Year One: 5 Action Movie Origin Stories We’d Like to See
On comic book shelves now: "Die Hard: Year One." That's right. Die Hard. Year One. Could this be the best idea to grace comics since the invention of the four-color process?
No, probably not. But it's still awesome! If anybody deserves a Year One, it's foul-mouthed everyman John McClane. The story follows McClane as a snot-nosed rookie in New York during the Bicentennial celebration, and will hopefully feature him trying to come up with early versions of his most famous catchphrase.
What makes this really cool is that Boom! Studios didn't just hire somebody you've never heard of. None other than industry legend Howard "Bedroom Eyes" Chaykin is penning this tale, so there's a decent chance this will actually be, you know, good.
Could this become a trend? Year One stories for awesome action heroes? If so, there needs to be a clear consensus on who gets the treatment. I posit my list of candidates, complete with the creative team below, so that nobody has to think about it. Do my bidding, comics companies. Yippy ki yay, Mister Filkus!
Mono-ocular post-Apocalyptic glass-chewing bad em-effer Plissken has had his fair share of appearances in comics – "The Adventures of Snake Plissken" Marvel One-Shot and "John Carpenter's Snake Plissken Chronicles" series from CrossGen – but in both instances the creators make the mistake of thinking we care what happened after New York. What makes Snake interesting is his complicated past – a former U.S. Army Lieutenant with two Purple Hearts who eventually became Public Enemy Number One. Only a team of Grindhouse lovers as talented as Jason Aaron and Tony Moore could think of the most awesome way for a guy to lose his eye, so let's get them on it.
Quentin Tarantino has threatened to step into comics several times over the years – from a series of "Vega Brothers" stories to "The Adventures of Jules" – but QT obviously suffers from a very high-functioning form of ADHD, so we've yet to see any Tarantinoverse characters fashionably walk into comics. But if T-payne ever does get around to doing something in comics, Uma Thurman's Beatrix Kiddo, aka The Bride, is clearly the best choice. How did a nice, tall girl with freakishly long fingers and toes get to be an assassin? How did she meet Bill? What the hell kind of name is Beatrix Kiddo? Creators: Quentin Tarantino and a litany of Chinese, Japanese, French and Italian artists you've never heard of who absolutely rock your world.
When Vin Diesel first appeared in "Pitch Black," he was perhaps the coolest sci-fi badass to grace the screen since Ripley strapped on a pair of flamethrowers in "Aliens." "The Chronicles of Riddick" effectively murdered that badass and masturbated over his corpse by trying to turn him into an outer-space Conan, changing all the stuff about his origin that made him interesting, throwing in a goddamn prophecy and taking back all the cool that Diesel got in his deal with Satan. There's still a lot that can be done with the character, though: "Automatic Kafka" team Joe Casey and Ash Wood can make even the lamest concept awesome. Imagine what they could do if given the edict that nothing after "Pitch Black" existed?
So is this guy a replicant or not? According to Ridley Scott, yes. According to Harrison Ford, no. According to the original cut, no. According to the director's cut, yes. According to the special edition, no. According to the first restored assistant director's cut of "Blade Runner"...you get the idea. Everybody thinks they know and everybody is wrong. Let's solve this dilemma once for all: somebody pay Paul Pope an assload of tanktops, obscure records, and a life-sized cut-out of Mick Jagger to take care of this.
Private Detective John Shaft certainly is one bad mother, but how did that bad-motherosity come to be? Shaft seems to have good relationships with the mob – does he have a previous life as a gangster? Did he ever wear a badge? These are questions that need to be answered: one cannot just emerge from the subway as a fully-formed badass with his own slammin' soundtrack. The vinyl-clad spirit of Blaxploitation demands that Reggie Hudlin and Jeremy Love get a chance to explore the complicated man that is John Shaft. Shut your mouth!