Since his comic book debut in 1990, Warren Ellis has been one of the most prolific writers in the comic industry with dozens of original creations in addition to several books for Marvel and DC.
Following the recent announcement that “Black Summer” was optioned by Vigilante Entertainment in addition to the upcoming film adaptations of his “Red” and “Gravel” series, it seems clear that Ellis has become an in-demand comic creator in Hollywood.
With an eye toward more of Ellis' work finding its way to the big (or small) screen, here are five of his projects that would also make excellent films or TV series.
FREAKANGELS: Recently featured in our weekly "Adapt This" feature, Ellis and artist Paul Duffield's “FreakAngels” webcomic follows a group of telepaths in London rebuilding their world after a major disaster—a disaster they had a part in causing.
As one of Ellis’ more recent creations, the story has not yet been finished. However, given the recent success of Ellis’ other properties at Avatar, I wouldn’t bet against “FreakAngels” becoming one of his next comics to be optioned.
TRANSMETROPOLITAN: One of Ellis’ best known comics with artist Darick Robertson, “Transmetropolitan” chronicles the story of a renegade journalist named Spider Jerusalem who fights political corruption in a post-cyberpunk future.
Reportedly optioned by Vinehill Entertainment for movie treatment with director Louie Lawless and screenwriter Christopher Taylor attached, there have been no updates since the initial announcement.
[UPDATE: Warren Ellis reports that the above information regarding the "Transmetropolitan" movie rights is inaccurate: "There is no TRANSMET film option," writes Ellis. "I've never heard of the company cited in this piece."]
[UPDATE #2: Vinehill Entertainment and the aforementioned report have both removed any reference to a "Transmetropolitan" film in development.]
Current plans aside, “Transmet” might be better suited as a TV series—but any adaptation is likely to face tough scrutiny from fans.
GLOBAL FREQUENCY: In the age of the iPhone, Ellis’ concept of 1,001 people coordinated over a series of high-tech video mobile phones called the “Global Frequency” seems tailor-made for today’s society. Back in 2002, Ellis teamed with multiple artists on a 12-issue miniseries that showed ordinary people coming together to fight the battles their governments couldn’t.
A “Global Frequency” TV pilot was shot back in 2005 and was infamously disseminated across the 'Net after the series wasn't picked up.
PLANETARY: The 27-issue opus of Ellis and artist John Cassaday, “Planetary” follows a superhuman team that explores the secret history of their own comic book universe while touching upon classic archetypes like Sherlock Holmes, Dracula and sinister spins on familiar properties like the “Fantastic Four” and other Silver Age comic book creations.
The series recently wrapped to great acclaim. Its live-action options would likely depend on Warner Brothers interest in the title, but the newly formed DC Entertainment could give it the attention it deserves—hopefully as a potential TV series.
THE AUTHORITY: Created in 1999 by Ellis and Bryan Hitch, “The Authority” featured intensively detailed visuals that ushered in the age of “widescreen” comics. Ellis and Hitch’s creation redefined superhero comics with ground-breaking characters—including openly gay Superman & Batman analogues Apollo and Midnighter.
Over the course of his run on the title, Ellis' superteam faced off against, among other enemies, an army of fanatics with the powers of Superman, the forces of a parallel Earth bent on invasion and an alien entity that may have been “God.” the impact of Ellis and Hitch's 12-issue run is still felt across the comic industry ten years later.
Unfortunately, while the compelling stories and unique visuals would make “The Authority” a natural choice for a big-budget blockbuster film, the failure to launch a “Justice League” movie thus far probably means we won’t see “The Authority” on the big screen any time soon.
Which Warren Ellis projects would you like to see adapted to film or TV? Let us know what you think in the comments section or on Twitter!