Why I Cringe When I Hear 'Comics Adaptations'

November 29, 2019

 

Can we talk for a second about all the comics being made into movies/tv shows?

 

Lately, it seemed like every comic book I’ve been reading were made into or are in the process of being made into a TV show adaptation and if I’m being totally honest with you, I’m not sure how I feel about that.

 

It feels like when the adaptation is good and successful, it can bring lots of positive views for the comics industry. We can all agree that most of the people watching the Avengers movies have never even opened a comic on the subject and it probably helped to get a huge amount of new readers. 

 

That’s seriously awesome and I'm always incredibly happy to see it happening.

 

However can we talk for a second about how some adaptation are so far from the original comics, it looks like it’s coming from a different planet? And those adaptations just make it harder for non-comics readers to believe that indie comics are actually legitimately awesome?

 

In the last few years, I felt like the new trend was to adapt comics into movies or TV shows. At first I thought it was the most brilliant and amazing idea to finally give the comics community the recognition it deserves. But then, when the actual adaptations started coming out, I sat and cried silently as I watched them destroy, bluntly, some fantastic comic storyline out there.


I thought adaptation would be a good thing, that it would bring more people to appreciate the awesome and beautiful medium of comics. I thought people would realize how amazing a writer and an artist can team up together and bring to life those incredible projects we had the pleasure to read.

But the reality is, for that to happen… movies and TV shows need to at least… respect something from the storyline!

 

 

Just right now as I write these lines Lucifer is all over my mind. For real, I think this one makes me cringe the most. Now don’t take me wrong: I’ve watched some episodes, I appreciated the TV show as a whole (let’s say I think it was just barely okay but my mom is a big fan of it and if I say something bad she’ll be mad at me) but…. seriously, I would not say that this was adapted from the comic book series. At all. 

  • Concept is not even close: Lucifer is retired and opens a bar on earth. That’s all. That’s the only thing close to both medium.
    The Comic is dark, intricate and mind twisting as we can expect from the author. The TV show on the other hand starts off with the ultra cheesy, ultra predictable detective story portraying Lucifer as the weird and mysterious sidekick. Include in it dramatic and useless love stories and you have the worst adaptation for this comic series.

  • The characters in the comics (which I personally adore) are nonexistent in the TV show or poorly represented.

 

 

Another cringe worthy example:
I’m sure you heard about this one: Riverdale on Netflix and adapted from Afterlife with Archie. I, again, see no resemblance whatsoever with the comic. 

  • I don’t even want to talk about the concept: Riverdale is, again, in the line of detective stories. Somebody dies, then Archie’s crew try to investigate. Then there’s just more mysteries and more death and more questions.
    However...The comic is about a Zombie apocalypse.
    So my questions are: why?.... How?.... What???

  • Characters are totally different and in this point I must say the tv show did a better job in making secondary characters more interesting.
     

And let’s not forget the classic IZombie:

  • Concept is… okay. The tone of the comic is fun and whimsy. The tone of the tv show is… yet again a dark detective story.

  • Characters have no similarities whatsoever. Comic Gwen is a gravedigger and TV show Gwen is a coroner…and let’s not mention all the other characters that are just nonexistent. 

 

 

And I can hear you asking right about now ‘’But if those previously mentioned TV shows don’t pass the test, what, in your opinion, is a good adaptation?’’
 

I would say The Walking Dead is for me an acceptable example of an acceptable adaptation:

  • Concept is almost the same (Zombie apocalypse… you know the drill)

  • Characters aren’t so far from the original. Although different, you can still recognize most of them from books to tv.

  • When I watched the TV show and picked up the comics after, I wasn’t too surprised or disappointed by the differences.

  • Of course, the TV Show is a little mushy and you have Daryl who is obviously the money cow. I would have stopped at 3 seasons, but hey… that’s business right?

 

There’s also my really unpopular opinion of Umbrella Academy who is another good example:

  • I thought the comic was boring as hell (sorry Cidnya) but the tv show was actually okay.

  • Of course there are some differences, but at least it respects the general storyline and you can see panels of the comic in the tv show, which I liked!

 

So, I started thinking… Why is it that we are so easily fooled around by marketing teams announcing loudly ‘’adapted from the pages of….’’?

I guess that’s when I realized there is always a magic word somewhere… and in this case the magic word is almost always: INSPIRED. 

I get it: the creators heard the concept of the comics and came with an idea, that’s why they are so different from each other: like Afterworld with Archie actually inspired a darker version of the original comic, hence Riverdale.

 

But why are we so quick to consider these INSPIRED stories as adaptation?

I might have an unpopular opinion here but I stand by it: most movies/tv shows adaptation are made to please the general public and, unfortunately, they will slap an ‘’inspired by X comic” on it just to sell more to a larger public, the geeky community. And most of the time it works! 

 

Until we realize it is garbage (sorry not sorry).

 

And in my opinion, those inspired TV shows never even get close to the beauty and potential of the comics. And that is why I am so emotional on the subject: how can we expect people to start taking comics seriously when the other products are not up to it?

 

Now, every time they announce a new adaptation I don’t even get excited.

There are a lot of tv shows/movies that I’m scared to watch because I don’t want them to ruin my vision of the comics, notably:

  • Outcast 

  • October Faction (Netflix)

  • Deadly Class (Syfy)

  • The horribly received Hellboy (and you know how I adore Hellboy… This is on my super scared list)

And let’s not forget the rumors/upcoming projects:

  • Paper Girls (Amazon you better not screw this up)

  • Nailbiter (again, this better be GOOD)

 

Now I know this is a really subjective topic. Of course, it’s still a matter of opinion and everyone’s entitled to their own. I’m not saying all adaptations are bad. Some of them are super cool and nice. Most of them are tv shows I’ve proudly binge watch. But from there to say it is ‘’from the pages of X graphic novel’’... Please. Don’t even try.

 

Cause that’s the maximum amount of cringe I can take in.

 

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