When I first watched Heroes, it reminded my of G.R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards anthology, which brought a number of sci-fi authors together to write gritty and “realistic” superhero stories in a shared fictional universe.
Then Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series made its way to HBO. With the success of both Heroes and A Game of Thrones then, we shouldn’t be surprised that Syfy Films has acquired the rights to Wild Cards:
The tales, written initially by science fiction and fantasy authors who also included Roger Zelazny and Lewis Shiner, among others, 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.
“We had a love of comics books and superheroes that we grew up on,” Martin, who had fan letter published in a Marvel comic in the 1960s, tells The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”
One of the unique aspects of the books (the series has changed publishers several times, it is now on volume 22) is the way the characters evolve. Some age, some marry, some die, new ones are introduced, building a tapestry of stories.
“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.”
“This is, beyond Marvel and DC, really the only universe where you have fully realized, fully integrated characters that have been built and developed over the course of 25 years,” says Gregory Noveck, Syfy Films’ senior vp production who joined the division in May and who targeted the books for acquisition. “The trick for us is to find what’s the best movie.”
It really does seem like a better fit for a series.
(Hat tip to Mitro at the Alternate History Weekly Update.)