Comics That Deserve Their Own Show/Film

There are many reasons for film and television producers to turn to the realm of comic books for source material. Richly imagined worlds, compelling and diverse stories, colourful characters, and, of course, an excuse to use some hugely impressive visual effects, it’s no wonder there’s been a surge in the development of comic book movies and television series in recent years.

With Marvel now heading toward its cinematic ‘Phase Three’ and DC hot on their heels with the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it is apparent that the age of superhero blockbusters is now. But, as with every medium, there’s a vast expanse of material out there, and much of it seems to have been overlooked. So what else is out there? And how many comics are just waiting to be developed for the screen?

The Industry Giants: What lurks in the pages of Marvel and DC?

Marvel Phase 3
Expanding the empire: Marvel’s next step.

Since the inception of the comic book as we know it, two companies have led the way in terms of superheroes: Marvel, home of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and their numerous fantastical creations, and DC, housing such greats as Bob Kane, Alan Moore and… well, many more fantastical creations.

Initially, there was something of a divide in the way these two powerhouses present their work on the screen today. Marvel led the way in movies, kicking off their current success with films like Iron Man, Thor and The Avengers. DC, on the other hand, began to make their mark on the world of television, with shows like Smallville and Arrow convincing audiences and critics alike of the value of comics. There were exceptions: Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy captured the character of Batman in a way no one had ever seen before, and Marvel movies were not always wonderfully received. Generally speaking, however, it was Marvel that held the title in film, while DC dominated the comic adaptation market in television.

Recently, this has changed. Both companies have now started stepping outside these comfort zones, DC making plans to build their own cinematic universe and Marvel launching Agents of Shield, Daredevil and Powers as TV shows. So, now the question is: what’s next?

Marvel

A seemingly limitless factory of creativity, flair and innovation, Marvel is the company that brought heroes such as Spider-Man, Thor and The Hulk to the table, now dominating screens with a new, refined cinematic universe. Known for their expansive and detailed creations, it’s easy to see why these masters of the medium hold such a firm place in both comic book culture and in the pop culture of America. Their best writers have developed storylines exploring everything from teenage angst to alien invasion, alcoholism and nervous breakdowns to demonic wars of magic and mystery.

It’s difficult to deny their versatility. In recent years, stories have broken even further boundaries. The ambitious Civil War storyline saw a grand battle of superheroes and superpowers combined with moral greyness; brutal American politics and a national tragedy tearing heroes apart and bitterly ending long established friendships. Admittedly, Marvel were quick to re-establish the former state of the Marvel universe following these events, but while the war raged, it made for one of their most mature and discussion-provoking arcs.

But what hasn’t yet been seen by a wider audience? From comedy to tragedy, troubled hero to loveable villain, Marvel haven’t yet exhausted their source material ready for the screen. In fact, they’re barely getting started…

The Thunderbolts

The Thunderbolts: Suicide Squad meets Homeland?
The Thunderbolts: Suicide Squad meets Homeland?

Heroes come in many forms – tragic heroes, reluctant heroes, perfect heroes, flawed heroes – but perhaps most fascinating is the antihero. And antiheroes don’t come much more complex than Marvel’s Baron Helmut Zemo, son of a Nazi scientist and the leader of reformed supervillain team The Thunderbolts. Cruel, unforgiving and manipulative, Zemo makes for a darkly intriguing protagonist, and his ruthless comrades for an engaging and colourful supporting cast.

Could this be Marvel’s answer to DC’s Suicide Squad? Perhaps more fit for television adaptation, there’s certainly a lot of content that could be explored here. What makes The Thunderbolts particularly interesting is the ever changing, never clear motives of its characters. Are they truly reformed? Or are they simply endeavouring to gain the trust of the public and each other, in the hope that they can use it to their advantage? Are they ultimately on the side of good, or are they secretly planning a cunning and merciless betrayal? This element of the series is one that could potentially translate to the small screen incredibly well, achieving a sense of tension and uncertainty in the audience similar to the effect generated in such stories as US drama Homeland.

The Great Lakes Avengers

The Great Lakes Avengers: Brilliantly bizarre Marvel comedy.
The Great Lakes Avengers: Brilliantly bizarre Marvel comedy.

The legendary merc-with-a-mouth Deadpool isn’t Marvel’s only laugh-out-loud hero – the Great Lakes Avengers (name subject to change in a long running joke) also fit the bill of comical characters in the universe. Taking great pleasure in ruthlessly mocking his own craft, writer John Byrne uses his super-team of unappreciated heroes to explore soap-opera cliches, ridicule comic book tropes and generally have fun with these highly amusing, highly unusual characters.

