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October 8, 2015

4 Comic Books That Deserve the TV Treatment

by Danny Gallagher, posted Sep 25th 2010 4:00PM
AMC's Graphic novels are becoming the new hot property in Television City (population: 10 million pasty, overweight, angry people who can never remember where they left the remote).

They've moved on from the big screen world of mainstream cinema, where a million angry comic book nerds flood the internet with hypercritical comments about inane accuracy. Now, famous works like 'The Walking Dead' and 'Sandman' are moving to the small screen of mainstream television where a million angry comic book nerds will continue to flood the internet with hypercritical comments about inane accuracy.

And just like their movie adaptation counterparts, It's the start of an inevitable crest that's bound to develop into a typhoon-sized tidal wave that will engulf us all. But before we drown in the inevitable watery envelope of recycled doom, here's hoping that at least one or more of the following fantastic four get an invitation to a TV set near you.

'100 Bullets'
100 BulletsTV is filled with great tales of random do-gooders who travel the nation, solving problems for no other reason than wanting to right the wrongs done to them.

'The A-Team' traveled the country helping the downtrodden as they tried to evade their military captors in the world's least conspicuous van. Sam on 'Quantum Leap' found himself jumping from body to body, helping people in the past so that he could get back to the future. 'The Incredible Hulk' sacrificed countless pairs of perfectly good jeans, all in the name of helping his fellow man or woman.

This comic, however, would break that familiar television mold with the force of a hollow-point bullet.

This gritty comic centers around the mysterious "Agent Graves" who gives the victims who have been wronged a chance to exact their own revenge. He gives them a special handgun that allows them to kill the people who have wronged them -- without consequences. Of course, Graves has his own axe to grind with the people who may or may not get filled with untraceable bullets. This ink-stained title would give television a new angle on the action-adventure genre.

'Phantom Jack'
Phantom Jack'The Wire' accomplished many things in its five-season run, but its most unique accomplishment was refusing to water down the real details for the sake of placating the widest possible audience. Everything from drug wars to the cold, unchanging press cycle got the real world treatment. It was just missing one thing: reporters with superpowers.

'Phantom Jack' could certainly fill that void. Jack Baxter, the comic's title character, is a hard-nosed reporter who knows how to score the big scoop over his rivals, mainly because he can turn himself invisible. He eventually ends up in Iraq after his brother is captured by the enemy.

Jack's unique reporting ability is really the only supernatural element in the entire series run, which is unusual for a comic book of this caliber. It's got deep, rich stories that would make for an interesting TV-comic adaptation, especially since it gives the writers the chance to tackle the day's issues with a fresh, subversive edge. Think of it as 'The Wire' meets 'The X Files' meets 'Lou Grant.'

'Scud: The Disposable Assassin'
Scud: The Disposable AssassinMy TV really misses shows like 'The Tick,' both the animated Saturday morning version and the even shorter-lived live action version starring Patrick Warburton. It wasn't just funny because it lampooned superheroes with bloated egos or the ridiculous, never-ending action of their adventures. 'The Tick' lived in its own universe, made its own rules and reveled in being something completely different than the usual parodies and spoofs.

Television needs a show like that again. It needs a show that doesn't depend on some long-lost television franchise to build an audience without having to do any real marketing on its own. It needs a show that creates its own rules and doesn't sacrifice them to attract a wider audience. It needs a show with a funny, ass-kicking robot -- I mean, a show other than 'Futurama.'

'Scud' takes the bleak utopia of 'Blade Runner' and turns it into a silly universe where people hire professional killers out of vending machines. It has a wicked sense of humor with an equally creative story line that pits Scud against a series of very creative enemies like Ben Franklin with voodoo powers and a giant female mutant with a plug for a face named "Jeff." No amount of coked-up TV writers could come up with something anywhere near as brilliant.

'Scott Pilgrim'
Scott PilgrimJust because 'Scott Pilgrim' became a big-budget movie that hardly anyone saw doesn't mean it deserves any less of a chance to fail on the small screen.

Edgar Wright's take on the slap-happy slacker love tale may have bombed at the box office, but he could have had just as much fun turning the comic series into its own serialized television adventure.

The title's titular hero has to defeat a series of evil exes in order to win the heart of the woman he truly loves. It would have made for some gripping TV action as the shaggy haired street fighter lets his fists do the talking as he tries to win one for the little guy in each week's episode.

A TV remake of the comics would just an even more over-the-top version of 'Spaced' with crazy action shots and unique camera angles helping to move the plot and style of the series along. The movie is really just a musical, but with over-the-top boss battles and fist fights in place of the musical numbers. So really a TV version would just be a more violent version of 'Glee' without all that annoying music getting in the way of everything.

What other comic books would make good TV series?

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Mike San Giacomo

Mike San Giacomo, author of Phantom Jack here,
I'm honored that PJ was included on this list. I've long felt it would make a great television show. Check out the latest: PHANTOM JACK; THE NOWHERE MAN AGENDA, that came out from IDW in August. It's the series finale and contains the best Jack work I've ever done.

October 02 2010 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Y: The Last Man would be the best.
I've been catching up on Ex Machina, and I think it would work too. It has an appropriate amount of superhero-ness.

September 29 2010 at 9:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Patrick R

I have to agree with everyone who suggested "Y: The Last Man." It's perfect for tv, because it's just as much about characters as it is about story and although there's a lot of globe-trotting involved, I think it could be done cheaply enough to not bust the bank.

September 27 2010 at 1:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow, I guess it's still "cool" to rag on comic book fans, even while the very stuff that makes them outsiders is becoming mainstream.

I think your choices are terrible and are destined for failure, for the same reason most of today's comic movies fail. They're based on unknown properties that few people recognize.

Gotham central would be a great TV series, if done correctly. Batman would be much more of the "urban myth" aspect of the show.

Teen Titans/Titans could make a decent TV show if done correctly.

The same could be said for X-Factor. Funny mutants? I'd watch that!

September 27 2010 at 10:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Gotham Central.

September 26 2010 at 5:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jackie Estrada

A lot of people tell me that Batton Lash's "Supernatural Law" (aka Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre") is a natural for being a TV show: two lawyers who represent monsters and the supernaturally afflicted. But I could be biased.

September 26 2010 at 5:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah, Y: The Last Man would make for a ground-breaking television series and I think a 5-6 season show would be sensational. And even though it would be expensive, no way would it be as costly as say, shows based on Sandman and Fables.

September 26 2010 at 12:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Or how about a "Y: The Last Man" TV show? I'd rather see that then a movie. Though a 3-part movie might not be a bad idea.

September 26 2010 at 9:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Btw, I am definitely a little worried about how The Walking Dead would translate to TV, especially censored TV. It is extremely violent (even somewhat disturbing in this day and age), has sex scenes and a lot of strong language too. If it was on HBO or Showtime I would have been less worried.

I think fans of the comic book would definitely wonder how THAT famous scene would translate to TV. I think even HBO/Showtime would have balked at showing that...

September 26 2010 at 8:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

'Invincible' from Robert Kirkman (creator/writer of The Walking Dead) would also make a great animated TV show. Just the fights could be epic.

September 26 2010 at 8:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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