The world of comic book movies has exploded and while most people are always talking about the next Marvel Cinematic Universe film or the newest release from the DCEU, there is a lot more out there than just films from the Big 2 comic book companies. The same is true for television. Everyone loves the Marvel Netflix shows and the DC Comics television shows on The CW remain top notch, season after season. However, much like the big screen, there are a lot of great TV shows coming in the near future from alternative comic book corporations.
Dark Horse Comics and Image Comics have some major comic book TV shows and movies coming in the next few years, as well as a number that is rumored and more that fans are still begging to see make it into a live-action adaptation. Mark Millar looks to fill in the vacancy that will occur on Netflix when Marvel moves its new and upcoming TV shows to the Disney streaming service and the fact that DC is starting its own streaming service means that networks and services like Hulu and Amazon will be looking for fresh new comic book ideas as well. If anything, moving Marvel and Netflix to private streaming services will open the doors for more indie comics to get adapted. There are also many more films coming to screens in front of you over the next few years as well, both with typical men-in-tights stories to more fringe ideas of what being a superhero is all about.
15 COMING SOON: UMBRELLA ACADEMY
Umbrella Academy is a comic book limited series by Gerard Way that Dark Horse Comics published from 2007 through 2013. It consisted of 12 issues and three short stories that told the tale of a world where President John F. Kennedy lived. 43 babies with superpowers are born to random women on Earth who were not pregnant before. Seven of the babies survived and became a superteam called The Umbrella Academy and were tasked with saving the world.
The Eisner-winning series will become a Netflix original series in 2019. Originally planned as a movie, the new television series will have Steve Blackman (Fargo) as the showrunner and Jeremy Slater will pen the pilot. The cast includes Ellen Page, Mary L. Blige, Colm Feore and Kate Walsh.
14 CONFIRMED: AMERICAN JESUS
Mark Millar has a new deal set with Netflix for his Millarworld brand of comic books to start to adapt into new TV shows -- reportedly as the streaming service's replacement for the Marvel shows and movies that they will lose when the Disney streaming service starts. American Jesus is a story by Millar about a 12-year-old boy who learns that he is Jesus Christ, returned to Earth in the final attempt to save mankind.
Netflix has not only already confirmed this as a new series, it also already has a page up on its service as an announcement. This will be Millar's first original series for Netflix since striking their deal. The comic book originally went on sale in 2009; there is no release date yet set for the Netflix series. The most recent news was that there would be six episodes total for the season.
13 WANT: SANDMAN
Neil Gaiman fans are getting a lot more from their favorite author when it comes to movies and TV shows over the past few years. After years where there were random great movies like Coraline and Stardust, fans still craved some of the author's best works to arrive on the big screen. However, it was television that gave them the best version of American Gods that they could hope for and there is high hope for Good Omens, which is coming soon.
However, while Lucifer got a television show as well, the comic book that the Prince of Hell came from has still never seen the light of day in an adaptation. Fans have been begging for a Sandman television series for years, and while Joseph Gordon-Levitt almost got a movie made, something like a series on Starz or HBO would do the story of Dream and the Endless the justice it deserves.
12 COMING SOON: ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL
In 1990, Yukito Kishiro created the manga series Gunnm, which later picked up the name Battle Angel Alita. The series lasted for nine volumes -- two of which became anime original episodes titled Rusty Angel and Tears Sign. The story centers on a female cyborg named Alita who suffers from amnesia. She soon takes on the task of hunting down criminals.
The movie Alita: Battle Angel hits theaters at Christmas this year -- with a release date of Dec. 21, 2018. Robert Rodriguez is the director, making his return to cinema after a four-year absence, with James Cameron producing. According to reports, the movie will focus on the first four mangas and will star Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Jackie Earle Haley, and Rosa Salazar as Alita.
11 CONFIRMED: INVINCIBLE
Robert Kirkman might be best known as the mastermind behind The Walking Dead but that isn't the only comic book that he worked on -- or the only adaptation that he watched made from his property. His Image comic Outcast aired in 2016 and now there is work on bringing his Image Comics series Invincible to television.
Invincible is about the teenage son of an alien superhero who chooses to become Earth's protector. The comics then follows his struggles at adjusting to his powers and dealing with his responsibilities. The great news is that Amazon Video -- who previously produced The Tick -- have greenlit this as an eight-episode animated series. This is the first original Robert Kirkman series for Amazon after inking a deal with the creator, although the official release date remains unknown.
10 WANT: EX MACHINA
Brian K. Vaughan has experience in the television medium. He worked on Lost and has also worked on Netflix's Daredevil and his own adaptation of Runaways. On top of Runaways, he also has an adaptation of his seminal series Y: The Last Man coming soon. However, one comic book series that is a perfect fit for television is Ex Machina.
Ex Machina tells the story of a former superhero who saved New York City from the tragedy of 9/11 and becomes a national hero. He retires from the superhero work to become the Mayor of New York City where he faces even more problems. He also finds an old enemy gunning for him. In 2005 and 2012, the series was optioned to turn into a movie but it has yet to be made.
9 COMING SOON: THE BOYS
Garth Ennis has some big name comic book adaptations of his work, including Starz's Preacher and the Marvel Netflix series The Punisher. In 2019, another Ennis property is coming to television and this one is very exciting. The Boys was published by Wildstorm and Dynamite Entertainment and follows the adventures of a super-powered CIA black ops squad who polices the superhero community and takes out the corrupt super-powered beings in the world.
Produced by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, who also oversee Preacher, Amazon Video will produce The Boys and the cast is amazing. Karl Urban, Elisabeth Shue, Erin Moriarty and Jennifer Esposito headline the series and Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) will direct the pilot episode, which is set for a 2019 release.