So, is this series suitable for, or even deserving of, its own adaptation? Arguably, it’s perfect source material – funny, clever and surprisingly diverse. Stories range from light-hearted silliness (including a team-up with Deadpool to rescue the Greek God of alcohol) to some bizarre dark comedy (the hero Grasshopper accidentally launching himself out of the atmosphere and dying only moments after delivering an optimistic internal monologue). There are even moments of genuine emotion (albeit ones frequently interrupted by strange comical events). In addition, there’s plenty to explore in terms of character – Doorman’s relationship with his father and his resurrection as an angel of Death, Mr Immortal’s traumatic character arc, the comic relief of Squirrel Girl. The comic includes all the key ingredients needed for a great adaptation, as well as that extra spark of creativity and originality that distinguishes it from other works.

Death’s Head

Death's Head : Ruthless, spineless, heartless. And we love him for it.
Death’s Head : Ruthless, spineless, heartless. And we love him for it.

Before starring in his own comic, mechanical “freelance peacekeeping agent” Death’s Head appeared as a guest antagonist in several other Marvel works, including sci-fi thriller Dragon’s Claws, a licensed Transformers tie-in, and even an issue of their Doctor Who series. The phrase “bounty hunter with a heart” isn’t entirely appropriate when talking about Death’s Head. The only human emotions this robotic gun-for-hire possesses are greed, rage, selfishness and a warped sense of humour that makes him somehow loveable.

He thrives in his setting (Earth in the year 8162), a colourful world of corruption and chaos filled with the bizarre, but also the familiar. His adventures reflect all the insanity of this setting as he encounters environmental terrorists, bloodthirsty rivals, strange mutant creatures, gamblers and gangsters, fighting both with them and against them by turns. However, his cruel, double-crossing character allows him to flourish in other environments: motivated entirely by the prospect of payment, he can wind up on any side of any conflict, making the possibilities for his stories expansive and interesting. A unique, well-designed, brilliantly imagined creation, Death’s Head could, in the right hands, make for an engrossing and absorbing on-screen protagonist.

The Winter Soldier

Relic of the Cold War? Hardly. The Winter Soldier makes for a varied and compelling lead character.
Relic of the Cold War? Hardly. The Winter Soldier makes for a varied and compelling lead character.

Okay, it could be argued that this has technically already been explored in the most recent Captain America movie. But with Marvel showing a clear talent for spy pieces (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D), especially spy pieces with a classic historical edge (Agent Carter), Ed Brubaker’s reinvention of Bucky Barnes may well be suitable for further adaptation. Haunted by a past that is not his own, the character makes a gripping hero for some of the most engaging stories written in recent memory.

What makes his adventures unique is the grit, the dark heart of espionage that is explored, the feeling of authenticity despite the fantastical nature of the Marvel Universe. And what makes the character interesting is, among other things, his psychological complexity and growth. His struggle to come to terms with his actions in his brainwashed state and the exploration of his irrational but understandable guilt complex makes him a hero like no other, and one whom it’s almost impossible not to engage with. On that topic, the series also offers an interesting study of supporting cast member and fellow super-spy the Black Widow, and brings another layer to the character’s identity – something definitely worth exploring in Marvel’s cinematic universe. On top of this, the stories themselves have so much potential – complex, globe-spanning epics with enough balance of intrigue, action, and even the occasional dosage of humour to make them near-perfect for the cinema or the television.

DC

If there are two heroes DC have nurtured that deserve particular recognition, they are – as any fan will tell you – Superman and Batman. Two of the greatest legends to come not just out of comic books, but out of modern culture. Because of this association, it’s easy to overlook DC’s smaller characters in favour of Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne. Yet, it’s not solely these heroes that deserve appreciation, as recent television successes like The Flash and Arrow demonstrate – there’s more to DC than Metropolis and Gotham. Much more.

Much like Marvel, DC are great entrepreneurs of the imagination. They have produced staggering epics, poignant characters and incredible fantastical worlds that resonate with audiences on multiple levels. The mystic, the magic, the macabre – the company pulls no punches when it comes to telling a story, a dynamic helped by the fact that they’ve been home to some of the most noteworthy writers of the modern world. Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing, Frank Miller’s revolutionary The Dark Knight Returns – unique, powerful, absorbing stories working in unison with the visuals of distinct, visually stunning artists (Dave Gibbons and Kevin O’Neil to name a few).

So, what’s slipped under the radar of directors seeking source material? And just how much is there to be explored in the depths of this unique universe?

Mister Miracle

Mister Miracle faces another dramatic, seemingly inescapable scenario.
Mister Miracle faces another dramatic, seemingly inescapable scenario.

