10 Comic Books Best Suited For The Small Screen

With all the news lately regarding different comic book adaptations heading to TV, I couldn’t help but notice a lack of ‘superhero’ content in the shows. Which is fine, some of the stories like 100 Bullets and of course the smash hit The Walking Dead are great without featuring powers, costumes, any of that.

But that’s not what I’m listing today. I understand the problems with bringing brightly colored costumes and powers every week to the general public, which is made clearer by the numerous attempted hero pilots and TV shows, some of the worst ones we listed here. But there are some heroes out there that I think are perfect for TV.

Here’s the Top Ten Superheroes Suited For The Small Screen:

10.) Daredevil 

Comic books

Comparative Media: T. and T. meets Law & Order

The only reason DD isn’t higher up on my list is because I’m holding out for a really great movie franchise. But would DD work better on TV? Yes. Here’s why. Matt Murdock is the star. Daredevil is the night work, but Murdock runs it all. And with some great lawyer casework mixed with late night vigilantism, not to mention an ever shifting love story and genuine story potential for many seasons, I think the blind lawyer from Hell’s Kitchen who stalks the night would be a hit.

9.) Nightwing

Comic books

Comparative Media: The Wire meets Birds of Prey

This is a show that wouldn’t be the easiest to see, with all the history and legacy of anybody in the bat-family. But that’s not what would make it work. This is a story of crime-fighter Dick Grayson in the lawless city of Bludhaven. He joins the police force in a way to better fix the city, and is stunned by the amount of corruption in the police force. So he vows to clean it up as a good cop and a dark hero, trying to find his own place in the world separate from his mentor.

8.) Doctor Strange

comic books

Comparative Media: Kung Fu meets The Green Hornet

A man walks the earth searching for a way to matter, a way to be who he was before the accident that took his hands. Instead, he finds a new calling as Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme, dealing with the magical dangers that plague the world along with his associate Wong.  This has the makings of a great buddy show, along with really stressing the redemption of Dr. Stephen Strange; his training, his abilities, his role in the world.

7.) Cloak & Dagger

comic books

Comparative Media – 21 Jump Street meets Public Safety Announcements

Tandy Bowen and Tyrone Johnson are 2 teenage runaways, living on the streets of New York. They help other runaways on the streets and battle with drug dealers (They got their powers from bad drugs. Me? I would die, they get powers). Now right there you have the makings of a decent show. But throw in the cool powers and potentially great storylines, and you’ve got a show the whole family can watch and learn from.

6.) Martian Manhunter

comic books

Comparative Media – The X-Files meets Fringe

This one sells itself. Why haven’t they done this yet? You have John Jones/ J’onn J’onzz/ Martian Manhunter, an alien who’s all alieny. But he can turn into a human and generally is a cop in his John Jones identity. So basically Agent Mulder with alien powers. I’m sold. Smallville showed it can be done special effects wise, and with severe Sci-Fi appeal, mixed with the cop angle, your firing on both cylinders there.

5.) Catwoman

Comic books

Comparative Media – Dark Angel meets Captain Planet and the Planeteers

Now I’m talking about the early 90’s Balent version, where Catwoman was basically a thief and a member of P.E.T.A. She was smoking hot as Catwoman, and didn’t show a bit of skin doing it. TV Spoilers rejoice. What was really great was that yes, she was a thief, and she was usually on the wrong side of the law, she still had a pretty intense set of morals. But it boils down to viewers, and you have Selina tackling animal testings and fur manufacturers, you just got the animal protesters of the world interested in TV. Just don’t harm any cats or anything, you’ll be fine.

4.) Gotham Central

comic books

Comparative Media – NYPD Blue Meets Smallville

So while this may not totally agree with the parameters I set out for the list, it fits here. Trust me. It’s a story of heroes, so that fits. And what are heroes without villains? How does a city cope when it’s superhero isn’t enough? They rely on the cops of Gotham Central. A hardcore police procedural dealing with the many costumes of the city versus the great characters of the GCPD. The series was told in two parts, the day shift and the night shift, and I think this would be a format that would work perfectly on TV.

3.) Green Arrow/Supermax

comic books

Comparative Media – Prison Break meets Jack of All Trades

This was once a project from David Goyer meant for the big screen, but it never really caught steam. Oliver Queen, formerly the Green Arrow, is sent to the high security prison, Supermax. Stocked full of DC’s B, C and D list villains, Ollie has to not only survive, but break free. We all saw the success Prison Break received (I stopped watching after the first season, cause they broke out. I saw no further point in it.) and Green Arrow was a large part of Smallville’s appeal, so this one seems like a given, as well as a great story.

UPDATE: Obviously the CW saw this list and made the hit series Arrow, but I won’t take any credit for that.

2.) X-Factor

comic books

Comparative Media – Veronica Mars meets Angel

Here I’m only thinking of X-Factor Investigations, not the government sponsored superhero team. X-Factor is a specialized PI Firm solving various cases involving normal and superhuman clients. They are led by Jamie Madrox, a mutant who can multiply himself with sometimes hilarious results. It is a very Noir look at a different side of the superhero universe. Comprised of a team of heroes that don’t fit the mold of your regular tights crew, they are a mismatched group of characters that oftentimes find more mystery and drama amongst themselves than with their clients. This is a show suited to a wide audience that would appeal to many, easily becoming a network hit.

1.) Moon Knight

comic books

Comparative Media – Supernatural meets United States of Tara

Talk about great TV potential. Marc Spector is a former mercenary, given a chance at a new life to atone for his old one. Believing to be an avatar of the moon-god Khonshu, he dons the vestments of his god and protects the streets of New York as only he can. he adopts multiple personalities in his quest; Steven Grant, the rich industrialist. Jake Lockley, the hack with his ear to the ground. And Moon Knight, the fist of Khonshu, the avatar of vengeance. But what happens when his multiple personalities start to take over? This is a series that could hit on so many levels, faithfully delivering some great superhero action while touching on various different aspects of TV culture. A rich history, great supporting cast and unique story would make this a program to be remembered.

Could any of these shows actually happen? Maybe. Would they be done in a way that would really bring out the best they have to offer. Probably not. So while it is nice to hope and imagine what great shows these could be, it’s almost better to know that most of them won’t be ruined by the vicious world of TV entertainment.

What do you think of the list? Were there some heroes I missed or some of the ones I picked that you hate?

Sound off in the comments section below!

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