Top List Thursday – Top 10 comics Marvel should adapt for TV

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As you may have read, Marvel Studios are looking to invade your TV and MAKE ALL DA SERIEZ!!! with a 60-episode, four full series, one mini-series package that they’re currently shopping around to VOD and Cable networks. At this moment in time, we essentially know nothing about the content of that package, but that doesn’t stop me from using my otherwise totally useless knowledge of comics to try and figure out a few likely candidates.

Powers

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Despite the fact that writer Brian Michael Bendis has been toiling away to get Powers made as a TV series for ages already – even going so far as to shoot a pilot starring Jason Patric, Charles S. Dutton, Titus Welliver and Vinnie Jones – and the fact that the police procedural about two cops – ex-superhero Christian Walker, who joined the Police force after losing his special abilities, and rookie detective Deena Pilgrim –  investigating superhero-related homicides is just a perfect fit for TV, this is the least likeliest prospect for three reasons. 1) A couple networks already passed on the aforementioned pilot, 2) Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. kind of stole their schtick, and 3) This is actually published under Marvel’s Icon imprint, and thus doesn’t take place in the Marvel universe proper. And a series without the marketing opportunities of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, probably won’t be as appealing to studio execs.

Alias (aka Jessica Jones)

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And another Brian Michael Bendis penned series that’s already flirted with TV, and just like Powers, also had it’s pilot episode given the cold shoulder at the time. This could be easily resurrected though, and with it only a matter of time before Marvel introduces fan-favourite character Luke Cage into the Avengers mix, having a TV series focused on his baby mama certainly wouldn’t hurt. For those of you not familiar with it, Alias, or as it was rebranded in the pilot, aka Jessica Jones, so as not to be confused with JJ Abrams’ old show, followed the titular Ms Jones, who after a horrible career as a superhero, decides to hang up the spandex tights and rather become a private eye where she can still help people without having to use her powers. And although it came much later, the whole “having a baby with very well known superhero” thing, could kind of throw a very interesting wrinkle into that plan.

Avengers Academy

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If there’s one thing that the DC superheroes handle much better than their Marvel counterparts, it’s their legacy. The old guard is always passing the torch onto the new generation. That doesn’t really happen that much in the Marvel Universe, but that all changed with the Avengers Academy, a school staffed by some of the previous generation’s best heroes, training youngsters in how to best use their powers. The kicker? Those recruits were actually very carefully picked based on a series of tests that indicate that they are most likely to become the next generation of supervillains. And they don’t know anything about it. Cue DRAMA, INTRIGUE, CLASSROOM POLITICS and the ever present threat of the Class President perhaps one day wanting a promotion to World Despot!

Hulk

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Before this whole Avengers thing took all da moneyz, none other than Guillermo Del Toro was working on bringing the not-so-Jolly Green Giant back to the TV screens he dominated in the 70’s and 80’s. Over the last two years though, with Del Toro signing for one big project after another, and Hulk’s cinematic appeal seriously reinvigorated thanks to writer/director Joss Whedon, this project has just seemingly fell of the table.

With movie star Mark Ruffalo being the face of Bruce Banner now, it’s uncertain if he’ll have time in his schedule to do a regular TV series, also the budget for this will be pretty high considering all the top quality CG work that would be required. But goshdarnit, the world needs a show about a half scientist/half uncontrollable rage monster wandering the country on a quest for justice.

Damage Control

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As movies like The Avengers and Man of Steel clearly showed, cities and superhero throwdowns don’t go well together. After the last eye laser has been shot and magical hammer has been thrown, somebody needs to pick up the pieces and put everything back together again just the way it was. In the Marvel Universe, that job belongs to Damage Control, a massive construction company staffed some D-list heroes, that specializes in cleaning up the colossal and sometimes downright weird messes left behind after a couple a high profile cape wearing supers try to punch each other’s faces into orbit.

Bill this as a sitcom, where the Damage Control guys can riff on the big name heroes and bitch about getting paid to do their dirty work, and you may just have a winner.

