Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Top 10 Tuesdays - 10 Media That Need Comic Book Spin-Offs

All forms of entertainment, regardless of medium, eventually sees an addition to the original product.  These take the form of spin-off shows that add and enrich the original, like Fraiser did for Cheers, or continuation of a story in a different format, like the 8th season of Buffy continuing in comic book form, or even prequels or sequels to a movie, such as with the recent Transformers or Star Trek comics.

As the comic book medium is a great breeding ground with unlimited budgets, at least compared to television or films, it makes for a perfect place for these other stories to continue on or to flesh out those worlds with a new addition to the franchise.  Note, I speak of new content; not straight up adaptations, like the Stephen King comics at Marvel or Parker: The Hunter.

That said, the subject of this Top 10 Tuesdays post is 10 Media That Need Comic Book Spin-Offs.  Hit the jump for my choices!

Today's guest post comes by way of Australian native, Ryan Lindsay.  He's an up and coming writer whom you may recall was published in a back-up for Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips's Criminial: The Sinners #2.  He also runs his own blog, Stink Brown, where he discusses all forms of media and entertainment, from comics and novels to television and film.  Don't forget to follow him on Twitter either!


Original Premise: Plane crash survivors on an empty island soon find they are not alone. Cue in tribalistic, yet scientific, others, polar bears, Earth saving buttons, initiatives that rival the Avengers attempts, time travel, jumpsuits, and the entire meaning of life and fate.

The Comic Spin-Off: I could see this set of short minis and one-shots adding more to each character. You can fill in extensive background histories, strange connections between people, and I’d just like to see Clancy Brown’s character get some more screen time. I’d also kill for a Faraday mini.

Creative Team: It seems obvious to throw up the luminary names of Brian K Vaughan and Damon Lindelof, as they have already written plenty of the show, but I would love to see them take control so that the comic is canon. I’d add Leinil Francis Yu to capture the vibe perfectly.

2. HBO's Carnivale

Original Premise: Is it a travelling carnival or is it really the entire battle for good and evil played out against the dustbowl American landscape? Well, yes, and it is bloody interesting tv. It’s also got Clancy Brown killing it, as usual.

The Comic Spin-Off: Well, show creator, Daniel Knauf, had a six year plan and only got two years into it. Lame, HBO, lame. So, much like Buffy got an 8th Season through Dark Horse, I’d like to see Knauf get to finish his plan with the four colour world. It just seems too perfect, honestly.

Creative Team: Well, Daniel Knauf, along with his son Charles, has already written a well-received Iron Man series and an Eternals mini, so they could write, and the bleak environment could be well captured by Michael Lark.

3. Dashiell Hammett's The Continental Op

Original Premise: The nameless Continental Op gets called in on cases that he has to solve. He usually solves the case, quickly, solves the fall out from the case, and them sometimes just decides to stick around and right other wrongs purely because he doesn’t like what’s happening. He kicks ass, takes names, and gives us his case files in stark writing that hard boiled and awesome as hell.

The Comic Spin-Off: I’d have the Continental Agency reopened, by whomever, and some of the old Op’s unsolved case files (and surely he had a few floating around, he never professed to be perfect) opened and the new Operative look into them many years later. Set it in the 70’s and have some of the old players still alive and possibly influencing, or being influenced, by the crime that went unpunished. You could have the case file frame the new Operative’s daily life as a great juxtaposition of old school and 70’s school styles of detection.

Creative Team: It’s sadly too obvious, but Ed Brubaker has earned his stripes and would surely to have a crack at Dashiell Hammett’s classic character. I’d have Mitch Breitweiser draw any flashback scenes, and Clay Mann draw the 70’s love.

4. John Carter of Mars

Original Premise: John Carter, the southern Civil War vet gentleman, is suddenly transported to Mars. Once there he wows the crowds with his strength and ability to jump scores of metres at a time because his body is conditioned to the stronger gravity of his home planet. Carter then gets involved in the political, tribal, war-like nature of Mars and gains the honour and armour of every chief that he kills.