So far, DC’s cinematic universe has largely explored earthbound heroes (with the possible exception of Green Lantern, but we won’t talk about that). Even Superman, despite his extraterrestrial origins, has in his live action adaptations been based on this planet. There’s nothing currently in the company’s screen arsenal to seriously rival a space-opera like Marvel’s acclaimed Guardians of the Galaxy. But that’s not to say DC doesn’t have its own wider universe – among the most important of DC’s cosmic characters is Scott Free, the hero known as Mister Miracle. Created by the great Jack Kirby, this son of faraway civilization New Genesis is a great introduction to the rich DC galaxy as he fights for his freedom, frequently escapes lethal traps and faces Darkseid, tyrant ruler of the planet Apokolips and one of DC’s greatest villains.

To explore this character and his adventures on the screen would be to explore the DC Universe beyond Earth and Krypton, opening a whole new trove of stories to explore. And with all the cosmic adventure, unique and intricate costume design, superbly fantastical gadgets, and huge potential for an amazing supporting cast, it’s a wonder this alien/escape artist/ intergalactic superhero hasn’t made into DC’s recent pictures already.

The Sandman

Dream converses with Death in The Sandman.
Dream converses with Death in The Sandman.

There are very few comic book enthusiasts – or indeed, Neil Gaiman fans – who haven’t at some point at least heard of The Sandman. An epic, unusual fantasy series chronicling the various journeys of Dream (A.K.A Morpheus, A.K.A The Sandman), it’s technically been announced for a film adaptation already, with David S. Goyer and Joseph Gordon-Levitt taking the helm. The source material is widely considered one of the greatest masterpieces ever to grace the world of comics, and for good reason. Gaiman’s writing was always impressive, but his work on The Sandman saw him grow into something special, a unique talent not just in the world of comics, but in the world of literature. His development as a writer over the course of the 75 issues produced is something that shows when reading the series, as his brilliantly imagined world and characters become more layered and the tales increasingly diverse, resulting in a comic that is both magical and disturbing.

There’s little question as to whether the series is suitable for adaptation. It’s colourful, gloriously dark, rich, and, frankly, deserves its place on the screen as much as it warrants its success on the page. It can only be hoped that the adaptation will live up to the inevitably huge expectations for a comic as special as this.

Etrigan the Demon

One hell of a hero: Jack Kirby's antiheroic monster Etrigan.
One hell of a hero: Jack Kirby’s antiheroic monster Etrigan.

Another Jack Kirby creation, the star of The Demon is neither hero nor villain. He lives not according to morality, but to whims either of his own or of his human host Jason Blood, and often these two inescapably bonded individuals find that their interests deeply conflict. His antiheroic nature has seen him both battle and aid DC’s greatest heroes (he even made a brief appearance in an issue of The Sandman). He also possesses a habitual talent for speaking in rhyme, a character trait that makes his dialogue doubly fascinating and lends a unique touch to his interactions with others.

As with Mister Miracle, part of Kirby’s genius in the creation of this series lies in his imaginative ability to open a new world of possibilities within the DC universe, in this case establishing a supernatural backdrop that has been used time and again by the company. It’s rich source material indeed, offering a selection of unique storylines, compelling characters, and of course a chance to explore this fascinating other world in great depth. So, with Marvel’s new Doctor Strange film on the way, perhaps it’s time for DC to bring their own ‘magic’ card into play.

Another World of Creativity: Image and Independents

While it’s true that the pages of Marvel and DC are rich, inventive and colourful, to talk only about these corporate giants would be to neglect to mention the arguably more interesting and diverse world of independent comics. The majority of creator-owned works, for instance, come from Image (including the enormously popular source material for The Walking Dead), a company that works on the principle of allowing writers and artists to maintain the rights to their own characters and stories. There exists an enormous world of independent creators, and from the pages of these comics come some fascinating stories ripe for translating to the screen.

Saga

Saga: Could it translate to the screen and still keep the magic?
Saga: Could it translate to the screen and still keep the magic?

Considering Brian K. Vaughan’s space operatic fantasy series has been compared to Star Wars, Game of Thrones and the work of William Shakespeare, it’s difficult to imagine it not working on some level on the screen. It’s written with passion, humour and understanding, and drawn in a uniquely detailed and vibrant way by Fiona Staples. These two creators compliment each other brilliantly in Saga, painting an expansive world filled with danger, beauty, magic, and diverse characters that feel somehow more real than many protagonists in comics – arguably the perfect backdrop for a film or television series.

This makes it all the more interesting, then, that Staples and Vaughan have no wish to adapt their work for the screen. In a 2013 interview, Vaughan explained that he was satisfied with the comic in its current format, and felt it couldn’t work in the medium of film or television. Disappointing news for fans? Perhaps. Disappointing news for producers interested in such a project? Almost certainly. It’s undoubtedly fantastic source material. But maybe Vaughan has a point – for all the magic of the screen, all its popularity as a medium, could it ever truly capture what makes Saga special?

