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Four Franchises that Need a Comic Book Afterlife

Comic book afterlives are a fairly common phenomenon. You know, when a movie series, TV show, or book comes to an end, but lives on as a comic book? Fight Club, Army of Darkness, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer all currently live on as comic books. Gosh heck, even Smallville has an “eleventh season” comic book that’s been going on for years. Yeah, they’re out there right now, ready for your eyes to pour over.

It’s a tradition as old as the comic medium, and not likely to end any time soon. Unfortunately, you and I can’t decide which properties get to go on in the funny pages. Although, one of us has a website so I guess one of us is going to have to do something about it and throw out suggestions.

Four of them.

Smallville
Yeah, Smallville even has “Batman”!

John Wick

One of 2014’s best action movies, John Wick presents an interesting world of assassins and crime. A world built on a scaffolding of rules, customs, and traditions. It’s slick, it’s kinetic, it’s engaging. It’s just so cool. Like Star Wars, it hints at a larger universe that you’d just like to explore. There’s no better medium to explore it than a comic book.

A comic can play with color the same way as the film, it can match the same level of violence, and it can be just as engaging. The serialized style means you can cycle through a wide range of assassins and crime bosses. Look at Image’s Zero or East of West. John Wick is perfect for sequential art.

The problem would be where to set the story. Before or after the film? There’s a sequel in the works, so the story is obviously going forward, but there’s a lot you can do in the past as well. The film starts years after his retirement, so it’s very tempting to want to see a prequel showing how he built his legendary status. However, there’s something special about his mysterious past. You might lose something if you explain it.

John-Wick

Terminator

Terminator, as a franchise, consists of two great movies buried beneath a mountain of garbage. It has passed through a bunch of hands, so many people trying to find a way to kick start it into a new franchise. It’s been dead for the last decade, guys, let it go. You missed the point of the franchise and ran it into the ground. Give up.

Except don’t. Not all the way. I think the Terminator franchise lends itself really well to the comic book medium. You can tell a whole bunch of stories without going bankrupt! Plus, there’s no need to have an elderly action star come back again and again.

What kind of Terminator story you need it to be? A taught thriller? A 1000 round action movie? An futuristic war epic? Great! Unlike most confining mediums, you can do all of that in comics in the same title. For years! You won’t make movie money, but at least you won’t constantly loose tens of millions of dollars!

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 9.10.47 PM
“Well… damn.”

Roadside Picnic

Roadside Picnic has been turned into a movie and a video game, but it still has so much potential left unused. It takes place in a world with six “Zones” where an alien presence has warped the very laws of physics. Guides called Stalkers regularly make illegal raids into these Zones and steal artifacts that possess their own dangerous, often unpredictable abilities.

The movie and the video game barely scratch the surface. There are so many stories that could be told in Roadside‘s world. Following one or a group of Stalkers the world over. Dodging the government, dealing with nigh-mystical alien shenanigans. Getting into scrapes. Imagine The Invisibles meets Oceans 11.

The Venture Bros.

How is this not already a thing? Venture Bros. is one of the best television shows ever and a big chunk of it is making fun of pulpy superhero tropes. It’s a logical leap to make an actual comic book. Would it bet too meta? We’d all go on irony overload and the pages themselves would catch fire?

Humor comics are the big thing nowadays, everyone’s shooting for it. A Venture Bros. comic could take more time with the emotional arcs, focus on the hundreds of crazy side-characters, and do it all without a multi-year wait between seasons! Honestly, with the shift Adult Swim is making to more live action, I’m surprised the show hasn’t been pushed in the direction.

VentureSeason6

What franchises would you see live on in a comic book afterlife? Let me know in the comments below!

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