Columns > Published on December 16th, 2011

Top Ten Comics That Should Be A TV Series

There aren't a ton of can't-miss television shows when it comes to my weekly viewing habits, but one series I love that has taken off and become somewhat of a cable sensation is The Walking Dead, which is based on the comic book by Robert Kirkman. Comic book properties making their way to television isn't exactly a new phenomenon, as there have been numerous cartoons and live-action series, but none have managed to reach the level of sophistication and drama that The Walking Dead has achieved over the course of just a season and a half. Which is a shame, because there is plenty of great source material out there. Hence this list. And while it certainly leans towards drama-heavy titles, like Dead, that doesn't mean there isn't room for a bit of comedy as well.

10. Daytripper

Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba's short-lived Vertigo series is all about a man named Bras who yearns to be an established author, but is stuck writing obituaries for the local newspaper. The series likes to crisscross through time and plays with standard storytelling conventions, as Bras could be 41-years old one issue and then a young boy the next. The real kicker with Daytripper is that every issue ends with Bras' death, but instead of coming off as a gimmick, each issue – a self-contained story (perfect for a weekly format) - ends on a poignant note about how we need to live life to the fullest because we never know when death might strike us down. Daytripper wouldn't be easy to transition to the small screen given the brevity of the series and how it's all wrapped up so nicely, but I wouldn't be opposed to seeing some new moments scattered throughout the life of Bras, and think it would be an emotional rollercoaster of a series for those willing to take the ride.

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9. American Vampire

Do we really need another vampire series when True Blood and The Vampire Diaries already exist? Ordinarily I'd say no, but American Vampire is a completely different beast from those offerings. It's more about the evolution of vampires throughout history rather than the emotional pining those series manage to slather every episode with. Writer Scott Snyder has done a masterful job so far with the comic series and recent miniseries, as Skinner Sweet and Pearl Jones strive to find their place in a world where humans, vampires, and those who hunt vampires either fear them or want them dead. I'm a huge Joss Whedon fanboy, so of course Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel are two of my favorite series of all-time. I loved the modern setting of those shows, but some of my favorite moments were when the viewer was taken back in time to see the early days of characters such as Angel and Spike. Imagine those moments, but fleshed out to an hour and sprinkled with everything from horror to romance, and you'll start to get an understanding of how American Vampire could work as a television series. 

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8. The Boys

The Boys is a vulgar, raunchy, gory series- which is probably why I love it so much. Unfortunately only a network like HBO or Showtime would be able to handle the material without having to dumb it down for Standards and Practices. Garth Ennis' series is about a group of miscreants who have taken it upon themselves to do the unthinkable - police the superheroes. In the universe of The Boys, superheroes aren't so much the symbols of justice that Marvel or DC would have you believe, but rather, power hungry celebrities who could care less whether they destroy a building during a clash with a villain or accidentally rip the arms off an innocent bystander. It's up to The Boys to bring justice to those unfortunates affected by this rampant abuse of power... and maybe even knock the "untouchable" heroes down a few pegs in the process. Drug usage, gangbang initiations, and violence galore make the comic all but impossible to bring to television, but if it ever made it I know I'd be tuning in every week just to see how screwed up an hour of this show could be.

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7. Skullkickers

Skullkickers is one of the best comic books out there that not enough people are reading. The series focuses on Baldy and Shorty (not their real names, but who knows what is anymore) as they travel the countryside, getting in all sorts of trouble and meeting a motley crew of secondary characters in the process. Unlike the other comics on this list, there is no way to accurately bring the fun and hilarity of Jim Zubavich's series to the small screen in the form of live-action: Skullkickers has adult cartoon written all-over it (and not one of those hentai adult cartoons either), thanks largely in part to the beautifully bright, crisp artwork that already looks like screen-grabbed animation slapped with a text balloon. Skullkickers would make for a perfect half-hour of comedy as it is one of the only books out there that consistently makes me laugh out loud. Plus, given the series' penchant for writing out sound effects and actions such as "Ingest," "Grab," and "Squeeeee," it's hard for me to imagine Skullkickers without these "visual sounds" playing a role in the show, much like in the fights on the old Adam West Batman series. Axe-wielding dwarves. Giant monsters. Necromancers. Foul-mouthed fairies. What wouldn't there be to love about a Skullkickers television series?

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6. Chew

Chew is actually the only comic on this list that's close to being a television reality, as Showtime is planning to make the series into a half-hour comedy. In a world that has supposedly been ravaged by the Bird Flu, chicken has been deemed illegal by the FDA and it's up to detective Tony Chu to make sure nobody gets their hands on it. It's a neat idea, but where's the kick? What's the hook? As it turns out Tony is a Cibopath, who has the ability to eat anything and instantly get a history of everything about it, such as where it's been and who has handled it. A handy ability to have to be sure, but not when your job sometimes forces you to chomp down on a...well...hand in order to get a lead in a case. Throw in a luchador chicken, alien sky-writing, vampires, and a cast of characters who often have their own food-related abilities, and you have the recipe (ugh - bad pun) for what could be a half-hour of pure hilarity.

