A while ago, in the wake of news that the Vertigo Comics series The Kitchen was being adapted into a feature film I came up with a list of five other Vertigo properties I thought would make compelling and popular movies. There were a handful I considered for that list but which I actually thought would work better on the small screen. And so, without further preamble and using the recent news that Astro City is being developed as a TV show, I present the five recent titles that would be *perfect* to adapt in a longer format, either as a limited or ongoing series.
Written by Si Spenser, the story spans four different time periods of London – the 1890s, 1940s, 2010s and 2050s – but all involve a murder mystery that very powerful people don’t want to be solved. There are lots of ways the stories intersect and overlap but it never really comes together until the final issue. I don’t know if it could go on for more than one season, but it’s also too expansive and detailed for a single film.
I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be inside writer Gail Simone’s head. She’s the sweetest, most genuine person I had the pleasure of meeting in my time attending various comics conventions but holy crap can she write some crazy stuff. This series was a perfect example of that. As the series opens Chloe Pierce’s fiance has killed himself after reading a book from self-help guru Astrid Mueller, who’s rarely interviewed or seen in public. Being a journalist, Pierce decides to investigate and finds this isn’t the first time Astrid’s books have lead to suicide. That leads her to try to crack the mystery of the Clean Room that’s part of Astrid’s process, but there are some very disturbing answers awaiting her. I’d *love* to see this series.
I know Snyder is best known at Vertigo for “American Vampire” but that’s super-obvious and *of course* it would make for a fascinating TV show. His 2013 series “The Wake” is a less obvious choice but one that would work astoundingly well as a two-season Netflix show. That’s largely because the story is told in two parts, with Part 1 (issues 1-5) taking place in more or less present day as Marine Biologist Lee Archer is recruited to investigate a mystery at the bottom of the ocean. Issue 6 jumps the story ahead 200 years to a completely flooded world where multiple dangers lurk and we learn more about what was set up in the first issues.
Sheriff of Babylon
One of writer Tom King’s first DC/Vertigo projects, he drew on his own time in the CIA to tell the story of an American contractor in 2003 Iraq who’s charged with interacting with the locals and trying to maintain peace between them and the American soldiers. Of course there are complications and political machinations that make that job intensely difficult. There aren’t many “big” moments in the series. Instead it offers a slow burn drama about the difficulty in being a decent person in an indecent situation, and I’m not necessarily talking about the American character there.
I was only able to read the first few issues of this series, and it only lasted 13, but need to catch up with a trade. It has demons and mythology and ancient castles and an artist whose drawings, including that of the true love she’s dreamed about for years, come to life unexpectedly. What’s not to like?
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.
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