Do you like Jon Bernthal? Do you like hairy men? Are you excited by the idea of a hairy Jon Bernthal? Then you’re in luck, because a very hairy Jon Bernthal is coming to Netflix. He did so well in the second season of Daredevil as Frank Castle that they’re giving him his very own show. Which is awesome, because while I might not feel one way or another about hairy men, I fully approve of Jon Bernthal blowing things up and grunting.
Netflix isn’t just doubling down on new comic book-based series. It’s tripling, quadrupling, and sextupling down. (Is sextupling even a word? Who knows! Who cares! Netflix is doing it!). Their partnership with Marvel is giving all sorts of weird and wonderful fringe characters from the world of comic books time in the spotlight. Not just Daredevil, but Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, the aformentioned Punisher… What I’m saying is, ten years ago, if you’d told me that Jessica Jones would have her own series with David Tennant playing the villain, my first question would have been “Who the hell is Jessica Jones?”
It helps that the folks at Netflix are really, really good at this. They make superb TV. And they do smart things, like insisting that women direct Jessica Jones, and that Luke Cage be, you know, a show that is both about black people and written and directed by them. And this isn’t even touching on their other amazing series: Stranger Things, Making A Murderer, the amazing BoJack Horseman, Orange Is The New Black…
They seem to know they’re onto a good thing. They’ve just committed another $800m to creating new content, which makes authors like me prick their ears up. But on the assumption that it’s bad form to promo your own work, I got at least five comic book series that would make INCREDIBLE television. You’re welcome.
1. The Runaways
Created by: Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona
I have a real soft spot for this series, despite the fact that most of it appears to be written and drawn by one-armed chimpanzees. The idea is simple: what if, as a teenager, you and your best friends discovered that your parents were all super villains? What if you decided to go on the run… And soon discovered that you had powers yourself?
Yes, I’m well aware that this series is now being produced on Hulu, with Marvel’s blessing, but it’s been in development hell for so long that I’m genuinely not sure that it’s actually going to make it out. I’d be much happier if Netflix used some of that $800m to steal it back. Because really, it’s got bucket-loads of potential. You have at least six diverse young superheroes, ranging from superstrong ten-year-old Molly to teenage witch Nico, and they’re all battling their parents, and they ride around in a freaking frog robot, for God’s sake, and if you can’t see Netflix smashing this, you need to go dunk your head in a bucket of cold water.
Oh, I almost forgot. They hang around with a sentient velociraptor from the 87th century. Just thought you should know.
2. The Authority
Created by: Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch
Everybody always talks about the relationship between Apollo and Midnighter being the best example of a gay relationship in comics, and don’t get me wrong: a show about these two (one of whom has the powers of the sun, the other of whom is unbeatable in a fight) would be mint. But why stop there? If you’ve got all that money to play around with, then why not do a show about the team they’re a part of?
You’d have the advantage of making the single maddest TV show in history. Madder than Preacher, madder than American Horror Story, madder than bloody Hemlock Grove.
Don’t believe me? Imagine a team of superheroes who protect the entire universe (and often others, too) all while living in a sentient shift-ship that occupies every space in reality at once. They all die and come back at least once every issue. Usually, their enemies include Gods, aliens, secret agents, alternate versions of themselves, and, on one occasion, alternate versions of themselves who also happened to be alien secret agents with Godlike powers. One of them can talk to cities, and can quite literally take out a bad guy with an Empire State Building to the face. Their most powerful member is a shaman with a predilection for horse porn. I swear I’m not making any of this up. This is the actual comic book, and its glorious.
Netflix: make this happen. Only you can do it. No one else has the chutzpah.
Created by: Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson
The only indication we’ve had that this absolutely loony Warren Ellis series might make it to the screen is a rumour from 2014. But seriously: Right now, Tim Roth isn’t doing anything, right? I’m pretty sure we can convince him to go completely bald, get himself a bunch of tattoos, dress in black pants and a suit jacket AND NOTHING ELSE, and wear coloured glasses with different shaped lenses.
If this isn’t making any sense, go and read up on Transmetropolitan, which is the story of what would happen if Hunter S. Thompson lived in the future. We are way, way overdue for a story about a gleeful, drug-taking, bowel-loosening-gun-wielding reporter who owns a three-eyed cat. Just saying.
4. Y: The Last Man
Created by: Bryan K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra
Come on, already! What does it take? Whose dick do I have to suck to get this made?
Bryan K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s amazing story of what happens when all but one man on Earth dies has been in development hell since 2010. Since 2015, the chaps at FX have been doing something with it, but no one really knows what.
I genuinely don’t understand this. We’re talking about one of the best comic books ever made, with a huge, diehard, devoted audience. It’s the kind of thing that is just begging for Netflix money, for Danai Gurira to get to play Agent 355, for Tom Holland to ditch Spiderman and join up as Yorick (the titular Last Man).
I would love to see any and all of the entries on this list get made, but this is really the only one I’d sell a kidney for. Oh, and we already have a fan-film proof of concept.
5. The Sculptor
Created by: Scott McCloud
Publisher: First Second Books
And now for something that doesn’t involve insane superheroes, global plagues, sentient spaceships and copious amounts of drugs.
Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor is a beautiful, simple story about what happens when an artist is given supernatural talent…but only two hundred days to live. It’s an unusual choice, I grant you, but Netflix has shown that it can do thoughtful and slow-moving (just look at some of the sequences in Jessica Jones), and I can’t imagine a cooler pick than this one. If nothing else, it would mean that more people get to experience this book, which is probably one of the best ever created.
Created by: Fiona Staples and Bryan K. Vaughan
Publisher: Image Comics
Jesus. I really, really want this to be made, but I’m not even sure Netflix’s $800m can cover it. It’s the kind of thing even a Hollywood studio might blink a few times at. It’s a multi-year, multi-galaxy story with multiple different lifeforms and set pieces that all require a giant cock-ton of CGI. On top of that, you absolutely have to get the casting right. The series lives and dies by the relationship between lovers Alana and Marko, as well as their daughter Hazel, and if you don’t pick the exact right people, the whole thing could fall apart. Not to mention the fact that you have to cast all of them at different ages.
The only way I could see this happening is if it was an animated series. Which would be fine by me, as long as you can get Fiona Staples to draw it and Bryan K. Vaughan to write it. It’s the kind of thing that could only work on TV, thanks to its freewheeling style and gigantic cast of characters, and right now, the only place with even remotely the required amount of money to throw around is…you don’t even need me to say.
I lied earlier: I will sell a kidney to get this done. Yes, I know I’ve already sold one to help make Y: The Last Man. I don’t care. I can die happy, knowing I made the world a better place.