Most-Anticipated Comic Book Adaptations in 2023
Get excited for Nimona, coming to Netflix on June 30.
We love the MCU here at CableTV.com, but Marvel isn’t the only comics publisher in the world. Over the next few years, you’ll see more indie and non-superhero comics get their time in the spotlight, with new adaptations in live action and gorgeous animation.
Get ready for these upcoming streaming projects based on comics and graphic novels:
Popular comic adaptations now available for streaming
Paper Girls | Prime Video
People have already compared Prime Video’s Paper Girls adaptation to Netflix’s hit show Stranger Things, and there are similarities. Paper Girls for sure draws from the same 1980s kids-on-bikes aesthetic that inspired Stranger Things, albeit with an all-girl squad.
But if the comic is anything to go by, we could also compare Paper Girls to The Umbrella Academy with all of its convoluted time-travel antics. The story follows four young girls whose story intersects the 21st century, the distant future, and the far-flung past.
Paper Girls is based on the comics of the same name written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Cliff Chiang, and it was one of our favorite shows of 2022. Unfortunately, Amazon mercilessly canceled it after one season, but maybe another studio will revive it in the future. A girl can dream, right?
Paper Girls is now streaming on Prime Video.
The Sandman | Netflix
After the success of Coraline, American Gods, and Good Omens, you might think Neil Gaiman would run out of stories to adapt for the screen. But Netflix recently got in on the party with The Sandman.
(Not to mention, also upcoming in 2023 or 2024: Marvel’s Emmy-nominated Disney+ show What If…? will adapt Gaiman’s Marvel 1602 story in its second season).
Much like American Gods and Good Omens, The Sandman plays around with world mythology and promises to bring life to abstract concepts like death and desire.
The Sandman is technically a part of the DC comics universe, utilizing characters like Lucifer and John Constantine. You won’t find Tom Ellis (from Netflix’s Lucifer) or Matt Ryan (from the CW’s Legends of Tomorrow) in either role, though, as this series reimagines the characters differently from previous DC properties. Gwendoline Christie plays Lucifer and Olivia Colman plays Johanna Constantine.
All ten episodes are now streaming on Netflix.
American Born Chinese | Disney+
American Born Chinese is a Disney+ original show from the director of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. It follows an American high school student, Jin Wang, who is paired with a new international student, Wei-Chen, simply because “he’s Chinese! Like you!”
The new series apparently changes quite a bit from the original graphic novel. In addition to changing Wei-Chen’s nationality from Taiwanese, American Born Chinese is focusing heavily on the more fantastical and action-packed elements of the story. Without spoiling too much, the 2006 graphic novel was actually three stories that intersected in various ways: one about the Monkey King, another about an “all-American boy” who is embarrassed of his Chinese heritage, and another about Jin Wang, the protagonist of the story.
These elements all mix together in the new series, and it’ll be interesting to see how they’re adapted. The show boasts a star-studded cast, including Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, and Ke Huy Quan, all of Everything Everywhere All at Once fame. We’re excited to see where this one goes.
All eight episodes of American Born Chinese are now streaming on Disney+.
Nimona | Netflix
Nimona was once a casualty of Disney’s insatiable appetite and tendency to gobble up its competitors. Blue Sky Studios was originally going to release the film in 2022, but those plans were scrapped once Disney bought Fox and all of the studios under its corporate umbrella.
It was an especially tragic move, because unlike other projects that get stuck in development hell, the movie was allegedly mostly finished. Of course, fans of the character spoke up, and eventually Annapurna Pictures agreed to finish the remaining ~25% of the film for a Netflix release.
Nimona, a story about a shape-shifting henchperson and the villain she works for, is based on a graphic novel that actually started out as a free webcomic, written and illustrated by then-college student ND Stevenson. He eventually signed a deal to take down the webcomic and publish Nimona in print, so only the real, original fans can claim to have read it in its pure, unadulterated web form. (We’re totally kidding.)
