Cal McDonald is a mess of a man... and that's the way fans like him. Created by renowned horror scribe Steve Niles, the drug-infused anti-hero's publishing history is as varied as his nearly 20 years of "Criminal Macabre" adventures with Dark Horse Comics.
Between several comic book series, novels, and online content, McDonald has killed a monster in almost every medium. Now with the possibility of a film adaptation on the way, the paranormal detective could be poised for a jump from self-imposed obscurity to mainstream monster hunting.
The filmmaking process is nothing new to Niles. Between the success of "30 Days of Night" and plans to adapt many of his other works (including "City of Dust," "Wake the Dead" and "Freaks of the Heartland") to film, the writer has seen enough of Hollywood to understand why it's taken a while to get Cal McDonald on the big screen.
"We had it set up at MGM years ago, and it just didn’t quite take," Niles told MTV News. "['Criminal Macabre'] went through a lot. The first instance, everyone was like, ‘Clean him up, we can’t have a character like this.’ And then they realized I’m not trying to do 'Cheech and Chong' here. This is to me, a modern Philip Marlowe. He has all the same problems, but they’re modernized because hard drinking just doesn’t cut it anymore."
Despite the project's initial rough start, Niles is optimistic that a new deal with Dark Horse could help bear cinematic fruit while maintaining his creative vision -- and hinted at an announcement on the matter soon.
Until then, fans can expect a more new "Criminal Macabre" series in the future, including self-published prose, comics, music and more. Essentially, he's hoping to spend as much time as possible with the character down the road.
"I’m doing limited edition books of short stories, at least six a year, straight from a website," explained Niles. "I’m thinking about serializing the next novel -- like what [Stephen] King did with 'The Green Mile -- but we’re doing it all very DIY. The only distribution will be available through the website."
Niles added that a "music/sound component" would also be made available for the novels, allowing readers to "pop in a little Cal McDonald CD while they read." According to Niles, an announcement will be coming soon regarding the musician who will contribute to the audio add-on.
"I’m constantly pushing on and Cal is my favorite character to write, so [releasing material is] really important for me," said Niles.
You can get more information on Niles' series of self-published "Cal McDonald: Detective Tales" paperbacks at www.bloodypulpbooks.com.
How do you feel about Cal McDonald being developed for a larger film audience? Could the fan-favorite survive an adaptation for the masses? What about the novels and audio element? Speak your mind in the comments.