There was a point in time when the idea of Kevin Smith directing a comic book movie adaptation wasn’t all that inconceivable. However, he’d be the first to admit that such a time has well passed. Of course, that’s not to say that he’s without ideas should such a project fall into his lap. In fact, he recently explained that he’d ideally tackle a rather dark, obscure DC Comics character, The Question.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that Smith, who spoke at the Producers Guild gathering in Los Angeles, discussed his current creative resurgence resulting from last year’s underperforming passion project, Tusk. While its paltry performance may not justify Smith ever being appointed to the helm of any big-budget comic book bonanza, he did offer up an interesting (albeit hypothetical) adaptation idea with DC’s The Question. According to Smith, he'd like to do a film noir take on the character, elaborating:
I always thought if you were in an alley and fucking Batman showed up you'd be like, 'Oh fuck, Batman.' But if a dude shows up with no features and starts punching you, you would probably kill yourself in fear."
The hero that Smith references is the blue fedora and trenchcoat-wearing wielder of intrigue, The Question. Created in 1967 by Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko, this DC comic hero confronts criminals with a featureless face mask made of a synthetic material that, aided with gasses, bonds to his face and changes its shape for disguise. Armed with no superpowers other than martial arts training and his investigative wits as a journalist, Vic Sage, aka The Question, traditionally focuses his fight against the powerful and corrupt in the decrepit, crime-strewn Hub City.
Kevin Smith’s Batman comparison highlights some notable differences in style, especially considering the more ethos-inspiring nature of Vic Sage’s quest to rid his city of corruption and economic blight that has resulted in unlivable afflictions like gang warfare. The Question, in a certain sense fits into the conventional vigilante mold, fighting from the shadows. He even shares Batman’s no-kill mandate. However, he’s fighting different demons than ones resulting from dead parents. Throughout the various incarnations over the decades, his aim as a vigilante seems to center on the delicate personal balance that he walks as a journalist by day and vigilante by night; professions which are inherently contradictory. A journalist has a required degree of objectivity, and a vigilante has the ability to overstep boundaries.
Smith’s hypothetical idea points out the more nuanced kind of fear that a vigilante sporting a creepy blank face might inspire from some feckless thug in a dark alley, as opposed to the more blunt kind of fear that a man dressed in a dark bat costume and a cape might evoke. Smith could have a valid point in that the kind of fear that The Question wields could be seen as more captivating. However, such a film adaptation might find itself lost in the cluttered comic book movie field, wielding concepts that might come across as generic to the average moviegoer.
Nevertheless, while we probably won’t ever see Kevin Smith get behind the camera for a Bluntman and Chronic film, much less, The Question, longtime fans of the geek-centric funnyman should be well-sated with his upcoming franchise re-visits like Clerks III and a Mallrats sequel, MallBrats, both of which are tentatively set for 2016 releases. In all likelihood, neither film should inspire you to kill yourself in fear.