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Rogue Trooper, not coming to a cinema near you soon, sadly
The new Judge Dredd film is currently riding a pre-release wave of good press and enthusiastic fan reaction following its screening at the San Diego Comic-Con. The film is also receiving great reviews from SFX and other sites and news outlets. This wave of good press got me thinking about which other 2000AD characters and stories could make the transition to the big screen or even be turned into a TV series.
Aside from the badly-received Judge Dredd film in 1995, an aborted Strontium Dog TV show in 1999, Button Man film rumours and rumblings of a Rogue Trooper film last year there has been little or no interest in taking the characters of the comic beyond a few games, audio books and novels.
I think 2000AD is unique in comic book circles because it’s pretty much the only high profile sci-fi and fantasy anthology publication out there. Rather than concentrate on one or two characters or have different titles packaged alone, 2000AD has, for 35 years, carried five or six episodic stories together in weekly instalments. Some are long-running – well-known characters which have been featured for decades – while others are one-off multi-part stories or even just five page stand-alone tales.
Aside from Dredd I can think of many of 2000AD’s big characters who could easily make the transition to cinema; from Johnny Alpha’s adventures as a galaxy-roaming bounty hunter to Rogue Trooper’s quest across the battle-strewn fields of Nu-Earth and Sam Slade’s madcap robot hunting antics, there is just so much to choose from.
Over the years 2000AD has featured stories about ghost hunters, future sports, genetically-engineered soldiers, alien invasions, robot warriors and many, many more varied and interesting story and character ideas. From the brutal to the comedic, from the subtle character pieces to epic tales of empires; the sheer scope of 2000AD’s content should means it’s ripe for TV and movie adaptations and yet there have been few signs of any interest so far.
With Marvel and DC characters all over our cinema screens, I think it’s high time the House Of Tharg got in on the act too. Over the past 20 years we’ve had multiple takes on Batman, a Spider-Man trilogy and reboot, a Superman trilogy and two reboots and an X-Men trilogy with a prequel reboot. Marvel is currently raking in the money with its “Cinematic Universe” film series. Put all that alongside the many other comic book adaptations we’ve seen in our cinemas in recent years and I reckon 2000AD could do well off the back of a successful Dredd film, if the right people get interested.
Not wishing to sound dismissive of superhero films, but if so many movies can be churned out featuring variations on many similar comic book superhero tropes then why has 2000AD, with its treasure chest of unique ideas and characters, never been mined further? Is it because it’s created on the wrong side of the Atlantic?
Television is another possible avenue. With the likes of George RR Martin’s Game Of Thrones books and Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic being made into hugely successful TV shows then why not the characters and stories of 2000AD? I’d love to see a channel like HBO try to tackle some of the worlds the House Of Tharg has introduced us to. Or what about the animated route? An animated ABC Warriors or Bad Company tale could be fantastic. But again there has never really been much interest and I wonder why. Is it really the “made on the wrong side of the Atlantic” thing?
I realise that 2000AD doesn’t have the same reader numbers or clout of the Marvel and DC titles or even some of the other US comic houses, but part of me thinks this shouldn’t be an issue. 2000AD has been a powerhouse for talent; writers and artist who got their first breaks on the comic have often gone on to great success in the US on some of the biggest titles out there. This talent deserves to be more recognised for the 2000AD work they’ve done. The stories and characters deserve to get more recognition. Surely good stories deserve to be seen and the strength of the work, if put in the right hands, should speak for itself. Maybe it’s just a matter of getting the work in those “right” hands and maybe, just maybe, if the Dredd film is as successful as early reports suggest it could be, it can help raise the 2000AD name and get some of those influential people excited to put more names from the House Of Tharg on the cinematic or televisual map.
So, 2000AD fans, I’m asking you do you think it’s possible for 2000AD to make the leap on to our screens, big or small? Why hasn’t it happened already? Would you want it to? And if so, which character from the pages of the comic would you like to see on our screens? Who, from 2000AD, do you think would do well in a film or a TV series?