With all of the comic books and graphic novels being adapted for film and television these days, it seems Hollywood has realized that there are some talented writers in the medium.
No, not everything is about super heroes either. All you have to do is look at AMC’s upcoming production of The Preacher to see that there are some fantastic stories out there which don’t involve men in tights.
There are so many comic books currently being adapted that it’s impossible to cover them all in one go. Instead, I’m going to be a little more forward-looking and set the odds on which works will get green lit next.
Some comics and graphic novels are so in-depth and large in scope that it would take a big budget to bring them to life. But if they can make a fantasy series like Game of Thrones work, there is no reason why some of the stories below can’t be adapted too.
Here are the odds on which popular comic series will be getting the television or film treatment sooner rather than later. We will be updating this list from time-to-time. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comment section below.
Odds on which Comic/Graphic Novel will be Green-Lit for Film/TV Next
Y: The Last Man (Vertigo): 3/1
This is the first of two Brian K. Vaughan creations on this list and why not? The man can write and Y: The Last Man is some of his best work.
In this dystopian epic, Yorick Brown and his pet monkey, Ampersand, are the only two mammals left on Earth. They traverse the country looking for Yorick’s girlfriend, and to solve the mystery of what happened to the rest of their respective species.
Post-apocalyptic dramas are all the rage. We saw that with the performance of Mad Max: Fury Road at the box office. Also, just look at how big of a hit The Walking Dead is on television (another comic book adaptation). A Last Man television series would no doubt be a huge hit.
New Line Cinema owned the rights for a film adaptation but nothing ever came out of it. Vaughn now owns the rights once again and a TV series is not out of the question.
Maus (Pantheon Books): 4/1
This comic series by Art Spiegelman actually won a Pulitzer Prize. Based on the experience of Spiegelman’s father during the Holocaust, Maus is a raw and emotional story about ordinary people along with their flaws and idiosyncrasies.
The story is brutally authentic to the time and place, but Spiegelman converts the various ethnic groups and nationalities to animals: the Jews are mice, the Nazis are cats, the Brits are fish, etc…
Maus is an intelligent, compelling, and genuinely moving tale that would make for a fantastic adaptation. It would be amazing to see Spiegelman’s illustrations brought to life by a top animation studio, which means it would work best as a feature film.
The Thunderbolts (Marvel): 5/1
The role of the antihero is still a big part of comics. We saw that play out in the recent Deadpool film and will see it again in the upcoming Suicide Squad. There is clearly an appetite to see a little bit of bad in our good guys.
Marvel’s Baron Helmut Zemo, son of a Nazi scientist and leader of the super-villain team “the Thunderbolts,” would be the perfect antihero for a television adaptation.
Viewers would never be fully sure of the true intentions of Zemo and his ruthless comrades. Are they truly reformed or is it all an act? The storyline has some serious intrigue and mystery, matched with some ass-kicking superheroes.
Thanks to Wendy and Richard Pini, Elfquest has been around, in one form or another, since 1978 and has become a cult favorite. The comic has been through a few different publishers but, all told, there are hundreds of issues, a few short stories, and even some knockoffs.
The series, set in a medieval fantasy world run by elves, is epic in scope and would probably require more than just a couple of films. (As the story unfolds, we find out that the elves are actually an alien species living on an earth like planet.)
This is a series that could actually combine film features along with a television series and maybe eventually a few spinoffs. The comics are still popular and a film/television combo that explores the all-in-one sci-fi/fantasy genre would be very cool to see.
Saga (Image Comics): 7/1
After the success of Guardians of the Galaxy, another quality space opera would be welcome. Saga, which was created by the brilliant Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staple, focuses on a forbidden love between members of two warring alien species. It’s another series that combines science fiction with fantasy elements, featuring aliens, bounty hunters, magic, spaceships, and a giant cat who also works as a lie detector. (Don’t ask.)
There is too much going on for Saga to be a single film. It would actually be an arduous task to bring this series to any kind of screen, big or small, but TV makes the most sense. Because it’s so large in scope – and contains a lot of violence and dirty alien sex – it would likely have to be on HBO, Netflix, or Showtime.
The Invisibles (Vertigo): 8/1
Author Grant Morrison really needs to have some of his writings adapted to film and television. Maybe he’s a tad too “out there,” but his work is always imaginative and entertaining. Morrison likes to push boundaries and that’s on full display in his comic series The Invisibles. The cyberpunk series takes on conspiracy theories, science fiction, and the occult.
It’s about a team of time travelling techno-magicians who are part of the titular group. The Invisibles take on the Illuminati, aliens, and a wide array of crazy characters.
Like other entries on this list, adapting The Invisibles to TV or film would be a huge undertaking. It would need an R-rating to be done justice, so it might be better suited to the silver screen or Netflix.
(Photo Credit: Sam Howzit (https://www.flickr.com/photos/aloha75/8015843393/in/photostream/) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode].)