It’s been a busy bunch of days, so I’m a little behind in posting some of my recent work here. Busy is good in my world, though, as it usually means I’m working my way through a lot of assignments — and when the assignments involve movies, comics, and the blurring line between the two, it’s hard to complain.
In last week’s “Adapt This” column for IFC, I recommended Joe Hill, Jason Ciaramella, and Zach Howard’s The Cape, a recent miniseries that spun out of a short story written by Hill (who also happens to be the son of Stephen King and the creator of the wonderful Locke & Key comic). It’s a dark, messy story that stains all of its characters in ways that are fascinating to see, and in my initial, Hollywood-style pitch for an adaptation, I described it as “Chronicle” meets “Stand By Me” with a little dose of “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.”
The story follows an emotionally stunted, live-it-home slacker who discovers that the old cape he used to run around with as a child has amazing powers. It’s some dark, dark stuff, but it’s also an absolutely amazing story.
Here’s an excerpt from my column:
There’s a good reason why the original one-shot comic based on Hill’s story was nominated for an Eisner Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the comic-book industry, and a good adaptation of The Cape could receive a similar welcome from audiences and critics alike. Filmmakers like Christopher Nolan have primed mainstream movie fans for grittier stories that temper fantastic elements with realistic, flawed characters whose decisions reflect their damaged personalities. And that’s exactly the sort of main character Hill gives us in Eric, a man-child who lives in his mother’s basement and blames the world for his failures. His supporting cast is similarly scarred, and in some ways, it’s their faults that determine their destiny.
A big-screen adaptation of The Cape would probably be best served by a director willing to put the fantastic elements of the story second to the slow-building character development that will make the shocking (and occasionally disturbing) twists and turns pay off both narratively and emotionally. Give this adaptation room to breathe and the amazing set pieces in the source material will generate even greater cinematic magic on the screen.
You can read the rest of the column at IFC.com, and if you haven’t had a chance to pick up The Cape yet, make sure to do so. It’s available in collected format and it’s a quick read, but you’ll be thinking about it long after you reach the end of the story.