Chew

Cops. Government Agents. Soup. Welcome to the insane world of Chew.
Cops. Government Agents. Soup. Welcome to the insane world of Chew.

Castle, Sherlock, even Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Television loves the cop, the detective, the criminal. But the medium is also always searching for something different. Something like Chew. To call this series by John Layman and Rob Guillory unique would be an enormous understatement – the adventures of F.D.A agent Tony Chu, the comic takes place in a world where chicken is outlawed in a new era of prohibition, and a few rare individuals have the ability to (seriously) gain psychic impressions from what they eat. Tony Chu is one of these. In his occupation as a crime-solver, this means he will occasionally be required to bite into a corpse – or worse. Bizarre? Absolutely. The creative team of Layman and Guillory revel in its strangeness, providing the comic with hilarious and often grotesque dark humour while still making it work as a cop piece, the atmosphere of mystery never failing to capture interest.

As if that weren’t enough, the comic features a fantastic supporting cast, characters like the charismatic Mason Savoy and the repulsive Mike Applebee making it all that much more compelling. Above all, it feels like a television series, each issue reaching either a satisfying conclusion or jaw-dropping cliffhanger. Any producer fortunate enough to get the rights to this material will have a hell of a project on their hands, and one that could turn out to be the most unique piece of on-screen entertainment that’s been seen for a while.

American Flagg!

American Flagg!. A uniquely satirical creation.
American Flagg! A uniquely satirical creation.

America is no stranger to satire in film and television – from South Park to Catch-22, this distinctly sharp brand of comedy is often both popular and controversial, and a unique way of delivering a message. Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg! is satire of the best kind: subtle, witty, tongue-in-cheek and fantastically entertaining. Telling the story of how Reuben Flagg, a former television star, finds himself living as a ranger in ‘The Plex’ (the remnants of Earth now owned by corporations and capitalists). Like greats such as Orwell and Atwood, Chaykin manages to balance thrilling science fiction with some perceptive comments on social themes – in this case the bizarre consumerist nature mankind has developed in favour of ignoring those who are struggling. Flagg is in some ways a hero reminiscent of such characters as John Dunbar (Dances with Wolves) – an outsider who finds clarity in life where he least expects it. It’s arguably a kind of trope, but it’s one that works, particularly in the setting, and Flagg has enough of his own personality and flair to be compelling.

There are so many opportunities that could be explored in the development of this on the screen – American Flagg! had its ups and downs (largely ups whenever Chaykin was writing), and there’s some content that may benefit from a little tweaking, but for the most part, the series had maturity, complexity and a unique charm. As with the comics, an adaptation could make for a hugely entertaining exploration of western society, both of today and of the possible future.

Maus

One of many darkly striking images in Art Spiegelman's Maus.
One of the many darkly striking images in Art Spiegelman’s Maus.

Like several other titles on this list, Maus was a revolutionary comic that brought the medium further into the public eye. A deeply affecting blend of tragic fact, unique storytelling and brilliant artwork, Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize winning series is an account of his father’s experiences in the Holocaust. Hollywood has always found interest and power in this subject matter – indeed, many would argue that films exploring this topic have been produced in excess due to the potential for drama and emotional depth concerned, to the point where such works are created solely as ‘Oscar Bait’.

Yet Spiegelman’s work is rarely overly dramatic or cliched; he instead explores events with appropriate rawness and doesn’t hold back, lending the comic more emotional power as a result. It’s this that makes it unique: with characters based on real, ordinary people in all their flawed complexities, there’s something that feels brutally authentic about it. It might seem strange, then, that Spiegelman chooses to tell the story in a highly unusual way – he portrays characters as various animals (the Jews as mice, the Nazis as cats, etc.). By doing this, however, he makes them incredibly (at times alarmingly) human, and we see elements of ourselves in many of the characters, despite their anthropomorphic qualities. This is what gives Spiegelman’s work its utter genius – despite the metaphorical meanings that could be driven from this particular creative choice, there’s striking resemblance to ourselves that makes it seem almost beside the point. It’s an intelligent, compelling and genuinely moving tale that could make for a fantastic adaptation, Spiegelman’s illustrations providing a unique twist for animators to explore.


