Following its debut in October, Bodies has proven to be one of the most popular shows on Netflix. Unfortunately, DC Comics failed to capitalize on this in time, as the original comic by writer Si Spencer and artists Dean Ormston, Tula Lotay, Meghan Hetrick, and Phil Winslade is out of print. Regardless, there are other DC Comics, and at least one indie title, that would make terrific TV shows. They also have the benefit of long publishing runs and established fandoms.
Our picks include a reinterpretation of several classic folklore and fairy tales, a futuristic sci-fi story, and a fantasy adventure that Netflix foolishly abandoned last year. These are the three comic books that should be a Netflix show.
Gamers may already be familiar with the characters from Fables, which were featured in Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us. Years before ABC’s Once Upon a Time butchered a similar concept, Bill Willingham’s Fables reenvisioned classic fairy tale characters as exiles in our real world following the conquering of the Fables’ Homelands by an enemy they called The Adversary.
Having adopted New York City as the primary home for their Fabletown community, Deputy Mayor Snow White, Sheriff Bigby Wolf, and Mayor King Cole contend with their fellow Fables Bluebeard, Pinocchio, Jack Horner, Briar Rose, Cinderella, Boy Blue, and Snow’s troublemaking younger sister, Rose Red. There’s more than enough intrigue in Fabletown, but there’s also a persistent threat from The Adversary’s forces. This comic would make a terrific TV show, if DC ever decides to make that happen. Willingham recently declared that the comic is now public domain, after falling out with DC. What this means for the future of the franchise remains to be seen.
Fans of Bodies would be very likely to gravitate toward Transmetropolitan, a comic created by writer Warren Ellis and artist Darrick Robertson (who is also the co-creator of The Boys). The comic is set in the future and follows Spider Jerusalem, a gonzo journalist in the mold of Hunter S. Thompson, who shares his unique perspective on things like people who modify themselves with alien DNA.
Spider’s not exactly a people person, but he does care about justice, and he spends the vast majority of the series fighting a corrupt presidential administration. Transmetropolitan has the kind of long-term storytelling that would be ideal for television. But given the premise and the setting, it wouldn’t be cheap.
Netflix already had Bone lined up as an animated series, and the streamer dropped the ball by abandoning the show in progress during last year’s extreme budget cuts. That’s extremely unfortunate, because Jeff Smith’s Bone is a terrific blend of fantasy and comedy that is beloved both as a trailblazing indie comic and as a bestselling title through Scholastic.
The comic follows three toon-like characters, Fone Bone, and his cousins, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone, after they are run out of Boneville because of Phoney’s schemes. The trio find themselves in The Valley, which is populated by humans and a few mystical creatures. While settling in, Fone falls hard for a human girl named Thorn Harvestar, who lives with her Gran’ma Ben. Through the two women, the Bone cousins are thrust into an epic tale as the enigmatic Hooded One and her Rat Creatures threaten to destroy The Valley and everyone who lives there.
Since Netflix seems unwilling to go with Bone as an animated series, it may be a better idea to take the Who Framed Roger Rabbit approach and present the Bone cousins in 3D animated forms, while the human characters could be played in live-action. Regardless of the format, this is still a story that deserves to get a proper adaptation.