The Greatest Comic Book Movies (N)Ever Made

Mark Millar's a lot of things, and one of them is hardcore comics fan. Last week on his forum Millarworld he ran down a list of movies that he heard have been in the works at some time or another. Some he learned from one fan to another, and others he no-doubt accumulated while on the job working as a comics writer. With that in mind, we came up with our own list of some outstanding — and outrageous — ideas people have had for comic book movies. We'll skip the big ones such as James Cameron's Spider-Man and Tim Burton's Superman and instead focus on some you might not have heard of before.

Guillermo del Toro's Doctor Strange

Believe it or not, but at one point early in Marvel Studios' movie ambitions they had Guillermo del Toro on the hook to take Stephen Strange to the big screen — and del Toro was bringing in Neil Gaiman to write the script. EmpireOnline had the exclusive on this back in 2008, but unfortunately the project fell apart.

Tom Cruise as Tony Stark?

That was the idea floating around Hollywood in the late 90s. The idea of an Iron Man film was first proposed in 1990 when Universal Studios bought the rights, and years into its development Tom Cruise expressed interest to both star and produce the feature film. Iron Man's co-creator Stan Lee even worked with screenwriter Jeff Vintar (I, Robot) on a story for the film, which was later revised by Goldeneye scribe Jeffrey Caine. Although the prospects of an Iron Man movie never came together until Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. came aboard, the prospect of Tom Cruise in the suit remains intriguing.

Dustin Hoffman as Animal Man??

This one comes straight out of Mark Millar's mouth — or typing  hands as it were. "Dustin Hoffman's people approaching DC about Animal Man in 1990, the idea of doing the first superhero/animal rights movie," said the writer, who learned of this when in DC offices years ago. " The comic was great at this time and was getting a lot of critical acclaim. But Dustin Hoffman in spandex is an unusual choice and perhaps a little too brave. In the end, this never developed beyond some conversations."

Jack Black as Green Lantern???

Probably one of the shriek-inducing comic book adaptations floated was the one several years that placed comedic actor Jack Black in the role of Hal Jordan in a light-hearted, comedic Green Lantern movie. The film was purported to be written by late-night TV writer Robert Smigel, the man behind Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. At the time some considered this project a product of the feeble imagination of online fans, but Millar says that this project was in actual development before the online uproar.

Baxter Building Meets Home Alone

I'm over-exaggerating that just a little bit, but not by too much. Director Christopher Columbus (Home Alone, Harry Potter) was attached to a Fantastic Four film as far back as the late 90s. Ultimately he backed away from directing the project, but Millar insists that Columbus spent a lot of time on the project before backing away. "Chris Columbus REALLY, HEAVILY developed a Fantastic Four movie, right up to storyboards with a giant Dr. Doom trashing Manhattan in the third act," Millar reveals. "Columbus would have been a nice fit for FF. It would have had a great Donner vibe, I think." When the Fantastic Four film hit in 2005 it still listed Columbus as a producer, but little was left of the director's original ideas.

Christopher Reeve's Superman 5

Afrer the lackluster success of Superman IV in 1987, filmmakers were anxious to get back on track and the next planned film in the series was going to do that by going back to sqaure one — or two I mean. "The intent was to leapfrog over Superman III and especially IV, and return the series to the high mark achieved in 1 and 2," writer Carey Bates told Newsarama in an interview several years ago. "[It was] our desire to do a fully developed, balls-out science fiction story pitting Superman and Brainiac against each other mano a mano." Although it was never made, there's a lot of great ideas in that amazing interview.

Justice League: Mad Max

Helmer George Miller was charged in the mid-2000s with assembling DC's greatest superteam for their big screen debut. The production went so far as casting most of the JLA team as well as initiating the building of sets in Australia, but when Warner Bros. optioned to show off its DC superheroes with a slate of standalone solo movies instead of a team-up, the project was shelved.  The movie had D.J. Cotrona (Detroit 1-8-7) as Superman, Arnie Hammer (The Social Network) as Batman, model Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, Adam Brody (The O.C.) as The Flash and rapper Common as John Stewart, Green Lantern.



  1. Thank god Tom Cruise never played Stark!

  2. I remember that Jack Black rumor. I was soooo pissed.

  3. I actually think Jack Black would make a pretty good Guy Gardner. Maybe not so over-the-top as his other performances though.

