- Books, Literature, and Writing
(Non-Superhero) Comics that Deserve Their Own TV Show
In a world where The Walking Dead is the most talked about show each week, it's surprising how few comic book adaptions are on television. I don't just mean superheroes, as Robert Kirkman's retirement fund now proves. There are plenty of comics that don't feature capes and have engaging stories that could easily hold a show of their own.
In order to help network executives find their next big hit, I've put together a list of comics ripe for adaptation. With the weekly and seasonal format of TV, these properties could bring in the ratings that The Walking Dead has been for three years.
Y: The Last Man
The Comic: One day, all the men in the world suddenly died. Except for one; Yorick. Throughout the comic, Yorick seeks to; connect with his missing fiance, avoid being used as a political tool, avoid being killed, avoid being a breading machine, avoid being a lab monkey, avoid being...well, there's a lot of avoiding. He is joined by Agent 335, a secret agent assigned to be Yorick's bodyguard and Dr. Allison Mann, a scientist looking to track down the cause of the gendercide.
The Show: The comic was a complete story, lasting sixty issues. The show would have a definitive end, but it doesn't have to follow all the same roads as the comic. This is a show that could easily last five or six seasons. The high level of sex and violence would restrict it to cable, but AMC or HBO could easily handle the series and it's content. There's enough twist and turns to keep viewers coming back each week and it would be the only show on television to have only one male character. And there's a monkey.
The Comic: This may be a cheat, but technically John Constantine isn't a superhero and has spent most of his time in DC's Vertigo lineup. Constantine is a magician, a detective and all around jerk. He has more enemies than friends and is addicted to learning more magic. He often is out for the greater good, but his actions are questionable. Yet, despite all that, he's an extremely likable character, mostly because he's smart and more often than not, right.
The Show: Unlike the movie, which made Constantine an American exorcist, the show would have him as his comic likeness; a British magic junkie. Every now and then, you could have him deal with religious issues, but the core of his problems are far more supernatural than catholic. This show would be in the vain of The X-Files or Supernatural but with a much more cynical bent. The supporting cast would always be in danger of Constantine's magic addiction getting them in trouble. A lot of his friends would die due to circumstances he created and even when he wins the day, there's little sign of hope. But there's always room for a little darkness on TV, even if it means sticking the show on the horrid FX channel.
The Comic: Mitchell Hundred was New York's first superhero, The Great Machine. He had the ability to talk to and control machines of all kinds. After 9/11, when he was only able to save one tower, Hundred quit his superhero career and revealed his identity to the public in hopes of running for office. He became the mayor of New York and he now struggles with the everyday politics of the city as well as shadows from his past and origin.
The Show: This is the West Wing meets super powers. Political drama on a weekly basis with the every now and then "out-of-this" world experience. It's not even a show that needs to follow the comic directly, as doing so would date the series on it's issues. As problems in the real world occur, they could become plot points in the show. With a strong ensemble cast to surround Hundred with, you have the kind of show that would bring in political activists and genre fans.
The Comic: Set in the late 1800s, the series(s) follows Jonah Hex, a scarred bounty hunter who was raised by Apaches. Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti turned the series into a spaghetti western that resembles The Good, The Bad and The Ugly more than a Batman comic. There are few overarching plots, as most issues tended to be stand alone in nature. Hex is mean and rude, but he follows a personal code that has to be admired.
The Show: If Deadwood can do it, so can Hex. Forget the movie, forget the tacked on powers. Jonah Hex would be a show about an ugly bounty hunter making a living. It would be difficult, as he doesn't have a strong supporting cast, but finding the way around that issue would be the biggest hurdle. Unlike the comic, the show could have a continuing story, even if it only revolves around a high priced bounty. The best case scenario would be to cast Thomas Jane as the lead and hope audiences are ready for a dark western tale.
The Comic: In the frighteningly near future, a second Civil War breaks out between the United States of America and the Free States of America. This fight causes the island of Manhattan to become a demilitarized zone. Matty Roth is a reporter who gets into the island and relays the situation to the media, but, in doing so, becomes a target for both sides of the war.
The Show: In a country where seceding is actually being considered an answer to political disagreements, the concept is a relevant one and ready for TV. Set in a recognizable but broken version of Manhattan, the show would have a lot to say visually and rhetorically. Where The Walking Dead is succeeding in creating a war between the last surviving humans, DMZ would have that situation be an ongoing problem. Matty and his supporting cast would be caught in the middle, trying to ignite or extinguish the problems. Very little about this show would be balanced, but both sides would look like the bad guys at the end of the day.
From Page to Flat Screen
I'm actually not that into politics, so it's funny to me that most of my choices would play so heavily in that field. Maybe I'm just looking for the right show to follow.
These are just five comics that could be TV series with little trouble and no one would be the wiser that they were comics first. Though, in The Walking Dead's case, knowing the connection helped both formats. Considering that comics are a serialized medium already, it seems only natural that they would work well on a TV schedule. I'm not saying these shows would be for everyone, but many of them could be critical or ratings darlings. If I forgot you're favorite suggestion, let me know. After all, there's always hope for Star Wars: Legacy to make it to TV, right?