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She Has No Head! – 5 New Comics I Want On TV

With the very cool news that Terry Moore’s Rachel Rising has been optioned for television (and that could be a great show that I would LOVE to see) I started thinking about other indie properties Rachel-Rising-4(most with complex female characters) I’d love to see optioned for television as either an ongoing or a mini-series. With the advent of shortened series – Netflix’s House of Cards, AMC’s Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Killing all run only 13 episodes (typically) – we’re seeing a rash of new thinking in quality over quantity, which is good for a lot of comic book properties with world building or effects issues. Most of the best shows out there right now run short seasons: Showtime’s Homeland has 12 per season. Game of Thrones and Newsroom are only 10! The Walking Dead began with a 6-episode half season, then moved to a “full” 13, and for its last season delivered 16 – but still short of the formerly typical 22-episode season. Add to that a rash of recent high-quality mini-series like HBO’s six-part Mildred Pierce or Sundance’s 7-part Top of The Lake and we’re in a really interesting period of television where we’re seeing a huge uptick in great TV that equal some bold choices in both content and in the way that content is delivered. All of it makes me optimistic that smart comics properties that might have been a tough sell even a couple years ago might be more viable now. So what are five at the top of my list? Glad you asked!

5914299-revival-7REVIVAL (Image)

Tim Seeley and Mike Norton

This noir-ish horror meets detective story set in a rural Wisconsin town would look fantastic on television. From the barren winter landscapes, and farmland settings to the “walking dead” and supernatural elements it’s got the makings of a great ongoing series. As a small town is quarantined after a one day event causes the recently deceased to “revive,” the local police force is dealing with the event and the ripples it causes to the best of their ability – but things are getting more complicated by the moment. With a touch of Fargo, a touch of the supernatural, paired with a whole lot of horror – both natural and unnatural, the book is creepy and smart and just dying for a great television adaptation.

PRJ_1PUNK ROCK JESUS (Vertigo)

Sean Murphy

With a balls to the wall fascinating story about a supposed clone of Jesus raised in the public eye, and the ramifications that causes (on so many levels – personal, political, and of course religious) Murphy’s story is full of both bark and bite.  With gorgeous visuals, and a story unafraid to push on boundaries and be unconventional, Punk Rock Jesus is a great little mini-series, and would be complex enough for a solid four-part (at least) television mini-series. Though the world building could be expensive in some ways, a surprising amount of the story takes place in the compound in which “Chris” is raised, which helps make things very doable!

New DeadwardiansTHE NEW DEADWARDIANS (Vertigo)

Dan Abnett and I.N.J. Culbard

Probably an uphill battle to get anything related to vampires that isn’t for pre-teen girls on television these days (especially with the disappointment that has become True Blood) but if I could pick any “vampire” property it would be The New Deadwardians. This vampires plus zombies plus detectives with the flavor of Downtown Abbey is wholly original, and wonderfully complex. For viewers that haven’t read the book I think the world building and concepts would feel incredibly fresh (even though zombies and vampires are all but tapped out) and the story has great detective weaving and bobbing to keep viewers hooked for a solid mini-series run.

stumptown2-4-4x6-comp-solicit-webSTUMPTOWN (Oni)

Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth.

After two layered and gorgeous mini-series volumes I confess I’d love to see Stumptown either as an ongoing television series, or as a high quality mini-series – either could work, and either would be an awesome bit of detective noir set in Portland and with a fascinating and complex heroine at its center. Ex-police officer, now a P.I., Dex Parios, is the kind of flawed character that you can’t help but fall in love with. Trouble follows Dex wherever she goes and she makes enemies as regularly as she draws breath, but she’s smart and determined, and despite it all, has a streak of “do the right thing” a mile wide. Each volume follows a new case, and after one ends you find yourself so very anxious for the next to begin. The first volume would make an incredibly strong first season of television – and television is pretty kind to detectives and P.I.’s from a billion Law & Order episodes to shows like The Killing, the detective procedural is a great fit for television – when you add to it Rucka’s incredibly clever way of telling a story I find myself just aching to see this adapted.

tumblr_mh8zupuFtu1s0ftd0o8_500SAGA (Image)

Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

nonplayer_2_004_blog

Nonplayer #2 art

I know that Brian K. Vaughn initially talked about Saga being “unoptionable” and that being a deliberate choice (I believe the quote is “too expensive for TV and too dirty and grown up to be a four quadrant blockbuster”) but that was all before Game of Thrones.  I agree that there are elements in place that make Saga a very difficult property to tackle, but after the success and insane quality of Game of Thrones I think it could be done – in television, and be one of the greatest shows ever! Without dissing other sci-fi shows with a sense of humor (too late?) from an effects and even tonal point of view very few of them have worked for me — but if you could bring the GoT level of quality and consistency to Saga, it could be epic. EPIC. SPACE. OPERA. Saga shares the complex character layering of a property like Game of Thrones – you grow to care about characters that are in direct opposition to one another, a fascinating (and heartbreaking) storytelling technique that is insanely effective. The effects are gonna be tricky of course (there is a woman that is half woman and half spider, so you know…challenges!) and you’re going to need some compromises, and you definitely need a show runner that “GETS” the property, ALL CAPS GETS. But I stand by the idea that it could be just about the greatest show ever.