Comics are highly intertwined with film and television – both are incredibly visual mediums offering new and diverse ways of telling a story, capable of both defying form and embracing it to create something compelling. In many ways they’re both somewhat recent developments, yet in the short time they’ve been around (in comparison to other mediums), the amount of content produced is remarkable. Therefore, this list is far from comprehensive, and additional works that would make great on-screen entertainment include Y: The Last Man and Nightwing, to name only a few. But in a cinematic age of sequels and a fair amount of unoriginality, comics offer something truly refreshing, and much of it has not even yet begun to be explored.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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84 Comments

  1. Aaron Hatch

    Great article. I have been dying to see a Sandman movie, and I do hope that Joseph Gordon-Levitt sticks with the project. I would also love to see a Maus animated film!

    • IRBurnett

      I hope so too 🙂 He’s a great filmmaker and seems really passionate, so he could be perfect for it. And yeah, there’s something about Maus that really appeals to me for an idea like that – dark, but very raw and emotionally affecting.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, much appreciated!

  2. Smallwood
    0

    Any comic from valiant entertainment would make for an awesome movie or tv-series

  3. Metal Gear Solid, there is a comic book for it before anyone says otherwise…..The characters are complex, in a good way…The suspense and the twist as well as the story are what MGS is all about. Leaves out the need for “splosion’s”. Not that it doesn’t have plenty of that and some CQC to boot. (Just as long as its not Michael Bay directing it, Honestly i think if Hideo Kojima teamed up with Guillermo Del Toro like their doing now for the Silent Hill game, or even Zack Snyder “300”) It would have a pretty Interesting Movie.

  4. I think that the 1992 Marvel Comics 4 Issue Miniseries known as “Slapstick”, deserves a movie adaption, it’s the story of a mentally trouble 15 year old boy with a weird & twisted sense of humor, and a love of pulling pranks, dresses up like a clown in order to pull a prank but ends up going through an unusual ordeal where he tries going through a portal to Dimension X just as it was closing, which causes his body to change from flesh & blood to a strange substance dubbed “Electroplasm”, causing him to gain super powers based on the laws of cartoon physics, and his physical appearance is change into a creature that looks like a cartoon clown, he then uses his new found powers to defeat the evil overlord of Dimension X, then returns to earth & uses decides to use his powers to pull cruel & unusual jokes on criminals & villains, basically becoming a “Crime Prankster”, I for one believe that this would be a decent story for a super hero movie, because let’s face it who wouldn’t want to see a super hero with abilities like what you’d see on a slapstick comedy cartoon show?

  5. I’d like to see a TV show based on The Darkness comics. Only problem is I don’t know of an actor who would be able to pull off.

  6. My own list:
    10. 100 Bullets
    9. Girls
    8. DMZ
    7. Chew
    6. American Vampire
    5. Runaways
    4. Fables
    3. Preacher
    2. Ex Machina
    1. Y: The Last Man

    • Jiraiyan

      I definitely think Y: The Last Man would be an excellent choice. The rights for the series was acquired in 2007 by New Line cinemas. However, the filming couldn’t get off the ground and after the rights changed through the hands of several companies, they finally returned to original creators, Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra in 2014. It’s unclear if the film will be made, but I hope it still will be.

  7. Bergstrom
    0

    I think Sandman would make for a great show. There’s been a movie in the works but unless someone like Guillermo del Toro were to direct it (and maybe even then) I just don’t see it working. Maybe if it was a short Netflix series or something

  8. Saga is absolutely amazing, it stands by itself and I would be afraid that Hollywood would ruin it.

  9. gaffgaff
    0

    These comic books sound they really good good enough four a tv show and movie but if I was fan i’ll be kinda worry Hollywood has done a lot terriable adaptations in the past just look at percy Jackson they disresepected some characters and u need the book to understand it shit i’ll be worry how they gonna do favorite comic adaptation

  10. What I would add to this list are Irredeemable and Magdalena.

  11. There’s a comic called Crossed, I think that would be a horror movie

  12. Kyle Carmona
    0

    I would also like to add transmetropolitan and the boys to this list. Transmetropoliton would be a fantastic satire on commercialism and politics even though it is set in a dystopian future and the boys? I would suggest reading it, purely as it is a hilarious take on superheroes but also massively offensive but with game of thrones doing the gore/offensive visual thing if handled correctly, the boys could be done.

    • Haven’t read The Boys, but I second Transmetropolitan. Even though the series ended some time ago it still feels fresh, in fact acquiring perhaps more freshness with Trump’s bid for the presidency. Additionally, media is increasingly omnipresent, yet our ability to access differing view points is controlled by the presence of accessible, known outlets that aren’t guided by commercial ends or sponsorship. Transmet certainly shows us the value of a free press that is willing to present sometimes unwanted facts and views that would otherwise be considered too controversial for mainstream consumption. This would be fine, but with increasing access to alternative media, mainstream is starting to become something else.

