Books And Graphic Novels That Should Be Adapted For Television Or Film
Television is quickly replacing film as the go to form of media when adapting a comic book or novel. Sure, you can write a film based on a book or comic and have it be great, but if it’s a lengthy property, that means that a lot of stuff will get cut out. Do you know how fantastic it would be if Harry Potter was adapted for a television series? The books are huge, and although the movies are great, I think that if they adapted the books into a television format, it could have been even better.
There are still a lot of comic books and novels that could be adapted for television. These are just a few that I thought should be adapted for television.
Y: THE LAST MAN
Y: The Last Man Book One – This graphic novel series has been in development hell for years. At one point, Shia Lebeouf was attached to star as Yorick in a film adaptation, but thankfully that disastrous idea fell through. With 60 issues, a movie would have to cut out a lot of stuff to fit in such a rich story, so the film route would feel like a let down if you’re a fan of the comic.
Premise: Written by Brian K. Vaughan (LOST, PRIDE OF BAGHDAD, EX MACHINA) and with art by Pia Guerra, this is the saga of Yorick Brown—the only human survivor of a planet-wide plague that instantly kills every mammal possessing a Y chromosome. Accompanied by a mysterious government agent, a brilliant young geneticist and his pet monkey, Ampersand, Yorick travels the world in search of his lost love and the answer to why he’s the last man on earth.
What would make this television worthy is the fact that each comic feels like an episode of television. The series has a satisfying beginning, middle and end to work with. It’s not The Walking Dead where the characters go through the same plot over and over and over again. With Y: The Last Man, all the men on the planet have seemingly vanished. Yorick must travel around trying to figure out what happened with people he meets along the way. If you think being the last man on the planet would be awesome, this series shows you that it would be terrifying. If you read it, you’ll find out why. Or, you could wait for the series to premiere on FX in the near future. Yeah, baby. It’s coming. I just hope they can nail the casting for the show. I would’ve loved to see Zachary Levi play the role, but you never know who we’ll get.
I read MAUS when I was in high school. It does a wonderful job of telling a true story of World War 2 and the Holocaust by using animals in place of humans in the graphic novel. Jews were mice, cats were Nazi’s, dogs were Americans… and so on. Not only does the graphic novel show how Jews were oppressed because of who they were and what they looked like, but it also shows the hypocrisy of characters in the book who went through the Holocaust oppressing people of color when they get to America.
Premise: It is the story of Vladek Speigelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father’s story. Maus approaches the unspeakable through the diminutive. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), shocks us out of any lingering sense of familiarity. Maus is a haunting tale within a tale. Vladek’s harrowing story of survival is woven into the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. Against the backdrop of guilt brought by survival, they stage a normal life of small arguments and unhappy visits. This astonishing retelling of our century’s grisliest news is a story of survival, not only of Vladek but of the children who survive even the survivors. Maus studies the bloody pawprints of history and tracks its meaning for all of us.
Having humans replaced with animals we all know could help kids understand the graphic subject matter. Having that adapted for a television show or movie could be something that parents could take their kids to so they could understand it more. Kids are very impressionable, and showing them early on what hate is like with animals they recognize could really teach the, why hate is wrong.
“Why do the cats hate the mice so much?”
As it goes on, and it finishes, the parent could explain that this really happened, but it happened with people instead of animals. Kids would hopefully understand why hate is even more absurd because the people in history are just humans, and the hate that is created is based on ignorance and propaganda. At least with cats and mice, you could attach that to other cartoons, but with the children knowing that this happened with people… that could be a great learning tool.
It has been described as an unfilmable novel. The first time I read it, I thought that there would be no way anyone could film it because the content is so violent and graphic. We’re talking a scene where there is a tree full of dead babies. Cormac McCarthy really nailed it out of the park with Blood Meridian because what you imagine as the most horrifying things imaginable, he writes it down poetically. The antagonist goes by the name of Judge Holden. He is by far one of the best villains in the history of fiction. His description, how he acts, what he does, how he talks… it’s the stuff of nightmares. All nightmares that don’t involve him are just dreams.
Premise: An epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America’s westward expansion, Blood Meridian brilliantly subverts the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the “wild west.” Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennesseean who stumbles into the nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.
That’s why adapting the book would be almost impossible. It challenges your imagination to go to the very extreme when reading the words. If someone screws up only a little bit in the adaptation, you’ll just think “Meh, it was scarier in my head.” Then the entire thing collapses. how the hell anyone could adapt the final few scenes of the book. I have no idea what happens in one final scene, but imagining what is happening or what is being scene still scares me to this day.
The unseen horror is why it works. For example: The Joker is the absolutely terrible Suicide Squad does violent acts that you witness on the big screen. We’re so used to seeing violence that it no longer has much of an impact. However, in The Dark Knight, The Joker kills someone off screen, but shows the terrified reactions to the killing. You don’t know how he killed the guy, but the reactions of the witnesses makes you believe it was horrific. Right after that scene, The Joker breaks a pool stick in half and tosses it on the ground exclaiming: “Now, our operation is small, but there’s a lot of potential for aggressive expansion. So, which of our fine gentlemen would like to join our team? Oh! There’s only one spot open right now, so we’re gonna have tryouts.” Two scenes that rely on your imagination of violence instead of showing it.
The Jungle is a book that received a lot of criticism when it first came out because it told the story of a man and his family working in poverty in Chicago. It praised socialism, and as you read the entire thing, you really are convinced that socialism isn’t too bad when you watch what meat workers at the turn of the 20th century had to deal with.
Premise: An ardent activist, champion of political reform, novelist, and progressive journalist, Upton Sinclair is perhaps best known today for The Jungle — his devastating exposé of the meat-packing industry. A protest novel he privately published in 1906, the book was a shocking revelation of intolerable labor practices and unsanitary working conditions in the Chicago stockyards. It quickly became a bestseller, arousing public sentiment and resulting in such federal legislation as the Pure Food and Drug Act.|The brutally grim story of a Slavic family who emigrates to America, The Jungle tells of their rapid and inexorable descent into numbing poverty, moral degradation, and social and economic despair. Vulnerable and isolated, the family of Jurgis Rudkus struggles — unsuccessfully — to survive in an urban jungle. A powerful view of turn-of-the-century poverty, graft, and corruption, this fiercely realistic American classic is still required reading in many history and literature classes. It will continue to haunt readers long after they’ve finished the last page.
The only reason I read this book was because a girl I was dating suggested it. That is all done with, but this book has always stuck with me. It led me to watch documentaries and read about the horrific condition workers had to go through before they rose to form unions to combat their horrible pay and working conditions.
This is a book that I can’t believe hasn’t been made into a movie or a mini-series. It really shows the plight of immigrant workers being taken advantage of when they came here to America for a better look. Then again, if you look at what’s happening now in America, the children and great grandchildren still get stigmatized for it. That makes the adaptation of this book something that we need to see happen.
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post,UPROXX,BGR and by just looking up his name.