10 Comic Book Adaptations We're Waiting For

Since the Golden Age of comics and <i>Classics Illustrated</i>, people have been taking stories from one medium, and translating it into the unique combination of the written word and sequential art that comic books provide. <p>Right now, some of the most popular series at publishers like Dark Horse, IDW and Dynamite are adaptations of licensed properties, from <i>Buffy the Vampire Slayer</i> to <i>Transformers</i> to the John Carter novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs. In the history of the industry, there have been comics based on everything from <i>24</i> to <i>The Partridge Family</i>. <p>So with a <i>Game of Thrones</i> comic book adaptation debuting this week from Dynamite and Marvel's <I>Castle</I> original graphic novel on sale later this month, the Newsarama team put their heads together to pick out 10 properties from the world of TV, movies and books that haven't yet been comic books, but we think might really work in the medium. <p>Click "start here" in the upper-left corner to find out the 10 comic book adaptations we're waiting for, and let us know your ideas via the social networking links below. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i>


Disney has owned Marvel for more than two years now, and yet the actual Disney content coming out of the House of Ideas has been pretty low. They're releasing some reprints of recent licensed books from BOOM! Studios, and put out a <i>Tron: Legacy</i> tie-in miniseires last winter, but that's about it. <p>There are some advantages to that: Marvel fans were worried that Disney might exert too much of an influence on the product they love, and that hasn't happened. But there are also tons of positive reasons to exploit this corporate synergy, and a very natural place to start is more comics based on Disney properties. <p>That's why a <i>Wizards of Waverly Place</i> comic book makes sense. The industry is always in need of quality all-ages comics, and getting the show's devoted, young, female-skewing demographic interested in comics can only be a good thing. <i>Wizards</i> has many of the trappings of comics as it is, featuring magic, vampires, werewolves and even an episode set at a comic book convention. On the TV show, these elements are bound by the live-action Disney Channel budget, but there are no such limitations in comic books. <p>Plus, the show is ending its four-season run imminently, so like many of the entries on the list, a comic book series would be the perfect outlet for the show's fans who are looking for further adventures with the characters.


The spy genre gets played with in comics every once in awhile, and using a known property to give it a shot in the arm would make sense. <b>Burn Notice</b> is the perfect one, with heavy doses of narration (captions), gadget building and explosions (nice visuals), and, of course, the involvement of geek icon Bruce Campbell. <p>It turns out, we're not the only ones to think so. USA and DC Comics teamed up for an interactive comic that bridged the gap between seasons 4 and 5 of the series. Released as an app, and as a web-based experience that has mysteriously disappeared, the story was written by Ryan Johnson and Peter Lalayanis and drawn by Tony Shasteen. It even took advantage of the digital format, letting people click on icons in the panels that opened up more information about the characters in the story and more. <p>But why not make this a regular ongoing series too? <b>Burn Notice</b> is definitely a formulaic show, but it's essentially already a show about superheroes of a sort; the feats that Fiona, Michael, and Sam pull off usually stretch belief more than a little bit, and the mix of high-action and deep intrigue should work perfectly in a monthly comic. We wouldn't mind seeing the digital idea continue as an ongoing either, fully integrated into the DC App (instead of being its own).


Yes, it was already subject to a short series of motion comics promoting it's first season, 2010's Blood and Sand, but the return of Starz' hit series in <b>Spartacus: Vengeance</b> in 2012 is the perfect opportunity to launch a full-fledged comic book series. <p><b>Spartacus</b> is already strongly inspired by graphic (in <i>all</i> senses of the word) fiction, particularly both Frank Miller and Zack Snyder's version of <i>300</i>, and given their presence at shows like Comic-Con the show's producers seem to covet the comic-reading demographic. <p>The series is already facing a transition period of sorts as fans have to get used to new-star <a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liam_McIntyre>Liam McIntyre</a>. McIntyre's taking over the title role for original star Andy Whitfeld, who passed away earlier this month after a fight with cancer. More stories featuring the likeness of McIntyre can only help readers get used to the change and accept the new actor, who has the unenviable task of filling what have become some very large shoes.


