Ever since the MCU established the modern era of comic book movies, every other studio went into a frenzy, picking up a comic book that they could adapt to a box-office-smashing movie. But it wasn’t just films, The Walking Dead rode the wave of comic book adaptations and brought forth a new generation of TV shows based on comics, leading to series like Arrow, Daredevil and Preacher. Every day it seems like there’s a new announcement for some upcoming adaptation for a comic book, be it one of the big two publishers or more independent books. Because of the constant influx of comic book movie and TV news, it can be hard to keep track of what’s coming up.
Luckily, we’re here to remind you of all the upcoming comic book adaptations that have been announced, are currently in production or are coming soon. Some of these comics got optioned for an adaptation right out of the gate, while others have been waiting around in development for years. Regardless, we’re living in a golden age of comic books becoming TV shows and movies. Wether you think this is a good or bad thing is up to you, we’re just here to give you all the latest updates!
15. Y: THE LAST MAN
Brian K. Vaughan’s Y: The Last Man has been in and out of development hell since the comic finished its run way back in 2008. The original film pitch with New Line Cinema didn’t get far, despite having two scripts, one by Vaughan himself. This pitch was worked into an idea for a trilogy of films starring Shia LaBeouf, but the project eventually fizzled out. After New Line failed to start production, the rights reverted back to Vaughan and co-creator Pia Guerra.
However, hope for a Y: The Last Man adaptation was not lost. In 2015, an FX TV series was announced. Vaughan has stated that the project is slow moving, but it was definitely going to happen. We got confirmation of this in 2016 when Michael Green was announced as show runner, though no news has come out since.
Robert Kirkman’s Invincible might not be as popular as the fare in DC or Marvel, but it still has quite the following. The series follows Mark Grayson, son of the world’s greatest superhero, Omni-Man. After inheriting his father’s superpowers, Mark starts to fight crime as Invincible. The book is well known for satirizing and subverting the tropes of superhero storytelling.
Invincible‘s final issue will be hitting the shelves soon, bringing the 15-year-long series to a close. As sad as fans are about this, around the same time the end was announced, so too was an upcoming film adaptation. The film is going to be made for Universal pictures and is being helmed by Preacher duo, Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg. Though not much news has come out since this announcement, we’re excited to see how the often incredibly violent comic translates to film.
13. SPENCER & LOCKE
What happens when you mix Calvin & Hobbes with Sin City? You get Spencer & Locke, a dark fantasy crime comic by David Pepose and Jorge Santiago Jr. The comic follows Locke, a hard-boiled detective and his imaginary friend, Spencer, an anthropomorphized version of his childhood stuffed panther doll, as they investigate a murder in their home town.
The series ran for four issues and after it ended, a sequel was announced to be released in 2018. But that’s not the only exciting news to come from Spencer & Locke. In July of 2017, it was announced that the comic had been optioned for a film adaptation. Though this is just a first step, and there has yet to be any solid news of a film adaptation, it has still excited dedicated fans of the prospect of this property hitting the screens.
12. NINJACK VS. THE VALIANT UNIVERSE
The universe of Valiant comics might not be for everyone, but you gotta admit they’ve got a crazy style. For those fans who don’t know, there’s a Valiant character named Ninjak who’s basically Batman if he were a freelance mercenary. If that didn’t sound awesome enough, he’s also set to have a web series in which he fights the other heroes of the Valiant universe.
This includes the likes of X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, and even the lovable duo of Archer and Armstrong. Still not enough for you? Well how about this: Ninjak is played by Michael Rowe, the actor who plays Deadshot on Arrow. The series is set to premier soon and is produced by Bat in the Sun, known for the breakout web series, Super Powered Beat Down, so you know the fights are going to be spectacular.
Time travel is very serious business, any tiny change to the past can destroy the entire space-time continuum. Time travel should only be put in the hands of responsible professionals, but Mark Millar and Sean Gordon Murphy’s Chrononauts shows what happens when the exact opposite happens.
This buddy comic follows Corbin and Danny, two geniuses who discovered time travel and use it to have a little irresponsible fun. Before this comic was even released (as it tends to go with Mark Millar’s work), it was set to have a film adaptation. The premise for Chrononauts was inspired by the idea of a film starring Chris Pine and Chris Pratt, which makes us hopeful the two actors will be chosen for the film adaptation, though nothing is certain yet.
10. THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY
Gerard Way might be known to some as the lead singer of My Chemical Romance, but he’s also an avid comic book creator, his most notable creation being The Umbrella Academy. This Eisner-award-winning series follows the reunion of a dysfunctional family of superheroes after their adoptive father’s death. After drifting apart, they must work together to stop a new, yet familiar, supervillain threat.
In 2015, a TV adaptation was announced after a movie failed to gain ground. In 2017, Netflix officially green-lit the series, which is set to premier in 2018. Not much else is known about the series except for the fact that Ellen Page is set to star as Vanya, who has the power to destroy anything with a single note of her violin.
9. MARVEL’S NEW WARRIORS
Who’d have thought that Squirrel Girl would get so popular, huh? The superhero, who was initially a joke, soon found her way into the hearts of Marvel fans when she got her own ongoing series in 2015. Despite this popularity, a Squirrel Girl solo TV series in the MCU might not go over well, thus, Marvel’s New Warriors will be coming to Freeform in 2018.
The unbeatable Squirrel Girl will be portrayed by Milana Vayntrub in the series, which will be played like a single-camera comedy. The team is rounded out with Derek Theler as Mister Immortal, Jeremy Tardy as Night Thrasher, Calum Worthy as Speedball, Matthew Moy as Microbe and Kate Corner as Debrii. This will be Marvel and the MCU’s first time attempting a full-fledged comedy and we can’t wait to see the results.
8. THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE
When you read the premise of The Wicked + The Divine out loud, it’s actually pretty surprising that it wasn’t originally a TV series. It follows the Pantheon, 12 people who are reincarnated gods. These gods are treated (and look) like pop stars. They even have a huge fan following, including the protagonist, Laura.
Everything about The Wicked + The Divine, from the portrayal of queer culture to the diverse cast of characters, and even the premise itself, screams Television series. Be it on HBO or MTV, this comic deserved a TV adaptation from the day the first issue came out, and it looks like it’s going to happen, since it was optioned for Television by Universal Television. However, as of the time of this writing, more information about the adaption has yet to be released.
Since the original Teen Titans animated series was cancelled, fans of the teenaged superhero team have been craving more of the characters. Sure, there’s the comics, and even Teen Titans Go!, but we’d yet to see a full live-action TV series. Luckily, thanks to DC’s upcoming streaming service, which is also bringing back Young Justice, we’re getting just that.
Titans is set to premier in 2018 and has already set a stellar cast. Brenton Thwaites has been cast as Dick Grayson, Anna Diop is playing Starfire, Tegan Croft will portray Raven and Ryan Potter (the voice of Hiro in Big Hero 6) is set to play Beast Boy. They are also joined by Hawk and Dove, portrayed by Alan Ritchson and Minka Kelly. We’ve already seen photos of Robin, Hawk and Dove’s costumes, and if they are any indication, Titans is going to give fans exactly what they want!
6. DEADLY CLASS
Another comic that feels like it was made for a television adaptation is Rick Remender and Wesley Craig’s Deadly Class. The series follows a group of teenagers who are students at a secret underground academy for assassins. Deadly Class is set in the late ’80s, which brings a touch of punk rock counter culture into this crazy coming of age story.
A pilot of Deadly Class was ordered by SyFy with The Russo Brothers, known for their work with the MCU, helming the project. Though no news has been reported regarding the release of the series, the main cast was announced. Benjamin Wadsworth will play main character Marcus, Lana Condor has been cast as Saya, Maria Gabriela de Faria plays Maria, Luke Tennie will play Willie, Liam James will portray Billy and Michel Duval rounds out the cast as Chico.
5. LOCKEY & KEY
Not to be confused with Spencer & Locke, IDW’s Locke & Key follows the mysterious Keyhouse, a manor that has been owned by the Locke family for generations. But, this spooky manor is not what it seems; weird happenings, alternative dimensions and magical keys are among the many strange secrets this house holds.
Written by Joe Hill, with art by Gabriel Rodríguez, Locke & Key has been in and out of development hell for years. Originally, a film was planned from Dimension films, but the rights later went to Dreamworks. Then, the pitch was changed to a TV series through Fox. The pilot that was produced was not picked up, but in 2017, Hulu ordered a new pilot of the show, with a series most likely on the way.
4. CLOAK & DAGGER
Runaways was the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first foray into a teen-centric superhero story, but its not the only one that Marvel has planned. Coming to Freeform in June, Cloak & Dagger will follow the characters created by Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan. The series will explore the romance between the characters, as well as the powers they acquire, and will star Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joeseph as the titular characters.
Cloak & Dagger seems to have been downplayed since the first trailer came out, which is why most people might have forgotten that it’s coming out. But, we assure you, 10 episodes will be coming to Freeform this year, the first of the network’s Marvel TV series, leading the way for New Warriors following it. Though there haven’t been many teasers outside the initial trailer, we can’t wait to see how the series plays out.
3. THE BOYS
Like a lot of comic book adaptations, The Boys struggled to get a film made, moving in and out of development hell. However, after all the failed film attempts, a TV series was proposed in 2017, Amazon Studios green-lighting the series with Seth Rogan, Eric Kripke and Evan Goldberg working on the project… man those guys are busy!
The Boys, created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, takes place in a world where superheroes exist, but they’re all kind of jerks. Because of their celebrity status, Superheroes engage in deplorable behavior, which is where “The Boys” come in. They’re a black ops group who monitor and “take care” of heroes that have gone too far. Actors have not yet been announced for The Boys themselves, but the background superhero characters have been cast, and we can’t wait to see how the series develops.
2. SEX CRIMINALS
Sex Criminals was basically an instant hit, and how could it not be with such an insane and wonderful premise? The comic, created by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, follows Suzie and Jon, two lovers who discover they both have the power to stop time when they climax. With this power, they decide to rob a bank and use the money to save the library where Suzie works.
The comic is off-the-rails insane at times, introspective at others and always hilarious, breaking the fourth wall and having fun with the somewhat crude world and premise at every turn. With such a great premise and so much success, its no wonder that it was part of a deal that was made between Image and Universal Television for various TV adaptations.
Descender impressed right from the start. The comic, written by Jeff Lemire with art by Dustin Nguyen, follows an android boy who wakes up decades after a universe-changing event that made all robots enemies of humans and alien-kind alike. This epic space opera was praised both for the brilliant writing and for Nguyen’s beautiful watercolor artwork.
In fact, the first issue was so impressive that Sony bought the film rights almost immediately. The film adaptation seems to already be in motion as well, with the creators serving as executive producers and Jesse Wigutow set to write the screenplay. Since the comic’s story is still unfolding, the Descender movie may be part of a trilogy, perhaps replacing Star Wars as the next big space opera.
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