The Comics 8 Ball 3.03.14: Top 8 Comics That Should be TV Shows & Vice Versa
Posted by Anthony Kennedy on 03.03.2014
From Marvel's Runaways and Wanted to The Tomorrow People, Quantum Leap and more, 411's Anthony Kennedy discusses the top 8 comic books that should be TV shows or vice versa!
With the announcement this week of Heroes Reborn, the return of the one-time hit show, I got a bit nostalgic and reflective for this week's column. Whether you were fan from day one with the excellent first season or saw the show at it's absolute worst in those second and fourth seasons, Heroes made an impact in the network sci-fi world. Personally, in the hands of good writers who avoid having their characters break against their personality and commit stupid acts for the sake of the plot, Heroes Reborn has the opportunity to be a modest hit for much maligned NBC. With that return I wanted dedicate this week's 8 Ball to shows that could get a second chance in the comic book medium as well as comic series I'd love to see adapted into televisions shows.
But first….READER FEEDBACK
mj: Ok. Let's talk about the black superhero thing.
We'll use a logical, step-by-step process:
- There are very few black superheroes. There are very few cool/notable/compelling black superheroes.
- If comics had boomed now, as opposed to the period from the 30s to the 70s, we'd have plenty of black superheroes and we wouldn't have to try to "fix" things now.
- Alas, that's the way things are. A catalog of iconic characters has already been developed, and it ain't racially diverse.
- No one wants to get rid of these icons, but everyone recognizes the racial disparity. Fortunately, the world of comics allows for recreations, retcons, rewrites, and alternate universes.
So, what's the logical solution? Well, we keep the iconic characters, but we change 'em up a bit to fit with the times. Comic book creators routinely choose to do this kind of tinkering (under various degrees of scrutiny from their fans), so why is it a big deal when it's a race/ethnicity change?
That's what's racist. It's racist to be open to a myriad of changes in a character, EXCEPT when it comes to race.
Now, SOME characters have a particular race/ethnicity that is so deeply woven into their essence that it may be unwise to change it. However, I contend that most characters do not fall into this category.
For example, Superman comes from Krypton. One of his most enduring struggles is his fight for normalcy. He is seen as a foreigner, despite his human-like appearance. Making him non-white could be a poetic way of reinforcing this notion even further. Imagine an Clark Kent with a Native American appearance unable to assimilate himself with the country folk in Smallville. Imagine how that could parallel Ka El being ostracized from the human race?
It could work beautifully.
Anyway, ain't nothin' wrong with a black Johnny Storm. He and Sue could be adopted siblings or something and it wouldn't' change the Fantastic 4 one iota. What's important about Johnny is his PERSONALITY.
Also, the race of a character sometimes has to be known before casting. If the director/writer has decided on mixed siblings and then casts someone whose look alters that decisions, he has to go rewrite some of his story again.
- It's ok to make some superheroes black.
- It's ok to make a decision about a character's race in advance, and therefore it is ok to intentionally seek out black actors for a certain role.
I think after all that, you agreed with me that the backlash to a Black Johnny Storm is over the top. Again I have no problem with my fellow comic snobs who want the film producers to stick to the source material. I get it, it makes sense and is unnerving when they don't. But when they throw in terms like PC, diversity, and other "I'm no being racist but…" code words, they lose me.
I got a problem with the Storm/Cyclops battle. I felt it was a cheap win then and it still a cheap win. She basically kicked the crutch out. Cyclops has a glaring whole- he can't see without the visor and if you take the visor he is forced to use his powers. She didn't BEAT HIM. Storm BEAT Callisto. It was a straight fight and a straight win.
Storm vs Cyclops was basically one person playing tackle vs the other playing touch.
Maybe Storm didn't "beat him" but she did outsmart him by exploiting his weakness and forced him to decide to stand down given the situation.
G-Walla: I wouldn't have a problem with a black Johnny Storm if they had cast a black Sue Storm.
I really don't get that line of thinking. If we're told they're siblings, how hard is it to accept. For example we're told that the Cliff and Claire Huxtable are the parents of Sandra and Denise Huxtable who looking nothing at all like their other three siblings Theo, Vanessa, and Rudy, and we accept that without any issues.
Before I get to my list, I noticed the reply to mine from last week was "Why no Michionne?" I love her a lot. But compared to most of the characters on my list, she just doesn't have as wide an impact. This isn't to say that it's her fault or that it's a negative. Even with the monster ratings the TV show gets, I prefer her not be oversaturated like Cyborg. That's my two cents.
