Comic book adaptations can mean big business. Before a book has even finished its first run the film rights have already been sold. It isn’t just superheroes that make it to the big screen with adaptations as diverse as Road to Perdition, Wanted and Scott Pilgrim all making it from script to screen. In recent times there has been a different shift across mediums with cancelled television shows turning up in graphic form.
We recently mentioned that Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse is set to move from the small screen to print. Perhaps there wouldn’t have been such a demand if not for the success of Buffy the Vampire Slayer -Whedon’s most famous creation – in comics.
While television titles have long existed, Dark Horse’s Buffy was somewhat revolutionary. The front cover stated this wasn’t some non-canon cheap cash in but rather this was Season 8. It is essentially a new run of the television show with a finite number of episodes. To that end much of show’s writing team including Drew Goddard, Doug Petrie and Jane Espenson with art by Georges Jeanty. Without the restrictions of budget, actor availability or any network interference, the writers were free to tell the stories they really wanted. Season 8 finished after 40 issues with season 9 set to be released from September.
Set after a nuclear war, Jericho was a cancelled after one full season. Fans were outraged and began a huge letter writing and internet campaign. Surprisingly executives reversed their decision and granted a seven episode second season to allow the show to prove itself. It didn’t and was cancelled for the final time in March 2008. Season three now exists on the page. The six issue run bizarrely followed the same pattern of the show, with financial issues at publisher Devil’s Due leading to a cancellation. IDW picked up the title and completed the series in from February 2011 after almost a year’s delay.
Brian Fuller’s quirky resurrection show Pushing Daisies was critically well-received show during its first season and drew decent audiences for ABC. That run was curtailed by the writer’s strike and when it returned for season 2, the audience had gone. Without being able to complete the story Fuller said he wanted to keep the show alive in any way possible. The comic books were set to be enhanced by additional web content including a musical score. Stories were written and art work produced but publisher Wildstorm was shut down before they went to print. With so much work done, negotiations will continue with other publishing houses.
Cult shows will often end up cancelled leaving loyal audiences hungry for more content. As long as the writers have stories to tell then expect this trend to continue.