The Comic Spin-Off: Carter left his diary to his nephew who reads it some time later. I’d like to see a Martian green warrior come to Earth either in the 30’s, or current day and have the descendant of the nephew still owning the book. This character will then know about the alien, what it is, what it does, and try to connect with it. Obviously the government will have other ideas for this and bingo bango, there you go, conspiracy and chase story all wrapped up together.

Creative Team: Matt Fraction would be able to add all sorts of strangeness and insanity to this that would really bring it up for a new generation, and Jason Shawn Alexander could really draw the hell out of the Martian and set a great mood palette. It is also worth mentioning that Andrew Stanton is looking to direct a movie of Carter, and Michael Chabon is going to polish the script. That’s a big giddy up right there, and the series could catch onto the buzz of the movie.

5. Stephen King's The Long Walk

Original Premise: It’s a perfect premise from Stephen King - a bunch of kids walk until only one is left walking. They are selected by lottery and if one boy is still actually alive then he wins everything. There are soldiers that monitor your pace and you receive warning for going too slow. Three warnings and you get shot. It’s awesome, and go read it if you haven’t already.

The Comic Spin-Off: A few minis based around other Long Walk competitions would be great. There’s great time for character work, with flashbacks of all sorts of degrees, and hidden agendas aplenty. You could sneak a girl into the competition, you could have a retarded boy stuck in the midst, or even someone with psychic powers. It’s so open as a premise that I won’t nail anything down because it’s such a rich and open vein.

Creative Team: Fred Van Lente knows how to do great story, but also knows how to make things funny and when you have a stack of adolescents walking for days on end you get some wicked conversation. I’d like to see Justin Greenwood stretch his wings with this concept and really show us each of the characters and the scope of their walk.

6. Clive Barker's Book of Blood's Harry D’Amour

Original Premise: Harry is a paranormal detective created by Clive Barker in his Books of Blood. He investigates the crazy cases and he’s certainly not perfect. He also had Scott Bakula play him in The Last Illusion, and Bakula is always a quantum leap ahead of others.

The Comic Spin-Off: Did I mention he’s a paranormal detective in a Clive Barker world. That’s like being a superhero in a Lovecraft world, or a vigilante preacher in a Philip K Dick world. You take D’Amour, you add a sprinkle of otherworldliness, you throw on some human depravity, then you twist and shake until our protagonist looks like a vibrating corkscrew. I’d also trust the creative team wholly with this addition.

Creative Team: Warren Ellis bringing the pulpy insanity, the cool dialogue, the twists and shouts. Ben Templesmith showing it all too us in brilliant 5.0 surround sound. Clive Barker on covers, because the man can draw like nothing else and his work would really sing from the racks.

7. Halloween

Original Premise: Michael Myers spent years in a mental asylum, and in that time he convinced Dr Loomis that he was easily the most disturbed individual to live within those walls. Afterwards Myers went off to murder a bunch of nubile teenagers, because that’s what any good slasher does (will a slasher ever go after a town full of Cougars?). He then rinsed and repeated this formula throughout the ages.

The Comic Spin-Off: So, what did young Mike do in that time under Loomis’ care to garner such a reputation? I’d like a mini to capture the shenanigans and tomfoolery that set Myers down the garden path, so to speak. A 15 year old Mike should be taken under the wing of the new head nurse. This lady is deeply unhinged and a sexual and dangerous affair begins that teaches them both a thing or two and the lines of domination and control are not just blurred, they are stabbed to the wall with a big bloody knife.

Creative Team: Jason Aaron and Yanick Paquette seem perfect to me for this, but perhaps I’m being swayed by their current awesome asylum arc in Weapon X. Either way, sometimes you know how to do something well, and no one complains when Brubaker does pulpy crime.

8. The Big Lebowski's Walter Sobchak

Original Premise: John Goodman played Walter Sobchak in the Coen Brothers’ The Big Lebowski. He played it well, and you loved the guy, even though he was a violent ‘Nam vet who took bowling way too seriously and the religion of his ex-wife even more so. He was loyal yet socially useless and absolutely hilarious. I’d love to see more of him in any manner.