Nimona is now streaming on Netflix.
And if you’re eager to see more of Stevenson’s comics work hit the screen, look out for Lumberjanes hitting Max as an animated series sometime in the near future (assuming it doesn’t get canceled as well).
Upcoming comic book adaptations in 2023 (and beyond)
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World | Netflix
The 2010 Scott Pilgrim movie was so popular, it’s easy to forget it started as a comic. But it did, and it’s being re-adapted into a brand new anime.
But movie fans don’t have to worry—the entire original cast is coming back to voice the characters, including Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aubrey Plaza, Kieran Culkin, Mae Whitman, Brie Larson, and Brandon Routh. Bryan Lee O’Malley, the comic’s creator, is writing the series as well.
If you weren’t as plugged-in to the cult movie scene in the 2010s, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is about a slightly problematic, loser musician named Scott who falls in love with the manic pixie dream girl of the century, Ramona Flowers. But in order to date her, he has to battle her seven evil exes. Things only get weirder from there.
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off premieres November 17 on Netflix.
Fantasy Sports | Disney+
Fantasy Sports is a series of graphic novels about a teenage athlete named Wiz. She and her friend Mug take on challenges in several sports—fantastical and otherwise—in pursuit of treasure.
It’s a combination of 1960s manga and Indiana Jones-y exploits that leads to some weird combinations, like Ancient Egyptian mummies playing basketball. This one’s for both the fantasy nerds and the jocks. Equality at last.
Disney+ is turning Fantasy Sports into an animated series, in collaboration with the book’s author, Sam Bosma. The show does not yet have a release date.
BRZRKR | Netflix
Keanu Reeves took to the stage at SDCC, not for The Matrix or even Cyberpunk, but to talk about all things BRZRKR. The oddly-named title refers to a series of comics that the actor penned himself alongside Matt Kindt. The first volume may have just released last year, but Netflix is already chomping at the bit to spin it into its own cinematic universe.
BRZRKR is about a grim, immortal demigod who works as an assassin for the US government. Because we involuntarily have to compare everything to Marvel, it’s giving Winter Soldier. It’s giving Wolverine. And maybe just because of the Keanu Reeves connection, it’s giving John Wick.
We don’t have any release dates yet, but Reeves and Netflix plan to turn the action-packed comic into at least two seasons of an anime and a live-action movie. We’ll give you one guess as to who we think will play the leading role.
Something is Killing the Children | Netflix
Something is Killing the Children is that one comic you keep seeing at your local comic book store every week but haven’t gotten around to reading yet. Or maybe you have, and you’re already sold on Netflix’s planned series.
Like BRZRKR, Something is Killing the Children is another currently running comic from Boom! Studios. The comic, created by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera, is a horror story about monster hunting.
And also like BRZRKR, we don’t have a release date for the pilot, but it’s currently being written and produced by the minds behind Haunting of Hill House and Doctor Sleep. We’ll definitely keep an eye out for an announcement when Netflix announces the full series (and maybe another eye open for all those monsters).
Eight Billion Genies | Prime Video
This is the newest title on this list, as the first issue of Eight Billion Genies just came out in 2022. Created by Charles Soule and Ryan Browne, it’s supposed to be an eight-part miniseries. You might recognize Soule’s name as the writer behind the 2018 run of She-Hulk, which partially inspired the adaptation coming to Disney+ in August.
The plot of Eight Billion Genies is still unfolding, but it revolves around a central premise: suddenly and without warning, all eight billion people on Earth receive one wish from their very own genie. This leads to all sorts of intertwining and unexpected consequences, as genie wishes often do. (Don’t just take our word for it—What We Do in the Shadows’ last season was very wish-centric).
Since the comic is so young itself, Amazon only recently acquired the film rights and we’d be surprised if the creative team has done any concrete planning yet. But both of the story’s creators are on board with the project, and the ever-ambitious tech giant is hoping to turn its world into a full-blown cinematic universe with TV shows and movies.