Image Comics' The Walking Dead is such a cultural phenomenon that there's only one thing it could be compared to at the moment: Game of Thrones. Both were underground sensations that became truly revered after hitting TV.
Known as the HBO of the comic world, Image Comics is a creator-owned comic book publisher that allows its creators complete freedom, and they're currently the third biggest publisher in the world right behind Marvel and DC. Image believes that artists and writers having total control leads to a higher level of quality than the "too many cooks in the kitchen" corporate model.
Image has brought us Spawn, Savage Dragon and most famously The Walking Dead. Here are five titles that could blow up just as much with the right adaptation.
1. The Fix
- Writer: Nick Spencer
- Artist: Stan Lieber
Nick Spencer is the man behind the biggest controversy in all of comics last year when Captain America uttered those two infamous words: "Hail Hydra." His comic The Fix starts out with the two main characters robbing a retirement facility because there are rumors that a resident is currently holding a large sum of cash.
A little later two cops show up to investigate what kind of monsters would do such a thing. It just so happens that those two cops were the ones behind the robbery.
This comic is begging to be on either HBO or Netflix due to all of the outrageous behavior and Spencer's sharp commentary on society; it would truly stand out as one of the most original shows to come out in the last 10 years. It's basically It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia meets The Wire, and could lead to immense popularity if given the opportunity.
2. The Wicked + The Divine
- Writer: Kieron Gillen
- Artist: Jamie McKelvie
Every 90 years, a pantheon of gods—such as Dionysus and Minerva—are reincarnated to live two more years. This comic is far too complex to go into any amount of detail about the plot, but even though the story is absolutely batsh*t crazy, you'll love every minute.
In 2015, Universal optioned the rights to make it a TV show. This is by far one of the toughest comics to adapt for the screen, but could be just as big as TWD by simply being so far out there and fun!
3. Bitch Planet
- Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
- Artist: Valentine De Landro
This series is basically Orange Is The New Black but in a space prison! The women in Bitch Planet have been jailed off-planet for being their own person instead of following the norms forced upon on them by society. Given recent events, this makes the story even more frightening.
Given how popular O.I.T.N.B is, and with this book's strong social themes, it could easily be successful on Netflix, which is known for taking chances on things that most traditional networks wouldn't.
- Writer: Greg Rucka
- Artist: Micheal Lark
Set in a dystopian future in which 16 families rule the world, and each has a special weapon, this story follows Eve Carlyle (a.k.a. Forever) as she uncovers some truly despicable things about her own relatives. Lazarus has a strict caste system: the families, the serv, and the waste.
Forever, despite being raised as a living weapon (and without the ability to die due to gene experimentation and enhancements), is one of the truly decent characters in the series, with an almost childlike innocence. The world she lives in is visually reminiscent of the one that we live in today, which would be cheap to replicate. This could compete with TWD by showing a frightful future still has hope unlike AMC's smash hit.
5. Sex Criminals
- Writer: Matt Fraction
- Artist: Chip Zdarsky
Imagine being able to stop time when you climax during sex. Pretty awesome! Matt Fraction's Sex Criminals explores sexuality in a manner that is not only honest, but is extremely entertaining.
With and Suzie meet at a party and, after sleeping together, they discover they can both freeze time when they orgasm. This leads to some poor decisions (albeit with good intentions). You'll be hooked after one issue, and a premium TV version could be a hit like Showtime's Californication.
With The Walking Dead proving that audiences are ready for darker comic book adaptations, and with more and more companies getting into the original content streaming game — from Amazon and Hulu to Apple — it opens room for more comics to have a shot on the small screen. Hopefully, we'll be watching one or all of these titles in the future!
(Note: Brian K. Vaughan's Saga is not on this list due to budgetary constraints, since its universe is too full of spectacle and wonder for television. Plus, it's a hard sell for the studios given the scene where Gwen collects the semen of a male dragon after i itself. Greatest comic ever!)
What's your favorite Image Comic? Which of these shows do you most hope becomes a TV show? Sound off in the comments below!