The Comic Spin-Off: I’d look at a Walter Sobchak: Year One premise. Show us what actually happened to Walter in ‘Nam. I honestly believe he was a hard ass who chewed bubble gum and took scalps. He should be on his second tour in country and working with a bunch of new fish just before, as we know, the Tet Offensive is about to occur. I’d also like, in all straight faced seriousness, to have one of the newbs on tour be a young Travis Bickle. I want this to be serious, and seriously intense.

Creative Team: I’d have ultimate faith in Duane Swierczynski writing this story and giving me a gory sense of how hectic war was then, and also show us the characters in this off hours through laughs or ideas. Cameron Stewart isn’t just a great artist, he’s a great artist who drew the Vietnam Conflict before with Jason Aaron. Put these two together and you’d get something worthy of the Coen crown.

9. Arrested Development

Original Premise: The Bluth Family sucks, at many things, but they are also hilarious. All of the characters have depth, or not in the case of Steve Holt, and they fill the screen with every scene. They are dysfunctional, they are insane, and they are story gold mines.

The Comic Spin-Off: I’m not looking for anything too serious, I’m just thinking that if Dr Horrible can get a one-shot, and have it sell quite well, then we could have a few different titles set in this universe. You could easily bring another season to the fans through the written/drawn page, but I’d rather just have one damn funny GOB one-shot and I’d be happy. GOB is the magician wannabe goon brother of the main character and he’s absolute gold. He rides a Segway, he tries to wow people with tricks that usually end with lighter fluid in someone’s face or a stack of pennies raining uncomfortably down. This one is a personal choice, but hey, it’s my article, my rules, you’ll have your turn down the bottom.

Creative Team: Stephen Sanders on the art, because he’s got good timing and gesture, and Joss Whedon on the words. Oh, we’ve got your attention now, don’t we, just kick back and imagine some Whedon scripted GOB. Now you want this too, don’t you?

10. Glee

Original Premise: High school teens show choir their way through life. Sure, most of you are tuning out already, but bear with me, I got you with my Whedon GOB, I’ll bring the awesome now too.

The Comic Spin-Off: This is an okay show, in my opinion, purely enjoyable, but one character really jumps out to me and I love when he comes on screen. Dude with the Mohawk (I love him so much I don’t know his name, nor will I take the time to google it…) is awesome because he’s a little bit hardcore, a little bit jock, a little bit player, and a little bit awesome (so awesome I used the word twice in his descriptive sentence, and once in parentheticals). He can sing, play football, rock the guitar, and make some pretty good jokes. I want a one-shot about him too, again, personal choice, but look at the talent I have lined up for him.

Creative Team: Cory Walker on the art, because he can do high school, and humour, and Dan Slott on the funny words. Yeah, you all know he can do it, so I know I’d buy it. Done.


So the question comes out of the webpage now, like a literary 3-D effect, what comic addition would you like to see? You want some more Trashcan Man from The Stand? Maybe you’d rather a bodice ripper all about Mr Darcy’s pimp past instead of that tiresome Miss Bennett? Would a comic actually about Miller’s Crossing fix you up after never seeing it in the movie? Let us know in the comments. And, as always, enjoy.

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Primewax said...

A Walter Sobchak comic? That may be the single most brilliant thing I've ever heard of.

Kirk Warren said...

AFter watching Dexter all over Xmas, I think it would make a great comic book. I know it has some novels already, but with the right talent, the visuals of a comic version would be perfect.

Eric Rupe said...

I'm always wary of cross media adaptions since what made something work so much in one medium won't always translate into another. For example, as much I as I would love to see more Arrested Development, and who wouldn't?(crazy people, that's who!), I think it would massively fail as a comic since it's missing the most important element - the actors! There is no Gob without Will Arnett.

I think concept based material translates best between mediums so something like Lost would work pretty well if it had a talented creative team.

Personally, I'd love to see Paul Pope tackle a Dune comic.

Eric Rupe said...

Totally brain farted with the previous post but...PAUL POPE DUNE! Wednesday Comics style.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

Primewax - thanks, mate, I'm glad you thought it was one of the more inspired ideas. I just love the idea of a young, serious, Walter in 'Nam, especially with that creative team.

I also thought of another great idea but it doesn't stem from a movie, but just imagine this:

Genghis Khan - as written by Garth Ennis and drawn by Cary Nord.

