Stories DC Needs to Animate

While I have not watched it yet (mostly because I have this very column to write), I have been informed that the next film in the DC animated straight to video series, Batman: Year One, has dropped. I generally forget these exist until Conor reminds me that we have a Special Edition show to record then I snag a copy, watch it, and hop on Skype within minutes of finishing.

This always brings about a bit of reflection about what I’d like to see animated next. The DCU may have just rebooted but there is a ton of content from the previous era that I think would look great in motion for roughly 70 minutes. I have to be somewhat realistic with my expectations though. The powers that be chose to only give Green Arrow, Dr. Fate and Jonah Hex short featurettes for a reason, so as much as I might love to go all obscure to look cool, I’ll stick with things I think might have a legitimate chance of seeing the light of day.

I should also note that Conor wrote a similar post in 2010, but there’s relatively little overlap in our lists, so make sure you see what the big man had to say, but only after reading mine first.

5. Bruce Wayne: Fugitive

One thing I miss about the current crop of DC animated features is Bruce Wayne. In the Justice League we get plenty of Batman, but Bruce rarely makes an appearance. I know I likely have egg on my face in light of the just release Year One movie, but I just haven’t gotten my fill of Bruce yet so spare me. Kevin Conroy always does a fantastic job distinguishing between the voice of Bruce and the voice of Batman. Now I haven’t read these books in a while (the total story-line ran for 4 volumes) but the gist is clear: Bruce Wayne is framed for murder, making for some trying times in Gotham. It’s a legitimately good mystery and puts Batman in a very awkward and potentially compromising position. Plus it forces Bruce to actually rely on people in his life not named Alfred, which is always fun to watch him struggle to accept. The story was illustrated by a number of different folks, but I’m seeing a decent amount of Scott McDaniel as I flip through my trades, and I think his style could look very cool in motion.


4. The Authority Vol. 1 & 2

File this one under “pipe dreams.” I have no idea how the animation rights for a Wilstorm property might work, especially now that the characters have been folded into the DCU proper, but how cool would this movie be?! The first 12 issues of Warren Ellis’ seminal run could easily be condensed to a 70 minute widescreen epic. And in some of the less than stellar animated features, like Green Lantern, there seemed to violence and language which served no purpose other than to make the movie more “adult.” So why not adapt something that actually utilizes those things to prove a legitimate point?


3. Teen Titans: The Future is Now

Teen Titans had a good run as an animated series already, so this one should be a soft sell. Granted, we might need to wait and see if The Judas Contract ever actually gets made, but this could be a nice followup. The story revolves around the team accidentally ending up in the future only to come under attack by their future selves. And their future selves are not very nice. This one could be tricky because Tim Drake has been downplayed since the end of Batman’s televised animated series, and his role in this story is downright crucial. Yet  if Timm et al. have taught us anything it’s that they can pull off the unlikely and make changes that make sense, so my faith persists.


2. The Long Halloween

It’s hard not to come back to Batman, because we know the property has legs and there are a ton of great stories to choose from. And while I truly like the mystery from The Long Halloween, this one is more about seeing Tim Sale adapted for animation. His style is so different from Bruce Timm’s iconic clean line, but if Timm’s studio can do a reasonable Quitely facsimile there’s no reason to think they’re not up to the Tim Sale challenge.


1. Superman: Red Son

An Elsewords at #1? Are you mad?! Well I’m writing at myself, so probably. But I also figured it’d be good to go for gold with my final pick. This books is quite literally the book that brought me back to comics. It’s written by Mark Millar, who has some cache when it comes to the movies these days, and is just generally awesome. At only 3 issues, this could easily be done in 70 minutes with hopefully only minor changes. The real question is would Time-Warner risk putting out a movie with a communist hero? I have no idea, but the political climate being what it is I can imagine they’d be gun shy about any sort of socialism promotion, even if the actual story is more about Superman breaking the very mold of Stalinist ideals. However, I cannot escape the fact that I just love this story. There are cameos and Easter eggs aplenty, and if you honestly think you don’t want to see Batman with a fuzzy hat then you’re just Un-American! (OK, maybe that doesn’t actually make sense, but c’mon!)

