Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Monday, November 27, 2006

As Seen On TV...

When I was little, the first "grown-up" books I'd ever read were Star Trek tv-tie in novels. I was always a greedy little spaz that constantly wanted "more". More stories involving my favorite characters. More new stuff. The quality could be dubious. it's this mindset that probably led to me becoming a fanfic reader, I'd imagine.

But still for a very long time, I'd read any tie-in novel even remotely related to a television show I liked. I'll still read comic book tie-ins involving my favorite characters (for the record, Denny O'Neil's Hero Quest is a good non-continuity Kyle Rayner story. Christopher Priest's Sleepers, not so much).

Oddly, I've never actually read a lot of comic book television tie-in issues. Which is weird in retrospect because again, quality never mattered so much. But aside from some He-Man and She-Ra issues from way back when, I've never bothered. I still rarely do.

I think in some sense, it's because the tv-tie in books I see at the comic book stores don't seem to fit to me. A-Team and the original Battlestar Galactica, sure! The current Battlestar Galactica...honestly, doesn't seem to suit tie-ins very well.

CSI is one that slightly boggles me. I love the show, but it's not terribly visual, in my opinion. It's more talking than anything else. The moments of actual action tend to be so rare I have trouble even imagining it in a comic form. (Now a computer puzzle game...definitely!). I should pick it up when I go to the store.

This, naturally, got me thinking as to which television series WOULD make for suitable comic books, in my opinion. My thoughts are as follows:

I'm a big cheesy crime drama fan, but honestly, most of the Law and Orders, CSIs, Criminal Minds and the like seem like they'd be really boring as comic books. Too talky and not visually exciting enough.

The one exception to this, I think, is CSI Miami. Where every other crime drama tends to focus on gritty "reality", CSI Miami is more interested in Alligators, Explosions and David Caruso's bombastic line delivery. Now the latter probably would be hard in comic form, but the character is definitely suitably over-the-top in his own right that I could see him working as a comic book lead. CSI:M is much less concerned with things like logic and consistency, and far more concerned with blowing shit up, and thus it has visual, easily pace-able action.

That and you can't have too many comic books with Alligators.

Sci-Fi in general is a very good idea. You can do a lot visually with sci-fi to make it interesting. Battlestar Galactica tends to be an exception for me as so much changes per episode. I find it hard to care about a story set on New Caprica when the fleet's all in space again on the show. Things like Laura Roslin's cancer, Ellen Tigh's scheming and that sort quickly become non-applicable on the show itself. Don't get me wrong, I like BSG, but that sort of thing makes a long-term series hard.

Basically, I think a comic series is best when it's allowed to develop its own self-referential continuity. Something like Star Trek or even Babylon 5 works well with this, because the series has a strong status quo. With a steady backdrop like that, it's easy to let a sub-continuity develop. It's not referenced ever in the show? That's okay, it just hasn't happened yet! Or it's subtextually going on in the background: Riker seemed unaccountably pissy this episode! He must be suffering the fallout from (insert hypothetical comic here). BSG is...too good for this. Things change so quick and extremely that building that sub-continuity seems much more impossible. Besides, the characters are so strung out and on edge already that it's hard to find a way to slam them with more crap. Sure Kara can be losing it partially because of comic events, but more likely it's because of the shit we've already seen...

It just seems limiting to me. Much as I enjoy the show. (I could be wrong of course and the comic could be tremendously good. If that happens, you can put money on me singing a different tune soon enough. :-P)

That said, I'd love to see comics dealing with some of the abandoned Roddenberry series. Andromeda and Earth: Final Conflict had fascinating potential that was never quite realized and were both visually stunning in different ways. There were many aspects of the characters only vaguely touched upon that could be expanded nicely into comics. (I'm still pissed that I never got a "Sandoval, you're my father." revelation damnit!) And as it's canceled now, it seems somehow easier to insert comic book continuity in there. (I suppose because I'm not so obsessed with what's happening NOW)

Also, I think there's a lot of cheesy Xena-esque shows that could make for vastly entertaining comics. The Beastmaster for example. The nineties versions of Tarzan or Sinbad. Relic Hunter or that one with the bleach blond jungle woman. Especially Relic Hunter...completely implausible stories about Tia Carrera the archeologist and her little British sidekick going around and playing Indiana Jones? I'd read that.