  4. I’m actually fairly happy that most of these were never made.

  5. Del Torro Dr. Strange would have been the shizz. Totally sucks they never made it. 

    we can’t forget about Nick Cage as Superman, Willy Wonka (and every other Superhero/high profile property he tried to latch onto in the early 2000s)…


  6. I like the first three ideas. The next four not occurring we should all be thankful for

  7. Wow. Del Toro and Gaiman on Dr Strange would’ve been tremendous. It’s a shame that never came to be.

    I actually would really like to see the Nic Cage/ Burton Superman movie that never happened. Everything from the pre-production of that film is so willfully bizarre. It looks as if it would’ve been fascinating. 

  8. I remember back when i was a kid and reading Wizard in the 90s…this one issue had stills from that horrible (roger corman?) Fantastic Four movie that was made and never released to retain the license. I think my halloween costumes back then had better production value. Did that film ever get leaked anywhere on the interwebs?

  9. All of these suck and suck hard except the Del Toro/Dr. Strage idea. Thank God the others died!

  10. I remember when Tony started looking exactly like Tom Cruise in the comic for awhile while the deal was being devoloped.

    Oh and you left one out– the one where Seth Rogan of all people was in talks to play a comedic light hearted version of The Green Hornet-  dodged a bullet there huh>/

    Oh – wait.

  11. What about the David Goyer Green Arrow movie from a few years back. The one where he was sent to prison and had to work with a bunch of villains to escape.

  12. Del Toro/Gaiman’s Dr. Strange would have been INCREDIBLE! And Hoffman’s Animal Man sounds equally amazing. Shame they were never made.

  13. I’m really happy the Justice League film was never made. I remember the rumor that Hayden Christensen was being brought on to be Superman at one point. I’ll never forget thinking to myself, “Wow if the best thing I’ve heard about this movie is Hayden Christensen being cast as Superman there is no hope left.”

  14. Baxter Building Meets Home Alone”
    When I read that I thought you meant a Franklin Richards movie

  15. @walllythegreenmonster

    It’s believed to be one of the two most bootlegged movies ever, along with the Star Wars Holiday Special. I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to find it.

  16. Del Toro on Strange could actually work better then I thought Strange could work in a movie.

  17. @Slockhart  @wallythegreenmonster: I’ve actually seen Corman’s FF. When I worked at Midtown Comics in NYC we used to sell bootlegs before WB cracked down on us (this was years ago). It’s dreadful but damn entertaining. If you’re a serious FF fan, it’s definitely worth tracking down.  

  18. @wallythegreenmonster  VHS bootlegs of Corman’s Fantastic Four used to be ubiquitous on the con scene (I owned one) and it’s all over YouTube.

  19. Makes me wonder what happend/is happening with that Green Arrow: Escape from Super Max movie…

  20. @wallythegreenmonster  I have it, it’s so terrible I’ll mail you my copy.

  21. The Corman FF ss one of those things i completely forgot about until seeing the topic on this thead. Ha. Will have to check it out on the webz. 

  22. I’m not seeing this summer’s Green Lantern, but if Jack Black was doing it, I’d totally be there.

  23. It’s funny, I remember reading about the Corman FF in Stan’s Soapboxes back in the ’90s. He was so excited. Poor guy had no idea the studio had no intention of actually releasing it.

  24. I bought a bootleg copy of the Roger Corman FF movie on DVD at this last C2E2. They had a few copies. It’s so wonderfully terrible! Lol

  25. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I am touching my VHS copy of the Roger Corman FF movie right now. Very early memory of my dad picking it up when we were at a con. 

  26. That winklevosss twin will make a great superhero in some movie someday.

  27. I heard one time that they were going to make a Judge Dredd movie with Sly Stallone and Rob Schneider.  Thank God that one didn’t get made.  Can you imagine the horror?

    Hey, wasn’t there supposed to be an Elektra movie coming out with Jennifer Garner?

  28. It would be great if Zack Snyder used Brainiac as a villian.  Or is that Nolan’s call?  …Just looked on IMDB:  Viggo Mortensen rumored for Zod? 

  29. What about The Flash movie David Goyer was gonna write/direct with Ryan Reynolds as Wally West? 

  30. Guillermo del Toro‘s Doctor Strange sounds like a wonderful idea.  I could completely see him doing this the right way.

    And a Christopher Columbus’ Fantastic Four might have been fun too. Probably better than either of the movies that were made.

    @wallythegreenmonster  I actually owned a bootleg copy of Roger Corman‘s Fantastic Four.  It was very, very low budget, but surprisingly not that much worst than the big budget version.

    @ultimatehoratio  Hahaha!! Good one about the Judge Dredd movie.