Dear Disney, How About Filming These Marvel Horror/Sci-Fi Comics?


This past summer’s news that the Walt Disney Company was buying Marvel Entertainment in a reported $4 billion cash and stock deal had fanboys (and fangirls) of all stripes burning up the Internet for weeks with snarky suggestions (the long-awaited Donald Duck/Howard the Duck team-up, Super Goof  joining the X-Men, the Incredibles versus the Incredible Hulk, et cetera) on how to merge the two universes.  Nothing like those ideas will be happening (I hope), but from a cinematic standpoint a key question for the House of Mouse is what properties could the studio put on the big screen? Since Paramount owns the movie rights to Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and various Avengers characters, Columbia has a tight hold on your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, and Wolverine and his fellow mutants are tied up with Fox, what’s left? Well, in the spirit of Halloween, I would like to suggest the following series, all with a horror/science-fiction slant, that could serve as launching pads for new film franchises  (NOTE: I’m sticking to titles that haven’t had live-action adaptations before, although no one wants to see a new Doctor Strange film more than yours truly):


1. BROTHER VOODOO – One of Marvel’s first black title characters, Brother Voodoo is psychologist Jericho Drumm, who returned to his native Haiti after studying inthe United States just as his  brother Daniel, the local houngan, succumbs to the spells of an evil voodoo priest. Studying under his late sibling’s mentor, Drumm gained powers linked to the loa or voodoo spirts (control of snakes and other animals, hypnotism, invulnerability to fire, and the ability to summon his brother’s spirit) and used them to defeat Daniel’s killer. Appearing briefly in his own mid-1970s series and sporadically since, the barefoot mystic recently assumed the title of  Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme from Doctor Strange and is poised to play a more prominent role in the Marvel Universe.

2. DEATHLOK THE DEMOLISHER – This ’70s  post-apocalyptic series, perhaps influenced by TV’s The Six Million Dollar Man and certainly an inspiration for the later Terminator and RoboCop films, followed seriously wounded Army officer Luther Manning as he is transformed into a cybernetic super-assassin code-named Deathlok. As he escapes from captivity and slowly begins to regain his human memories, Deathlok/Manning seeks to reclaim his past, as well as getting revenge on the former allies who turned him into something more machine than man.


3. THE ETERNALS –  Legendary artist Jack Kirby took on the Chariots of the Gods mythos with his stories in which gigantic alien entities known as the Celestials came to Earth millennia ago and conducted experiments that led to the rise and evolution of three distinct races:  normal, work-a-day Humans, the grotesque and genetically unstable Deviants, and the super-powered Eternals, the latter two of which preferred to stay hidden from mankind, but whose occasional appearances would give rise to many of our myths of gods and demons.  This was one of “King” Kirby’s most cosmic creations, and today’s CGI technology could finally do it justice.

4. KILLRAVEN – Originally titled War of the Worlds and loosely based on the H.G. Wells novel, this intriguing sci-fi saga was set in the early 21st century and depcited the Martians’ return to Earth. Armed with all-important cures for those pesky viruses,  they quickly took over the planet, using the surviving humans as slaves, pets, entertainment, and the occasional snack. Escaping from the gladitorial pens and able to resist the Martians’ mind-control devices, Killraven led a band of fellow refugees on an odyssey across the remains of the U.S. to locate his captive brother and eventually free mankind from its alien oppressors.  A live-action movie complete with tripod war machines would, if nothing else, get the bad taste of Steven Spielberg’s 2005 “family bonding” version of  WOTW out of moviegoers’ mouths.

5. MORBIUS, THE LIVING VAMPIRE – Introduced as a Spider-Man villain in 1971, Michael Morbius was a biochemist whose attempts to cure himself of a fatal blood disease backfired (to put it mildly), turning him into a fanged, white-skinned creature of the night who needed human blood to survive. Trying to reverse his transformation and contain the (metaphorical) demon inside him, Morbius would appear in his own adventures and guest star in various Marvel books for many years, occasionally regaining his human form or turning into something even more monstrous. If Sam Raimi and the Spidey-folk don’t plan to use Morbius as a villain, his scientific rather than supernatural origins would make him stand out amid today’s movie and TV nosferatu.

6. SON OF SATAN – Didn’t know Satan had a son. did you? Well, he did in Marvel Comics in the swinging  ’70s!  The product of a one-night stand between a human woman and the Devil,  athropology professor/demonologist/amateur exorcist Damion Hellstrom used his various occult abilities (the purifying “soulfire,” a mystic trident, and a chariot pulled by a trio of demonic horses) in his cursade to stop his estranged father from literally creating Hell on Earth, all while striving to keep his own devilish persona from taking over. Looking for a Ghost Rider follow-up, Nicolas Cage?


7. TOMB OF DRACULA – Horror movie buffs are familiar with Wesley Snipes’ turns as the vampire slayer Blade , but many may not be aware that the character first appeared in Tomb of Dracula, a long-running series that featured the Lord of the Vampires in contemporary times, locked in (im)mortal combat with the descendants of the people who sought to destroy him in bram Stoker’s novel.  As depicted by writer Marv Wolfman (yes, that’s his real name!) and artist Gene Colan, Marvel’s Dracula evolved from an outright villain to a proud, almost noble anti-hero who would eventually find himself opposing his own undead minions and falling in love with a woman he saved from a Satanic cult, all before finally “dying” in the magazine’s last issue. An animated film from Japan that drastically condensed the comics’ storyline but did a fairly good job of retaining its tone was made in 1980, but this well-rendered incarnation of the ultimate bloodsucker deserves a live-action version.