Thunderbolts

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When the villain Onslaught erases all the Avengers from existence, somebody needs to step up and fill the heroic void. That somebody is the valiant Citizen V and his team of Thunderbolts. Together, they protect Earth from all manner of evil… There’s just one thing slightly different about this team of heroes. They’re not heroes at all. Citizen V and his Thunderbolts are actually Baron Zemo and his group of classic supervillains known as the Masters of Evil, operating in disguise in an attempt to climb high enough up the hero ranks to eventually discover and exploit all the Avenger’s secrets.

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But what happens to your clandestine villainous plans, when villains start enjoying the attention they’re getting as heroes? And what happens when those villains will do anything to protect their new status?

Now while the original “all the other heroes don’t exist any more” angle can easily be changed to fit in more with the current Marvel continuity, Thunderbolts still offers one incredibly enticing premise as you witness a group of villains torn between their innate bad natures and their newfound success as heroes.

The Inhumans

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Since Fox currently owns the rights to all things X-men, Marvel is denied access to a huge chunk of their most famous creations. So what’s a company to do? Find the next best thing to mutants, of course. Millions of years ago, the Kree alien race, recognizing humanity’s genetic potential, performed experiments on Earth’s early homo-sapiens. After the Kree abandoned their research, these test subjects went on to form their own society, secluded from the rest of humanity, where they survived until the modern day. Ruled by King Black Bolt and his royal court, the Inhumans as they came to call themselves, are a huge and diverse group, who once they hit puberty, receive varied and unexpected mutations through a genetic process called terrigenesis. Sound familiar?

I’m almost certain that we should be expecting something Inhuman related from Marvel Studios soon, seeing as how in the comics, they’re currently being positioned to almost replace mutants as the go-to persecuted and prejudiced superpowered race in the Marvel universe. And with the huge cast of characters, diverse abilities, and royal court intrigue, there’d be enough material to mine for several seasons of a TV drama.

Only one teensy weensy problem: Black Bolt, the King and hero of this story? Yeah, he never speaks. Seeing as how his mutated voice is so powerful that the smallest whisper can level mountains. So, that would make for one seriously interesting casting call.

Heroes for Hire

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Like I mentioned earlier, its only a matter of time before Luke Cage makes his big screen debut, and I can think of few better ways to introduce him than with a small screen debut in an adaptation of the comic that won him his fan-favourite status. Heroes For Hire has gone through several incarnations and rosters over the years, with the most famous being the Luke Cage/Iron Fist days, but the idea has always been the same: A bunch of heroes who want to use their special powers to help out, but also have some bills that need paying, offer their services, whether that be investigation or protection, all for a small fee. Featuring a varied cast over the years, with the likes of the aforementioned Cage, Iron Fist as well as Shang Chi, Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, Black Knight, She-Hulk, Ant Man, the original Human Torch, and more, there would huge story potential as different characters take on different jobs, all just trying to make ends meet.

Runaways

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Back before we knew all about Marvel’s Phases and plans to integrate everything into their Avengers titles, there was a script written by Iron Man 3 scribe Drew Pearce that was being seriously buzzed about. That script was for an adaptation of Brian K. Vaughn’s acclaimed teenage comic book adventure, Runaways. That script is now lying on a shelf somewhere with no plans of being developed any further any time soon.

But I say ditch the feature film plans completely, and give this tale about a dysfunctional, mismatched group of teens, forced to band together and run away from home when they discover that all their parents are members of a supervillain group that secretly rule the West Coast of America, the room it needs to be faithfully adapted.

The characters are unique and memorable with great backstories, it will appeal to that vaunted teenage demographic as much as it does to the older crowd and it’s also just a damn cool story. Oh and they have a pet velociraptor. What more reasons could Marvel need?

The Punisher

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Now that Marvel once again owns the rights to the skull emblazoned vigilante, they would have to be allergic to money to not adapt the Punisher in some form or another. The story of special forces vet Frank Castle, who after having his family killed by mobsters, starts an one-man war on organized crime, was just tailor made for the type of gritty, violent, no-holds barred crime drama we now find on places like AMC and HBO. Let Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. handle the glossier, more heroic side of the world, while The Punisher will be on the mean streets, in the gutters, meting out justice one bullet at a time.

Last Updated: October 17, 2013

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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