Oddly enough, I just saw a movie prequel novel by Max Allan Collins for GI Joe in a bookstore.
Why does this surprise me? Max Allan Collins writes mostly hard-boiled mysteries. I see that he does some movie novelizations, but an unambiguously juvenile originated property such as GI Joe does not often fall within his purview unless it had several decades of history behind it-which GI Joe does not have (unless you count the original version which did not have Cobra). (Before anyone says GI Joe does not have unambiguously juvenile roots, it started as a toyline. While some comic books such as EC had adult readers, and in Japan many adults read comic books such as Death Note and Golgo 13, a toyline must go to children.)
MAC often scoffs at such juvenile properties otherwise. (He did write a Captain America story, but Captain American does not have metahuman powers. Collins also wrote the Batman several times, but the Batman lies further away from metahuman powers than even Captain America.) However, in recent years, with the decline of the R-rated adventure film (see Jabootu link below), with Star Wars' impact (George Lucas based Star Wars on Flash Gordon), Doctor Who's impact (originally created as an educational program for pre-teens) and Star Trek's impact (the original Star Trek canceled from television due to its demographics attracting too many teens and pre-teens), unabashedly non-juvenile properties have lost some prominence as media franchises.
(Just to clarify-I do not hate or oppose MAC. I enjoyed his work on Dick Tracy and his Nolan novels.)
Incidentally, in an interview in 1987's Amazing Heroes#119, Max Allan Collins predicted that no great sci-fi/fantasy blockbuster movies would following in coming decades. Needless to say, he thought wrong. I wrote him an e-mail about this.
"Actually, R-rated films in general have become somewhat more scarce of late.
I posted a thread on a board about this, but it seems that the seeds of Star Wars (never R-rated)
have started pushing out other genres. It seems that Star Wars desensitized people for a Superman movie;
as Ken Begg wrote "if people could believe in Luke
Skywalker and Darth Vader, why not Superman?".
I remember reading your interview in Amazing Heroes#119 where you said that you did not expect too many epic
science fiction or fantasy adventure films would do well. While at the time this seemed an accurate prognosis (AH#119 came out the same year as Superman IV: The
Quest For Peace), in the years since many stars of R-rated adventure films have entered tough times, and few new players have replaced them".
I guess he may have justified it to himself as the GI Joe team members do not have metahuman powers and used advanced technology, but not significantly higher (I suppose) than the state of turn of the 21st century technology.
As I noted elsewhere, one could posit that Star Wars has made films more juvenile. (Star Wars largely took after the Flash Gordon serials.) However, had they done an adventure or contemporary war or espionage story in the vein of Vince Flynn, W.E.B. Griffin, Craig Thomas, Dale Brown, et al. then issue of cultural sensitivity would come up due to the war on terror.
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