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5. Infinite Vacation

Everyone has probably heard the theory that there are an infinite number of universes out there where the only difference from ours might be something small, like the fact that in that other universe you have a moustache. Well, in Infinite Vacation, humanity has learned how to travel to these universes, and as long as you have the money you can visit and even live the life of your other self as a sort of temporary vacation. What do you do, though, when the other versions of yourself start turning up murdered? Much like Daytripper, Infinite Vacation is only a mini-series - and one that's almost at its end - but the premise could be expanded and the mystery behind the murders stretched out in order to justify turning it into a TV show. The book's protagonist (Mark) would still be the star, though we'd get to see him interact with the other universes and versions of himself more than he has so far in the series.

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4. Preacher

Preacher has come close to becoming a television series once before, and even a feature film if memory serves me right, but each attempt has failed due to the same problem - people running scared. I mean, would you want to be the person who has to market a show about a preacher pissed off at God, a gun-toting woman for hire, and an alcoholic, Irish vampire? Of course that's not even taking into account Arseface (his face looks like an asshole), a Jabba the Hutt sized bulimic, some one-eyed inbred rednecks, an industrial leader with a kinky fetish for meat, a man who will literally have sex with anything, know what...never mind, because there's no chance in hell that Preacher will ever make it beyond the pages of the comic. Given this nation's propensity for Christianity and how bent out of shape people can get when the President doesn't include the word "god" in a Thanksgiving address (I didn't know Jesus partied with the pilgrims), this series would be boycotted and probably be a ratings disaster. But damn if it wouldn't be a glorious ride while it lasted. Can I get an Amen?

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3. Y: The Last Man

Y: The Last Man - for me at least - is the pinnacle of comic book greatness. Sandman. V For Vendetta. Watchmen. The Dark Knight Returns. They're all books worthy of inclusion on any list, but Yorick's adventure is one of the most fully realized works ever put to paper, and it has perhaps the most poignant and emotionally satisfying ending to any comic series ever. Y: The Last Man tells the story of Yorick, who finds himself in a world where every man and male species of animal has been killed off except for him and his pet monkey. Given his sudden rarity, everyone is intent on having the last man alive under their thumb for one reason or another. But for Yorick, all he wants to do is survive, find out why he's the only man alive, and hopefully find some way to reverse the problem and help fix the world. With the amount of estrogen on the screen at any given time, selling the show to guys might be a problem, especially if they think a cast of almost nothing but women equals a chick show. However those who have read the series know that there's enough content there for both sexes to love and enjoy.

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2. Locke & Key

Locke & Key actually had a pilot ordered, but the show was ultimately passed on. What? Idiots! If you managed to make it to Comic-Con this year you might've seen the pilot, and if so I envy you tremendously. I still have hope that it will be made available sometime in the future, but I'd prefer people come to their senses and give the show the green light. Locke & Key is about the Locke children, who move across the country after a brutal home invasion to live on an old family estate. Little do the children know that their father had a dark secret and that secret is looking to escape from its imprisonment. The series' hook isn't just the unnerving mystery and growing mythology that Joe Hill has slowly developed  or the fantastical keys that allow you to do everything from turn into a ghost to look inside your own head and remove memories you no longer wish to have, but it's the heartfelt family story that really keeps you coming back for more. As you move through the books, you really start to care for the Lockes, and as things grow dire and tension rises, you find yourself wondering if everything will be okay and if they'll all come out unscathed in the end.

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1. Morning Glories

My favorite television series of all-time is Lost. I know a lot of people jumped off the ship or bitched and moaned as the show delivered one new question after another with very little in the way of answers, but I loved the characters and the mythos and trying to figure out what would happen next. When the show ended its run, a void opened up inside me that has still gone unfilled. I yearn for an engrossing mystery that would play out over several seasons! Luckily Nick Spencer's Morning Glories came along - now if only someone will turn it into a television series. The book focuses on a handful of teenagers who have just been accepted into an elite, private school, but little do they know about the secrets and mysteries lurking behind those school gates. The kids all share the same birthday. Detention becomes a fight for their lives. A mysterious device is located in the basement, where a ghostly, telepathic creature lurks. Students routinely die. There is the mysterious gentleman who has been around for some of the most defining moments of these kids' lives. Time travel also seems to play a role as well. Do I know what in the hell is happening? No, nobody does, and I question whether or not Spencer knows himself. But that doesn't mean I'm not savoring every issue and reading them multiple times. The television series would hit nearly every demographic out there as well, as the series is about a group of teenagers. You have a sci-fi/fantasy element, drama, and there's horror to be had as well (horror is big now with shows like The Walking Dead and American Horror Story). Morning Glories has everything but answers, and yet that's perfectly okay with me.

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I could've populated this list with nothing but superhero comics, but those have been done before and they rarely work unless they're animated or feature the backing money of a movie. You simply couldn't take a movie like X-Men: First Class and make that a weekly television series. I also hope that this list will guide you towards a few comics you might have never heard about or given a chance before, because if more people read these books, hopefully some television producers will start taking notice and help make this list a reality.

About the author

Gamer, comic junkie, film fanatic, bibliophile, and writer.

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