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12 DC Comics That Still Deserve Animated Movies

DC Comics has never been a company that has put all its eggs in one basket. From their giant list of monthly comic titles to their big-budget live-action films to their catalog of animated content, the DC universe has something for everyone. 

The latter of those three is what we'll be discussing here, as their animated offerings are amongst some of their most beloved material. Fans can find everything, from shows like "Batman: The Animated Series" to straight-to-DVD movies like "The Flashpoint Paradox." Whether the project is intended for kids or adults, fans from all walks of life have always gravitated to DC animation for years, thanks to the company's commitment to creating quality content.

The DC Animated Universe has been an excellent venue for adaptations of specific comic book storylines, especially those that haven't yet been seen in live-action. These are some comic arcs from DC –- famous ones, critically acclaimed ones, and underrated ones –- that would make quality fodder for future animated productions.

Animal Man

After DC Comics' 2011 reboot "The New 52," many were perturbed by just how many established characters received drastic creative overhauls. Many popular and even B-list characters either received massive cosmetic changes or had decades worth of continuity erased. However, one character who benefitted from the shift in tone and direction was Buddy Baker, aka Animal Man. Relaunched under the creative control of Jeff Lemire -– best known for "Sweet Tooth" –- the series went in some very interesting directions. Keeping with the dark tone incorporated into the character by Grant Morrison, Lemire's run is best described as a family horror story.

The series follows Buddy and his family, who seek their mysterious origins after his daughter Maxine begins developing her own powers. This leads Buddy and Maxine to the source of his animal abilities, an otherworldly presence known as the Red. However, evil soon rears its head in the form of the twisted spawn of the Red known collectively as "The Rot." The series is expertly written and packed to the brim with disturbing Cronenberg level body horror bolstered by the art of Travel Foreman and Dan Green. The series contains more than enough intriguing content, likable characters, and artistic potential for a great animated film.

Aquaman: The Trench

In recent years, DC Comics has done a lot to rehabilitate the public perception of Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman. For too long, the King of the Seven Seas has been tainted by his depiction in the "Super Friends" cartoon. That has been amended due in large part to Jason Mamoa's recent live-action depictions of Aquaman. However, before the actor who once played Khal Drogo got started restoring dignity to the King of Atlantis, the comics made strides to rehab his image as well. After the launch of "The New 52," Aquaman was rebooted alongside every other major character while still retaining his core character traits.

The reboot's first major arc -– known as "The Trench" -– focuses on a race of Atlantians who have mutated into cannibal fish-human hybrids. As this threat is presented, we are reintroduced to Aquaman who, in the opening scene, single handedly stops an armed robbery. The whole series is a perfect encapsulation of just what an effective crime fighter Aquaman is and the threats he deals with. Considering "The Trench" spin-off movie set to be directed by James Wan was canceled, according to Comic Years, now would be a perfect time to dust it off for an animated adaptation.

Batman: The Court of Owls

"Beware The Court of Owls, that watches all the time, ruling Gotham from a shadowed perch, behind granite and lime. They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed, speak not a whispered word of them, or they'll send the Talon for your head."

One of DC's major additions to its mythology in recent years has been the Court of Owls, first introduced in 2011. The Court first made their presence felt in the inaugural arc of Scott Snyder's now-legendary 2010s run on "Batman." They are a violent society of elites who have existed within the shadow of Gotham City for decades –- complete with assassins known as Talons. It's revealed that the Court has had dealings with the Waynes of the past, which creates trouble for Bruce in the present. This ensues several issues of architectural mysteries, brutal fistfights, and shocking familial reveals.

The writing is matched in quality by the artwork of Greg Capullo, whose expressive and detailed style suits Gotham perfectly. IGN praised the series for its quality and arc helped cement Snyder as a big player in modern comic books. The Court has been featured in a DC comics animated film before, serving as the villains in "Batman vs. Robin." However, their first major story arc has ample potential –- both in terms of writing and artistry -– for an animated film or miniseries.

Batman: Noel

Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" is retold with Batman characters. Based on that description, this should be the dumbest comic ever. However, through clever writing and unbelievably gorgeous artwork, "Batman: Noël" stands out as an absolute gem of a comic. It's Christmastime in Gotham and everyone is feeling merry, except for Bruce Wayne, who is hot on the Joker's tail. Caught in the crossfire is a down on his luck goon known as Bob, whom Batman is quite relentless towards. The story's brilliance emerges through its versions of the respective ghosts from "A Christmas Carol."

