6. THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND CLAY, BY MICHAEL CHABON (2000)

Status: Stalled for now

Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay chronicles the lives of two Jewish artists who create the world’s greatest comic book superhero, The Escapist. In a world where every superhero property is being whored out and put on screen by the Hollywood machine, it’s maddening to think that this modern masterpiece still hasn’t been adapted into the movie that everyone knows it should be.

Taking its cues from the lives of real comic book talent like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel, and Jim Steranko, this novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2001. It explores the racial tensions during the early 20th century, the ins and outs of the comic book industry, and even homosexuality. It is an incredibly beautiful novel that can easily be enjoyed by people who have never picked up a comic book in their life, as well as lifelong fans of the funnybooks.

For a while it seemed like a movie adaptation was all but inevitable, but little progress has been made over the years and the project looks like it’s dead in the water as of now. It’s a shame, because the project would fit a director like Ron Howard or Martin Scorsese like a snug pair of tights.