Thrilling Graphic Novels with T.V. Adaptations

Chevy Chase LibraryStaff Picks

Thrilling Graphic Novels with T.V. Adaptations

The book is always better.

We all know that there have been some maddening movie adaptations of our favorite books. Our favorite scenes get cut, the characters don't look like how we imagined them, or the producers completely change the entire plot or worse, the ending. T.V. adaptations, however, have become more popular in recent years. With more episodes and longer run times, these adaptations of our favorite books might prove to be more accurate and more fulfilling than their film counterparts. Graphic novels in particular are having a moment in the T.V. adaptation spotlight, so before you stream some of these action-packed shows, pick up a copy from your local library to see what all the fuss is about!

Parasyte by Hitosi Iwaaki 
An army of strange, alien creatures has invaded Earth! Small but deadly, these "parasytes" feed on human flesh and eventually start taking over human bodies. In their new host bodies, the creatures commit endless atrocities across modern-day Japan and terrorize every human in their path. Some of these aliens, however, have chosen to live with their human hosts rather than against them, wishing to lead a calmer, more altruistic life on Earth. These parasytes, work together with their human hosts to defeat their evil counterparts. Be warned, this graphic novel does not shy away from gore and its animated T.V. adaptation, now available on Netflix, doesn't either. 

 Locke & Key by Joe Hill 
A little bit softer on the horror and gore but still full of suspense and mystery, Locke & Key is a dark fantasy graphic novel by acclaimed mystery writer Joe Hill. Accompanied by haunting illustrations by Gabriel Rodriguez, this graphic novel tells the story of Keyhouse, a crazy New England mansion with twisting corridors, locked rooms, and doorways to nowhere that is alleged to "transform" anyone who inhabits its mysterious halls. The graphic novel and its T.V. counterpart, which premiered on Netflix in 2020, follows the three Rendell children who move into the mansion following the tragic death of their father. But something is lurking in the house that wants the children's attention--can they defeat the demonic presence that torments them and make Keyhouse their new home? 

 Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan
The brand-new T.V. adaptation for Brian K. Vaughan’s Y: The Last Man just premiered on FX on Hulu in 2021. The graphic novel tells a unique and compelling tale about a post-apocalyptic planet Earth after a bizarre cataclysmic event killed off every mammal with a Y chromosome. All except for a human being named Yorick Brown and his pet monkey Ampersand. We follow Yorick and his female companions Agent 355 and Dr. Allison Mann as they traverse the new world, which has plunged into chaos since the event. The team, along with Yorick’s mother (the new President of the United States), attempt to find a way to prevent the extinction of humankind, hopefully by finding a way to clone Yorick. The graphic novel was published in 2002, and came under fire for its lack of transgender representation and troubling implications about gender identity. The producers of the new T.V. series, however, aimed to update and expand on the graphic novel, and opted to focus more on transgender experiences within the apocalyptic setting. Despite the strong female representation and the critical acclaim the original series received, the T.V. show promises to improve on the story’s more problematic aspects, with showrunner Eliza Clark saying, “Yorick’s maleness is not what sets him apart in this world—it’s his Y chromosome that sets him apart. Gender is diverse and chromosomes are not equal to gender.”

The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman

Yes, I had to include the classic zombie epic by Robert Kirkman, who's T.V. adaptation sparked a world-wide sensation. The comic series follows Kentucky deputy Rick Grimes who wakes from a coma in a zombie apocalypse. He joins with some other survivors and eventually becomes the leader of a small community as they struggle to survive zombie attacks, untrustworthy fellow survivors, and other thrilling scenarios. The AMC T.V. adaptation loosely follows the comic books and has a lot of the same characters, including Rick Grimes, pizza delivery boy Glenn, and the brave and feisty Andrea. Some of the beloved characters from the T.V. show, however, including Daryl Dixon, were created just for the show, and do not appear in the comic books.  The series, published in 2003 by Image Comics, ran for 193 issues and has sparked multiple spin-offs, including video games, novels, and several television series in addition to the original, so if you like the graphic novels, you have plenty of additional content to devour!

Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan 
Amazon recently greenlit a T.V. series based on the graphic novel series Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan. This colorfully-illustrated series follows a group of 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls who accidentally get caught in battle between warring factions of time travelers. They unwittingly get sent on a wild adventure through time, attempting to navigate puberty, friendship, and romance all while trying to save the world. A release date for the show has not yet been announced, however I have high hopes for this show, seeing as both Vaughan and Cliff Chiang (the series’ illustrator) are executive producers. With no release date in sight, you have plenty of time to read this 30-issue science fiction series that provides some much-needed laughs, action, 80's nostalgia, and heart-warming friendships.