Netflix Bets on a Dark Horse
It looks like Netflix has already started to implement a post Marvel strategy. Though many Dark Horse books have been adapted the speculation is sadly more miss than hit. But that is all about to change as Netflix is now the speculative darling. Clearly there is a big difference to people like us when Netflix options something as apposed to almost every other service. No more Syfy channel for Dark Horse!
The publisher has a long history of adaptations such as Duckman, Timecop, Mask, 300, Sin City and Hellboy. The list is long and with decades of content this is a smart move for the streaming giant.
It will be interesting to learn what can and cannot be optioned as many comics are creator owned. Because of this I am going to leave out some of the more of the popular titles that have already been adapted. Others I will still include for various reasons.
Here's a quick 51 that should have a chance.
Roomates that are also mortal super-powered enemies! Sounds like the right kind of comedic premise to me. This one is listed as optioned but I cannot confirm that.
Maberry's vampire mini is solid and the V Wars creator has other projects that have been optioned.
Barb has already had a film adaptation. Some love it, most don't but the character is recognizable, a rarity for DH heroes.
First appearance: Tip Sheet 6 and this sourcebook ( Platinum ) came out at the same time. It is possible that Tip Sheet came out earlier.
Tip Sheet 6 is the first X cover too.
The fate of man is decided over tournament combat with the power of ancient gods as it's centerpiece. Yea this one is a long shot but an animated show could be awesome.
Beasts of Burden
Evin Dorkin's anthropomorphic chiller would be perfect.
Francesco Francavilla's Noir superhero saw some love years ago. No reason why it shouldn't be considered.
Futuristic badassery puts this early Dark Horse publication on the list.
NOTE: Be warned, there are multiple printings for this book. You want the first!
Blade of the Immortal
When the only way to lose the curse of immortality is to kill a 1000 there's gonna be a lot of blood. One could tell a lot of stories with such a premise. There has already been a solid movie but this one might just be too good to not explore further.
This mini about an Alcohol fueled superhero has the golden boy's name on it. That's all ya need to make this list.
This dark, gritty noir is the best in a crowded genre. It is long overdue for an adaption.
Originally it was optioned in 2006 so the rights are probably available and it was last published by Dark Horse but there is no way of knowing way of currently knowing who holds the film rights.
This one was optioned some time ago. Odds are the option has lapsed or it was cancelled.
Concepts like this are meant for places like Netflix. Issue has one of the my favorite comic covers ever published.
Comics Greatest World ( including Barb Wire )
If they want to go the superhero route they already have the template. Let's just hope the world they build is better than the comics.
Easily Dark Horse's most critically acclaimed character, Concrete is high on the list. Like some others here it has been optioned. There has been no movement from any studio so Netflix could easily take over and finally put this masterpiece to film.
Werewolves, zombies and all sorts of monster horror mystery madness? Cal McDonald wouldn't be a bad choice at all.
I don't have to sell this one. Go read it, you will instantly want to see it live.
Dark Horse Presents
This long running anthology series could make for a great show. There are so many properties that are well suited to being part of an hour long series in the same vein as Black Mirror and Outer Limits.
Here's another wonderful series from prolific creator Matt Kindt. There aren't too many underwater, sci-fi adventures out there. This one is the standard.
There is nothing worse than getting your sleeping body hijacked by spirits seeking vengeance then waking up to deal with their actions!
Emily the Strange
Cats, cool color schemes and creepiness has made Emily a mysterious and still popular character. Netflix will be looking at her for sure.
Her first appearance was here,
and this was her first comic appearance,
The End League
This superhero mini is set in a future where villains rule! The End League heroes are in the minority and are forced to deal with the ramifications. It could make for an excellent superhero genre show.
Tom is an escape artist and a superhero in this well crafted comic from Michael Chabon. It's a cool concept that could translate well.
Remender is one of the best writers in comics today. Nothing illustrates this more that Fear Agent. Whenever I talk to people about things that should be optioned Fear Agent is always mentioned.
Hunting vampires from the creator of Buffy. Sounds like a wise move to me.
In my opinion Ghost is one of those long standing DH characters who has never received the kind of TV love she deserves. Maybe now is the time.
Frank Miller's ” reality through the eyes of a cyborg” will blow your freakin' mind. This one was optioned a few years back. I have no idea of Miller owns the rights but if they can find a way to make it happen we will all be the better for it.
NOTE: There is an earlier appearance and cover in Dark Horse Futures and a first in DH Insider. If you want the info click this
Currently most of the speculation is around this popular title which saw a lot of love from collectors when it debuted. It appears to be as safe a bet as there is in this market. Buy and hold.
The Last of Us
This amazing comic based on a popular video game has been in optioned limbo for years. Netflix should fix that problem asap.
Lone Wolf and Cub
Clearly there have been adaptation of Kazuo's famous epic but there is no time like now to bring it back for a new audience.
Lone Wolf 2100
Or I'll take a futuristic Lone Wolf and Cub thank you.
