comic to tv adaptation

13 comic books that would make incredible TV series

July 29, 2020
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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? 

Read more: ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ is finally getting a Funko Advent calendar

Grrl Scouts 

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.  

September Mourning 

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. 

Mother Panic 

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Mother Panic Volume 1!! In stores now. I’m a day late on this update, as well as other updates that I missed completely due to a harrowing animal health issue last week, but all is finally getting back to normal. Lots to write and lots to catch up on, so many amazing things going on, with Lindsey and Frances’s phenomenal art show (pics soon I hope!), and other things. Mother Panic— go check this book out. I’ve written a solid afterword in the back, which gives you some insight and gushing all over this wonderful team. A lot more exciting things in store for our character Violet Paige on the way. Jody’s title for Volume 1, ‘A Work In Progress’ has had so much meaning this year, for all of us at the imprint, the imprint itself, personally I’ve felt a tremendous amount of change. And it is through that kind of change that I connect with this book so much. I feel like we are all works in progress. And we have a really amazing back up story with Gotham Radio. Credits: MOTHER PANIC vol 1: A WORK IN PROGRESS Written by Jody Houser Interior art by Tommy Lee Edwards and Shawn Crystal Colors by Tommy Lee Edwards and Jean-Francois Beaulieu Lettered by John Workman “Gotham Radio” back up Written by Jim Krueger Pencils by Phil Hester Inks by Ande Parks Colors by Trish Mulvihill Lettered by Deron Bennett #DCYoungAnimal #MotherPanic #AWorkInProgress #DCComics

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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

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Yesterday, we announced a new True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys series: National Anthem. We’re really excited about this book, because we take everything back to the original concept for the series that could have been, many years ago, before it became an MCR concept record and subsequent comic series, now known as TLFK: California. The first thing to know about National Anthem is that it’s very different from any Killjoys material you have seen, read, or heard before. You may recognize some visual elements of the characters, but these are completely different characters from the gang we saw in California 2019. These are the original characters: Mike Milligram, The Codes— Red and Blue, Animax, Kyle 100%, and a ton of others, as well as changes these characters go through years later, and an eventual new member of the gang. This story is set in the 1990’s and the 2000’s, in a world as its was back then. All these years later, Shaun and I couldn’t get this story out of our heads, and thought it was powerful, unique, and different enough from what we had done before to warrant actually making the thing, and I’m really happy we did. The first issue was written in one and a half weeks, about 44 pages long, and it was dying to get out. So, try and come to this with a fresh brain and unlearn everything you know about the Killjoys. It’s also a mature readers book. The creative team is one of the best I have ever worked with, some old friends and new friends. Shaun Simon co-writes with me, @leo_romero11 handles the line art, @whoajordie handles the colors, @natepiekos handles the letters, @beckycloonan as well as @prentler and others, handle the variant covers. And everyone is doing something they’ve never done before, and operating from a new and experimental place. It hits shops and digital on October 14th, published by @darkhorsecomics. We can’t wait for you to check it out. #tlfk #thetruelivesofthefabulouskilljoys #TLFKnationalanthem #nationalanthem #darkhorsecomics #booksontape

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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. 


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Why wait for Amazon when SAGA BOOK THREE will be at your friendly neighborhood comic shop this Wednesday, May 29? Unlike our bare-bones softcover compendium coming out later this year, our third deluxe hardcover (collecting issues 37-54) features tons of exclusive extras, including never-before-seen photos and sketches, an interview with @fionastaples about how we came up with this nonsense (and what she’s been working on during hiatus), an obsessively deep dive into how letterer Fonografiks created our deceptively simple logo, and much more. Nearly 500 pages, and we priced it for under 50 bucks so you could afford to buy six or seven of them. Please note, this book is not appropriate for children/most humans, but The Daughter recently lost the same tooth as Hazel, so she volunteered her modeling services here. Anyway, hope your weekend is going okay. More rain here today, which is nice. #Saga #sagacomic #fionastaples #briankvaughan #imagecomics #supportyourlcs #happymemorialday #crasscommercialism

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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? 

Genesis 1

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.

Written by Vinnie Penn