Garth Ennis enthusiasts have had a lot of time to wonder how his works would be adapted. Until AMC picked up Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s adaption of Preacher, it seemed like the edgy comic book scribe's graphic novels were virtually unfilmable. But at long last, in this age of widespread comic book acceptance, where cable and streaming services are pushing the envelope with ever grittier entertainment, Ennis' day may have finally come.
Hot off the buzz of their semi-faithful yet still-raunchy adaption of Preacher, Goldberg and Rogen have been given leeway to develop another one of Ennis’ dark storylines. After pulverizing the pulpit, Rogen and Co. have set their sights on superheroes and the Central Intelligence Agency.
Deadline brings news today that Cinemax is developing a series based on the Ennis-written and Darick Robertson-drawn hyperviolent graphic novel, The Boys. The series is being developed by Rogen, Goldberg, and Supernatural creator Eric Kripke, with writing duties falling to Kripke. Goldberg and Rogen are on board to direct, and their production company Point Grey will produce, along with Neal Moritz of Original Film and Sony Television. Ennis and Robertson will co-executive produce along with Kripke and several others.
Similar to the contentious, oft-attempted (and abandoned) Preacher, The Boys has been in development hell for the past eight years. Columbia Pictures and Paramount both had feature films in the works at one point, with rumors swirling about Adam McKay (co-writer of Ant-Man) taking the helm. The graphic novel began its run in 2008 with Wildstorm, before switching to Dynamite Entertainment for the remaining issues, ending in 2012. The series follows a team of CIA superheroes led by Billy Butcher. The black-ops unit keeps an eye on the superhero community, sometimes even taking out superheroes who’ve overstepped their bounds.
Like Preacher, The Boys development issues stem from its extremely edgy content. When creating the series, Ennis promised to "out-Preacher Preacher." The series features graphic violence and intense sexual situations, sexual abuse, and rape – making it challenging to adapt under the best of circumstances, without some major cuts or a very hard R-rating. Fortunately, for the sake of graphic novels everywhere, trailblazing films like Watchmen and Deadpool, and heavy-hitting series such as Jessica Jones and The Walking Dead, have garnered real interest as counterpoints to the somewhat lighter-weight fare of comic book cinema.
Depending upon how it’s handled (the jury is still out, but hopeful, on Preacher), The Boys could turn out to be a well-done superhero satire. Kripke’s involvement in the series also bodes well, as his long-running Supernatural series often seamlessly blends the morbid with the absurd and comical – which is exactly the tone required for an envelope-pushing, dark story such as this.
Screen Rant will keep you updated on any new developments with The Boys.