Anything that looks like wasted spin-off potential usually would work good, I'd reckon. Especially in horrible shows. Take Charmed for example. I have absolutely no interest in the sisters themselves, but that distant future with the two sons as well as any potential cousins and other siblings? I'd read that. Especially as the younger son seemed to remember coming back in time from an alternate apocalyptic future where his older brother was evil, only to be killed saving his older brother's infant self. And that seems like the sort of thing that would make a sibling relationship weird.

"Dude. You know, in an alternate apocalyptic future, you totally slaughtered my fiancee?"

Yep, I'd read it.

...I suppose it says something about my taste in comics in that I tend to think the more awful television shows would make more entertaining comics than any of the actually GOOD ones. Go figure.

What tv-shows/books/movies do you think would make for good comics?

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16 Comments:

  • At November 27, 2006 8:15 AM, Blogger Denyer said…

    Have you heard about this? If you like CSI (and, well, you like comics) it's is a murder mystery set at a comics convention...

    "Dying in the Gutters"
    http://www.idwpublishing.com/dyinggut.shtml

    (Pun on "Lying in the Gutters", the column over at CBR, and featuring a bunch of comics creators in the story.)

    Apologies if I missed something in the post, I'm just skimming right now...

     
  • At November 27, 2006 8:16 AM, Blogger Denyer said…

    As can probably be told by the appalling grammar and sentences revised mid-flow. "it's is"... gah.

     
  • At November 27, 2006 9:26 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Ooo. I'd heard of it but never seen it myself! Thanks for the link!

     
  • At November 27, 2006 10:06 AM, Anonymous Loren said…

    What tv-shows/books/movies do you think would make for good comics?

    That's easy. Saved by the Bell: The College Years and Family Matters.

    LOL!

    Actually, I think Battlestar Galactica has some interesting spin-off potentials if they set it during a time before the Cylon attack. For example, I understand they're developing a show revolving around the creation of the Cylons. Also, Dynamite Entertainment is doing a mini-series based on Tom Zarek. OR, if they show what happened during the year between Season 2 and Season 3.

    Another fun concept would be to update some of those cheesy (but wonderful) Sid & Marty Krofft science fiction series like the Far Out Space-Nuts or The Lost Saucer. Make them a little less kid oriented, but keep the humor. I think that could be fun.

    Anyway, just some thoughts.

     
  • At November 27, 2006 10:59 AM, Blogger CalvinPitt said…

    The Shield, if written by say, a Palmiotti, could probably be pretty good. There's talking, but there's also at least some violence every episode.

    Maybe Eureka, with all it's crazy science?

     
  • At November 27, 2006 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "That one with the bleach blonde jungle woman" was Sheena, Queen of the Jungle - here's her Wikipedia page - and has a publishing history in comic books dating back to the 1930s, when she was apparently created by Will Eisner and Jerry Iger. As the first female character to have her own title (and the character who popularized jungle women in the first place), there's plenty of comics to dig up for her. Unfortunately, the reprints of the Iger stuff from AC Comics seem to be out of print; I've never read any of it, but I'd imagine it's mostly Golden Age Good Girl art.

     
  • At November 27, 2006 11:31 AM, Anonymous "Starman" Matt Morrison said…

    Thanks for covering that, Mark. I was about to say the same thing myself.

    It's also worth noting that most of the Sheena fans HATED the TV Show for a number of reasons. From the casting of the main character (Gena Lee Nolin doesn't look capable of breaking an egg by stepping on it), the change in the theme (Sheena being a shape-shifter rather than a woman who can communicate with animals) and the costume (leopard-skin bikini gets traded for an equally imporbable sack-cloth dress)

    Bad as it was, it was still better than the early 80's movie with Tanya Roberts (yes, THAT Tanya Roberts) as Sheena and the guy who was the dad on Blossom as the male companion.

