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.
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.
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.