In the rush of successful movies based on comics, people sometimes forget that some comics might be better off in other arenas. Brandon Graham’s King City is an epic piece of storytelling, but as a movie? I don’ t think so. Step back and imagine if they did it as an animated television series — or in real terms, a cartoon.
Imagine the story of this indigent cat master (and his cat, of course) returning to a city he hoped to leave behind: King City. Graham draws King City as a character in itself, with witty humor, danger, and even some scandalous in-jokes. Imagine a series following Joe as he traverses the city and uses his cat’s special powers to fight spy gangs, street ninja and high-priced food. When you add in the layered storytelling of characters like Pete Tie Fighter, Anna and Max (and Beebay, don’t forget Beebay!) this could really be something. But probably not something for Saturday morning cartoons.
Here’s how we’d do it. Adult swim, take notes.
Brandon Graham has laid out a wealth of story-lines and side plots to flesh out a King City cartoon series, and while some of the more raw sexiness might have to be toned down somewhat, it’s all there in the actual comics. Sure they couldn’t rigidly replicate Graham’s style in animation, but I feel like Graham’s style is malleable and something coudl be found to work — not unlike the way they adapted Charles Addams’ comic strips for the animated Addams Family show.
Strange city and a cat with powers is not unlike A Boy & His Blob. This demands to be made.
To take this idea from comic issues to cartoon reality, I’d look to the NY studio Titmouse and its founder, director/writer Chris Prynoski. The first work of his I saw was the hallucination sequence from Beavis & Butthead Do America!, and seeing that through to his current series Motorcity and I’m psyched. Although Prynoski tends to do more of his own stories now, I can’t help but want to see what he would think of King City and bringing this kind of story to life. I hope he’s a cat person.
Joe – Connor Jessup: Connor Jessup has really impressed me in the second season of Falling Skies, and in dreaming up someone to play this role I replayed some of his scenes and listened to the audio. And to me at least, he sounded like he could easily be Joe. He hasn’t done any credited voice-over work, but I think he could really embody Joe through his voice.
Earthling, aka the Cat – No One: The real star of the comic, and not much of a talker. The acting for this would be done almost exclusively digitally, although maybe Brandon Graham himself could step in and do the Earthling’s mewings like James Kolchalka is doing for Superf*ckers.
Anna – Shannyn Sossamyn: Anna is the King City ingenue here, and I think Shannon Sossamyn could do both the sexiness and the frank reality of Anna’s character perfectly. She has the voice for it, and could easily make her presence known over animation.
Max – Steven Strait: King City bad boy? Not quite… or not anymore. I loved Strait’s acting in Sky High and even in The Covenant, and the glimpses I’ve seen of him in Magic City make me think he could play this war vet quite well.
Pete – Kid Cudi: I had someone else entirely penciled in for this role until about 30 minutes ago when I remembered Kid Cudi’s performance in How To Make It In America. Although the overall story of that series was a bit lacking, as individual character studies it was impressive and it was remarkable what Cudi accomplished. I’d love to see him as the slightly humorous but love-forlorned Pete in this.