With two of the hottest tickets in Hollywood being HBO's adaptation of George RR Martin's "Game of Thrones" and the continued dominance of comic book superheroes, it was only a question of time until someone snapped up the rights to Martin's own superhero universe.
Today, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Martin's "Wild Cards" – a prose anthology co-created with editor Melinda Snodgrass – has been optioned for a feature film treatment by SyFy Films, the new theatrical division of Universal's SF-centric cable channel. The screenplay will be written by Snodgrass. "We had a love of comics books and superheroes that we grew up on," Martin told the trade of the series launched in 1987. "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."
"Wild Cards" focuses on a world where an alien virus has transformed the population of New York City into either mutant-like "Jokers" or more heroically powered "Aces." The prose anthology has seen 22 volumes come to print since its initial launch with writers ranging from sci-fi legends Roger Zelazny and Howard Waldrop to more modern voices like Paul Cornell. The books were turned into comics over the past few years under the Dabel Brothers label and later at Dynamite Entertainment.
"One of the things we have going is the sense of history," Martin said. "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."
The author revealed to THR that one of the core characters in the movie will be The Sleeper, who gains a new face and powers each time he awakens from a hibernation-like state.