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Comics to TV: Six series a fit for the small screen

By Staff | Apr 29, 2015

Image from the cover of Runaways Vol. 3 Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona’s “Runaways” combines teen/family drama and superheroics and has great potential as a television show.

Long before Netflix announced its “Daredevil” series, I’d been saying the Man Without Fear was an excellent candidate for a television show.

Throw in the fact that I said Christian Bale ought to be Batman at least two years before that casting was revealed, and I think it shows Hollywood is finally catching up to my thinking.

Or that a broken clock is right at least twice a day, but let’s go with the first one.

Comic book characters are now proliferating on TV the way they have in recent years in movie theaters. Here’s a look at a few other characters/series that are ripe for development on the small screen:

* X-Factor – This team has been many things, but over the course of a lengthy run by the incomparable Peter David, it was a detective agency headed by Jamie Madrox, aka Multiple Man, with quirky characters like the tragicomic Strong Guy and the enigmatic Layla Miller, with a preternatural knowledge of the future. Mystery shows are always popular, and this group – which could include characters like Siryn, Rictor, Longshot and Wolfsbane – could investigate and solve cases with a superhuman twist.

* Elongated Man – Another detective, Ralph Dibny got his elastic powers from a soft drink made with a rare plant extract. Ralph and his wife, Sue, were often played as comic relief characters, integral parts of the more lighthearted Justice League stories of the ’80s. I’d love to see the humor and goofiness of the concept embraced and turned into a half-hour comedy in the vein of “30 Rock” or “The Unbreakable Kimmy Scmidt” (speaking of, Tina Fey would make a great Sue Dibny), avoiding the darker turns these characters took in recent years.

* Hawkeye – Marvel’s already spun “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “Agent Carter” off from its movies. I don’t know how interested Jeremy Renner, who’s played the avenging archer in both Avengers films, plus a Thor cameo, would be in a series, but maybe a shorter-run cable or Netflix deal could entice him. The premise would be based on writer Matt Fraction’s series, which showed what Hawkeye gets into (trouble) away from the Avengers, running afoul of track-suited gangsters and femmes fatale, while training a protege and interacting with his offbeat neighbors.

* Y the Last Man – “The Walking Dead” is already an epic, apocalyptic comic-turned-TV-series; how about one with less guys? Just one to be precise – Yorick Brown, sole survivor of a plague that killed every other man on Earth. Writer Brian K. Vaughan helmed this series from start to finish, as Brown teamed with a super spy and a scientist to find a cure for the disease and reunite with his girlfriend, Beth. Crude at times, it was also suspenseful, clever, emotional and way too big for a movie, or even a trilogy.

* Runaways – The best original Marvel series of the 21st century, “Runaways” was co-created by Vaughan and starred six kids who learned their parents were super villains. The mostly teens went on the run, using the powers and tech they inherited/stole from their folks to fight back against them. Teenage drama and superheroes are staples of modern TV; this one’s a home run.

* Dr. Mid-Nite – Maybe too close to Daredevil, the modern incarnation of Dr. Mid-Nite was injected against his will with a synthetic drug that blinded him, but gave him the ability to see in the dark. On TV he could be a more likable version of House, fighting strange diseases and street-level criminals and villains.

Evan Bevins is the writer of the webcomic Support Group.