George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones is one of my favorite shows on HBO. Another one of the author's projects is making it's way onto the big screen. THR reports that Syfy Films has picked up screen rights to Wild Cards, a superhero anthology edited, co-created and co-written by Martin. The screenplay will be penned by Melinda Snodgrass, one of the co-creators and co-writers. She will also serve as exec producer along with Martin.
Wild Cards is "a series of books and stories set in a shared universe where an alien virus has been unleashed over New York City. Those who survived were turned into either a class of beings named Jokers, mostly deformed creatures, (or more rarely) Aces, who have special powers." The first book in the series hit shelves in 1987, right about the same time as Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore's The Watchmen were revolutionizing the comic scene.
Science fiction and fantasy authors such as Roger Zelazny and Lewis Shiner were among some of the stories first authors. They provided "an alternate history of Earth and told superhero stories grounded in realism, a strategy that would be emulated in both comics and, later, in movies such as the recent Christopher Nolan-directed Batman films."
Here is what Martin had to say in a statement:
"We had a love of comics books and superheroes that we grew up on. But we approached the material differently. We wanted to do it in a grittier, more adult manner than what we were seeing in the '80s. It's something that many other people have been doing in the decades ever since."
The novel series has a bunch of different writers, which is one reason it took so long for a deal to come together. Martin revealed that having a number of different voices involved helps the series stand out and allows newer characters to interact with older ones.
"One of the things we have going is the sense of history," he says. "The comics in the mainstream are doing retcons [retroactive continuity] all the time. [Heroes] get married, then one day, the publisher changes his mind, and then they're no longer married. To my mind, it's very frustrating. [Our stories] are in real time. It's a world that is changing in parallel to our own."
Martin did not reveal which characters would appear in the film version, but did say the setting will be contemporary. He did reveal that The Sleeper, "a character who is one of the first to become an Ace and whose power consists of having a new face and ability every time he wakes up from a hibernation-like sleep," would be featuered in the film.
Syfy Films's goal is develop modest-budgeted movies. Wild Cards may sound like an epic undertaking budget-wise, but it willl still be a great film. Imagine Neill Blomkamp's District 9, Source Code or Children of Men and you will have an idea of the plan for Wild Cards. Martin also stated, "We hope this is the first of a long presence in film and perhaps even television down the line."
I am loving what I am hearing so far. What I like the most about Nolan's Batman is that it is grounded in realism, so I am certain I will like this. What are your thoughts?