With Alice in Borderland returning for its second season soon, it is clear that Netflix has found great success when adapting comic books into ongoing series. Because the stories are already broken up into episodic narratives, comics are usually some of the best sources for content, and there are plenty that Netflix could get their hands on.
From horror anthologies like Tales From the Crypt to modern indie hits like The Department of Truth, some comics are practically screaming for the Netflix original series treatment. Though comic book shows and movies are all the rage now, only the very best comics could be big hits for the streaming service.
Homesick Pilots (2020-Present)
Leaning hard on its mid-’90s nostalgia, Homesick Pilots already feels like something that Netflix would produce along the lines of Stranger Things. The book follows a teenage girl who is taken hostage by a ghost house that insists that she recovers artifacts that were stolen from it.
Colorful and shot-through with Image Comic’s distinct indie charm, the book would be the perfect property for Netflix to continue its teeny-bopper show dominance. Aside from its off-beat and spooky premise, the narrative deals with issues that are pertinent to the youth of today, and it would certainly be one of the most unique shows that Netflix ever produced.
Soul Plumber (2021-2022)
Spawning from the twisted minds of the hosts of the Last Podcast On The Left, the DC Horror Presents title Soul Plumber is as gruesome and hilarious as some of the scariest series from the podcast. The story follows a religion-obsessed gas station attendant who steals a demon plumbing device that accidentally unleashes hell on earth.
Over-the-top with its gore and violence, Netflix could use the book as an opportunity to be on the cutting edge of R-rated comic book content. While it is certain to not sit well with some audience members, the streaming service could rehab its faltering reputation by establishing itself as a bastion for the humorous counterculture.
The Phantom (1936-Present)
Making his debut in the Golden Age of Comics, the gun-toting superhero The Phantom is one of the most constant presences in comic book history. Hailing from the jungle, the purple-clad champion of justice blasts his way through all sorts of criminal elements from poachers to international thieves.
With almost a century of stories to draw from, a new-and-improved Phantom TV series could be the perfect superhero alternative to the deluge of Marvel and DC products. Like they did with Daredevil, the streaming service could make The Phantom into a darker and more complex character, and right the terrible wrong that was the 1996 film.
Image Comics has always been on the cutting edge of the bizarre, but Chew was an example of just how original the imprint could be. FDA agent Tony Chu has a special gift that allows him to receive psychic information by chewing food, and by chewing on human flesh he can use his powers to solve murder investigations.
Turning the police procedural format on its ear with a hilariously macabre set-up, Chew is the perfect comic book premise to be extended into a lengthy TV show run. The book delivers a gripping character-driven narrative, but the open-ended nature of the cases could allow Netflix to extend the story into a network TV-style procedural juggernaut.
I Hate Fairyland (2015-Present)
Despite its bright and vibrant visuals, I Hate Fairyland is anything but a family-friendly comic book. Years after being transported to a fantasy realm as a child, an un-aging woman does whatever she can to escape her fantasy prison and return to the real world that she barely remembers.
Though Netflix is mostly known for its live-action, the service’s best animated original series show that they are no slouches in the cartoon department either. Because of the fantasy premise, the adaptation would have to be animated, and it would give creators a chance to really have fun with Fairyland‘s twisted landscape. The fact that the book has only produced 20 issues since it started publication means that Netflix’s writers could have a field day devising new and hilarious plots for the show.
That Texas Blood (2021-Present)
Taking a page from movies like No Country for Old Men, the Image Comics masterpiece That Texas Blood is helping establish the pace of modern comic book storytelling. Set in a rural Texas town, each story arc tells a dark piece of the city’s history and is loosely connected by a seasoned lawman who lived through it all.
The brilliant writing of the book would translate incredibly well to a TV series, and each story arc could be adapted into a season or half a season with relative ease. While it lacks the usual over-the-top nature that fans have come to expect from comic book adaptations, it could fill the void left by the cancelation of shows like Mindhunter.
Often praised as one of the greatest indie comics of all time, the epic series Saga has delivered genre-bending excitement for a decade. The story follows a couple from two warring races who must escape persecution in order to raise their daughter in safety.
Blending elements of Star Wars with Game of Thrones, Saga is so much more than a disposable comic book story. Ripe with political intrigue and sci-fi possibility, the comic could easily become Netflix’s next big thing if the service invested enough time and energy into it. An animated series would be interesting, but long-time fans would love to see the world of the comic brought into existence in a live-action setting.
The Good Asian (2021-Present)
Netflix’s comic book adaptations tend to stray away from the typical superhero fare, and the award-winning series The Good Asian is right up their alley. Set in 1936, the story follows a self-loathing Asian-American detective who is on the case of a brutal murderer in Chinatown, who must overcome the anti-Asian sentiment of the time.
The visual style of the book is like the perfect send-up to classic noir films, and a TV series could bring the beautiful art to life like it was meant to be seen. Considering how gripping the story is in the short form of comics, an hour-long TV series could further flesh out the ideas and expand upon the amazing lore of the book.
Tales From The Crypt (1950-1955)
EC Comics broke new ground with their gruesome anthology mags in the 1950s, and none were as well-remembered as Tales from the Crypt. Each issue of the haunting book featured a smattering of creepy tales that usually involved villains getting their comeuppance in supernatural or violent ways.
The original TV series from the ’90s was a massive hit, and another adaptation would give fans a chance to see other classic EC tales brought to life. A Netflix series could expand into other titles from the imprint like Haunt of Fear or Vault of Horror, and finally bring all the classic EC mascots to life on the small screen.
The Department Of Truth (2020-Present)
Modern comic books continue to get better and better, and no book has been as earth-shattering as Image Comics’ stunningly original title The Department of Truth. The twisting narrative follows a federal agent who is brought into the fold of a secret government organization that controls the flow of information to stop people’s beliefs from coming true.
The writers essentially ask “what if every conspiracy theory was true?” and go from there into a twisting web of comic book brilliance. A series could unlock the confusing narrative and make it more digestible without sacrificing any of the intrigues that made the book great. Political and unceasingly creative, The Department of Truth could be like The X-Files for the 21st century.