HBO's comedy <I>Bored to Death</i> has plenty of connections to comic books already. The main character, played by Jason Schwartzman, is a fictionalized version of author Jonathan Ames, who wrote the graphic novel <i>The Alcoholic</i> for Vertigo. Ray, played by Zach Galifianakis, is a comic book artist loosely based on Dean Haspiel, who illustrated <i>The Alcoholic</i> and shared an Emmy win for the show's opening sequence. <p>Haspiel illustrated a "Super Ray" comic for HBO's website to promote the second season of the show, but we're thinking a more traditional adaptation would work as well. While plenty of science-fiction and fantasy shows, movies and novels have been adapted to comics, the history of comic books based on comedic properties is a bit spotty anyone else remember Marvel's <i>Kid 'N Play</i> comic? But <i>Bored to Death</i> is a perfect choice to reverse that trend. <p>Since it's, in part, a lighthearted take on the private eye genre, a <I>Bored to Death</i> comic would be like a much less serious take on the crime genre, which has flourished in comics from <i>Sin City</i> to <i>Criminal</i>. The "case of the week" format would also translate nicely to single-issue comic book stories, providing an accessible, easily digestible offering to viewers of the show without having to commit to multi-part story arcs. <p>But more than any of that, Ted Danson's spacey magazine editor George Christopher deserves to take his rightful spot among J. Jonah Jameson and Perry White in the pantheon of comic books' delightfully over-the-top newsroom bosses.


The chiseled chins on the vampires featured in popular young adult novels might get most comic fans rolling their eyes, but even the most cynical among us can't ignore that the <a href="http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/17134.html"><i>Twilight</i> graphic novel set a sales record last year during its first week</a>. <p>While the comic industry strives to reach new readers, there's no doubt a <i>continuing</i> comic book based in the <i>Twilight</i> universe would not only attract a new, younger crowd, but the GN's success proves it would attract them in droves. <p>There's also potential for comic books that tell previously untold stories within the <i>Twilight</i> universe. Or if author Stephenie Meyer doesn't want to expand the universe beyond what she's already written, there are still plenty of shorter character stories from this year's bestselling <i>Official Illustrated Guide</i> and last year's chart-topping <i>The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner</i> that would be ideal in a comic miniseries. <p>Vampire adaptations don't have to stop there. The recent release of <i>True Blood</i> comics indicates other popular vamp properties like the CW's <i>Vampire Diaries</i> might be worth a miniseries or two, since they too have lead characters with hundreds of years of untold stories just waiting for adaptation in comics.


A staple of genre fiction is that often the quality of the villain is as important as the hero, and one of the more memorable screen villains (big or small) was Ian McShane's Al Swearengen from the HBO 2004-2006 quasi-historical western <b>Deadwood</b>. <p>Make no mistake, Swearengen was as cold-blooded, ruthless and brutal as villains come, but his motives were relatable (like everyone else in gold boomtown, he wanted Deadwood to prosper) and so full of bastardly charm he became the hard-drinking and harder-talking drama's de facto protagonist <i>and</i> antagonist. Creator David Milch assembled a top-flight cast, but McShane's Swearengen commanded the entire production. <p><b>Deadwood</b> is the perfect vehicle to continue life in graphic fiction, as HBO once intended to conclude the three-season series in a pair of two hour movies that were ultimately never produced. So why not have Milch complete his story, paired with art by say... John Cassaday? <p>Where do we sign up? <p>And speaking of HBO series that didn't end properly...


