TV’s threatening to look a lot like my comic book shelf these days.
One of the things I love about a comic book series that ends is that it represents a complete story, so when I start reading “Transmetropolitan” or “Preacher” or “100 Bullets,” I’m starting something that I know has a finite amount of story to tell, and that’s building to something. I just worked my way through David Lapham’s entire 41-issue arc of “Stray Bullets.”
Meanwhile, my comic-book-crazy older son fell in love with Brian K. Vaughan‘s “Runaways,” burning through the first eighteen issues in about a week. He was rabid for something to follow up with and decided he wanted to read “Y The Last Man.” That’s a heavy series in many ways, but one of the things that shaped who I am was that my parents put far less restrictions on what I could read than what I could watch, and it’s a policy I try to follow with him. My attitude is, “If you really want to read this, then I’m happy you want to read.” Besides, we’re at a place in our relationship where he seems unafraid to ask me questions if he doesn’t understand something, and “Y The Last Man” has led to some pretty heavy conversations overall. He loves it, though, and I love that he gets excited about a story.
I want to make sure he finishes reading it before FX gets serious about turning it into a TV show. Frankly, this makes sense in a way that the oft-discussed film versions of the comic never did. In an age where Zack Snyder is rumored to be talking about bringing “Watchmen” to TV, which should finally give roughly a zillion angry nerds some degree of peace, it feels like there’s a shift happening. Sure, DC and Marvel are both battling for big-screen supremacy still, and that’s going to continue for quite a while, but there are a number of comic book properties that seem like they’re more suited for the small screen and actually headed there.
The success of “The Walking Dead” must be at least somewhat responsible for this, as well as the success of “The Flash,” but those are both shows designed to be open-ended and run as long as fans keep tuning in. The Marvel Netflix shows like the excellent “Daredevil” or the upcoming “Jessica Jones” are shorter orders, but they’re not built with firm permanent endings, either, since Marvel would eventually like to bring them all together as “The Defenders,” and there’s a good chance that if that works, we may see those characters make the jump into the movie universe as well on occasion.
Instead, we’re looking now at properties where there is a complete story. “Y The Last Man” is a perfect fit for FX, but it doesn’t sound like they have a writer in place yet or a director. Brian K. Vaughan will be heavily involved, which is good, but I’m curious who they’re going to find to help creatively spearhead the adaptation. “Preacher,” which is already underway with both Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg producing. They are huge fans of the material, and it’s another property that people tried to develop as a movie several different times unsuccessfully. It feels like some of these bigger stories simply fit better as ongoing but finite adaptations that can take their time and let the stories and the characters breathe.
Word also broke this week that another Garth Ennis series, “The Boys,” is currently being shopped as a TV series by Seth Rogen and “Supernatural” veteran Eric Kripke. That’s a really exciting combination, and I would love to see them somehow talk Simon Pegg into playing the part that was so clearly written for him in the original comic. These days, there’s no stigma with television, so it call comes down to schedules, and if you’re smart about how you build a TV schedule, it’s not impossible to imagine getting someone as in-demand as Pegg for the right role.
It’s an exciting time for fans of these properties, and I love the idea of a TV schedule that includes “Y The Last Man,” “The Boys,” “Preacher,” “Watchmen,” and more. Let’s make it happen, folks, and let’s see these stories done right.