  13. Saga, Lazarus, C.O.W.L., Dead Boy Detectives, Sweet Tooth and Deadly Class. Anything by Valiant, especially Quantum and Woody, X-O Manowar and Bloodshot.

  14. Berserk.

  15. DClarke

    Great choice with the Thunderbolts. I may be putting the cart before the horse but I think a Thunderbolts movie would trump this odd version of the Suicide Squad that is being made. Of course it always comes down to casting and writing, but I think it would be really interesting to see.

  16. Nora the last chronicle of devildom. The manga was just fantastic and deserves to made into a show, it can expand upon the characters backgrounds like Knell and Fall who really need some fillers to explain their past.

  17. Irredeemable would be a great movie. The series was amazing. A superhero more powerful as Superman turning into a psychotic villain would be great.

  18. Quintero
    0

    Some very good choices that all would make great series on Premium Channels like HBO or Showtime. I would have like you to include Manhattan Projects.

  19. Lumpkin
    0

    I’d like to see Sandman, The Invisibles, and Usagi Yojimbo (not just a cameo on TMNT, but an anime would be the best fitting).

  20. Saran Beam
    0

    How about “The Darkness” created by Marc Silvestri, Garth Ennis, and David Wohl and Published by Top Cow Productions. Popular enough to spawn two video games and a movie has been in development hell since 2004 but multiple film studios have tried to bring this comic to the silver screen. It’s about a hitman named Jackie Estacado who inherits this ancient being that calls itself “The Darkness” at the age of 21 as his birthright and lives his life struggling to embrace it fully. This being claims to the root of all evil. Marc Silvestri describes the character as the anti-Superman for he can do ANYTHING he wants as long as it’s in the dark. Powerful and tragic character and makes one of the best anti-hero stories.

  21. the Runaways would make a awesome movie.

    • Runaways sounds really cool but they would have to be careful not to turn it into Sky High

  22. If any comic book series that is not mainstream should be made into a movie or a comic book it’s the boys series written by Garth Ennis. The reason why it should be turned into a movie or show is because the entire franchise is mocking marvel and DC superheroes and villains. It makes fun of the entire entire superhero genre and shows how surprisingly useless superheroes would actually be in the real world in regards to fighting in wars and saving planes falling out of the sky. Not only that but it shows how power goes to peoples heads and the extreme lengths people will go to for revenge.

  23. Chew is being made into a animated short now based off the 1st tpb issue and if New Line Cinema could die for someone else could take Y’s name and products rights. That would be helpful getting the movie script somewhere to.

  24. Why does people want every comic books turn into movies and tv shows, why cant people just enjoy it separatly? maybe hollywod should come up with new original stories instead of stealing others work.

    • IRBurnett

      Yeah, I see your point. Comics are a really undervalued medium, and it’s a shame that many critics think they need to be converted to something else to be enjoyed. It’s probably the first kind of storytelling I really, consciously fell in love with. This said, I also have a strong appreciation of film, and I find it fantastic when the two can come together and make something really special (one of the reasons I found this article interesting to write).

      Thank you for the read and the comment!

    • I don’t believe you understand how Hollyweird works. Talk to any insider, and they’ll explain how writers come up with new ideas. Back in the day they would sit around surrounded by Magazines, Newspapers, Books, Media in General. Literally cut out paragraphs of stories they liked. Put them all together then formed a new story by this process. “Ripped From The Headlines” Once a screenplay is approved, the next step in preproduction is STORYBOARDING this idea. Which in essence is a Comic Book Retelling of what will be shot. Key aspects of dialog will be included in the Storyboard if not key shots will be fleshed out. I get what your saying, but Hollyweird just doesn’t operate that way. Why else do you see them constantly buy up novels, that are already books; and just sit on these properties for a long time if not oblivion. “Development Hell” What your requesting is left up to Independent Movie Creators. Or Low Budget Features “B Movies” These properties are never backed financially like other properties. Because other properties already have a proven audience, whether through Graphic Novels, Books, Or that hodgepodge cornucopia process I described earlier. Support Independent Movies, & Foreign Movies you’ll get what your requesting then. Ever see the original: Girl With The Dragon Tattoo? For that matter ‘Hunger Games’ Vs. ‘Battle Royale’ or the remake remodel of, “Infernal Affairs Vs. The Departed one of the reasons I’m hyped about the new Prometheus Movie as well as Alien 5 projects. Original storytelling their. There’s a franchise that was hurt by the comic book world translation into a movie, (AVP) Alien Vs. Predator! Both original screenplay Movies had a fan base, Then Hollyweird optioned off the properties to the Comic Book World to make more coin from said properties. Upon seeing the generous return of said move, they committed the ultimate blunder TWICE!

