13 comic books that would make incredible TV series
You know the old saying: “With great television comes great source material.” Or something like that. Fact is, comic books and graphic novels have proven to be incredible source material for TV, especially in recent years.
From producer Greg Berlanti’s reign of heroism on The CW (everything from The Flash to Riverdale) to the runaway successes of Marvel’s Runaways on Hulu, The Boys on Amazon Prime and Gerard Way’s The Umbrella Academy adaptation for Netflix, quality content is leaping from the page to the stage. Therefore, it should only be a matter of time till we get to these beauties below, right?
The brainchild of one of the most unique artists working in comics today, Jim Mahfood, Grrl Scouts scored a film short five years back that failed to launch it as a series or even full-length feature. And this despite an edgy director at the helm (YouTube star Mike Diva) and a killer soundtrack that included tunes by the Stareez and Highway Superstar. But Scouts plowed forward just the same, via Image Comics, and Mahfood’s Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks was pure, unadulterated...well...magic. Gwen, Daphne and Rita are three girls “doing what they have to do to survive in big bad Freak City,” and that includes pretty much everything. It’s Sucker Punch on acid.
The casting wouldn’t be an issue here. Emily Lazar, creator and lead singer of the band of the same name, gets the gig. What’s more, Lazar has already been bringing the comic books to life with her band September Mourning’s one-of-a-kind stage shows. It’s equal parts rock concert and dystopian feature film. The graphic novel boasts the kinds of names comic book fans know and love, too, such as Marc Silvestri. Lazar plays September, a half-human/half-“reaper” (think Marvel’s Blade) at a time when said reapers are feeding on the souls of the living. This could fill the void left by Game Of Thrones effortlessly.
My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way broke ground in rock ’n’ roll and has been doing the same in the comic book industry for years now. The “curator” for DC Comics’ Young Animal imprint, he’s responsible for either reviving some long-forgotten heroes or coming up with ones of his own. Violet Paige falls into the latter category, a tortured Gotham City youth who later becomes the vigilante Mother Panic. Revenge is on the docket, and as a series, it could easily fit in on FOX’s midseason schedule. After all, they had a hit series named Gotham on there for years.
The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys
Let’s stay with Way. The Umbrella Academy has not only been adapted into a stellar series for Netflix, but the sucker scored an Eisner Award beforehand. He also wrote this mini-series, published by Dark Horse Comics, which he’s dubbed a sequel to Romance’s album Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys. In the aftermath of the battle depicted throughout that record, The Killjoys’ followers are calling the desert home while Better Living Industries continues to “strip people of their individuality.” Only “The Girl,” the lone Killjoy survivor, can save the day. It’s got a Maze Runner vibe and a potential star in Kaya Scodelario.
Blood Red Dragon
One of the last characters co-created by the late comic book OG Stan Lee (but published by Image), Blood Red Dragon basically begs for adaptation. AMC would appear to be the right home, where Preacher and Into The Badlands thrived. Based in San Diego, Yoshiki (co-creator of the character along with Lee and revered Japanese musician) discovers the might of the titular dragon via music. Once he unleashes said power, he’s then locked in a battle with the dark armies of Oblivion. It’d be the perfect tribute to Lee. Plus, the 2011 mini-series simply kicked ass. The duo even brought Todd McFarlane on to be the creative director. For a comic.
Remember the name: Michael Fiffe. Both writer and artist, his style veers toward Steve Ditko, but the storytelling is more Way’s Umbrella Academy. This is a freaky crew. COPRA is a band of mercenaries—each a misfit in his or her own way—who ultimately square off against their own leader. Originally self-published, COPRA now calls Image Comics home, where the government-sponsored anti-heroes fumble their way toward glory, leaving no stone unturned and no city undestroyed.
Run Love Kill
Eric Canete’s had his fun with Marvel (he helmed an epic Iron Man take where our hero took on The Mandarin) but hit his stride here, also co-writing this sprawling saga of a woman named Rain. This would be a coveted role if ever there’d be one. Rain is on the run, making her way through a cityscape reminiscent of, say, Blade Runner. Rain, like Canete himself, wears two hats: She’s both protagonist and narrator, regaling the reader with her plight. She’s escaping the grip of an evil organization named Origami, and poison-tipped darts are flying as she laments, “One day things will be different for me. I just have to make it to one day.”
The Ballad Of Sang
Alessandro Micelli’s already dipped his toe in the pool that is TV, working as a concept artist. And what a concept we have here. Sang was kidnapped from the Phillippines as a child and trained to kill. He’s only known carnage, working under crime lord Don Minchella to blindly take on the city’s gangs at the big guy’s behest. But what if Sang flipped the script? He may be a mute assassin, but he does have a father figure in Chen and a literal ax to grind.
Fact is, fans of Saga have been clamoring for a little- or even big-screen adaptation of this sucker for a while now, and their pleas have largely fallen on deaf ears. Why? Would it be too ambitious of an undertaking? Possibly. Multiple storylines chug along here, sometimes colliding, while other times living parallel lives. Critically acclaimed, the space opera has copped to being heavily influenced by Star Wars even while breaking new ground that’s all its own. Brian K. Vaughan came up with the idea as a child but doubled down once he became a parent. The star-crossed lovers (quite literally) at the center of the tale, Alana and Marko, are more Romeo And Juliet in space, really. With a kid named Hazel.
Here, too, the cries for adaptation have been heard for quite a while. This one can happen significantly easier than Saga, though. The Los Angeles-set graphic novel is about “ride or die” sisters. When one gets kidnapped by a giant beast living in a magical world hidden in the city, the other sets out to free her. Or die. Speaking of death, Nina is the type of lead up-and-coming young actresses would kill for. By the way: Olivia Holt, so good in Freeform’s abruptly canceled Cloak & Dagger, is free.
Who’d have thought Scholastic had it in ’em? Amulet is a smash, all based on the simple premise of a young girl named Emily who, while cleaning the library of her great-grandfather’s house, uncovers a magical amulet. She puts it on, as any child would do, and by nightfall that time-honored chaos ensues. Fans of Harry Potter and The Hobbit could see a mini-series or trilogy from the get-go.
The Twisted Tales Of The Ritalin Club
Not to be outdone by pioneer Way, powerhouse vocalist YUNGBLUD is dabbling in comics, too. The performer has put his guttural howl on the page with Z2 Comics, and his Twisted Tales Of The Ritalin Club (and the pending sequel, Weird Times at Quarry Banks University) has BBC written all over it. The name of the boarding school central to these tales? Blackheart’s, a nod to the Black Hearts Club. At Blackheart’s Boarding School, the first order of business is keeping your superpowers to yourself. That doesn’t smack of a time bomb, now does it?
Poppy has also joined the comic book fray herself with two releases. Lest you struggle with finding it, she’s gone the distance of giving the first the subtitle A Poppy Graphic Novel. The book is no throwaway, though. Far from it. With a subtle nod to Terminator, the main character treads both the lines between human and robot and redemption and damnation. Don’t we all? The latter, anyway.