On to this awesome topic! I'm digging your list as well! There was lots I wanted to add to mine, like Photon becoming leader of the Avengers, the wedding of Storm and Black Panther, and even Lois Lane getting into a race changing machine. So here is my top 10:
10. Isaiah Bradley was the first Captain America (Captain America: The Truth)
9. Jim Rhodes becomes the new Iron Man.
8. John Stewart is the new GL.
7. Michionne gets revenge on The Governor (See? She makes it this week! :D )
6. Storm dominates Cyclops (Uncanny X-Men #101)
5. Miles Morales is Spider-Man
4. Luke Cage becomes an Avenger, father, husband, and becomes a main eventer.
3. Dwayne McDuffie helps launch Milestone, basically takes over DC Animation writing and production.
2. Spawn #1 sells gigantic!
1. Green Lantern doesn't know about the people. (GL #76)
I love your weekly feedback, but c'mon, Michonne doesn't have a wide impact? She's easily the most known Black comic book character to a mass audience and it can be argued one of the most known comic characters period right now with the success of the television series. Glad she was able to get on your list tho. I was really debating about including Isaiah Bradley as first Cap as it was an excellently written story.
Thanks to everyone who left feedback. I always enjoy the back and forth discussion.
Top 8 Comics That Should be TV Series & TV Series That Should be Comics
***Please Note: Shows and comics series selected below are my personal selections and in no way am do I intend to reflect the greater mass audiences demand. Also, all shows selected were shows that had never been published as comics at all --sorry Grimm, True Blood, and Heroes (those graphic novelization count)-- whereas the comic series selected could never been given a cartoon or live action series run.
Chuck: I envision this being published by Dark Horse and being very reminiscent of their Tag & Bink series of comics that would mix serious spy espionage with the lighthearted Buy More daily grind.
Pushing Daisies: Fun series cancelled before it's time that could find a second life with Top Cow.
Rex Mundi: Would love to see Starz turn this tale of an alternate universe quest for the Holy Grail.
Rising Stars: J. Michael Straczynski's series would make for a fun Sci-Fi original.
Preferred Network Partner: BBC America
This excellent series from the mind of Mark Millar was criminally adapted into a putrid film. A pairing with BBC America, who is already airing the very good Orphan Black, would give it the creative force to produce a compelling three season run that properly brings the world of the Fraternity to a live action setting.
Preferred Publishing Company: Dark Horse
I was very upset when they cancelled this updated take on the classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers film. They managed to craft a thoroughly fleshed out world that incorporated sci-fi elements and a convoluted military conspiracy. As a series, they would be given enough time to properly pace the story and delve really deep into the plan of the aliens.
#6 Quantum Leap
Preferred Publishing Company: Wildstorm/DC Comics
Having Sam and Al going through time in different settings and even alternative realities could be a fun series in the vein of the excellent Exiles. Getting the imprint that created Planetary and The Authority involved would yield a great sci-fi series that could take on diverse comedy, politics, and of course sci-fi stories.
Preferred Network Partner: CW
Stay with me here on this. One thing the CW has managed to execute are young, angsty series that appeal to a younger crowd and even find some of Hollywood's up and coming talent that fit their shows, ala Arrow, Supernatural, and Smallville. With this excellent source material, the CW would hit a homerun to mix a deep plot with the diverse characters they would be able to play around with and of course, play up love triangles galore.
Preferred Network Partner: HBO
Having adapted the works of True Blood and Game of Thrones, they could really sink their teeth into Brian Michael Bendis' book that would combine a police procedural (yeah they have no success with those) with a pseudo super hero drama.
Preferred Publishing Company: Top Cow/Image
I thoroughly enjoyed this series and was sad to see it get cancelled. Being reborn as a comic series from Top Cow could see them hitting the right mix of comedy and quirkiness that was similar in tone to the Seth Green book, Freshmen they produced.
#2 The Tomorrow People
Preferred Publishing Company: DC Comics
This is currently my guilty pleasure TV show I love to watch. With an amazing premise, can't believe this doesn't have roots in comics. But the war between Ultra and the Breakouts with that power set, not to mention Stephen and his family caught in the middle, this would be an awesome comic series that could get a good six to eight year run. Which is a lot of time to pace the storyline and flush out of the backstory of the characters.
#1 100 Bullets
Preferred Network Partner: AMC
It's absolutely criminal that this hasn't been adapted into a television series already. It's gritty, action packed and had some of the best story telling that is perfect for a television run, and AMC should have already jumped at this. Since the series has been concluded, and with the over arcing storyline involving Agent Graves, this is an easy five season TV series run that cannot get stale as the majority of each issues yield new characters and there is an end point.
Well that's my list. Agree, disagree, did I miss someone that deserved to make this list? Let me know! Join me next week for another edition of the 8-Ball! Until then, I'm done folks.