With the Peanuts movie on the way to theaters, here are seven other classic comic strips which would make great movies
Everyone loves Peanuts. Snoopy is cute, Lucy is smart, and let’s face it – we all see ourselves in Charlie Brown at least a little bit.
The Peanuts Movie is about to debut, and there’s a good chance, judging from the trailers, that it’ll be a beautiful, hilarious, heartwarming and emotional movie that will tribute the long-running comic strip in the best way possible.
Comic strip movies are nothing new. Dennis The Menace is probably one of the most 90s movies ever made, and Garfield has not one, but two movies to his name. Marmaduke, John Carter, and The Addams Family all started as newspaper strips and have all had their time on the silver screen, and there’s every possibility that if Peanuts does well in theaters, we’ll get to see even more strips make the jump to Hollywood.
So, that being the case, which popular newspaper comic strips would make perfect movies?
After Peanuts, Foxtrot is the next likely comic strip in need of big screen treatment. It’s a sitcom-style comic strip about the Fox family, who are often irreverent and sarcastic. A lot of the comedy comes from the sibling rivalry between the children of the family, and the ways they drive each other crazy.
Foxtrot would suit a movie format very well, and could easily become a heartwarming family movie. Pick the right cast of actors and the comic would work great as a live-action family comedy movie – a genre which has seen a decline in recent years and which could use a good comic strip property to give it some oomph.
While it may have started as just another gag strip, Funky Winkerbean is known for regularly reinventing itself. The characters of the comic strip have grown and evolved over time as the story has matured – originally the comic was the story of the antics of a group of students, now of those same characters all grown up and have problems which ring true to real life.
Funky Winkerbean would work very well as a movie. It’s got a great humor to it which underpins more serious themes such as alcoholism, suicide and war. It’s rare to find a movie which takes a comic strip approach to straddling both comedy and serious issues without coming across as flippant or dry. For that reason, a Funky Winkerbean would give audiences the chance to laugh and think at the same time.
For Better Or Worse
Hollywood loves an origin story. Whether it’s superheroes or romance, movie makers tend to go for the beginning of a new chapter of life rather than looking at what happens when things become a little more routine.
Comic strips like For Better Or Worse, which allow characters to age in real time, show a different side to life. Readers are able to grow attached to the characters as they grow up alongside them.
For Better Or Worse is particularly significant because it shows the ups and downs of married life – normally in a Hollywood movie, marriages are either perfect or doomed to fail. For this reason, seeing a movie brave enough to adapt a comic about a long term relationship that doesn’t crack at the first sign of trouble would make a welcome change from the cinematic norm.
Dilbert is a popular comic strip about the challenges of the working world. It’s the story of Dilbert, a cubicle-bound engineer who’s stuck in a dead-end job and surrounded by coworkers who are lazy, stupid, or just plain evil.
Why would Dilbert make such a good movie? For the same reason it makes such a good comic: sometimes people like to laugh in the face of depression. Dilbert is all about taking the stupidity of modern life to the extreme and making it funny.
Poking fun at the frustrations of big business is a noble endeavor, and one that would work fantastically well on the big screen – after all, the Dilbert animated cartoon series is absolutely hilarious.
Heart of the City
Hollywood could do with a few more movies that poke fun at the movie hype machine. Heart of the City does this in droves, showing a family that are fairly pop-culture obsessed.
This means a Heart of the City movie would feature plenty of references to other films (always a big hit with movie fans) as well as making fun of its own audience.
Movie viewers would come for a movie about a family of larger-than-life characters, and would enjoy a film that is basically a parody of their own lives.
Everyone loves a little bit of meta humor.
Calvin and Hobbes
Ah, Calvin and Hobbes. Considered by most to be the perfect comic strip, Bill Watterson’s classic strip ran for a decade, during which readers worldwide enjoyed the adventures of an imaginative six year old boy and his stuffed tiger.
The surreal imaginative humor in Calvin and Hobbes would make it the perfect movie – there’s so much beauty and intelligence in every strip that movie makers would have to work very hard to ruin any film based on this comic.
That said, there’s precisely zero chance that we’ll ever get a Calvin and Hobbes movie. Steven Spielberg has reportedly shown great interest in developing Calvin and Hobbes for the big screen, but Watterson flat out refuses to sell the strip’s movie rights.
This is why there’s no Calvin and Hobbes merchandise – Bill Watterson has spoken at length about how he feels the message of childhood innocence in the comic would be undermined if anyone used it to try and sell underpants or action figures.
This hasn’t stopped fans of the comic from wishing for a movie, but all the imagination in the world won’t make this particular comic strip appear in cinemas any time soon.
Comic strips are sadly not as popular as they used to be – with any luck, The Peanuts Movie will inspire a new generation of kids to fall in love with daily comic witticisms.
We’ve all got out own favorite strip. Is yours on this list? Would you prefer to see a different comic hit the big screen? Let us know in the comments below.