  25. Brain has made it clear that he does NOT want saga to be adapted for TV or film. Its a comic, first and foremost, and its one of those comics that is too epic to be adapted. The creator is content with saga staying as a comic and nothing else.

    • IRBurnett

      Yeah, this is a good point. I’m fully aware of Vaughan’s stance and find it really interesting (and actually kind of inspiring) that he’s so passionate for comics that he believes adapting Saga would dilute the source material. I can’t help but wonder, though, what a screen version would look like – I can imagine it being spectacular and immensely powerful, with the film/television medium bringing something different to the mix. Who knows? Maybe the adaptation would even manage to do the source material justice.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  26. Oh so many 1:the unwritten/the unwritten apocalypse 2:saga 3:nailbiter 4:witchblade 5: the darkness 6: minature he’s us 7: punk rock jess 8: sex 9: the wake 10: trivium 11: sweet tooth Just to name a few

  27. Supurbia: It’s really addictive and has great characters and story lines it focus’ more on superheroes wives, girlfriends and boyfriends it’s amazing to read and has great twists (very under-rated)

  28. Imagine a portal comic.

  29. SAGA!! Just please make a tv series/movie series based on Saga!

  30. Marcelina Low
    0

    How about Grendel? Or a movie adaptation of Batman vs. Grendel?

  31. Heavy Rain
    0

    Y The Last Man would make a great tv show. And I’d REALLY be thrilled to see Chew on showtime or HBO as well !!

  32. No, no more superhero films please. Had my fill of the same tired old origin stories and reboots churned out time after time. Just look at Spiderman, how many chances have they had and failed to make a decent movie. Just give it up already.

  33. I agree with this list!

  34. Sam Eastman
    0

    Strangers In Paradise (something that could work as a TV series IMHO with endearing characters.)

  35. Eliz Pullen
    0

    The Unwritten would be a great one. Frank Miller’s Ronin would be another one.

  36. What about an animated movie for “The Killing Joke?” If it was done properly, it could easily be one of the best comic-to-film movies of all time.

  37. Will Rush
    0

    Hardboiled by Frank Miller/Geof Darrow should be on the list, but there´s a problem: it´s pornographic and there´s much violation, no one will make a movie adaptation of it…

  38. FABLES!!! PLEASE, HOLLYWOOD!! DO FABLES JUSTICE!!!! I know they’re making a movie but I’m worried that they won’t start at the beginning.

  39. Granger
    0

    I think that these comics should be made films or maybe mini-series.

  40. True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys anyone?

  41. I would love to see Asylum-Press’s Warlash become a film-adaptation along the lines of a Batman or a Spawn.

  42. Bill Sienkiewicz’s “Stray Toasters” (four-issue series ,published by Marvel/Epic Comics) deserves a deep, dark and disturbing film version (though it’s kinda “unfilmable,” of course). Always thought it would make a good match for David Fincher, or maybe David Cronenberg.

  43. Joseph Manduke IV

    After Constantine, I think Etrigan would make a great addition to a television series.

  44. Belkis Devine
    0

    Preacher could be damn promising…maybe an anime adaption

  45. I think that a Nightwing movie or mini-series might work, but if you a series of movie or a TV series about Dick Grayson’s path from Robin to Nightwing than you have a pot of gold. Just imagine: a coming of age saga about an orphaned circus boy who then becomes the sidekick of Batman and then becomes a superhero. Somebody at Hollywood should do this!

  46. scole

    As a fellow comic book reader, I loved this article. We could also be of use of a Dick Grayson movie, I would love to see that one on the screen, as well!

    • IRBurnett

      Really glad you liked it, great to hear. I don’t know as much about Grayson as I’d like to – I should really get into Nightwing at some point, I feel.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, much appreciated!

  47. Plummer
    0

    “100 Bullets”…nothing else.

  48. I’d add Marvel’s Runaways to the list, given that the initial story arc would be fairly easy to adapt.

  49. Paul Chadwick’s Concrete series would be an interesting addition to the superhero-saturated comic adaptation ring; the episodic nature of the stories and emphasis on emotional, character-driven considerations of “being human” make it pretty ideal for television, possibly as a British-style group of limited series.

  50. I love Pretty Deadly, but it would make a terrible movie.

  51. Each one of these sound fascinating as either movie or television; I’m particularly drawn to the concept of Etrigan. However, I would like to point out that while these characters deserve screen adaptations, there’s one thing holding them back, and that’s the audience. There’s only so many times that people will come back to stories of major similarity. For example, if DC announced their efforts to make a Mister Miracle movie, people would take one look at it and say, “DC’s just doing Guardians of the Galaxy”. It wouldn’t be true, but that would be the public consensus. it doesn’t help that DC and Marvel have somewhat settled into their own niches: DC is dark and gritty, while Marvel is fun and sarcastic.

