Paper girls: Graphic novels we want to see turned into TV shows
We know you’re as intrigued by Damon Lindelof’s upcoming HBO adaptation of Watchmen as we are – and so you should be. As previously reported, Lindelof won’t be attempting to do a straight-up adaptation of Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore’s seminal graphic novel, but will instead deliver an original story set in the same universe that “remixes” the story we already know.
Jeremy Irons (Batman v. Superman) joined the show’s stellar cast, which includes Regina King (Enemy of the State), Don Johnson (Django Unchained), Tim Blake Nelson (Minority Report), Louis Gossett Jr. (An Officer and a Gentleman), Adelaide Clemens (The Great Gatsby), and Andrew Howard (Limitless).
Watchmen is a graphic novel we’ve long believed would be better suited to being explored on the small screen rather than a feature film, so we’re excited to see what Lindelof does with the material. As we get hyped for the production of the show, we got to thinking about other beloved graphic novels and comic book series that we’d also love to see turned into TV shows. Here’s our ranking of nine big books we want to see on the small screen.
9. Strangers in Paradise: Terry Moore
The long-running comic series centers around the love triangle between two women and a man and offers an intriguing mish-mash of genres from dramedy to crime. Kept in the era of which they were created, the show could present a slice-of-life story brimming with 90s nostalgia and some of the witty takes on gender politics and sexuality that the books had to offer.
8. Black Hole: Charles Burns
Dark AF, this classic graphic novel centers around an STD that turns a town of teenagers into mutants. As horrifying as it is heartwarming, the story could lend itself well to being expanded into a HBO miniseries. We’d binge the shit out of it. Rick Famuyiwa (The Chi) is reportedly attached to write and direct a feature adaptation of the 70s-set story, which we hope comes to fruition – but we still think it’d be much better serialized on the small screen.
7. Rat Queens: Kurtis J. Wiebe
In 2014, it was announced that the bawdy fantasy comic series was to be made into an animated TV show, but it’s now four years later and there have been no updates on its development. Which is a damn shame because given how hot everyone is for fantasy right now, Rat Queens seems like it could be the next big hit.
Following four rowdy, foul-mouthed, and occasionally super drunk female adventurers including a transgender orc warrior named Braga and a hipster dwarven warrior called Violet (who totally shaved her head before it was cool), the story is begging for a TV adaptation.
6. Tank Girl: Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin
We all remember Rachel Talalay’s 90s adaptation of the anarchic comic book series and have our opinions on how terrible or vastly underrated it is. However you may feel about it, there’s no denying we’re overdue another punt at a pulpy, bold adaptation.
Following a tank-dwelling post-apocalyptic survivor, her best buds, and her mutant marsupial boyfriend Booga, the story is surrealist and chaotic, but if handled in a similar manner to Bryan Taylor’s adaptation of Happy!, it could be an absurd treat.
5. Fun Home: Alison Bechdel
The 2006 graphic memoir from one of the originators of The Bechdel Test addresses some powerful themes including sexuality, gender politics, emotional abuse, and suicide. It isn’t an easy read but it is an insightful one that burrows deep into your heart as it spirals into a cataclysmic dysfunctional family history.
Full of profound statements and painful yet relatable anecdotes, Fun Home’s non-linear tale is something we’d love to see elaborated upon on the small screen.
4. Paper Girls: Brian K. Vaughan & Cliff Chiang
Set in 1988, Paper Girls follows four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls who encounter an invasion from mysterious time travelers while doing their rounds in the early hours of Halloween. The sci-fi mystery is full of high stakes tension and emotional yet witty drama with a diverse set of incredibly well drawn young female characters leading the charge.
3. Lumberjanes: Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Brooklyn A. Allen, and Noelle Stevenson
Though there were reports in 2015 that 20th Century Fox were developing the popular comic book series into a movie to be directed by Emily Carmichael, little else has been reported regarding the project since 2016. A movie could capture the epic adventure of the story but a TV series could more adequately showcase the characters at the heart of the story, their friendship, and the strange supernatural phenomena they fight back against.
Lumberjanes is a sweet, fun, and occasionally very funny story about otherwise ordinary young women – no crazy superpowers to be seen here, folks! – who use their scouting skills and moxie to fight evil. Who doesn’t want to see that right now?
2. Maus: Art Spiegelman
Regarded as one of the greatest graphic novels ever written, Spiegelman’s postmodernist memoir about his father’s heartbreaking experiences as a Polish jew and Holocaust survivor was the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize in 1992.
Depicting Jewish people as mice, German citizens as cats, and Polish people as pigs, the book takes a unique but devastating approach to illustrating one of the most traumatic events in modern human history. Done well and the show could provide an unfortunately critical reminder of the dark consequences of dehumanizing people based on their ethnicity, sexuality, religion, or race.
1. Love and Rockets: The Hernandez brothers
The Hernandez brothers’ legendary comic book series is an epic saga depicting the everyday life of a Latinx community. Brimming with moments of magical realism and phenomenally complex, captivating characters like punk lovers Maggie & Hopey, the serial narratives of the comic books would lend themselves perfectly for exploration on TV.