In the future the Nazi ideal still rules and the genetically modified Mark might be humanity's last hope!
The Man in the High Castle has done well for Amazon. The Mark could do the same for Netflix.
The Mask first appeared as a pin up in the ultra rare APA-5 fanzine. It is so elusive that I can't even find a picture. The Mask goes all the way back to the origins of Dark Horse.
The character we all know now first appeared in Mayhem 1. Dark Horse Present's 10 has a character called the Masque. This is a prototype. He was redone for Mayhem and the character was based on the original pin-up from APA.
Netflix is clearly going to look at the best in modern Dark Horse comics so Brian Wood makes the list.
Kindt's seminal work is a must. Trust me.
There is something special about Ragael Grampa's yarn about a washed up boxer, Elvis impersonator and a buncha drunks all caught up in a crazy plot about a delivery gone wrong.
If you haven't read Motter's futuristic epic you are in luck. There is a wealth of material. This one would be a perfect animated project.
John Byrne's incredible take on super heroes should not be missed and would do well as a show or film. Even you haven't seen the villain from this series just go Google Sathanas.
Steve Rude's Nexus has the kind of cult following that makes it surprising there has never been a movie or show. This one should rise to the top.
The One Trick Rip Off
A Pope adaptation is overdue. I would prefer THB but the One Trick was optioned a while back and is still some of his best work. Plus the first comic appearance has one of my all time favorite Bernie covers.
More Donny Cates is never a bad thing. Superheroes who have to cope with bankruptcy is a genius idea.
This mind boggling political horror would make a killer series. Last published by Dark Horse they could still have the rights.
Exiled from his temple, Darrow's blood soaked comic features an unnamed monk who wanders the world facing some of the craziest enemies ever put to panel! He first appeared via double splash here.
Peter David's teen superhero series is like almost everything David has done, awesome and like most things on this list would make for a great show, movie or animated feature!
Tale of One Bad Rat
Tabot's 4 part mini is an amazing series about a young woman who is homeless and forced to travel throughout London as it tries to break her down and destroy her. It is a moving, visual masterpiece. If Netflix wants academy gold this is the answer.
It has already been a great film. Don't lie, you love it. A plot like this would still make for a modern adaptation worth watching.
This is another comic that has already had its day in the sun but she remains popular. Tank Girl, like The Mask, first appeared in a fanzine. Atomtan had a pin up but the character didn't appear sequentially until the ultra-rare Deadline 1.
It is time don't ya think? This one is now being published by IDW so it is unclear if it would ever get optioned at Netflix.
This one is already being made but it had to be included. If you want the first published story then look for this issue of Fantastyka all in Polish. Good Luck finding it!
First comic adaptation: Droga Bez Powrotu ( A Road with no Return )
The first published printings of the comics were released in 6 volumes and to my knowledge there are no first editions printings in English.
Sapkowski doesn’t really consider anything that wasn’t written by him canon but the foreign comics credit him as a co-writer. I think his statement gives him complete control over the story he wishes to tell. Regardless of his view on canonical Witcher material ( that would include the video game comic ) this book is interesting because Netflix will be making a show whose first comic appearance is foreign.
There is a rare comic that came with the game which predates Dark Horse's issue 1 but this Saki variant is pretty rare.
Sci-fi crime mysteries solved by an eccentric equals a recipe for success if done right.
From the creator of Rex Mundi, Zero Killer is yet another futuristic story about a bounty hunter working his craft in the wake of a nuclear war in NYC.
Mike Mignola's forgotten Zombie Gem is perfect for Netflix. Don't open the ancient Hyperborean sarcophagus.
No one should open the ancient Hyperborean sarcophagus.
Any I left out that you feel should make the list? Let me know in the comments!
Since there is no regular article from me this week I have included just a few outside of the Dark Horse list.
The Matrix Theater Giveaway
First appearance of the Matrix franchise
Looks like a Matrix 4 is in the mix! the first comic was this recalled freebie. It isn't super tough to find but high grade copies can be elusive.
Marvel Fanfare 58
No first here but a sick cover and an important Wanda/Vision short put it on my radar.
New Avengers 54
First appearance of Brother Voodoo as Doctor Voodoo
The con variant is probably the way to go here. It is the first time Brother Voodoo was renamed Doctor Voodoo and it was done by Clint Barton! Drumm is rumored to be in Doctor Strange and I guess there is an outside shot he becomes the next Sorcerer Supreme. If that happens this cheap buy will only rise in value.
Doctor Voodoo Origin of Jericho Drumm
First reprinting of Strange Tales 169
Great cover here and the only comic reprinting of ST 169, the first appearance of Brother Voodoo!
First appearance of Malekith
This failed Thor: Dark World spec is back! Look for a Canadian Price Variant or a Mark Jeweler.
Spawn 225 Sketch Variant
As far as rare Watchmen homages go this is it. With an HBO show on the way everything Watchmen is on the table.