13 comic book TV series in development you may not know about

Contributed by
Default contributor image
Lucas Siegel
May 12, 2017

While you certainly know shows like The Flash, Inhumans and The Walking Dead are based on comics (and all over your screens), there are a lot more than what you're seeing primarily pumped out by Marvel and DC (again, TWD being the most notable and mainstream exception) in the works. As comic book TV series continue to dominate ratings (especially on cable) and branch out into new and exciting adventures, that means a bigger variety of series, from smaller publishers and creator-owned contracts, will come to the small screen.

Just as we looked at the 18 comic book movies in development you might not have known about last month, here are 13 TV shows based on comics we hope to see on the air soon.

Note: This isn't a comprehensive list, but focuses mostly on shows that have gone beyond the simple option (that list is probably three times as long).

Happy!

Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson's series about a corrupt cop who meets an imaginary flying horse was optioned by Syfy a while back, with Chris Meloni starring as Nick Sax (the cop, not the horse). Brian Taylor is writing the pilot with Morrison and directing, with Meloni and Morrison both on as EPs. The Fast and Furious franchise producers are also behind the scenes. Happy! will be part of Syfy's 2017-2018 line-up.

Scalped

The pilot of this adaptation of Jason Aaron and R.M. Guéra's Native American reservation crime series went into production last month, with Alex Meraz, Lily Gladstone, Gil Birmingham and Irene Bedard starring. Doug Jung wrote the pilot with Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah directing. The story of Chief Lincoln Red Crow (Birmingham) opening a casino and dealing with both the criminal element and activist resistance also stars Chaske Spencer as Sheriff Falls Down and is produced by Native American Sterlin Harjo.

There is one caveat – the pilot was produced for WGN America, part of the Tribune Media group, which was just purchased by Sinclair Broadcast. The CEO of Sinclair says they'll be "shifting its strategy away from high-cost originals," and what that means for Scalped is anyone's guess. They only have one major scripted drama being produced in house at the moment (Underground) with Outsiders canceled amid the sale.

(Aaron's Southern Bastards with Jason Latour has also been optioned but with no further movement.)

Locke & Key

The IDW series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez has had a pilot before, in 2011 for Fox, but is now on course to be Hulu's next big thing (they're producing and distributing Runaways for Marvel). Doctor Strange writer/director Scott Derrickson is directing the pilot and has signed on to direct more episodes of the series and Carlton Cuse (Lost) is showrunning the series. The horror story that spans centuries concluded in 2013, and with seven collected editions there's plenty of story to mine.

Harrow County

A supernatural horror story starring a 17-year-old reincarnated witch named Emma learning to cope with her new powers (and monsters) sounds like a spiritual successor to Buffy on its surface, but looks to be a bit darker. Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook's series from Dark Horse was put in development at Syfy over a year ago and recently signed Becky Kirsch, who has written for Syfy series 12 Monkeys and Dominion, to be the showrunner.

The Umbrella Academy

Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba's modern take on child-based superhero teams won critical acclaim for Dark Horse and was part of the same optioning agreement as the above Harrow County. The pilot was written by Jeremy Slater, who is currently involved with Way and Ba in discussing its future with networks.

(Concrete and Back Up were also a part of the option agreement between Dark Horse and Universal.)

The Boys

This twisted Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson series from Dynamite (after a six-issue stint at Wildstorm) features a government squad of super-powered a-holes tasked with making sure other super-powered individuals stay in line. There's no other way to describe this series than delightfully effed-up, so Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg, who successfully brought Ennis' Preacher to AMC, being involved on this one makes perfect sense. Supernatural creator Eric Kripke is also working on the series, which has been greenlit by Cinemax but is currently without casting or a direct timetable.

Hawaiian Dick

B. Clay Moore and Steven Griffin's “Rockford Files with Ghosts” series picked up steam about a year and a half ago when NBC put it in development with Johnny Knoxville as an EP. While Moore talked about it as if it was still moving in a forward direction about a year ago in interviews, there hasn't been any official movement on it since. Still, with Knoxville attached and a script apparently done for the pilot, it might pop back up sooner rather than later.

Sex Criminals

Part of Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick's overall deal (as Milkfed Criminal Masterminds production company) with Universal, this Fraction/Chip Zdarsky book will probably have to go to a cable network – probably a pay one, in fact. The series is about a man and a woman that meet and discover they have something very strange in common: when they orgasm, it temporarily freezes time. Naturally, they use this ability to start committing petty crimes (and having a lot of sex in public places). No timeline or attached talent yet, but this would certainly change people's expectations of comic book TV if it came to air.

The Wicked + The Divine

Another Milkfed production, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson's series about a cycle of gods returning to Earth once a century – but only for two years – in a modern-day world where they are treated like pop culture superstars, is also in very early development. We're not listing every series that's at this stage, but this one is too awesome to skip.

Thief of Thieves

Slightly in development limbo (the last update was almost exactly a year ago), this makes the list because of two elements of the show: AMC and Robert Kirkman. The pair have obviously enjoyed quite a bit of success, as Kirkman is directly responsible for The Walking Dead and spin-off Fear the Walking Dead and likely led to AMC’s interest in Preacher. Kirkman set up Thief of Thieves in comics like a TV show, pulling in other writers like a writers room to tell the story of master thief Redmond, who steals from other thieves (yeah, the title is really literal, guys). Again, no update since last May when Kirkman said it was slow but still on track.

Sinatoro

Part of the "who's going to make a Morrison story a TV series first" sweepstakes, this comic by Grant Morrison and Vanesa R. Del Rey started life as a Morrison film screenplay. Universal has optioned the series and last summer added Adam Armus and Kay Foster to pen the TV pilot (along with Morrison) and Chris (Rogue One) and Paul Weitz (Mozart in the Jungle) to produce. The series is a mix of Westerns and mythology, and with the success of American Gods, which tackles some similar themes, it could see a fast track to an eager network looking to duplicate that win.

Witchblade

The most recent addition to this list, Top Cow's Witchblade is getting a third go at a TV adaptation (second live-action) as the supernatural horror-drama featuring detective Sara Pezzini and her mysterious Witchblade artifact that gives her immense power (and oft-sexy armor) has been optioned by NBC. Carol Mendelsohn and Caroline Dries are writing and producing the pilot with Marc Silvestri and Matt Hawkins of Top Cow EPing it. The original two-season series ran on TNT in the early oughts with an anime adaptation hitting about a decade later.

Postal

Another Top Cow joint, this one is coming to Hulu courtesy of Matt Tolmach (The Amazing Spider-Man, Jumanji), Matt Hawkins and Marc Silvestri, with a pilot being written by The Walking Dead's Seth Hoffman. The series from Hawkins and Brian Hill features a town full of criminals called Eden, where the past comes back to bite these people seeking a second chance. It was picked up by Hulu last fall after a competitive bidding war, demonstrating Hulu's dedication to getting several comic book adaptations on the air soon.