    It was bad enough that Roger Ebert sited three bits from the movie in his Glossary of Bad Movie Cliches, including how a man always grabs a woman's hand and leads her away from danger - even in a situation where she is more qualified to be leading. (The white boy fresh off the plane pulls the woman born of the jungle deeper into the forest...)

    As for me, it's obvious which one I'd want to see.

    Firefly/Serenity as a monthly comic.

     
  • At November 27, 2006 11:47 AM, Anonymous david brothers said…

    I want to second The Shield. Best show on TV.

     
  • At November 27, 2006 12:08 PM, Blogger Zaratustra said…

    Doctor Who might be better in comic form than it ever was in video form.

    Ooh! Sliders!

     
  • At November 27, 2006 2:40 PM, Anonymous green with wheelpower said…

    Z: HOW DARE YOU INSULT DOCTOR WHO!!!;)
    SERIOUSLY THAT WOULD MAKE GOOD COMICS!

     
  • At November 27, 2006 3:39 PM, Blogger RAB said…

    Andromeda has always been a sore point at Chez RAB because of how the star and his production company dumped series creator Robert Hewitt Wolfe and his meticulously plotted storyline, and turned a very interesting concept into a junky vanity project. So I was more than a little excited when, following the show's cancellation, Wolfe revealed the secrets of his show and laid out how it would have unfolded in the form of a very cleverly devised short story. (Choose a format from the "Andromeda: Coda" item to read for yourself.) A show with characters who are as visually distinctive as the Andromeda characters were could make the jump to comics far more readily than a police procedural in which the actors are cast to look fairly unremarkable...and Wolfe's idea for the wrapup arguably had a strong SF comic influence.

     
  • At November 27, 2006 8:57 PM, Anonymous Bill Burns said…

    IDW actually has done a Shield comic, written by Jeff Mariotte.

     
  • At November 27, 2006 9:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Dreamworks Father of the Pride,with Siegfried and Roy....in Las Vegas,with guest stars galore!

     
  • At November 28, 2006 7:19 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    loren: Hee. I'd totally read a Tom Zarek miniseries. He's so skeevy in an awesome way. (And damn if Richard Hatch doesn't look *good* considering he's only 3 years younger than Edward James Olmos)

    calvin: Ooo! Eureka would be awesome!

    mark: Huh. :-) Cool. Well, I did say she'd make a good comic. I was right! :-P

    matt: That's pretty cool to know!

    david: :-)

    zaratustra: As a Doctor Who fan from way back...there's lots of Doctor Who comics around. Where've you been? :-p

    Sliders would be *awesome*.

    green: would, could and did. :-)

    rab: I know, egads. First and the first half of the second season of Andromeda were so good! Then...pfft.

    bill: Cool!

    anon: I'm oddly reminded of a Siegfried and Roy cartoon show I saw as a kid. It was surprisingly entertaining. :-)

     
  • At November 30, 2006 1:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I know that the time between Monday and Thursday is forever in blogerdom, but my choice for TV turned into comic would be Earth 2. The only season ended on such a huge cliffhanger that I'd really like to see how the creators would have used it in the next season.

     
  • At December 01, 2006 9:53 PM, Anonymous buttler said…

    this is a somewhat different thing, but it was fascinating for me to go back and read the old marvel star wars comics from the '70s recently.

    the first few issues were just the first movie, but then they just made up various further adventures for the characters jumping off from there, with no guidance from lucas & co. whatsoever. the seven-foot-tall green rabbit mercenary who shows up is a particular favorite.

    then when empire came out, they jump into that story in the comic, but more importantly they finally realize that luke, han and leia don't actually have to wear the same costume all the time just because they did in the first movie.

    i tried to read some of the buffy comics, but they were pretty terrible. the worst one i saw had various characters from the buffy and angel series, plus the luke perry character from the movie, fighting a resurrected adam with wings in a maelstrom. it was like the old steve englehart approach of throwing 23 random characters into a battle and seeing what happens, only worse.

     

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