    • IRBurnett

      Interesting observation, I’d barely even considered this. It’d be fascinating to see what the response would be to the companies stepping outside their comfort zones (i.e Marvel heading into a darker area with the Winter Soldier, DC potentially going for something a little lighter with Mister Miracle). Like you say, I can’t see this happening any time soon, but I feel to actually note public response in such a situation would be an interesting experiment, at the very least.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  52. Lazarinth

    The closest thing I think of being an interactive comic is VN and holy crap there are some VNs that would make great shows and films.

  53. Isaac Bernamont
    Isaac Bernamont
    0

    Sandman would be an incredible addition to the DC Cinematic Universe, and you never know, if the Lucifer TV shows pick up some steam upon release, they may even think about it as a viable option!

    I also agree with Vaughn that Saga probably wouldn’t translate well onto a Film format, the story is outstanding and the art is beautifully done, but I think the casting and CGI used in the film would have to be absolutely perfect, otherwise you’d lose something special and fans would end up being overly disappointed.

  54. SomeOtherAmazon
    SomeOtherAmazon
    0

    I’d love to see Sandman as a film! I also recently read Truth: Red, White, and Black. It’s an alternate telling of the Captain America mythos that suggests a group of black soldiers were used as test subjects for the serum before Steve Rogers. The story is sad, but very compelling. I’d love to see a film version of it.

  55. I’m really excited to see DC release it’s movies next year. I think one thing that can be universally agreed upon among superhero geeks is that the slew of superhero movies that’s about to hit the market is well…pretty awesome.

    The Avengers will now have the Justice League to compete with at the box office, but I think in the end- the audience wins.

  56. ajester

    Bonus points for both the Great Lake Avengers and Saga. I keep telling people that Saga is some of the best comic books that are available right now. Sadly, I don’t think the creator is interested in making it into anything more than a comic.

  57. Blade of the immortal would make a great tv series or maybe a trilogy.
    Invincible is another that comes to mind.

  58. I completely agree with Sandman and Winter Soldier! If I had anyone to add it would probably be Moon Knight and The Darkness, especially in this era of Netflix original series.

  59. I would love to see an adaptation of several Image properties. I’m glad Saga was up there; I’d also like to see East of West, and Wytches. Oh, and of course, The Wicked + The Divine.

  60. McCaggers

    Wonderful list! My personal picks are Sandman and Saga. But they are quite a few on list I don’t think I’ve read such as Chew. Thanks for this!

  61. I think Chew would resonate better on the small screen. It’s been awhile since I well plotted mafia story has been in the media. Now with the new Johnny Depp movie too it would be awesome to see a TV show. Especially with the bizarre twist that Chew has.

  62. I’ve heard great thing about Chew – so I’ve had it sitting on my backlog for a while. I especially liked those first two Marvel properties.

  63. Interesting stuff. Never heard of most of these.

  64. So many great characters named here. As a huge Captain America fan, I am personally partial to a Winter Soldier stand alone series or film.

  65. RLynch

    Winter Soldier, *yodels* YES YES YES!!!!!!!!!

  66. I would love to see a Magdelina movie. I know there were talks about it in the past, but it would be awesome now.

  67. The comic, though still in it’s early stages, I would like to see on TV is Lumberjanes.

  68. Great article, I can’t believe Saga hasn’t gotten any type of adaptation. Maus could also make for a great miniseries or film.

  69. joncarlos3rd

    Man, I would love a Thunderbolts movie and I can’t wait for The Sandman movie either. These are all pieces of great source material, it’s a wonder that studios don’t pick this stuff up. That said, with doing any adaptation of any media in a media different from it’s original place, you run the risk of losing the intent of the source material. I think when you do adapt something, you need the creator’s approval and presence at the table when making the adaptation so that it stays faithful (but not too faithful) to the original work.

  70. ADenkyirah

    Great article! Comic book movies have become the new westerns. Although, I don’t think that they will be dying down any time soon. Marvel’s Secret Warriors comic run is one comic book that I would love to see on the big screen, or even, on television.

  71. I would cringe so hard of marvel announced a great lakes avengers adaptation. Nobody talks about the gla. I think a great addition to this list would be Astro City. Lots of heroes, great stories, each episode could be it’s own tale.

  72. I think Maus would work if it was done as an animation in the same style of art. It’s such a moving piece and could definitely pull off the mature, dark tone that Watership Down did

  73. Emily Deibler

    I give a definite yes to TV shows or movies for The Sandman, Saga, and Maus.

  74. Munjeera

    I would love to see Maus. If there were one movie I would want to produce it would be to tell this story. One day when I win the lottery I will do it.

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