With The Punisher and Elektra's appearances on Daredevil sparking rumors about spinoff potential, there's been frequent talk about who else in the Marvel Universe would make a good television series. Marvel certainly has a fair share of characters to choose from, but there have been some especially great comic-book series in the past done by such writers as Bryan K. Vaughn, Charles Soule and Matt Fraction that we believe should be considered in making a new series. The series below are critical darlings, and most are sleeper hits that proved that an inventive concept and excellent writing are more important that the name associated with the brand. Hopefully studio executives will pick up one of these series as they see that they have excellent potential, not only as great television series, but as a way to expand the Marvel Universe further.
Brian K Vaughn’s incredible comic book about a group of young kids who realize their parents are super villains seems perfect for a network like the CW and, frankly, I’m amazed that it hasn’t already come out. Vaughn won the Eisner for it in 2005 and 2006 and the story showcases the talent of one of the greatest living comic book writers today. Also the series was immensely popular, as Vaughn originally only intended to write a six book series but continued on to write monthly books due to its massive popularity. With its recent revamp tie-in during the Secret Wars set in Battleworld, this is the perfect time to bring the Runaways into the mainstream.
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
The breakout Marvel star of 2015 who eats nuts and kicks butts deserves her own show in a big way. Squirrel Girl and her hilarious and overwhelmingly positive message will introduce comedy to an audience that looks at Marvel as solely action-based. Squirrel Girl’s ability to save the world from Galactus while “borrowing” a suit from Tony Stark, kick Kraven’s butt with her squirrel army, and battle college as a computer science major is absolutely delightful and a perfect vehicle for ushering a new audience into the Marvel fold.
She-Hulk with Hellcat Spinoff
Charles Soule’s She-Hulk is one of the most critically beloved comics in the past few years. The story of Jennifer Walters, or She-Hulk as she is known, as a lawyer, defending justice both in the courtroom and out, was a departure from the Hulk comic that always ends an issue with an immense fight. This hulk is smarter, cleverer, likes to go grab a drink after work and talk about her day, and uses her investigative skills, as well as her strength, to track down the truth in her cases. Like injecting The Good Wife into the Marvel Universe, the show would focus on development of each particular case and finding a solution through smart, well-thought out methods instead of relying on special effects. Plus, with Hellcat playing the assistant, there’s definitely a possibility for a Patsy Walker Hellcat spinoff to be in the works.
Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye
At the New York Comic Con in 2014, an audience member asked Matt Fraction if there are any plans of making his popular and groundbreaking Hawkeye series into a movie. He replied that he didn’t think it would make a good movie, but he thought it would make an awesome TV show. I definitely agree, as each issue of the series is more creative than the last. Hawkeye has never been an A-List character, but Fraction’s portrayal of a scruffy guy with a good heart that has horrible luck with women became an instant hit at comic stores. Also, it allows an excellent point of entry for the female Hawkeye while introducing the Brooklyn side of the Marvel Universe.
Howard the Duck
While most executives in television or movies would look at Howard the Duck as a crazy investment after the horrible George Lucas bomb in the '80s, Chip Zdarsky has proven than the loud-mouthed duck could be relevant again and provide one hell of a fun time. In Zdarsky’s Howard the Duck, Howard moves to Brooklyn and works as a private detective while making friends, and a few enemies, along the way. This would allow crossovers with She Hulk, Hellcat, and any other Manhattan superheroes that wouldn’t mind crossing the bridge (it’s really not that far…). Since Rocket Raccoon was one of the most loved characters of the Guardians movie, it’s not far off to say that a duck could headline his own show, is it?
Dennis Hopeless has brought forth a new era in the Jessica Drew saga by portraying her as a smart and strong character that, by the way, happens to be pregnant. Her loving friendship with Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) also showcases something that’s drastically missing in the Marvel universe: female bonding that passes the Bechdel test. On the other side of the fence, DC's Supergirl has shown that a superhero show focused on a strong female character will not only garner an audience but also open up comics to a different demographic. It would be wonderful if Hopeless’s brilliant series gets a small screen treatment to give more exposure to a character that has been living in the shadow of her male counterpart for much too long.
Superior Foes of Spider-Man
Nick Spencer’s Superior Foes of Spider-Man follows the somewhat bumbling, exploits of The Sinister Six and their not ready for prime time antics. It's an excellent way of focusing on the tough times of being a villain as well as what causes a person to take the evil path over good. Spencer’s lighthearted comic tones that mix in action with silliness makes for a great story as the Six’s leader, Boomerang, tries to manipulate his companions into paying off his debts all the while having to keep his probation officer, a B-level super hero and former super villain friend, off his back. Published in 2013, it was a sleeper hit for Marvel and fun look at the role of a not so super villain.
Joe Quesada always mentions that the difference between a Marvel movie and a Marvel television show is that while Iron Man and Cap try to save the world, Jessica Jones and Daredevil try to save New York City. Well, in that case, who is going to save Jersey? In comes Ms. Marvel, the most exciting and provocative relaunch campaign Marvel has published. Kamala Khan has quickly found her way in the new Avengers and the series, which focuses on her upbringing both as a huge comic book fan and the youngest child in a devoted Muslim family, continues to be one of the most topical and important comics in the stores today. G. Willow Wilson’s incredible portrayal of Ms. Marvel as a teenager trying to navigate issues with her family, school, friends, relationships and the struggles of being a super hero makes this one of the comic series with the greatest potential to be not only a comic fan’s favorite show, but everyone’s. And if they keep Wilson on as a writer, we’re talking Emmys here people.
Tom King’s mind-blowing new series The Vision acts as an examination of suburban life, a study of alienation, and an incredibly smart, well-written drama. It’s beautiful in how the messages that King wants to imbue sneaks up on you; how his narrator lands plants in the story as well as acknowledges the tenderness of moments between characters while hinting of tragic events to come. The story takes place in the suburbs of D.C. as the Vision has made himself a family with a wife and two kids (a boy and a girl that are high school age). He goes to work with the Avengers but he also has to be there for his family, who are having a hard time adjusting to the neighborhood. King expertly weaves the misunderstandings that can occur with something new and different is brought into people’s lives and the, sometimes terrible, ramifications that can ensue.
While we’ve all heard that there are currently no plans on making any live-action Star Wars television shows, I hope Disney changes their minds after reading the Marvel series Lando. Definitely my favorite in the new Star Wars publications, Charles Soule’s Lando expands the character's exploits before Empire Strikes Back as a smuggler and smooth talker. He and his assistant, Lobot, affectionately called Lo, get in a little more trouble than they're accustomed in the movies but Soule, in his obvious love of the character, shows Lando’s ability to take everything in stride, always maintaining both a control on the situation and a charm that has no equal in the Star Wars Universe. Since there are no plans on bringing this beloved character back for another movie, why not give this fan favorite in his own show?
What Marvel characters would you like to see make the transition to TV? Let us know in the comments!