Shows that are also graphic novels

Those shows were great, but did you read the sources they came from? You should.

With Marvel Studios and Warner Bros. making blockbuster movies and shows based on their famous comic book IPs, it’s no surprise that other TV networks and streaming services are scouring the world of comics to find the stories they claim , could be the next big hit for them. On this list, we’ll dive into some shows based on graphic novels that I think you should read right now.

A lot of these shows can’t cover every storyline in the comics or some elements just aren’t designed for TV audiences, anyway, if you liked any of the shows on this list, I’ll tell you highly recommend starting to read the comics they are based on.

1.

Preacher

AMC Networks

This Garth Ennis original follows the life of Jesse Custer, a small-town Texas preacher, who takes over his father’s church and is possessed by a power that can rival God. Jesse, alongside his unstable girlfriend, Tulip, and his Irish vampire friend, Cassidy, embark on a journey to find God after the disaster befalls his congregation due to his newfound power. The TV show did a pretty good job of adapting the brutality of its source material and an accurate depiction of the main characters’ personalities, but to really appreciate the product we got to enjoy live, I highly recommend reading the comic. There’s a novelistic approach to Ennis’ comic book writing, and it’s further reinforced by Steve Dillon’s illustration, which is why Seth Rogan and his partner Evan Goldberg felt it was important that the people see that on the small screen.

2.

The boys

Amazon Studios, Darick Robertson/Wildstorm/Dynamite Entertainment

We all know how amazing Amazon is The boys is, and with Season 3 just around the corner, there’s no better time to pick up the comics and start reading. While you might not want to “spoil” future seasons for yourself, you’d be surprised how many comic book elements they cut from the show for TV’s sake. Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson hit a home run with their turn on superheroes and showed the darker side of superheroism from characters very similar to those we know and love. There’s a reason Garth Ennis properties are in demand, so do yourself a favor and read this.


3.

The Umbrella Academy

Netflix, Gabriel Ba/Dark Horse Comics

When I first saw the trailer The Umbrella Academy, I was immediately drawn to the concept and plot they had come up with. Still, I knew it was a must-read after finding out it was an Eisner Award-winning comic created by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way. Like many comics on this list, the series took a few liberties by straying from the source material, which makes the comic even better when you compare the two. I really enjoyed both of them and I’m excited for this next upcoming season.


4.

Invincible

Amazon Studios, INVINCIBLE, Robert Kirkman LLC, art by Cory Walker, published by Image/Skybound

The only anime show on this list, Invincible, is from the mind of Robert Kirkman that you will know from The Walking Dead franchise and similar to Garth Ennis took an approach to superheroes we’ve never seen before. The graphic novel starts out relatively tame but turns into a very mature and intense comic with storylines that will blow your mind. The series had to cut out some story arcs to save time, and I guess budget, but it hit some pretty essential comic book marks. If you enjoyed the show as much as I did, you’ll love the comic and seeing Mark Grayson’s rise into the hero he becomes.


5.

The Walking Dead

AMC Networks, THE WALKING DEAD, Robert Kirkman LLC, art by Charlie Adlard, published by Image/Skybound

Like many others, I had fallen in love with the series when it first came out in 2010, but never thought of picking up the comics as I was unconvinced by the all-black and white artwork. After a day at Barnes & Noble reading the story arcs I had seen on the show, I decided this was something I needed to keep reading. If you think any scenes in the series are intense, wait until you read the graphic novel. I’ve always loved how Rick goes through some kind of evolution as he tries to survive in a world filled with the undead while trying to maintain his morals as a former lawman. This long-running comic has some fantastic story arcs, and I highly recommend it to anyone. Walking Dead TV show viewer.


6.

Lucifer

Warner Bros Television.

You may not know it, but Lucifer is a DC Comics Original, and while there have been many iterations of him in the past, the one we see in the series got his start in Neil Gaiman The sand man as a secondary character. Although the series depicts a dark-haired Lucifer compared to the David Bowie look-alike in the comics, the series is more police procedural than the comics have. As the show was a smash hit for audiences, it’s only suitable if you delve a little deeper into the character by reading his graphic novel.

seven.

Strain

20th Television, Mike Huddleston/Dark Horse Comics

This show captivated audiences with its fresh take on vampires from the novel of the same name written by Guillermo Del Torro. This novel was then later adapted into a limited series of graphic novels written by David Lapham, which garnered many positive reviews and showed an even more gruesome take on the events of the novel series. Guillermo Del Torro has always been known for having a dark, twisted wit for big stories, but seeing him illustrated as he was by Mike Huddleston in the comics made the horror all the more memorable. If you like horror, this one is for you.


8.

Locke and Key

netflix

Another fantasy horror show based on an Eisner Award-winning comic from writer Joe Hill. Locke and Key made waves on Netflix as a show, but if you want to see precisely why this graphic novel made it to TV, I recommend picking up a copy of the source material from your local comic book store. The unique supernatural setting and original concept of Hill’s Keys that unlock several different powers for those who use them set the stage for a great story. Considering that Joe Hill is the son of acclaimed author Stephen King, this graphic novel showed that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and that those many accolades were justified by its rich storytelling.

9.

Y: The Last Man

Disney-ABC Home Television

Unfortunately, the show couldn’t make it past the first season, Y: The Last Man is also an Eisner Award-winning graphic novel by writer Brian K. Vaughan. This series in a post-apocalyptic setting where a plague kills all but one man was another fresh take on the post-apocalyptic genre. Making the protagonist, Yorick, an escape artist with a monkey sidekick, isn’t the one you think would survive a disaster of this nature, however, with the help of a highly trained bodyguard and of a genius scientist, it’s a bunch of survivors you can get behind. It’s a shame viewers can’t enjoy the show anymore, but that’s all the more reason for you to pick up this fantastic comic.

ten.

Wynonna Earp

IDW Entertainment

When I first heard about this show I thought, “Hollywood is out of ideas,” but when I found out it was a graphic novel with a broad base of fans, I was intrigued. The concept of a descendant of Wyatt Earp battling the supernatural in the present day is new and original. However, the limited series graphic novel was released in the 90s, so the modern take on the series really puts a spin on the source material. You should pick up a copy of the comic for anyone who misses the show but maybe wants a vintage take on the character. There’s a reason the show and the comic were a hit; now find out why.

Have you read any of the comics these shows were based on? If so, what was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

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