DC on TV: The Comics Behind the Shows
If you caught Blair Herter’s conversation with Geoff Johns in this morning’s new episode of “DC All Access” (or if you’ve been following the entertainment news over the past few months), you know that DC Entertainment currently has five television shows in development. While some of them are based on well-known DC characters, a few focus on characters that are a bit more obscure. However, they all have their roots in serialized comics.
All five shows are in various stages of development, and we can only speculate about what we might see in them when—and if—they wind up onscreen. However, speculating can be fun! So for a possible idea of what to expect from the five shows, you may want to check out the following comics…
Let’s start with the obvious. Even the most casual DC Comics fan knows who the Flash is. And while we’ll have to wait until fall at the earliest to see Barry Allen in his own series, we’ll be seeing him on the small screen a lot sooner than that. On December 4th, the first of two back-to-back episodes featuring actor Grant Gustin as everyone’s favorite Central City forensic scientist will debut on Arrow, making the new Flash series currently in development for The CW something of a spinoff.
Obviously, viewers interested in what they might expect from the new Flash should check out those two episodes. But as far as possible comic book inspiration goes, we suggest The Flash v. 1: The Dastardly Death of the Rogues. When published, it was meant to be a clean jumping on point for new readers. It was also written by Geoff Johns, who just so happens to be co-writing The Flash pilot.
You can order The Flash v. 1: The Dastardly Death of the Rogues here: http://www.amazon.com/Flash-Vol-Dastardly-Rogues-Comics/dp/1401231950/
This highly anticipated new series currently in development for Fox is a prequel of sorts set in Gotham and focusing on the origin of Commissioner James Gordon and other characters and villains found within the Batman universe. While set within his world, Batman won’t be a part of the show, but that doesn’t mean readers can’t look to his comics for a hint of what may be to come. It seems very possible that the series will pull from the Jim Gordon sequences in Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli’s seminal Batman: Year One.
However, for something a little more recent that offers a taste of what this series could be, readers may want to check out John Layman and Jason Fabok’s (mostly) Batman-less Jim Gordon “Zero Year” tale found in this month’s Detective Comics #25.
You can download this great standalone issue here: http://www.readdcentertainment.com/Detective-Comics-2011-25/digital-comic/50130
The character of John Constantine was first introduced in the pages of Swamp Thing before spinning off into his own Vertigo series (Hellblazer, which wrapped up its 300-issue run earlier this year and remains Vertigo’s longest running series) and eventually his own ongoing series in The New 52. He’s also no stranger to the screen, having previously appeared in a 2005 film starring Keanu Reeves.
A conman who dabbles in sorcery and the supernatural, Constantine is a gritty character who’s about as far on the magic-using spectrum from Harry Potter and Gandalf as you can get. Currently in development for NBC, the Constantine series will hopefully get a chance to show off the darker side of DC Comics characters this fall. In the meantime, viewers may want to check out Constantine’s ongoing DC Universe title, which is still pretty early in its run.
You can download the first issue here: http://www.readdcentertainment.com/Constantine-2013-1/digital-comic/37723
Yes, we’re diving into much less familiar waters of the DC Universe with this one, but that’s what makes it so intriguing. The character of Hourman stems all the way back to 1940, and has appeared in a variety of forms and under a variety of names since then. In this show being developed for The CW, Hourman is a pharmaceutical analyst who possesses the ability to glimpse tragic events from exactly one hour into the future, and makes it his mission to do what he can to stop these events from happening.
Hourman doesn’t have a self-titled series, but among other things, he’s known for being a part of the Justice Society of America. Readers interested in learning more about him may want to check out the key JSA storyline “Stealing Thunder,” which introduced the second Hourman—Rick Tyler—to the JSA. In a cool bit of synchronicity, this storyline was co-written by David S. Goyer, who is also co-writing the abovementioned Constantine pilot.
You can download “Stealing Thunder” here: http://www.readdcentertainment.com/JSA-Stealing-Thunder/comics-story-arc/1480
Based on a quirky Vertigo series by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred, iZombie promises to be a lot different than the other zombie shows and movies out there should it make it to series. Currently in development for The CW, with a pilot script being written by Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero, iZombie tells the story of a young female coroner who helps solve homicide cases. The catch? She’s also a zombie who must consume brains to maintain her humanity, and every time she does, she inherits the corpse’s memories.
While it sounds like the television take on this series may be slightly different than what we saw in the comic, viewers curious about iZombie should still look at the series on which it’s based. Even better, the comic’s entire run has now been collected, so it’s pretty easy to pick up.
You can order iZombie v. 1: Dead to the World here: http://www.amazon.com/iZombie-Vol-1-Dead-World/dp/1401229654/
With the second season of Arrow off to a spectacular start, and a slate of new DC Comics and Vertigo series hopefully making their way to the fall TV schedule, it's a great time to be a DC fan and a fan of great television.