This week's "It Oughtta Be..." is about The Spirit, Will Eisner's classic comic book! So, what do I think should be done with it?
I think it would make a great live-action TV series. Honestly, I do!
See, I don't think it works as well as a movie (TV or theatrical release), because the length works against it. Actually, I think that an hour-long TV show would be too long, as well.
So here's my concept: Half-hour TV drama, paired up with another half-hour drama series, preferably. Think about it: Eisner's Spirit stories were what, eight to 12 pages long? Sounds like a half-hour show to me. In fact, I'd say that most episodes (i not all of them) should be adapted from the original comic stories. Maybe the episodes with the Autoplane would have to be reworked, because I'm not sure how that could be pulled off. Obviously, Ebony White would also need to be reworked for modern audiences -- I don't think he could be introduced as a cab driver, obviously, but he could be portrayed a bit like Gary Coleman in "Dif'rent Strokes."
And it should be done in a somewhat retro style -- think about how "The Flash" was done on CBS, where it was a mix of the modern and retro. This would allow the show to use many existing city sets, and we'd really just need the Spirit's headquarters at Wildwood Cemetary and Dolan's office (and the latter would be easy, right?).
I haven't any ideas as far as casting goes, save that I think the Spirit should be portrayed by an actor who would remind us of a young Bruce Campbell. Obviously, Ellen would have to be portrayed by an actress who's gorgeous and can also do comedy well (maybe the blonde waitress on "2 Broke Girls" would work, although I don't think she's quite curvy enough to be Ellen). If it wouldn't be too much a case of typecasting, I think that perhaps Ted Levine, who played Captain Stottlemeyer on "Monk" would work well for Commissioner Dolan, but that's the only real definite casting that comes to mind.
Of course, there's the other characters that would recur as the series progressed, especially the femme fatales that Denny Colt kept running into... as well as the Octopus and other villains, and casting could be fun to do for those roles!