At long last, mainstream pop culture has realized what comic book fans have known for decades – comics are awesome. More specifically, though, they are realizing that comics offer a treasure trove of inspiration for movies and television shows. Focusing specifically on the realm of television, it’s easy to see that shows based on comics are becoming highly successful and, therefore, increasingly numerous.
The Walking Dead is one of the most popular shows on television. The CW network has ridden the success of Arrow and The Flash to new heights. Add to that shows such as Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Gotham, and iZombie, as well as upcoming releases like Netflix’s Daredevil and AMC’s Preacher, and one does not have to look far to see the enormous influence comics are having on the small screen. Still, those shows are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I’ve compiled a list of five more comics (in no particular order) that are ripe for television adaptation, just waiting for some producer to come along and pluck them:
Y: The Last Man (Vertigo) by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra
This one is so easy that I almost feel bad for including it, but Vaughan’s dystopian epic would be a surefire hit on the small screen. The series follows Yorick Brown and his pet monkey Ampersand, the only two male mammals left on earth after the rest of their brethren die a mysterious and simultaneous death, as they traverse the country in search of Yorick’s girlfriend Beth as well as an explanation for their survival.
Post-apocalyptic dramas continue to be big draws, and Y: The Last Man would have no problem finding an audience with the hordes of viewers that tune in to see the similarly comics-inspired The Walking Dead each week. Two short years ago, the idea of a television series would have been a practical impossibility, as the film rights for Y:TLM were owned by New Line Cinema, where the film had languished without fruition since 2007. The rights have since reverted back to Vaughan and Guerra, however, which means that a TV series is once again possible.
Scalped (Vertigo) by Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera
Scalped is a crime drama that follows the story of Dashiell Bad-Horse, an Oglala Lakota Indian and FBI agent that goes undercover inside his former home – the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation. Dash’s mission is to gather evidence that will tie the tribe’s chief Lincoln Red-Crow to the murders of two FBI agents. Once he is back on the “Rez,” however, Dash is immediately recruited onto the Tribal Police Force by Red-Crow, who is hoping to beef up security for his recently-opened Crazy Horse Casino.
This series would be a gritty, dramatic look into a largely-forgotten about sector of our society, and the focus on Native American culture would provide a fresh backdrop for a new series. I was introduced to this series when a clerk at my local comic shop found out that I was a fan of Breaking Bad, and indeed, the stark squalor of the reservation, the corruptness of Tribal leadership and federal agencies, and lots and lots of violence would combine to appeal to fans of such dramas. There was talk last year of Scalped getting adapted by WGN, but no new announcements have been made since last April. Hopefully, either WGN pushes the project forward or someone else takes up the mantle.
Morning Glories (Image Comics) by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma
If Lost had taken place not on a deserted island but in one of the nation’s most prestigious prep schools, it would have looked a lot like Morning Glories. The story begins when six students who seem to have very little in common receive invitations to attend Morning Glory Academy. Once they arrive, however, it doesn’t take them long to realize that things are definitely not as they appear.
To say that this is a story full of twists and turns would be an understatement. This book is a crazy journey that will turn you backwards, upside down, and inside out until you have no idea what is real and what isn’t. This series would appeal to all those Lost fans who have been without a show to keep diaries full of predictions about for the last five years, as well as fans of shows that deal with supernatural and occult themes such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural.
Black Science (Image Comics) by Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera
I couldn’t make this list without including something for sci-fi fans, and Black Science is the best sci-fi comic on the shelves today. Black Science features the Anarchistic Order of Scientist and their invention “The Pillar,” which allows them to travel between different realities. The Pillar, however, is not as stable as the team would have hoped or expected it to be, and it jumps them to random, unknown, often-dangerous realities throughout the “Eververse,” or as lead scientist Grant McKay calls it due to its many layers, “The Onion.”
The team must deal with family drama, suspicions of betrayal from within, a tribe of high-tech Native American warriors, and much more as they struggle to make their way back to their spot in the Eververse. Fans of shows like Doctor Who or Star Trek should feel right at home diving into the rich, complex world that Remender and Scalera have created.
Superior Foes of Spider-Man (Marvel Comics) by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber
The second Nick Spencer-penned book to make this list might be the most unique of the bunch. The only Marvel publication to make the list as well as the only superhero comic, Superior Foes was one of the surprise hits of 2013. The book features a D-List collection of Spider-Man rogues led by Fred Myers, aka Boomerang, who has assembled a group that he has dubbed the new Sinister Six (despite only having five members).