While everyone else is excited about DC superhero shows and Marvel’s invasion of Netflix, the announcement that caught my eye this month concerned the Syfy series based on the Wynonna Earp comics. Created by Beau Smith, Wynnona is a character who’s been around at least 20 years, fighting monsters and protecting innocents like her ancestor, Wyatt Earp. In many ways, she was ahead of her time.
There are other series, known mostly to comic fans, that I’d love to see crest this new wave of graphic novel-to-TV adaptations. I’ve narrowed my rather extensive list down to the five that I want to see the most.
Sandman Mystery Theatre
The success of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries has proven that there’s an appetite out there for historical detective series. SMT is set in 1930s New York City, as the world is on the cusp of the second World War. Wesley Dodds is a rich industrialist with a secret identity that’s not so much about crime-fighting as the compulsion to follow through on the clues inside his dreams. (A dubious gift from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman character.) Dion Belmont is the daughter of the police commissioner, a woman unsure what to do with her life but absolutely certain she doesn’t fit “get married, have kids” mold. Separately at first, and then together, they investigate the worst crimes of a New York teeming with possibility and despair. The comic series is for mature readers, and it would take a cable channel to do it justice.
Comic-inspired shows don’t have to be horror or all gloom and doom: this all-ages series, the creation of Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, and Noelle Stevenson, is, on its face, about a group of girls bonding, growing, and changing while away at summer camp. Then things get weird, as they battle supernatural forces, including Yetis, three-eyed wolves and other paranormal forces. It’s about friendship and adventure and fun, and would slot in nicely next to iZombie on the CW.
Watson and Holmes
Sherlock Holmes inspires us to this day, but we’ve never seen him quite like this. This award-winning series reimagines Watson and Holmes as a modern-day African-American detective team centered in Harlem. Watson is a war veteran working at a local clinic; Holmes is an unusual neighborhood private investigator. Unlike many incarnations, theirs is not an easy partnership, and it takes time for the pair to mesh as a team. A terrific reimagining of a classic.
Yes, I like Holmes-inspired stories so much, I included two of them. The creation of Mark Waid and Butch Guice for the now-defunct CrossGen Comics, the adventures of Simon Archer and Emma Bishop deserve a far better fate than defunct publisher obscurity. In a London that’s not quite our London, filled with magic and steampunk technology, Archer takes on the cases the police can’t solve, while Emma attempts to hide a magical secret of her own. There was a short-lived revival after Disney bought some of the CrossGen properties, and now it’s time for Disney to bring them to television.
All kids sometimes wish for their parents to disappear, but Oddly has the power to make it happen in this comic by Otis Frampton. In an angry moment, Oddly’s wish omes true and she’s transported to a fantasy world full of all manner of creatures and menaces. She already felt out of place at her regular school and now she’s attending a school where she, as a human, doesn’t fit in at all. It’s about dealing with differences, and growing up, and about the wonder of the imagination.
What comic do you want to see onscreen?