DC and Marvel are great, but so are the smaller publishing houses like Image and IDW. Here are five non-DC or -Marvel comic book adaptations we’re looking forward to!
It’s a great time to be a comic book fan. Every year for the last decade or so has provided us with high quality superhero entertainment on both the big and small screen.
And not just high quality entertainment, but high quantities of it as well. It seems like you can’t turn on your TV or go to the movies without having your pick of superhero storytelling.
The past few years have been dominated by superhero adaptations from DC and Marvel. We’ve seen Batman as a grim middle-aged man and as newly orphaned teen, Professor X with hair and without, and four different heroes all played by guys named Chris.
And while I mostly have loved seeing all these superhero adaptations on the big and small screen, it’s important to remember that comic books are a medium, not a genre. So while we’ve been inundated with some really high quality stories of superheroes we all know and love, comic books can and have been used to tell fantastic, engaging stories about superheroes we’ve never heard of or that don’t involve any cape-wearing theatrics at all!
And it seems like executives are finally taking notice. Series and stories from smaller publishing houses have started to get optioned and picked up, with streaming services leading the charge. Here are five that I’m looking forward to!
‘Happy!’ — Syfy
Based on the Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson comic and published by Image, this show actually premiered early in December on Syfy and will run through the end of January.
The story follows Nick Sax, a former cop turned alcoholic turned hitman, who is as cynical and he is drug-addicted (read: very). He’s shot and left for dead, but manages to be revived by the paramedics — only now he can see a blue, cartoon horse named Happy. Happy happens to be the imaginary friend of a little girl named Hailey, who has been kidnapped. He escaped to get Nick’s help in finding Hailey and the show follows the two as they work to get her back.
It’s a thoroughly strange little dark comedy with good writing and great performances from Christopher Meloni as Nick and Patton Oswalt voicing Happy. It’s currently airing on Syfy with new episodes every Wednesday night!
‘The Umbrella Academy’ — Netflix
If you haven’t yet had a chance to pick up Gerard Way’s fantastic graphic novel series, now’s the time to use that Christmas money you just got and go ahead and do it.
The Eisner Award-winning series follows the lives of an estranged family of superpowered siblings, who are reunited as adults when their adoptive father dies. Together they investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death. The siblings were among 43 children born to several random, unconnected women who showed no signs of pregnancy, all of whom have some kind of superpower.
It has a fantastic cast attached to it — including actors of color for roles that easily could’ve gone to white actors — and is set to premiere on Netflix sometime in 2018.
‘Locke & Key’ — Hulu
I feel like I’ve been hearing about a Locke & Key adaptation for a good decade or so now, but after two failed attempts at it, it looks like we’ll finally be able to see one grace our screens.
The IDW horror comic book series from Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez follows three siblings who, after the gruesome murder of their father, move to their ancestral home in Maine only to find the house has magical keys that give them a vast array of powers and abilities. Little do they know, a devious demon also wants the keys, and will stop at nothing to attain them.
The pilot is helmed by LOST alum Carlton Cuse, writer Joe Hill and IT director Andy Muschietti. There’s no definite date set to this yet, but with the cast, crew, and studio already in place, I’ll be surprised if we don’t see it in 2018.
‘The Boys’ — Amazon
This Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson Wildstorm/Dynamite comic book series has been in development for quite some time, first as a movie, then as a TV series for Cinemax. It’s finally landed on its feet at Amazon, where it will be developed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen of Preacher fame (another Ennis comic book series).
Set in a world where superheroes exist but have been corrupted by their celebrity status and unchecked power, the story follows a superpowered CIA squad, known informally as “The Boys”, who are charged with monitoring — and policing, if need be — the superhero community.
Amazon has greenlit an eight-episode series which is set to start filming in spring 2018 and premiere sometime in 2019.
‘The Wicked and the Divine’ — In Production
Ok, so this has only been optioned and is labeled “in production,” so I have no idea whether or not it’ll premiere in 2018 or even end up happening at all.
But I want it to happen so desperately that I’m going to include it on this list and hope the universe does me a solid.
Based on the Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matt Wilson comics of the same name and published by Image Comics, this contemporary fantasy story blends two of my favorite things: pop stars and mythology. The premise of the series is this: that every ninety years, 12 gods reincarnate as humans — but only live out their lives on Earth for two years. In the modern-day era, the gods — who come from a wide array of cultures and mythology — are pop culture icons.
The original deal was made two years ago with Universal TV and we haven’t heard a lot since, but like I said, I’m really hoping the universe does me a solid for 2018. C’mon, universe, we all deserve it!