8 CONFIRMED: SAM & TWITCH
Sam & Twitch is an Image Comics series that is based on characters that spun off from Todd McFarlane's Spawn comics. Sam and Twitch are NYPD homicide detectives that were introduced in 1992 and got their own series in 1999. Sam is the tough cop who prides himself on honesty in a precinct full of corruption and works hard to protect his smaller, dedicated partner Twitch.
Sam & Twitch have appeared in the HBO Spawn series and characters resembling them showed up in the 1997 Spawn movie. McFarlane has confirmed that there will be a Sam & Twitch TV series for BBC America with Kevin Smith involved as well. There is no cast yet set for the TV series but it is in development with a hopeful 2019 start date for production.
7 WANT: NEMESIS
Nemesis is a comic book by Mark Millar that he released in 2010 as a four-issue miniseries. The books came out shortly after Millar got a lot of notice for adaptations of his Kick-Ass and Wanted comics. However, Nemesis was relegated to just the comic book miniseries and nothing moved forward on it. The plot synopsis was simply revealed as "what if Batman was the Joker."
The problem at the time, and possibly even now, is that Nemesis is extremely nihilistic but with the right team it could still end up as a captivating series in Millar's new deal with Netflix. As a matter of fact, Tony Scott was supposed to make it as a movie before he passed away. The good news is that Joe Carnahan (Smokin' Aces) also wants to make it and Warner Bros. has held the rights as of 2015.
6 COMING SOON: HELLBOY
Hellboy has already been adapted as two great movies by Guillermo Del Toro and as a pair of animated movies to play off the feature films. There was also supposed to be the third movie in Del Toro's series but the studio balked at it and the director finally walked away, causing fans to rebel against the idea of rebooting it without him. However, they are making a new movie and have a solid team in place.
Neil Marshall (The Descent) is directing the movie and Stranger Things star David Harbour will take over the role of Hellboy. Creator Mike Mignola, who clashed somewhat behind-the-scenes with the direction that Del Toro wanted to take, is behind this movie completely as well. Mila Jovovich joined the cast as the villain and the movie will hit theaters on Jan. 11, 2019.
5 CONFIRMED: WITCHBLADE
Witchblade was a spinoff comic book series from the Top Cow hit series, Darkness. The comics followed an NYPD detective named Sara Pezzini, who gained the powers of the supernatural from the Witchblade. The series lasted for 20 years and spawned 185 issues. It also became a television series in 2001 with Yancy Butler in the lead and was also adapted into an anime in 2006.
Now, NBC is bringing back Witchblade with Mac Silvestri and Matt Hawkins of Top Cow as executive producers and Carol Mendelson (CSI) as the showrunner. There is little information about the new series but it will still follow Sara Pezzini as the host for the Witchblade. Crazily, there has still never been movement on bringing The Darkness to the big screen, despite being optioned by Dimension and circled by Len Wiseman.
4 WANT: AMERICAN VAMPIRE
Scott Snyder impressed audiences everywhere with his work on Batman in DC Comics. However, his best work arguably came before his work on the Dark Knight when he created the Vertigo comic book series American Vampire. The story covered decades and followed an evolved vampire named Skinner Sweet and a young actress he encountered named Pearl Jones. The story stretched from 1871 through the 1950s.
The comic book series stretched out through 34 issues and even had Stephen King as a fan, coming on to write a number of stories. Despite the story being perfect for a small screen adaptation, it has still yet to come close to getting made. Scott Snyder himself even said he dreams of it becoming a movie and had the idea of Ryan Gosling as Skinner Sweet. With Snyder teasing a possible return to the comics, the opportunity is still there for an adaptation.
3 COMING SOON: Y: THE LAST MAN
Brian K. Vaughan has a number of stories that could be perfect for a movie or television show. Included in the list of dreams by his fans are Saga and Pride of Baghdad. However, when it comes to Vaughan's masterpiece Y: The Last Man, the dream has become a reality. The Vertigo comic book stretched over 60 issues and told the story of the last man alive on Earth after a plague wiped out all male mammals.
Renamed simply Y, the television adaptation is coming out on FX with a great cast involved. Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk) will play Yorrick, the last man of the comic's title, while Diane Lane (Man of Steel) will play his mother. Also in the cast is Timothy Hutton, Imogen Poots, Juliana Canfield and Amber Tamblyn.
2 CONFIRMED: SPAWN
Spawn has enjoyed a successful life outside the Image Comics where Todd McFarlane introduced him. One of the earliest Image superheroes, Spawn is still the most recognizable of the characters from that indie comic book line and the most successful outside of the comic book industry. There was a 1997 film with Michael Jai White as Spawn and an HBO miniseries with Keith David voicing Spawn.
Now, Spawn is coming back and has some huge names attached. McFarlane will make his directorial debut with the movie and he has some solid backing with Blumhouse producing the film. Not only that, but McFarlane has Jamie Foxx lined up to play Spawn and Jeremy Renner has also signed on for a role as well. It will also be low budget, as all Blumhouse films are, so there are hopes it will be a financial success as well.
1 WANT: RISING STARS
The problem with Rising Stars is that there have been a lot of similar stories hit television since J. Michael Straczynski created these comics back in 1999. A freak incident causes 113 babies to be born with special powers. The comics then shows these Specials as adults, as well as constant flashbacks to their childhood when they developed their powers.
Heroes dealt with a similar story of ordinary people who develop superpowers and have to deal with it. The 4400 is another show that had people disappear and then return years later with powers. However, what makes Rising Stars so interesting is that these people were born with the powers and flashbacks to their childhood mixed in with the world under attack by the Specials as adults would make a long-form TV series very interesting to follow. MGM optioned it for a movie, but nothing has been done yet to move it forward.