I know Conor went for 10 movies, but at the rate these films come out I figured we’d do alright with a meager 5. I expect that one of your favorites may be missing, and hope you enlighten us all in the comments. If you must have some honorable mentions I’ll give you a few to end on and whet your commenting appetite: Trinity, Green Arrow: Year One, Adam Strange: Planet Heist, and Luthor.


Ryan Haupt is looking forward to chatting about Batman: Year One today. If you’re also looking forward to hearing Ryan speak, consider listening to Science… sort of.


  1. I didn’t like Bruce Wayne: Fugitive much. Other than that, I either agree completely or haven’t read them.

  2. Long Halloween is one of my all time favorites and basically helped get me back into comics. Would love to see that era of Tim Sale get translated to animation.

    Also Red Son was so much fun. I’d be SHOCKED if DC ever animated something like that “Brand Confusion” and all that. So many great else world’s stories out there….

    • Agreed. Long Halloween is a classic.

    • Long Halloween is the book I give all my friends (and foes) when they tell me they want to try to get into comics. It is arguably the most finely crafted Batman collection ever.

    • They say that people don’t judge books by their covers, well for this one, i saw it at the store when i had no idea who any contemporary creators were and was just kinda flying blind. I saw dozens of average Trade covers and then i sas Long Halloween and was like “WHOA…thats a book cover” , flipped through it, loved the art and took a chance.

      The cover basically sold me the book. DESIGN POWER! =)

  3. I would love to see a Red Son movie, I think they could do something really special animating the look of that book, But I think the problem with WB wouldn’t be the politics, but rather the corporate “we don’t want to confuse viewers with a different Batman/Superman”.

    So it’s probably a pipe dream, like my wanting a Rise Of Arsenal short in front of it. (Charlie Sheen as the voice of Roy Harper, and the cat)

  4. JeffR (@JeffRReid) says:

    If I recall correctly, Bruce was a total dick to his many friends and allies in the opening parts of Bruce Wayne: Fugitive. He wanted to allow the character of “Bruce Wayne” die so that he could be Batman full time. It actually made Batman come off as actually being crazy.

    A Sword of the Atom movie would be a lot of fun. Think of a tiny, barbarian Ray Palmer jumping around with his little sword as equally tiny yellow skinned alien armies fought outside of primitive cities. I’d watch that in a second.

  5. Red Son and Authority, that would be real nice. Never gonna happen, but then again, I never would have thought that New Frontier would be made either, so what do I know?

  6. Darwyn Cooke’s vision of Hunter/Parker would be fantastic, but then again it already is.

  7. No interest in Authority. Everything else would be a blast!

  8. i would love to see vertigo’s THE INVISIBLES as a series animated. Batman RIP would be mindblowing!!!!!!

  9. I know I might get slammed for this but I would love to see a Crisis on Infinite Earths movie. Something epic, that would probably the first time many people would be encountering the story. Don’t know if you could fit it in 70 minutes but Batman: Red Hood was closer to 2 Hours. Another one i’d love to see would be Kingdom Come…whoa. we’re all free to imagine aren’t we?

    • Why would you get slammed? I’ve been cheerleading this with my friends for a while. It would be epic. The only hurdle, like you say, is the corporate restraints. I say cut it up into a trilogy and sell it in parts.

    • It wouldn’t happen only because they’ve done Crisis on Two Earths. They wouldn’t want the perception that they’re going back to the well again. Also, that story is so steeped in DC lore, I think it would be impossible to distill it into 70 minutes and have it make any sort of sense.

