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15 TV Shows and Movies That Should Be Comics

February 7, 2014  |  11:00am
15 TV Shows and Movies That Should Be Comics

Some characters are so weird, wild or compelling that a few movies just aren’t enough. Sure, you may get a couple of decent sequels, but actors get old, and you invariably end up with Arnold Schwarzenegger pushing 70 as he signs on to reprise his Terminator role. And sometimes you get Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Enter comics. A medium practically tailor-made for the stories and characters that we just can’t let go of. A medium in which the sagas last forever, and mortality is barely a technicality. A comic series can add to the main continuity or just complement it by filling in some gaps. But most importantly, it’s a relatively cheap way to get more out of characters we love when movies and TV shows are increasingly more expensive to produce.

Comics have given Buffy the Vampire Slayer an eighth and ninth season, not to mention spin-off series like Angel & Faith and the fan-favorite Spike , who has a new project in the works written by James Marsters himself. The X-Files gained a tenth season in comic form, not to mention the recent comic book rebirth of The Twilight Zone and the Serenity crew.

So, in the spirit of getting too much of a good thing, here are 15 more stories or characters that deserve a good sequential art makeover. We’ve also included who we think would be the dream creative team to usher it into reality.

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1. 12 Monkeys
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Jock


Terry Gilliam showed us a twisted world of pre- and post-apocalyptic lunacy in 12 Monkeys, moving us from the underground prisons of the future to the ramshackle asylums of the ‘90s. Considering this is a time travel story, it’s dealer’s choice on how and where to pick it up. Perhaps following a group of survivors through the viral doomsday, or the building of mankind’s cyberpunk sewer society, and on into the early time travel failures, sending their “volunteers” to all the wrong time periods. Comic readers would have to make do without the creepy organ-grinder music, but the core is ripe for comics.

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2. 24
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Phil Jimenez


This one’s easy. There will always be a terrorist threat for Jack Bauer to thwart and information for him to torture out of suspects. You could even hold onto the real-time aspect by making each story a 24-issue limited series. And with Kiefer Sutherland reprising his role as CTU’s growling one-man death machine this summer, the timing couldn’t be better. Again, I’d say a 24 comic should loosen its grip on reality ever so slightly and veer into that realm of outlandishness that TV can’t support. Let Bauer do the even more impossible.

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3. Archer
Writer: Adam Reed (if it ain’t broke)
Artist: Humberto Ramos


Admittedly an outlier, since it’s the only one on the list that’s still on TV, but you simply can’t have enough inappropriate humor. Besides it won’t be on forever, so might as well get things going now. The show is practically a comic book already, with most episodes depicting a new spycraft misadventure for the goons at ISIS. Granted, a lot of Archer’s success is due to the nuance and intonations of the voice acting, but there’s still a lot of Krieger bots, baby tattooing and rampaging through the Danger Zone to be done.

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4. Back to the Future
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Ulises Farinas


Resist the temptation to create a Marty McFly comic set in the future, and go with Doc Brown. Last we saw the wild-haired doctor, he’s on a time machine made out of a steam engine with his wife and two kids, Jules and Verne. Sort of like a steampunk version of Lost in Space, Doc and family could bound through time having adventures, righting wrongs, and probably wronging rights that will have to be re-righted (time travel is wacky that way).

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5. Carnivale
Writer: Scott Synder
Artist: Richard Isanove


This short-lived drama was pretty crazy to say the least. Though creator Daniel Knauf conceived the epic tale of good and evil as a 6-season arc, its cult following wasn’t enough to keep HBO from canceling it after only two. Four seasons worth of story could hit nearly 100 issues if played right. In fact, the story could probably take even more disturbing turns, getting into all sorts of mystical arcana that TV audiences may have shied away from.

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6. Dirty Harry
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Mike Henderson


Harry Callahan sired generations of fictional rogue cops — McClane, Riggs, Foley, McGarnagle — who cause copious amounts of property damage and whose partners rarely make it to the end credits unscathed. He prefers shooting to talking, doesn’t take any guff from bureaucrats and he stops bank robberies on his lunch break. Dirty Harry is a pretty timeless character, so a comic can drop him into any point of his chronology, before, during or after the movies, and just go. Recreating the ‘70s cinematic style would be fun, too, from the big cars and fluffy hair to the muted colors and grainy visuals.

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7. Freaks and Geeks
Writer: Terry Moore
Artist: Mahmud Asrar


This is the show about high school misfits that makes everyone’s universal “gone too soon” list, and for good reason. You have to figure that if NBC knew the goldmine of talent it was sitting on, it would have given it more than a single season. There would be no guns or super powers in this hypothetical comic, just the kind of funny, kind of touching, mostly awkward tales of being an outcast in high school. The show is chock full of perennial themes, from fitting in to finding yourself. Pushing back against authority and embracing (or mocking) disco. Plus: Dungeons and Dragons.

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8. Gangs of New York
Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: Bill Sienkiewicz


Continuing the story is tempting, but I’d much rather read about the rise of Bill the Butcher, that ferocious, Irish-hating, knife-toting psychopath. Daniel Day-Lewis breathed life into the character, filling him with such venom and rage that it was kind of a shame to see him go at the end. Bare-knuckle boxing and street brawls may be the big draws, but don’t forget the period slang, stovepipe hats and historical tidbits that make the one-eyed butcher’s world truly vibrant.


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