The idea of comic book superheroes being bankable on TV isn’t a new idea, but the past few months have shown a veritable explosion of in-development projects. While Marvel continues its dominance of the big screen, DC Comics has shown that they and Warner Bros. are keen on expanding onto television. With Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, Constantine, and now both Supergirl and Titans in the works, it seems no comic is out of the question.
With that in mind, we’ve set our minds to singling out a few DC Comics series that WB would be wise to fast-track. Since the comics being adapted range from twentysomething drama to supernatural serials, there are plenty to choose from. The style and target audiences should be clear, but as comic fans know, even the most established characters can be drastically adapted to the writers behind them.
See which of our 5 DC Comics Heroes Who Deserve TV Shows you would most like to see brought to life.
Surprisingly, the moniker ‘Manhunter’ appears quite often in the world of DC Comics, but it’s the female incarnation – better known as Kate Spencer (who appeared in The CW’s Arrow as Starling City’s District Attorney) – that seems the most suitable for TV. As a federal prosecutor, Spencer (like many other comic vigilantes) became more and more frustrated with the court system’s inability to prosecute the most powerful and well-connected criminals.
Deciding to take matters into her own hands, Kate acquires equipment and weaponry from police evidence, and begins her hunt to bring the guilty to justice; if not in court, then on the street. The basic premise isn’t all that different from Marvel’s Daredevil (coming soon to Netflix), and combining a courtroom procedural with some superhero flair is a winning combination. With the comics eventually moving her activities to Gotham City… perhaps Fox should consider a spin-off?
For those who believe superheroes should be about wish-fulfilment, first and foremost, then the basic premise of Blue Beetle (the most recent carnation, anyway) is too promising to overlook. A teenage Jaime Reyes comes into contact with a strange blue trinket in the form of a scarab – a scarab that’s soon revealed to be an alien weapon, bonding itself to Jaime’s body and outfitting him in a suit of extraterrestrial armor.
A version of the hero was seen on Smallville, but couldn’t live up to the version of the living armor seen in the comics. DC chief creative officer Geoff Johns has made no secret of his desire to see the Beetle on TV, and with improved special effects making the idea seem more plausible than ever (on a TV show’s budget), the time could be right. Who knows, maybe Jaime could even join the ranks of TNT’s potential team-up Titans.
While he may not be as well-known as other heroes coming to TV, it’s characters like DC’s Deadman who enjoy the most devoted followings. Once known as Boston Brand – a daring trapeze artist courting death with his pale make-up – the thrill-seeker underwent some changes when he was killed in the act. Reborn as a wandering spirit with the ability to possess living beings, Brand set out to solve his own murder, and come to appreciate life as he never did while living.
While it may sound like Ghost (1990) with a comic book spin, Deadman has proven a mainstay in major DC events, and even the newest version of Justice League Dark. Whether a TV show chose to pursue Brand’s investigation into the vast conspiracybehind his death, or follow the other comic plot of committing good deeds to save himself from Hell, it’s a concept that could grab viewers on a weekly basis – DC Comics property or not.
When famous investigative journalist Vic Sage is approached by an old friend worried a dangerous artificial skin – dubbed ‘pseudoderm’ – is going to be sold on the black market, he does what any good reporter would do: seeks out the story. By applying the skin to his own face to conceal his famous features, Sage cracks the case and adopts a new identity with which to seek out hard-hitting truths: The Question.
There’s no shortage of vigilantes on TV today (and more to come), so a DC hero who seeks to return integrity and honor to the field of journalism – by beating criminals for information, not ‘justice’ – could be a welcome change. Blurring the line between normal reporting and a ‘supernatural sleuth’ — with the audence in on the joke – The Question could carve out a truly unique identity from the costumed competition.
Hawk & Dove
To the unfamiliar, Hawk & Dove might sound like a concept more likely created for campy TV than DC’s universe. Whether the pair in question are brothers Hank and Don Hall, or sisters Dawn and Holly Granger, the premise is the same: the linked mystical forces of Chaos and Order select the two as their champions, granting them superhuman abilities as – you guessed it – ‘Hawk’ and ‘Dove.’
Before anyone starts making tongue-in-cheek ‘Wonder Twins’ comparisons, both members of the duo are equally powerful together or alone. But it’s Hawk’s aggressiveness and Dove’s adherence to reason and calm that provide the conflict. Whether the show would follow the Hall brothers’ struggle with their own notions of justice, or the estranged sisters learning the power of teamwork, this has Arrow or Flash-level drama written all over it. With or without the colorful costumes.
That concludes our list of DC Comics characters that we feel are ripe for adaptation – if not for a big screen debut, then at the very least a chance to shine on a weekly basis. If nothing else, these nominees show that the audiences, styles, and genres made possible by adapting more comic books are every bit as open-ended as film. Provided the writers and networks are a proper fit.
What are the comic books you hope to see DC and WB develop for TV next? Or do you think Marvel has properties more suited for network adaptation? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.