The past, present, and future are represented by Catwoman, Superman, and the Joker -– all perfectly conforming to Dickens' original vision. Despite its modern setting and noir elements, the flow and tone of the classic tale are perfectly represented. Lee Berjemo's art is a triumph, perfectly mixing Batman's trademarked imagery with the gothic beauty of the winter season -– much like the 1992 Tim Burton-directed film "Batman Returns." If animated with a high enough budget, "Batman: Noël" could quickly become a staple of any DC Comics fan's holiday season.

Booster Gold and Blue Beetle

Separately, both Booster Gold and the Blue Beetle are tremendous characters, but together they share one of comics' finest dynamics. Whether serving as the comic relief of "Justice League International" or appearing in their own books, the duo is always a great source of heart and humor. The duo is so beloved that as recently as 2021  they received yet another standalone title from DC Comics titled "Blue & Gold." With the duo receiving a much-deserved uptick in attention and affection from the fandom, a new interpretation would be welcome.

Given that Booster and Beetle's stories lean comedic, an animated romp would be a welcome option. The Blue and Gold have already received some love in an episode of the 2010s cartoon "Batman: The Brave and the Bold." The episode "Menace of the Madniks!" is a short but excellent one-off adventure dedicated to Ted Kord's Blue Beetle and his friendship with Booster. With DC diversifying their various adaptations tonally, a brighter and campier romp would be a welcome change of pace. An animated adventure featuring them could be quite successful if handled similarly to the "Harley Quinn" cartoon.

Blackest Night

If there's one thing DC Comics does better than any other company, it's making their events feel like gigantic cataclysms. From "Crisis on Infinite Earths" to "Flashpoint," DC loves marking big transitions with multi-title crossover events with huge ensemble casts. In that same spirit, "Blackest Night" is -– on the surface -– DC's high concept answer to "Marvel Zombies." At its core, the event is a "Green Lantern" related crisis where the effects ripple across the entire DC Universe. In this case, that threat is the sudden rise of Nekron and the sinister Black Lanterns Corps -– formally deceased DC heroes and villains.

The event, consisting of eight main books, turns the entire universe on its head with shocking deaths and resurrections. "Blackest Night" is packed to the brim with epic science fiction visuals, horror elements, multiple action scenes, making it great material for an animated movie. Granted, it would necessitate multiple parts but, if done properly, could result in the most visually spectacular animated DC project of all time.

Identity Crisis

"Identity Crisis" is among one of the most divisive comics that DC has ever produced, and for very good reason. It's a story that banks on its expertly done artwork and intense emotional resonance, which results in moments both amazing and insulting. From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, this story leaves a mark on readers. Sue Dibny, the wife of the Elongated Man, is dead, and the entire superhero community is on the hunt for her killer. This search does indeed locate her killer, but along the way, shocking truths all revealed –- some very unpleasant. "Identity Crisis" is a story where the fallout of its events would shape and influence the DC Universe for many years to come.

Whether you love it or hate it, "Identity Crisis" thoroughly commits to its darker themes and puts its characters through the emotional ringer. An animated movie would be the perfect avenue to take the story and strip away the less desirable elements. It'd be a rough watch at times, but if retooled and restructured could result in an immensely satisfying animated series.

Jack Kirby's New Gods

As of late, Marvel has been diving into the hidden lore of their universe through films like "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" and "Eternals." Seeing as Warner Brothers won't be bringing Jack Kirby's "New Gods" to the big screen anytime soon, perhaps animation would be the perfect alternate venue to explore this story. The story of New Genesis and Apokalips has been a major aspect of the DC Universe's mythology for many years now. The concept is brought to its mind-blowing artistic conclusion in no small part due to the art of the great Jack Kirby. In this classic arc, New Genesis, a world of peaceful prosperity, and Apokalips, a world of pain and suffering, stand in stark contrast to each other.

As one would suspect, the two worlds do not get along, and a long-standing war is waged between them for nearly an eternity. Apokalips is also of great significance because of its leader, the menacing conqueror known only as Darkseid, a recurring Justice League villain. The two worlds are also important in the backstories of beloved DC characters such as Orion, Mister Miracle, and Big Barda. With Apokalips being featured quite prominently in Zack Snyder's Justice League, now would be a great time to explore it more thoroughly.

