight against the One Percent, an evil Wall Street society who wear bull or bear masks. Clearly this is a very relevant kind of "bad guy" and I think that it will have huge appeal. In the same way that V for Vendetta has become a symbol for the occupy movement, the bull and bear masks could join the Guy masks for those protesting the current distribution of wealth.
For Image Comics, the series Age of Heroes by James Hudnall has been optioned by Bad Hat Harry, with Alex Hollister hired to write the script.
Age of Heroes is definitely a bold move, as unlike Archer & Armstrong (and most of the standard superhero movies), it is not set in a version of our own world. Instead, these books sit firmly within the realm of fantasy, featuring gods, magic and monsters. Imagine a Thor movie set entirely within Asgard, or something closer to Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. Which means, of course, that it should prove to be pretty epic! (If you like that sort of thing, which I absolutely do.)
Rather than seeing huge battles and explosions over the streets of Manhattan, expect a much more medieval vibe, with swordfights aplenty. Rather than focusing on one specific character, the heroes are a team of seven.
Seven misfits and outcasts were brought together by fate. They are presented with a problem the gods themselves can't solve. For the gods are no longer in the world. They are Drake, the blind bard. Conor, a one-armed sell sword. Glinda the weaver. Mael, knight of the burning crystal. Wex, a Dalen monk. Luko and Aerwyn, clever thieves. The actions of these seven will usher in a new age. The Age of Heroes.
Team superhero movies are definitely becoming more and more popular, so it's a good bet for this one. X-Men have been a staple of the genre for a while, but now that Marvel has the Avengers and DC looks to have a Justice League movie in the works, everyone is getting in on the team action. It's not hard to see why - a wider range of characters means that you can appeal to a wider range of viewers.
The other big news about the Age of Heroes movie is that Bad Hat Harry is the production company owner by Bryan Singer. Best known as the director of many of the X-Men movies, Singer's future with the franchise is currently up in the air as he deals with sexual assault allegations. I love his recent work on the X-Men, and would still like to see him direct Age of Apocalypse, but should that not happen, it is good to know that he has another project up his sleeve.
What do you think? Are you excited for these new options, and have you read any of the books already? Are you a Singer fan, or do you think someone else should take on the directing of Age of Heroes? Comment and let me know!