With the announcement yesterday that The Umbrella Academy, an Eisner-winning comic book from My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way, was coming to Netflix, we got to thinking...even with all the comics currently filling moviehouses and TV channels, there are plenty of great stories as-yet-unapted.
Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones are just the tip of the iceberg on TV, while the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Justice League will both come together in theaters.
Even properties you never thought would see adaptation are getting the treatment, with Marvel promising both a TV series and a feature film centering on The Inhumans, with the TV show's two-part pilot getting an IMAX theatrical run prior to the show's debut.
Of course, not every property is suited to being a feature film. In general, both the budgets and expected return on investment are generally high.
What we're seeing more and more is that Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and premium cable channels like HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax are coming to the rescue of artists who can't quite find a niche in feature filmmaking.
Which are the (usually R-rated, but not always) comics we'd like to see kick their major motion picture aspirations to the curb and head to Netflix, Amazon, HBO, or the like?
STRANGERS IN PARADISE
In an era where the romance comic is all but dead, Strangers in Paradise -- launched almost 25 years ago -- became an indie staple and one of the best-reviewed comics of the '90s when it was released.
The story centered on three lovable characters who were trying to have a simple life in spite of their own complicated backstories which kept coming back to haunt them.
At the center of it was Katina Choovanski ("Katchoo"), a young lesbian who had fallen in love with her (straight) best friend in high school and decided that being with your soulmate platonically was better than being with anybody else romantically.
Of course, there's also the matter of David, who feels the same way about Katchoo, and Francine (the best friend in question), who feels the tug of something more with Katchoo but can't quite commit to what that means for her life plans.
If that sounds a bit CW-soap opera-y for you, trust us: the subplots include slasher film-style murder, organized crime, '50s pinup girl porn, and more.
This is one of the best American comic books ever produced, and it's no coincidence that every few years, somebody buys up the movie rights and tries to make a run at it...but with the comics coming back in 2018, it seems like there has never been a better time.prevnext
As in so many other works of fantasy, there is a magical world and a non-magical world in Amelia Cole.
Then there's an unknown world where the two are blended. Mages live alongside non-mages and are subject to the whims of magic, and while it's far from a perfect setup, it's only going to get worse once some very bad, very dark forces from the magical world start trying to creep in.
Amelia Cole, on the other hand, has found herself there largely by accident...but she may be the Unknown World's only hope.
This Monkeybrain comic (available in trades from IDW, who will publish an omnibus in the spring) is one of the most enjoyable reads in recent memory and we were damn sorry to see it go when it ended earlier this year. We'd love to see it pop up on TV.prevnext
David Lapham's Stray Bullets is one of, if not the, best crime comics ever made.
Its over-the-top characterization and violence could not only translate well to the small screen, but the nature of its stories -- which aren't all one continuous narrative but a number of stories set in the same world -- could lend itself easily to an American Horror Story or Stranger Things-style anthology series.prevnext
This one's a little less obvious than most of the others on the list, primarily becuase not a lot of people remember Violent Messiahs.
The short-lived series was published by Image in the early 2000s (after having been created for a smaller publisher in the '90s and then scrapped).
From Joshua Dysart, who would go on to write Harbinger and Unknown Soldier (among many other things) for mainstream publishers, and artist Tone Rodriguez, it centers on a police force struggling to bring in costumed vigilantes while one of them -- Citizen Pain -- hunts a serial killer called The Family Man, who kills bad parents.
This isn't a story where there are a lot of fantastical powers; it would be right at home in the vein of Netflix's Defenders family of shows. Lots of blood, lots of leather, and a look at a kind of dark city and its police force as everything feels like it's starting to come apart at the seams...but hasn't quite yet.
The series isn't entirely forgotten -- years after the original Image run, both volumes of the book got a reprint at IDW in 2008-2009 -- but in all likelihood the cool high concept and sexy visuals of this comic would be a revelation to most people.prevnext
A gruesome revenge thriller with supernatural undertones and a built-in mythology that would allow a TV adaptation to tell stories beyond just that of the comic, which will end its all-too-short run in early 2017, Action Lab's Tomboy is basically built to be adapted.
Tomboy centers on Addison, a high school girl who begins a bloody rampage after her best friend is killed by a pair of dirty cops. To tell you more than that might spoil the fun, since the series is so short and still on the stands. You should totally pick it up.prev