Comic books are big business these days. As of the end of 2015, fans were spending over $248 million per month on the top 300 comics in print. The value of the comics industry grows even more when you consider that comics-based films now make up a multi-billion-dollar segment of the film industry as well.
To help celebrate this, AMC Networks is planning a 'history of comic books' documentary miniseries that is tentatively titled Heroes and Villains: The History of Comic Books. The series is being produced by Robert Kirkman's Skydance Entertainment, marking yet another collaboration with the Walking Dead creator's company.
Slated to premiere in 2017, Heroes and Villains will take a behind-the-scenes look at the comic industry and explore the people, places, and events that helped the industry to grow into what we know today. The series will tell the origins and secret histories of characters that are still popular today, and will explore a number of topics including how comics evolved as a part of pop culture and how the medium has handled politics, race, gender and sexuality over the years. Kirkman and The Walking Dead's David Alpert will serve as executive producers alongside Bryan and Sean Furst, Skybound's co-presidents of the Film and TV division, and AMC's Eliot Goldberg and Kelly Nash.
Speaking of the opportunity to work with Kirkman and Alpert on the project, AMC president of programming Joel Stillerman commented:
“We are incredibly excited to continue our partnership with Robert, David and Skybound. Beyond The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, they are prolific producers and publishers who have an amazing knowledge of comic book history and genre storytelling. We believe going deep into the history behind some of the greatest comic books will be of great interest to this audience.”
Kirkman expressed his excitement about the miniseries as well, saying:
“At the end of the day I am a comic fan first and foremost. I am a lover of the medium and the stories it enables people to tell. I’m excited to partner with AMC once again to bring the stories of some the most influential people in comics to a television audience.”
Given the still-growing popularity of comic book movies, it's no wonder that AMC is interested in providing an in-depth look at the history of the comics industry. There are a lot of interesting stories to be told, and some creators who didn't get the respect that they deserved while they were working in the industry who could easily be highlighted. While there will certainly be some stories included that a lot of fans already know, there's sure to be some new and interesting perspectives given on comics as well.
Of course, there's only so much of the history of comics that you can fit into six episodes of a TV series. While a number of stories will be told, some fans will likely see their favorite creators snubbed in favor of other tales from history. Perhaps if Heroes and Villains is popular enough, AMC will look at other stories in a follow up.
Heroes and Villains: The History of Comic Books will air on AMC in 2017.