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6 Female-Led Comic Books That Should Totally Become Movies

Comic book movies are big. Even obscure franchises like Guardians of the Galaxy are becoming huge successes, everyone’s talking about Batman v Superman, and Marvel are so sure of their dominance that they’ve announced their movie releases through 2020, and have planned through 2028. There are bound to be loads more comic book adaptations before the fever fades, and people are eager to guess which ones they might be.

But we’re still kind of lacking comic book movies about female protagonists. They crop up in ensemble movies, or as love interests (or both), but they don’t really get to lead the story.

And that doesn’t make sense. Not only has the comic book industry had lots of success with its new wave of female protagonists, from Ms Marvel to the new Thor, but many recent successful genre movies have also had female leads, from The Hunger Games to Star Wars to Mad Max: Fury Road. There’s clearly an audience for these stories. So where are they?

With that in mind, here are the comic books with female leads that I most want to see as movies in the not-too-distant future.

Nimona

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This is a bit of a gimme, since the movie rights have already been optioned (although I can’t find any news of progress on it since last June). But still. Nimona is a fantastic graphic novel/webseries about a fantasy world supervillain, his rival hero (who he’s totally not in love with), and the shapeshifting girl who shows up one day, insisting she needs to be his apprentice. It’s all very hilarious and adorable and tongue in cheek… at least until it gets all emotionally intense instead.

And it would make such a good movie. It’s one cohesive story, with a fairly straightforward main plot but lots of twists and turns too. It’s incredibly fun and genre savvy, has lots of action, lots of humor, and lots of great characters too. Animated or live-action, this would be completely fantastic to watch. Please?

Rat Queens

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Jumping from the most likely movie adaptation to the least likely, we have Rat QueensRat Queens is a D&D-esque fantasy story about four badass female adventurers who fight monsters, cause trouble, and kick tired old tropes in the face. Again, this series is absolutely hilarious while also being emotionally compelling, with a great mix of the fresh and the familiar.

Maybe after Deadpool, someone would be willing to do this? Probably not. But I can dream.

Ms Marvel

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They’ve already promised a Captain Marvel movie, so a movie about the new Ms Marvel is the natural next step, right? Ms Marvel has been a huge success for Marvel, proving that diversity is not an obstacle to comic book sales, and her fangirling ways would help create a Marvel movie with a fresh tone — something that the studio has seemed eager to capture with each new addition to the franchise.  Plus, Ms Marvel is just so good. It’s a very Spiderman-esque story, with the highschool student suddenly developing powers and having to deal with them, but with a female muslim protagonist (and also set in Jersey).

She’s not an Avenger, which is good since Marvel already struggles with superhero character soup, but she’s a great character to add to the movie world.

The Wicked and the Divine

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This is an absolutely beautifully drawn comic with a very intriguing premise. Every 90 years, a group of young mortals become gods and gain supernatural powers, with the catch that they then only have two years to live. The comic book has lots of good ideas, but I ultimately found it a bit confusing, and was disappointed with how some of the plot threads were developed. But I think this would make a fantastic movie. It’s full of spectacle and music, for one, as many of the gods become performers. The story is good, but hard to follow, and a movie version might sharpen its focus into something more cohesive, plus make it easier to distinguish between the many different gods.

Apparently the TV rights to this have been optioned by Universal, but nothing’s happened with it yet. And a TV show would be a great format for this, as long as it didn’t get lost in its sprawling set of characters. Otherwise — movie. Please.

Saga

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This is another great comic book series that I’ve got a little lost in. It starts off great, but as the story sprawls out, threads seem to get lost, and plotlines get confused. The basic concept is that there are two civilizations that have been at war seemingly forever, and two soldiers on either side of the war fall in love and have a child, who is the protagonist. People on both sides of the war now really want them and their child dead.

Also, there’s a cat that can detect lies, to great dramatic effect.

