One of my favorite comic series in the past couple years has been Garth Ennis’ ‘The Boys.’ We ran a story a bit ago about how the book had been picked up for adaptation to film. The film is reportedly been left in the hands of Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay. All I can say is that if they can keep the film close to the book, I will be a happy man.
Straying slightly from source material has not always necessarily been a bad thing. Mark Millar’s ‘Wanted’ was a comic that strayed away from the clean heroic aspects that you find in many comics of the past and present. It was that exact strength of unconventionality, that made a big screen adaptation seem so distant. As expected, Hollywood squeezed hard and a pretty good film was released from its grasp. In the end though, the film was distinctly different from the comic. So Wanted turned out to be pretty good. Does this mean that Hollywood should take its liberties with the strengths and tone of ‘The Boys’?
No. If you have never read ‘The Boys’, make sure to. There will be a definitive hardcover set releasing on Amazon soon. Check it out. Here is the premise: Superheroes are superpowered, but have lost touch with humanity. Taking a nonchalant approach to saving lives, they sometimes inflict pain on the innocent and don’t really care anymore. These heroes have an overinflated sense of power and entitlement. The Big Boys are the elite team of heroes, which consist of characters who nod to Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and The Flash. The guys even tell one of there new recruits that she can only make the team if she is willing to take one from the team. If you know what I mean. So who is there to help wake them up and show them that they are just superpowered assholes? Billy Butcher creates a team to monitor and teach the ‘supes’ a lesson. Why is Butcher bent on destroying the supes? Maybe because he finds out that one of the Big Boys raped his wife, only after a superpowered baby killed her by bashing its way out of her uterus. Butcher was forced to beat the fetus to death with a lamp.
Pretty twisted right? Well that is the strength of the book. Ennis does what he does best in this one, which is to take a beloved mythos and apply some sharp and unrelenting satire. The book takes jabs at some of the most popular Marvel and DC characters including those mentioned before and the X-Men and Iron Man. The book contains things that could easily be avoided on the big screen. The book contains some homosexual elements, gruesome deaths and gratuitous sexuality. For instance, the implication of Batman/Robin type characters taking a Catwoman type character back to the hideout and having a wild night. So should some of these elements be omitted?
No. I think it is these hard jabs that crack a fault in the foundation of comic mythos, that make the book so effective. No one ever thinks about how a super hero might take his/her own powers to the extreme, and take their own liberties. Even if it were just in private, these heroes would have to show some sign of humanity even if it were dark. Who knows, Wonder Woman could really be a promiscuous closet drunk. So do yourself a favor and go read the books, and create some buzz around the film. It would be better as a hard R. Don’t pull any punches Hollywood, show us the ugly side of heroics. It is time to even out the scales. We have been dished some heavy helpings of nobile caped crusaders, let’s have a little fun.