Kingdom Come

From "The Dark Knight Returns" to "Future's End", the DC Universe's distant future has seen its fair share of interpretations. One of the more critically acclaimed entries into this sub-genre would be "Kingdom Come" by Mark Waid and Alex Ross. The book is best known for Alex Ross' utterly astounding artwork and its deconstructionist look at DC's future.

In the years since the public retirements of the Trinity — Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman -– the DC Universe is awash with morally gray vigilantes. With civilization eroding at an ever-increasing speed, Wonder Woman convinces Superman to reform the Justice League. However, Batman, still bitter about Superman abandoning humanity a decade prior, is less willing to get on board with them. At its core, it's a look at the DC of old and discussing how relevant its ideals are in a more cynical future. 

Over 25 years later the book is still hailed as a classic, which makes the lack of an adaptation quite baffling. The DC Animated Universe has been no stranger to "Elseworlds" stories before, such as "Flashpoint" and "The Dark Knight Returns." An animated adaptation of "Kingdom Come" would definitely fit snuggly alongside the other creative alternate looks at DC's present and future.

JLA/Titans: The Technis Imperative

With DC's current continuity frayed between its theatrical and televised universes, it's unlikely we'll ever see this story done in live-action. However, with films like "Justice League vs. Teen Titans" in their catalog, the DC Animated Universe would be a perfect medium for this adaptation. The Titans, while always a major part of their universe, are rarely the focal point of any major event comics. However, one event that the Titans received a well-deserved co-billing for was the supremely entertaining "JLA/Titans: The Technis Imperative".

The crux of this crossover is former Teen Titan, Cyborg, who is now a sentient planet nabbing artificial intelligence, who is set on stealing the moon. This leads to both the Titans and the Justice League butting heads over just how to deal with the conflict. The event is packed to the brim with incredible artwork and heated interactions between the veteran heroes and their respective protegees. It's a high concept take on the classic generational gap narrative –- something still all too relevant today. 

"JLA/Titans: The Technis Imperative" is an underrated story that often doesn't get brought up in the same breath as other DC Crossover events, which is a shame. Despite its short length, the emotional resonance is off the charts and it leads to an extremely satisfying payoff.

Mister Miracle

From its first pages, "Mister Miracle" by Tom King hooks readers with its grounded and visceral depictions of mental health. The image of Scott Free laying on the bathroom floor after a suicide attempt is a sobering one. What ensues is a story partway between domestic drama and space epic with a healthy dose of biting reality.

Mister Miracle and Big Barda, both with ties to DC's "New Gods," have always been a small but active presence in the DC Universe. Despite countless reboots and continuity revisions, the duo's relationship has survived for decades worth of different stories. Despite both being scarred by their upbringing on the planet Apokolips, Mister Miracle, aka Scott Free, and Big Barda have forged a good life for themselves. This is, of course, thrown into disarray by threats from their homeworld, a newborn child, and Scott's mental baggage.

This book doesn't once sugarcoat the fact that in addition to dealing with the threat of Apokolips, Scott is also contending with persistent mental health issues. After all, we live in a day and age where mental health discussions are making their way into more relevant media.

Secret Six

"Secret Six" is a comic that could make for a tremendous animated series, let alone one movie, and for a good reason. Born out of "Villains United: Infinite Crisis," the team consisted of Catman, Deadshot, Scandal Savage, and Ragdoll. Along for the ride was the new addition of Bane, best known in-universe as "The Man Who Broke the Bat." 

The series -– penned by acclaimed comics writer Gail Simone –- is a true gem in terms of writing and character development. From Scandal and Bane's father-daughter-esque relationship to the tormented past of Catman, the book is brimming with personality and depth. Add to that the infinite connections to the DC Universe along with a dark sense of humor, and you have the specific genius that is "Secret Six."

With "The Suicide Squad" proving charismatic villains can score a critical success, "Secret Six" is long overdue for an adaptation. The DC Animated Universe has already set up many key characters through their "Suicide Squad" animated movies. From tackling the forces of hell to their own personal demons, any one of the book's many arcs would make for a very adult but entertaining animated film.