You couldn’t tell the comic books’ overarching plot as a movie, because it has too many threads, and it covers far too many years. In fact, the Atlantic called it unfilmable. But a movie about the start of the comic book story, about the parents, as they dodge one very focussed assassin and struggle to survive, could be really compelling to watch. And, like many other examples, it would feel both familiar and original. Space opera, and a Romeo and Juliet-esque love story? Sure. But their space ship is a tree, their babysitter is a ghost, and they’re pursued by a spider-lady and a ruthless assassin who somehow ends up adopting an adorable 8-year-old.

Basically, it’s another comic book with a great concept that stopped working for me, and I really want a great movie or TV adaptation to give it another try.

Spider Gwen

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They’re bound to reboot Spiderman for a fourth time in the near future, so they might as well finally do something different with it. Plus her costume is pretty damn cool.

But what do you guys think? If the movie business finally realized that you can make comic book movies with actual female protagonists, what adaptations would you like to see?

Rhiannon

Rhiannon Thomas is the author of A WICKED THING and KINGDOM OF ASHES. She lives in York, England.

9 thoughts on “6 Female-Led Comic Books That Should Totally Become Movies

  1. Oh, goodness, this is a really good list, although I think you’re right that the chances of getting Rat Queens is probably almost nil. I’m actually surprised Nimona’s been picked up. Fantasy movies seem to be a huge risk because so many of them flop, outside of like, LOTR. Ms. Marvel would be fantastic, though. Some other suggestions… I am all here for a Lumberjanes movie. It’s super funny with a great, diverse cast and I think it would really excel on the big screen. Like, if I could only adapt one female led comic I was reading right now, it would absolutely be Lumberjanes.
    Other comics on my movie wishlist:
    Gotham Academy
    Pretty Deadly
    Monstress
    Princeless (even less likely than Rat Queens but I could hope for other girls, right?)

    1. I haven’t read any of those series, so they’re now on my list!

      And I’ve been dying to read Lumberjanes for ages, but hadn’t got around to it… everyone’s enthusiasm here finally motivated me to order it. Looking forward to it arriving!

  2. I 100000% agree! I was excited when it was announced that Lumberjanes was in development for a movie, but would love to see more comics for ladies hit the big screen or be adapted. With the success of Jessica Jones, the execs have to see that people – even men (gasp!) want to watch awesome kick ass ladies. I agree that SAGA would be challenging to translate to TV or film, but I would be okay with them choosing a specific thread to focus on if it remained true to the spirit of the original, you know?

  3. MS MARVEL! I definitely want that one. Seconding Pretty Deadly. I read Bat Girl: The Darkest Reflection the other week, and my first reaction was that it would make a film far more interesting than anything Batman has done in recent years!

    And I haven’t read it yet, but I’m pretty sure I will add Bitch Planet to this list when I finally get hold of it! I’ll have to add Rat Queens to my reading list as well, but I would totally watch that film!

  4. Who knows, maybe Wonder Woman will be DC:s greatest success on the big screen? They only half succeeded with Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman, but I´m still looking forward to see what they can do with Wonder Woman.

    So far – despite all their success – Marvel has failed when it comes to female leads. WW could be a real chance for female leads in superhero movies AND for DC.

    1. More accurately, they haven’t failed. They haven’t even tried, which is much worse.

      (When it comes to the movies, that is. On TV, I think the Marvel TV shows have succeeded – Agent Carter may not have ratings-wise, but it has great reviews and a devoted fanbase, and I think Jessica Jones did well for Netflix – I don’t know how that compares to Nielsen ratings on networks – in addition to getting even better reviews and response.)

  5. I love Nimona! I hope if it ever becomes a movie, it would be animated (and 2D). The artwork is too charming to lose, and it adds to the mood. And I second (third?) Lumberjanes.

  6. You know, it’s so obvious that I actually forgot when I commented the other day – Black Widow. I want a Black Widow movie so badly, especially after she was reduced to love interest in the last Avengers film (it will take me a long time to forgive Joss Whedon for that, Buffy or no Buffy). I just love the character so much, both on screen and in the comics. There’s so much more they could explore with the character, a Netflix series would be perfect but I admit that’s a pipe dream! She’s crying out for a film though, if only all the fanboys would pipe down long enough for the rest of us to be heard! *mutters darkly about yet another iteration of Spider-Man*

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