The other day, I mentioned to my roommate that I'd really like to see the upcoming 'Suicide Squad' movie go back to basics. Then I paused and said, "Well, not all the way back to basics, because that would be a movie about a renegade tobbogganist fighting dinosaurs during World War II."
That got me kind of a funny look, so I explained that Bob Kanigher, creator of the original Silver Age Suicide Squad, really just liked the name and used it for a lot of stories, including some from "The War That Time Forgot", which was a recurring series about GIs fighting dinosaurs in World War II. (And yes, one of them was a tobbogganist who had to team up with the brother of his old sledding partner, who died in a sledding accident that the brother blamed him for. It's really one of the oldest tropes in literature.)
Which got me thinking: Why the hell is there not a "War That Time Forgot" movie? It's 'Saving Private Ryan' meets 'Jurassic Park'. This is a license to print money. Which in turn led me to wonder about some of DC's other non-superhero titles. Here are five I think would make great movies.
1) The War That Time Forgot. The initial story has just about the perfect set-up. A military commander is asked to attend a private briefing, and is provided with documentation about an island in the Pacific shrouded with fog. The Japanese have fortified the island so heavily that no scouting expeditions have returned. The general giving the briefing then hands him a Japanese military dispatch that was decoded yesterday. It advises of yet another failure to penetrate the American defenses surrounding the island.
The commander is given one mission. Find out who is holding the island if it's not the Americans and it's not the Japanese, and return with that information. (Hint: It's dinosaurs.) The plane carrying the troops is downed by pterodactyls, and the soldiers have to make it out of the dinosaur-infested wilderness.
2) Enemy Ace. This would be a beautiful war movie; haunting, elegaic, a story about the last "noble" war and the pilots who jousted through the sky like duelling knights. I'd probably pick the story where Hans von Hammer (the titular Ace) accidentally kills a pilot whose guns had jammed, and who goes up into the sky to duel with empty guns to regain his honor. It's strong, moving, easily accessible, and really gets across the spirit of the series. (Plus, "The sky is the enemy of us all" really would look great on a movie poster.)
3) The Witching Hour. Not so much the actual anthology stories--they were your bog-standard Code-approved horror stories, the kind of thing that was just toothless enough to avoid bringing back the spectre of 'Seduction of the Innocent' but still scary enough to keep little kids coming back for more thrills. Not a memorable one in the bunch, to be honest. No, I'd make a movie based around the framing sequence, where ancient witches Mildred and Mordred have to deal with their thoroughly modern stepsister Cynthia, and her new-fangled witchcraft techniques (and new-fangled sensibilities). It has the makings of a really fun comedy, sort of a mix of "Bewitched" and 'Hocus Pocus'.
4) Sgt. Rock. This one, though, I would do as an anthology. I'd structure it as a reunion of the members of Easy Company, each of them telling stories of the Sarge that would be pulled from the comic. Rock didn't make it out of the war (Kanigher usually said he was killed by the last bullet fired in World War II, which I'd totally turn into a scene in the film) but the stories of his fellow soldiers would show that his heroism lived on in them.
5) Jonah Hex. It's a real shame they never made a movie about this character. Yep, a shame that movie didn't happen. Never happened. Do you hear me? IT. NEVER. HAPPENED.
...which gives someone the opportunity to do it right, as a hard-bitten Western instead of a steampunk abomination!