Some comics/graphic novels that could make great TV shows. I’ve grouped them according to which broadcast network would be the best home for the show.
ABC is one of the networks where the choices really seem to fit, with all three bearing some similarities to previous shows from the alphabet network.
- Die by Keiron Gillen
Gillen has described this as a goth Jumanji, while also citing influences such as It and the 80’s animated Dungeons & Dragons show. I think it could also be compared to Lost and Once Upon a Time. Six teens get together to role-play, and disappear, only for five of them to show up a couple years later, unable to talk about what happened. A couple decades after that, they are whisked back to the world of the game. The good news is that all they need to get home is for all of them to want to return. But it turns out the long lost friend is still there, and he has unfinished business with them.
I don’t want to reveal too much, but the story goes in ways you probably don’t expect, with the first arc (issue 1-5) pretty much ending how you might have expected the entire series to conclude. Each arc also devotes an issue to looking at the history of fantasy by travelling to a different area of the world, and using that locale to tell the story. The first such issue looks at Tolkien, as you might have guessed, while next is the Bronte siblings.
- Black Hammer
Sort of Lost with superheroes. Six heroes (not Marvel or DC) are mysteriously transported to a farm in an unknown town. The story starts ten years later, as they have become a family of sorts, still unable to leave the town.
- Kill Shakespeare
Once Upon a Time with Shakespeare characters instead of fairy tale heroes, with Shakespeare himself also playing a role.
I’ll throw out Strange Academy/Avengers Academy/Young Avengers as honorable mentions.
With Runaways done, perhaps we could see a show about one of these younger groups? Strange Academy is a new series (issue 1 just arrived) about a school run by Dir. Strange. Avengers Academy is about a group of students thought to be at risk of turning to villainy, while Young Avengers is about characters with direct ties to the core adventures, as well as the young man who is destined to become time-travelling villain Kang the Conqueror.
CBS was probably the hardest network to match to comics.
The creators have so far seemed uninterested in seeing this be adapted, but people would love to see this Star Wars meets Romeo and Juliet tale follow some of Brian Vaughan’s other works to the small screen.
A team of mystery archeologists investigate strange phenomena, surrounded by alternate versions of famous characters. The villains are clearly an alternate Fantastic Four, for example.
- Ex Machina
Another Brian Vaughan story, merging superheroes and politics.
- Morning Glories
Six students arrive at a prestigious prep school, only to find the teachers are torturing and even murdering students while investigating occult phenomena. They then discover that their parents no longer remember them, and thus will not come rescue them.
Strange adventures at a girls summer camp. A film adaptation fell through, so the door should be open to TV.
- Gotham Academy
Combining the two things the CW is most known for, DC comics and high school students.
- 100 Bullets
A mysterious man offers people the chance to get revenge against someone who has wronged them. The story ultimately involves powerful groups and conspiracies dating back many years.
Dick Grayson leaves life as superhero Nightwing to join a spy agency.
NBC and ABC looked at adapting this comic about fairy tale characters before making Grimm and Once Upon a Time, respectively. Maybe Fox could finally bring the comic itself to the screen.
- The Sixth Gun
NBC passed on Cullen Bunn’s Weird West story of magic guns already, but I thought I’d give them another chance.
- Harrow County
Another Cullen Bunn option, here we follow a girl in the 50s who may be the reincarnation of an evil witch.
An upcoming series, following characters in different eras, a la This is Us. The heroes must unravel the truth of their alleged alien abduction twenty years earlier. The comic will only be six issues, so the show would either be a miniseries or really expand on the source material.
Published by Andrew Clendening