Yeah, let that soak in a bit. Khan was a big friend of the Tibetan monks, totally left them alone, so imagine him with some kung fu mystic sidekick and a violent coup attempted on him from within his ranks. I want it so bad, I need to be in comics to pitch these ideas, dammit.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

Eric - I agree that Will Arnett does do some good stuff, but with the recent Dr Horrible comic selling pretty well, and capturing the actors just as well, it seems like it could work, and the latest Die Hard comic taking us back in McClane's time, The Muppet comic is awesome, and Buffy has certainly seemed to nail it. You certain need top tier talent to do this, but it can be done. Perhaps not perfectly everytime, but I'd like to see it a bit.

And I'd also like to see some Paul Pope on some big pages of Dune. Imagine a Wednesday Comics style production, but of literary spin-offs. That could be cool. One page a week of The Continental Op right across from one page a week of Crichton's Eaters of the Dead...nice.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

Kirk - I'd be looking for a Doakes spin-off in comic form. Doakes is awesome, but I guess it should probably be Year One style for him too.

Kirk Warren said...

A Doakes series could really work. Cover his black ops time and how he got on the force.

With the assorted novels making jumps, either in adaptations or new works, recently, like the Bladerunner/Philip Dick work, I would love to see some cyberpunk make the leap. I love Richard Morgan's work, so more on Takeshi Kovecs in the Altered Carbon universe would be right up my alley. Or something from Neal Stephenson or, hell, not cyberpunk, but even some American Gods from Neil Gaiman in comic form.

Comics would allow for some fantastic world building and visualizations of these concepts that would get lost in any attempt at a film.

Another one I'd be interested in is a property that has already migrated to multiple mediums successfully - the Chronicles of Riddick series. Riddick reminds me of a Wolverine or Batman in how he can go from horror to action to thriller or suspense or just off the wall action. He works in any situation and the world they built in the movies was fantastic. It jumped to video games and those were both amazing experiences. A comic would be a logical step towards following up on the work they've done. They have a rich universe theyve built and Riddick literally has hundreds of stories you could do with him, from early adventures to continuing the movies or just random adventures like the video games. All would work and cosmic stories are all the rage in comics these days, so I think it would find itself a place in there with the right talent on board.

Jesus, I could probably go through my book shelf and pick out every other book I own for a comic book spin-off, either random side characters or early/new stories for the main characte.r

Rol said...

Although I often find comic book spin offs disappointing, you've got me with Walter: Year One.

I want a Dude comic too though. I want the story of The Port Huron Statement (not the compromised second draft) and the Seattle Seven.

Plus, I also need the further adventures of The Jesus.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

Rol - I'd love a lot of the Lebowski crew to get their own one-shots, even litte Donny. Of course one about the actual Dude would be the grail of it all.

Flip The Page said...

W-... Walter Sobchak comic... I need to sit down.. too awesome

brandon said...

This is an awesome list! Wow! Lebowski would be amazing. Nice work Ryan.

mugiwara said...

I fear it will not happen in the next 20 or 30 years, but I'd love to see a Harry Potter comic. Well, there are already hundreds of japanese gay parody comics about James, Snape or Sirius, but an official adaptation would be great. With art by Emma Rios or Michael Ryan.

tworedhead said...

Alias with Jennifer Garner portraying Sidney Bristow just lends itself to the comic genre beautifully. Intrigue, Espionage, action galore...written by BMB (he already had a success with Alias) and drawn by Frank Cho (Loverly wimmins drawings)

Paul Pope doing A Boondock Saints Comic.

Matt Ampersand said...

I can't do a full comment cause I am running on a short time, but the Arrested Development tie in comic would have to Mr. Bananagrabber. It has a ton of potential! I guess it would just be a guy who, you know, grabs bananas and runs. Or a banana that grabs things. I don't know. Why would a banana grab another banana? I mean those are the kind of questions I don't want to answer.

Daniel Woburn said...

Is a JMS/Oliver Coipel Lord of the Rings too obvious? The Silmarillion maybe?

stevo said...

Do you think the venture bros will be a good spin off?

Chris said...