    • So i’m not the only one that was thinking it. The unfortunately named Crisis on Two Earths would create a bit of confusion. DC should know that putting the word Crisis in the title would get fans thinking it might be an adaptation of one of the crisis events. Should be getting Batman: Year One tomorrow or the day after, i’m really excited for it.. .

  10. I would adore seeing Morrison’s Batman and Robin run with Dick and Damien animated just to see Dick as Batman

  11. I’d love some kind of HBO or Adult Swim animated series of The Authority. Just that first Warren Ellis run would be fantastic.

  12. Is it too early to ask for Snyder’s Detective run?

  13. I love the Batman and Superman adaptations but I wish they would invest in other heroes. I would love a Flash Feature like Rouge War or an Aquaman movie from a Peter David written arc.
    I agree that a Teen Titan should be made.

    Ultimately I wish for a Planetary TV series.

  14. Kingdom Come, as a mini-series or a trilogy of animated features, though.

    @WilliamTrinity: It’s too soon, maybe, but also, I would love to see that run done live action.

  15. Trinity by Matt Wagner seems like it could be a really good choice. The big 3 all in one place. The art style could translate as well.

  16. Red Son was animated….. sorta. It was turned into a motion comic. Check it out, it’s not too bad actually:

    The one story I would love to see animated is Frank Millers Dark Knight Returns.

  17. My favorite part in the whole Bruce Wayne: Fugitive/Murdere storyline is when he’s locked up in jail and his fellow inmates try to beat him up. He takes out the light and beats the crap out of them. His narration box says “The mask is slipping”.

    While watching a season of Dexter, the character uttered the same line “the mask is slipping” and I recalled the Batman story.

  18. What about Superman Emperor Joker

  19. They need to revive the Showcase Shorts with an adaptation of World Funniest Comics with Mr. Mxyzptlk & Bat-Mite. Can you imagine them visiting the DC offices and looking at Dan Didio?

  20. Off the beaten path, eh? The original Fury of Firestorm series with Conway and Broderick was just plain fun up to the #40s. The Aquaman 70s run, notably reprinted in the “Death of a Prince” TPB was great too. (except the death of the prince aka Aquababy part). These two stand out in my mind as stories and characters where anything could happen.

    Sword of the Atom was sort of done in the recent Batman: Brave and the Bold, but might be pretty interesting if expanded. A regular Atom run would be pretty fun too.

  21. Long Halloween, most definitely.

  22. What I’d really like to see is a bunch of Elsewords be shortened into…er… animated film shorts and then compiled into an anthology. Like the Gotham Knight or Animatrix DVDs. Could even have the original Monitor as the ‘host’ of the anthology… it would be good stuff.

  23. Or how about branching out to some non-Hero comics… Camelot 3000? Some Vertigo series. Neil Gaiman’s Sandman would sell quite well, there’s a pretty big following for it, even by non-comic collecting peoples.

  24. I’ve always thought JLA/JSA: Virtue and Vice would be a fantastic choice for an animated feature. Plus we can finally get some JSA love in one of those movies.

    • That’s a great idea. While I love The Golden Age, I think most of the characters aren’t widely known. So a tie-in with the JLA would probably work better.

  25. On the Elseworlds side, how about Gotham by Gaslight? How awesome would that be?

  26. Red Son is easily my all-time favorite Superman story, even more so than All-Star Superman, and easily in my top five, if not top three, DC stories.

  27. I would aboslutley love a Titans of Tomorrow movie. That was one of the highlights of Johns’ run on the book. great pick!

  28. Add Green Arrow The Longbow Hunters to that list!

  29. The Killing Joke.


  30. Hellblazer, Fables, and the sandman

    • Right on!
      I thought something was in the works for the sandman.. or maybe im getting that confused with American Gods. Live Action though.. dont think its going animated.

  31. Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood. A great story with a female lead. Also Batman has top billing despite the fact he’s barely in it so it can trick all the people who only care about him into buying it. Plus it features The Question who is always awesome.