When nerd worlds collide

I love the “Five for Friday” feature over at The Comics Reporter, but I very rarely remember to respond when the question goes out. This is because I’ve usually shut down the computer and curled up with Mr. Hendrick by the time the call goes out. I even forget when I’ve suggested the week’s topic in a previous Five for Friday; in this case, I suggested Tom ask contributors to “Name Five Comic Properties That Should Be Adapted Into Broadway Musicals.” So here are my choices:

Fumi Yoshinaga's "Antique Bakery" Vol. 2Antique Bakery, by Fumi Yoshinaga (DMP): I think just about anything by Yoshinaga would translate well into a musical, because her characters could just as easily burst into song as they burst into monologue. I do think Antique Bakery would be a great starting point, as it’s got four solid male leads and a whole bunch of Tony-bait supporting roles in the mix. The leads also lend themselves to different musical styles for solo pieces, and their number holds promise for bizarre barbershop sequences. I admit that food-based stage productions are hell for the props crew, but there are ways around that.

pollyPolly and the Pirates, by Ted Naifeh (Oni): Given the quantity of apparently horrible family-friendly stage musicals Disney has unleashed on Broadway in recent years, it’s probably cruel to suggest an adaptation of this delightful but underappreciated mini-series. Still, it’s got a lot of things going for it: a spunky ingénue part in the title character, a big chorus of rowdy pirates, an exciting plot, and some fun staging and design opportunities.

10203010, 20, 30, by Morim Kang (Netcomics): Swinging in the other direction in terms of production scale, this look at the lives of three different women muddling through three different decades of life (teens, twenties, and thirties) would make a nifty chamber piece that would be very portable to university and community theatres. All you really need are interesting characters with distinct voices, I think, and this book has them.

palomarPalomar, by Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics): Hernandez’s Palomar stories have an embarrassment of riches for composers, lyricists, librettists, and directors. A cast bursting with great characters, a community that could easily function as a formidable chorus, a lovely setting with just enough of a magical-realism quality to justify the bursting-into-song aspect, and a magnificent “Big Lady” lead role in Luba all suggest a musical that would write itself.

dragonheadDragon Head, by Minetaro Mochizuki (Tokyopop): Okay, this is probably me just being perverse, undoubtedly influenced by that PBS special on the Lord of the Rings musical that aired on PBS. In my defense, history has shown us that Broadway will adapt anything – ANYTHING – into a singing-and-dancing extravaganza, so I see no reason for them to shy away from this post-apocalyptic treasure. And someone’s probably still got that helicopter from Miss Saigon lying around, so there’s a cost savings right off the top. It could be Carrie: The Musical or it could be Sweeney Todd, and I think it’s worth it either way.

9 Responses to When nerd worlds collide

  1. LillianDP says:

    The Korean film version of Antique Bakery is one step ahead of you. 🙂 I don’t think there’s full-out singing, but certainly elaborate fantasy dance numbers, straight offa Broadway!

    Great choices all around!

  2. davidpwelsh says:

    If I could have picked six, Paradise Kiss would have been on that list. I did want to avoid books that were already ostentatiously musical in their subject matter, though, so no Nana or Beck.

  3. LillianDP says:

    Ooooh, I’d love to see a Paradise Kiss musical.

    And then there are the already-existing Sailor Moon, Prince of Tennis, and Bleach musicals (note the plural!). Which are great in their own special way, too.

  4. Joy says:

    I was also going to mention the Antique Bakery movie, but Lillian beat me to it.

    I think there would be a market for a Yotsuba musical. It could launch the careers of a dozen child stars, a la Annie! And I for one would pay good money to see an adorable moppet with green pigtails sing a song about how air conditioners cause global warming.

  5. Eva says:

    Polly & the Pirates would be perfect as a Broadway musical! Can you imagine the crazy Disney/Pirates of Penzance swashbuckling costume drama nightmare of an extravaganza that would be? I’m ashamed for not having thought of it myself.

    And did you hear that Oni and Ted Naifeh have finally found an artist for volume 2? More Polly to brighten our dreary lives! Woohoo!

  6. […] David Welsh lists five comics that should be adapted into Broadway musicals. […]

  7. davidpwelsh says:

    Oh, Joy, I agree that a Yotsuba musical would rock, but Annie ended more child star careers than it started! Only Sarah Jessica Parker is still with us.

    And Eva, I did see that, and I’m very, very excited! I think I’ve been wanting a sequel since the first issue came out.

  8. […] Welsh answers a question posed to Comic Reporter Contributors; “Name Five Comic Properties Should Be […]

  9. Jules says:

    Read some of Palomar and can see it as a musical. I think Too Cool To Be Forgotten would be interesting to see as a musical as well.

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