And since we’re talking about options…where is my NONPLAYER??? Both my issue #2 AND my movie from New Line!?! This interview with Nate Simpson from January 2013 mentions that it’s all been handed off months ago (where the movie is concerned), but I want updates and buzz, man!!!

What about you? You interested in any of these books as television shows? What are you dying to see make it to the small screen?

 

19 Comments

SAGA came out last year the Game Of Thrones has been out for over 2 years. I Still think that Brian K Vaughn won’t let this get adapted for tv or film. Television wise it’s too expensive for a paid cable channel t produce. Basic cable and broadcast television wise the budget and adult content would never work. A mature animated film shown in the theaters or on demand? possible but not likely either.

Garth Ennis’s Red Team screams “adapt me for cable TV”.

Alias – surely Alias

As much as I would love to see Saga on screen, I think that epic scope sci-fi like that would be even more expensive than Game of Thrones. It’s much easier to find places to look like the middle ages than places that look like the other side of the galaxy.

Great list. I read them all and agree they’d make great TV shows, especially Stumptown; there’s a distinct lack of P.I.s on TV right now, with the advent of the CSI-esque procedural. And wow, I had completely forgotten about Nonplayer. I loved that first issue…

A Saga TV show in the not-too-distant future is totally feasible. Think about what was possible on television ten years ago and how far we’ve come since then. Did you ever think we’d have an R-Rated swords and sorcery show that gets better rating from most scripted network shows?

@Diarra: I disagree, but I already said why in the post so I won’t bother repeating myself.

@Duncan: Agreed on Alias! I was trying to go for more recent stuff, but yeah, I’d LOVE to see Alias.

@Dalarsco: I think a lot of the locations we’ve seen so far in Saga could be duplicated on Earth without too much trouble. We’ve also spent a lot of time in space ships and space stations, etc., not impossible to create by any means if you have the budget and do a limited/short season like GoT.

@Matthew: Yeah, of everything on my list I think Stumptown is the most obvious property to be a great tv show – that first volume would make an awesome season one.

@Eamon: Agreed.

I haven’t read any of these, so at best guess, a non-DC/Marvel comic I would like to see translated to either the big or small screens would be one I’ve really come to like: Mike W. Barr and Adam Hughes’ “The Maze Agency”. It would make a great period piece, given the fact that the series was originally published in the late-80′s.

I think Rucka has said that The Rockford Files was one of the inspirations for Stumptown, so a TV show could be a good fit. Also, he posted this today on his tumblr:
http://ruckawriter.tumblr.com/post/48618340292/i-saw-your-post-in-response-to-the-writer-asking-about

I think Saga would have to be a feature film. Too expensive for TV.
100 Bullets could make for an interesting TV series I think.
I’d love to see a Courtney Crumrin TV series.
A Star Wars TV series featuring Jahan Cross would be great.
And I would love to see a TV series featuring Ivy from Terry Moore’s Echo.

While most of the garbage patch environments would have to be rendered in post, (as well as the giant squid) Great Pacific would make a great TV show.

Chew would be perfect for a twisted procedural, and it’s already in some stage of development, isn’t it?

A live-action Atomic Robo series with a Jim Henson shop-created Robo for the close ups, and a CGI creation for the action, could be awesome fun.

Also, Damage Control would be a great tie-in to the Marvel movie-verse. I hope we see them at least pop up in the SHIELD series. ;)

REVIVAL was optioned for tv by some company but if I remember right, the deal fell thru. The company decided to go with a different show call Rising or Awakening or something and the plot was damn near the same as Revival. Tim Seeley got ripped off!

I think another good choice for a limited run TV series would be Image’s Mind the Gap. It’s supernatural nature is no more of a stretch (for TV) than what’s come before, but it’s story line is a fantastic who-done-it thriller that has left most of us still guessing!

I see a distinct lack of Witch Doctor…

Scalped, DMZ, Fatale (unless it’s too much of a slow burn, like Carnivale), maybe Lucifer (we’ll need to de-age David Bowie for that one)

Gimme that Punk Rock Jesus show, right now please!

And this has been going on for years and years and years but, yeah, Preacher would make the best show ever ever.

Also: I agree on Chew and The DMZ.

Also: transmetropolitan! (With Terry Gilliam as exec producer maybe? He did after all do Brazil AND Fear & Loathing and seems to have a hard time getting a gig.)

And for some reason I keep thinking about a low-down and dirty Locas (Love&Rockets) set in 80′s LA subs. Like a subversive, punk rock Girls. That’d be great wouldn’t it?

SiP would make an awesome TV show. But… I don’t think anyone would dare. Too many female characters, donchaknow.

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