@ Kirk
Totally with you on the idea for a Dexter comic book, I thought that halfway throught he first season.

I also love the idea of the Walter comic book, I would totally read that.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

Flipper and Brandon - glad you like the Walter idea, it seems to be the pick of the litter right here. Cheers.

Mugiwara - I'm not a massive fan of HP but I'm surprised I still didn't think about it. A Harry Potter, in continuity, makes perfect sense. I'm sure Rowling will get hungry again soon and unleash an army of typewritered monkeys to make this happen.

Tworeadhead - I did wonder about Alias, but i prefer the character that Kevin Weisman plays, I'd want an ongoing about him! And a Boondock spin-off is a great idea, maybe I should have consulted you before I wrote this :)

Matt - I will buy your Bananagrabber comic, thanks. But only if it's got a back up story of Franklin singing some new songs!

Daniel - Yeah, your idea is obvious, sorry, obvisouly brilliant. Would anyone want a Tom Bombadil back up on it?

Stevo - Yeah, Venture Bros would be an awesome title to add to the list! Just awesome!

JonesHawkeye said...

Umm.... two of these things have already been comics (Halloween and John Carter of Mars - or did that ever get released?).

I would definitely buy a Lord Of The Rings ongoing. Harry Potter should also be an ongoing as well. Avatar would be great (especially if every issue was in 3-D). And I'm totally loving the idea of a Long Walk comic. That is by far my favorite of all of Stephen King's books.

Two other things that immediately come to mind - Wizards Of Waverly Place, and something exploring the multi-layered Quentin Tarantino films (Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, Pulp Fiction).

Ryan K Lindsay said...

JonesHawkeye - yeah, I think Michael Myers has appeared in some comic form, but nother major, plus I just love the idea of it centering around him as a teen, which I am pretty sure hasn't been done. AND Has there been a John Carter comic? Hot damn, I will have to go and find out, I'd be all over that!

Glad you like the Long Walk idea, I think it has merit, and I have always loved that story so much.

Imagine a comic: Quentin Tarantino presents The Vega Brothers as written by Bendis (getting his old school pulp on). That would be very cool! I'd also take a Drexel comic, he from True Romance days, or the later years of Clarence and Alabama.

JonesHawkeye said...

I have several Halloween mini-series done by Avatar, Chaos and Devil's Due. A few of them were film adaptations, and a few were new tales. None of them, however, were especially good. And none of them detailed Michael Meyers teenage years.

John Carter of Mars has had several comic adaptations. The first was in the early to mid fifties by Dell/Gold Key. Not immediately sure how many issues were printed.

Marvel also printed a 28 issue run starting in 1977. Most of those issues were written by Marv Wolfman (earlier issues) and Chris Claremont(later issues) and had art by a bunch of talented artists (Gil Kane, Walt Simonson, Dave Cockrum, Carmine Infantino, Frank Miller, Larry Hama).

A few years back, IDW announced that they would be doing a new John Carter comic, but I can't remember if it was an adaptation or a new story (I'm leaning towards the former). I do remember that a few issues were solicited (maybe in 2006 or so) and they had awesome Frank Cho covers.

I'm sure that you can probably find them through google search or on his website. If you can't, let me know. I think I might have them saved to a disc somewhere.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

JonesHawkeye - Holy crap, you are right. I now really have to find a way to get my hands on those John Carter comics. If anyone has any they would like to get rid of please feel free to contact me through my site. I also found some of the Frank Cho images of Dejah Thoris, they are pretty damn cool.
Either way, I still stand by my personal spin-off for the Mars mythology, so that's cool. I'd buy one if they put it out now.

JonesHawkeye said...

Ryan - Mile High Comics has a bunch of the Marvel issues of John Carter on sale through their site. You can even get 40 percent off of the sale price with this week's code word. I can't remember what it is right off the top of my head... but if you need it just let me know. It's floating around in my email trashcan at the moment.

Ryan K Lindsay said...

Aw, man. I wish, but I think I have filled my comic buying quota for the recent little while, thanks for your help though. Maybe in the coming months I might be able to afford a few to be sent over, or who knows, I might even find a few floating around Australia, stranger things have happened!

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