Whether you loved it or hated it, the controversial "non-ending" of David Chase's iconic mob drama <b>The Sopranos</b> is arguably one of the most memorable final scenes of all time. The infamous smash cut-to-black over Journey's 'Don't Stop Believin' is almost certainly intended to leave the fate of the Jersey mob boss up to personal interpretation... <p>...and therein lies the opportunity. <p>How about a small series of graphic novels from prominent writers imagining <i>their</i> ending, or their continuation of the Tony Soprano saga? <p>Did he get a bullet to the head? Well, what happens next? <p>Did he finish his fries and go home and get a good night's sleep? Will Tony ever pay for six long seasons of rather heinous acts? <p>What better medium than comics to let the series' finale remain as it is forever, yet at the same time examine some alternate timelines for the Garden State's most famous waste management specialist? A Sopranos Elseworlds," if you will?


The show itself was revered by a vocal fan base, which unfortunately was too small to keep it on the air. Featuring Kristen Bell as the spunky teenaged private detective Veronica Mars, the series was known for its fast-paced conversation, it's realistic injection of humor, drama, and some very crazy situations into the small town of Neptune, California. <p>When the show was cancelled, creator Rob Thomas (not the Matchbox 20 guy) teased a couple of possibilities for its continuation. First, a short "trailer" of sorts was leaked that showed Bell as a now fresh-out-of-college budding FBI agent, jumping the show forward to allow for different story styles and a new supporting cast. He said (and Bell echoed) he'd love to do it as a movie or special if they couldn't have more TV time, but it never panned out. <p>The other possibility? A comic book. With a comic, the serialized method of having one small mystery per episode while a larger one was spread out across a season could be echoed in single issues and arcs. Warner Bros owns the property, and they happen to also own a company called DC Comics. Thomas has expressed interest to the company, and while DC Comics may have turned it down, this might be the sort of thing that DC <i>Entertainment</i> would want to pursue. The big question is how much a reader can fit the tempo and line-delivery that Bell had in the show, but this still seems like something worth a try.


If there's one young adult franchise that could benefit from the visual potential of comic books, it's <i>The Hunger Games</i> trilogy. As readers of the series know, there are enough gruesome deaths and explosions and battles within its pages to make even superhero comics look tame. <p>Based in a grisly North American future after the collapse of the U.S. government, the <i>Hunger Games</i> Trilogy shows a world where teens are forced to compete in a publicly broadcast battle to the death, complete with deadly weapons, mutant animals and a rigged playing field. <p>The fanbase for the books is growing to a level that could bring new readers to comic stores, with sales currently at more than 12 million copies. <p>And the time to adapt these books is now, with a highly anticipated film version of the first book, <i>The Hunger Games</i>, slated for release next year. Lions Gate Entertainment is banking on its success, already dumping more money into the film's budget than any other movie in the studio's history while also planning another three films based on the books. <p>The <i>Hunger Games</i> books also have enough unanswered questions within them that comics could be an avenue for author Suzanne Collins to write a few new stories based in the futuristic nation of Panem.


Every book published these days is touted as having the potential to be "the next <i>Harry Potter</i>." For good reason. The last four <i>Harry Potter</i> books have consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history. <p>Anyone who's seen the books adapted to film knows the stories have amazing visuals. Comics could adapt even those book scenes that didn't make the cut in the movies. Or untold stories, like the adventures of a young Albus Dumbledore set in the past, or stories focused on the next generation of Hogwarts wizards and witches in the future. <p>New stories might seem a long-shot, with author J.K. Rowling keeping such a tight rein on her characters. But not when you consider that the president of DC Entertaiment was formerly the franchise manager of the Harry Potter brand, working directly with Rowling. <p>Newsarama <a href="http://www.newsarama.com/film/090909-levitz-nelson-dc-entertainment.html">asked Nelson about it</a>, and she didn't rule out the possibility. "I can't speak for Jo Rowling and what she wants to focus on next. Unfortunately that's not something that's been on the radar or in my head," she said with a laugh. "But hey, listen, if fans put enough of the idea out there, maybe it will become reality. She'll have to think about that, though. I'm just the facilitator."

10 Comic Book Adaptations We're Waiting For

Date: 20 September 2011 Time: 09:23 PM ET