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Comics That Would Make Great Cartoons

In terms of entertainment, no two mediums are as similar as cartoons and comics. Put some motion into a comic and you have yourself a cartoon. Pause a cartoon on TV and write in marker above the character's head what they're saying and you have a comic. Don't do that though. 

However, not all comics have become cartoons. Yeah, a lot definitely should stay on the page, though there are those that would make for great translations. Here are just a few of them.

Johnny the Homicidal Maniac
by Jhonen Vasquez

Johnny the Homicidal Maniac is about just that – a homicidal maniac named Johnny. There really isn’t too much of an encompassing plot to the comic, as its set up is something akin to Animaniacs. Segments featuring different characters, many of which feature Johnny, are all incredibly gory and incredibly funny. I’m sure most of you are familiar with Jhonen’s Invader Zim that aired on Nickelodeon for a criminally short time. If you aren’t, well, too be honest I’m pretty sure you are all aware of Invader Zim so I suppose there is really no reason to go into it. The show was canceled prematurely due to creative differences between the network and Vasquez, so giving cartoons another shot may not be in his future. Still, it would be great.

Justice League Dark
by Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin

I realize Justice League Dark is only on its first issue, but it’s already clear that it would make a great cartoon. The comic tells the story of a group of anti-heroes, most of who dabble in magic, coming together to fight the forces of whatever they need to fight at the time. It’s a lot of fun, and John Constantine is a member, who is a personal favorite. I see the cartoon as a more adult version of the Justice League show of a few years back. If the show could find itself a home on perhaps an Adult Swim or FX, I think it would have enough room to make it as edgy as it needs to be.

Mouse Guard
by David Peterson

If you haven’t read the Eisner-winning Mouse Guard by David Peterson, you haven’t experienced one of the most badass and most adorable comics on shelves right now. Think Lord of the Rings meets Stuart Little, or perhaps a Redwall novel would be a close representation of what you’ll receive with this one. Even from just that description, I’m sure you can see how this would make one awesomely cute and violent cartoon. There is two ways the translators could take this, however. They could go for the fans, and make a solid and literal adaptation. They could also pander to the younger market, and go heavy with the Stuart Little aspect. If the adaption would be loyal, this lesser known comic could be a huge hit as a cartoon. 

by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona

In terms of modern comics that managed to stay out of the limelight, Runaways is up there with the best. Centered on a group of teens that rebel against their super villain parents, it already contains an incredibly strong concept. The comic itself has great story arcs, though the show could really take it to another level, especially since the comic had a relatively small run. There have been whispers of a movie in development over at Marvel, though the talk seems to have died down. If they won’t do a live action film, an animated series could be a really interesting way to spread the word on a great series that has been in the background for too long.

by Bill Willingham

Fables is about all of our favorite story book characters being driven out of their realm and setting up shop in modern day New York City. Willingham is an amazing writer, and the stories and characters in this one are some of the freshest ideas around. To be honest, the fact that Fables hasn’t been adapted on the screen is pretty surprising in itself. It’s been in development a few times for TV, but never saw the light of day. There is a show with incredibly similar ideas premiering soon *cough Once Upon A Time cough*, though somehow I doubt it will be as original and endearing as Willingham’s story book mash up. 

Well? Any suggestions? Questions? Comments? Concerns? Adaptations are a hot button issue, so I'm sure some of you have some opinions about this list. Let me know in the comments or over in the forums. And make sure you check out the ying list to this yang, Tim's Cartoons That Would Make Great Comics.


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