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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and 5 other comics that deserve the animated treatment


Out now in Cineworld, comic book spin-off movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has been hailed as a triumph by both critics and Cineworld's own Unlimited members. (Don't believe us? Click here to read the Unlimited reactions.)

One of the main reasons is that it introduces us to a mind-melting new superhero concept: the Spider-Man 'multi-verse' that's populated by a host of memorable Spider-Men and Women, focusing primarily on mixed race teenager Miles Morales (Shameik Moore). It's a visually exuberant and brilliantly self-referential movie that both cherishes and pokes fun at the Spidey legacy.

It's also the first animated movie within Sony's expanding Spider-Man canon, and arguably the first of their films to have the tactile feel of an actual comic book, popping with all manner of beautifully animated sequences and sly in-jokes. (It's no surprise that the architects are Phil Lord and Chris Miller, responsible for 2014's runaway hit The LEGO Movie.)

Given how successfully Spider-Man has translated into animation, here are five other classic comic books that we feel deserve the same treatment…

Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

1. Batman Beyond

Batman Beyond depicts a futuristic vision of Batman, focusing on an older Caped Crusader, Terry McGinnis, who dons a new, black and red, high-tech Batsuit after Bruce Wayne's retirement.

With different and returning elderly villains, there is plenty on offer for a Batman Beyond animated film. Just as with Into the Spider-Verse, there is lots of scope here for lush animated visuals that might be too difficult to translate into live-action, and a different kind of continuity set in the future.

Batman Beyond was in fact translated into a 1999 TV movie (featuring fan favourite Kevin Conroy as the voice of Bruce Wayne), but we're thinking a feature-length epic is what's really needed to do the mythology justice.

2. The Green Lantern

While DC is currently developing a Green Lantern Corps film with a potential 2020 release date, we think there is more than enough material for an animated Green Lantern film too.

While both titular hero Hal Jordan and John Stewart (essentially the back-up Green Lantern) are said to be the protagonists of the Green Lantern Corps movie, there is still potential for a series of animated films. Including those two, there have been a grand total of 10 different Green Lanterns since 1940.

With multiple universes to explore throughout time and space, there are endless possibilities for a visually stunning, funny and thoughtful animated rendition of this popular comic book character.

3. The Fantastic Four

Many have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to make their Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) debut. However, thus far, the Fantastic Four's cinematic offerings have proven problematic, and licensing issues currently hold the original super team back from MCU integration. That said, Disney's acquisition of Fox (which originally owned the rights to Fantastic Four) might finally make such a thing possible.

However, we really think the Four deserve the animated treatment. In today's climate of relatively grounded live-action superhero movies, the concept of such a film where the protagonists are stretchy-limbed, self-immolating and more seems a little bit… hard to swallow.

It wouldn't look out of place at all in an animated film, however. Disney-Pixar's The Incredibles and its sequel both proved that even the slightly sillier or one-note superpowers can come across well in a comical animated superhero film. With exciting comic-book visuals and plenty of comedy thrown in, the Fantastic Four could be, ahem, fantastic as an animated film.

4. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

Compared to many other Marvel comics, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is a little different – quirkier, kookier and more offbeat. The character of Squirrel Girl originally appeared back in 1991, although she only got her own standalone series as recently as 2015 with The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

Squirrel Girl has been praised for its comedy writing and empowering approach, and as a relatively new character, she would lend herself well to an all-ages animated approach a la the aforementioned Disney-Pixar movies. An animated movie could incorporate the comic's bold and bright visuals and bring them to life in a way that a live-action film might find challenging.

Animation could also help sell the essential wackiness of the concept (yes, she communicates with squirrels) more effectively than a film populated by flesh and blood actors.

5. The Walking Dead

And now for something completely different. While the other suggestions in this piece are all going for something bright, bold and potentially funny, how about something… darker? We already have a TV show based on The Walking Dead, with movies to come, but what if one of those movies were animated? It's about time we got an adult animated film full of gore, foul language and zombies, right?

There is a real opportunity for a Walking Dead animated film, potentially tinkering with characters, aspects of the mythology and even the location of the storyline. The visual style could be something striking, too. The muted colour palette of the comics could make for a different, visually stunning, and altogether more inventive comic book film than we've seen before.

Click here to book your tickets for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and tweet us your own suggestions @Cineworld.

Toby Saunders is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.