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5 dark and gritty graphic novels perfect for adaptation

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The recently released Gen V series is a spin-off of The Boys, which is the live-action adaptation of the graphic novel. The series is a no-holds-barred look at superheroes with lots of mature content (drugs, sex, and graphic violence). There’s something about this gritty take that raises the quality of storytelling in comics. Here’s a list of critically acclaimed graphic novels in the same vein that demand to be adapted:


Writer: Alan Moore

Artists: Alan Davis, Gary Leach, John Totleben, and others


Before Alan Moore created Watchmen, arguably the most popular “mature” superhero graphic novel, he told this tale about this Superman-like character and the morally gray predicaments he must face. There are no easy answers here, especially with its graphic depiction of superhero fights filled with bloody collateral damage.

Top 10

Writer: Alan Moore

Artist: Gene Ha

Alan again! This time, the series is about superhero cops in charge of a city where everyone is a superhero. While considerably more optimistic and comedic than Miracleman, it dealt with themes of incest, drugs, and racism. Each issue had a case of the week, making it a good fit to be adapted in serial TV format.

Astro City

Writer: Kurt Busiek

Artist: Brent Anderson

Each issue is an intimate character portrait of the men and women behind the masks, as well as regular people who feel the emotional and psychological repercussions of their adventures. Though not as gritty as other titles on this list, Astro City is for readers who want a little more substance from their comics than action and melodrama.


Writer: Ed Brubaker

Artist: Sean Phillips

Holden Carver is a superpowered spy in a supervillain organization trying to maintain his cover. The series gets dark figuratively and literally (thanks to the noir art) as Holden makes questionable moves for the supposed greater good. Remove the superhero trappings and this story would sit comfortably with dark movies like The Departed and Goodfellas.


Writer: Warren Ellis

Artist: John Cassaday

Think The X-Files for the superhero set. A trio of “mystery archaeologists” investigate the secrets of their world that largely involve those with powers. Planetary is an expose of the realistic ramifications that superpowers could have on a human being (and it can be quite repulsive) delving deep into the horror of it all.

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