Why TV Is Better for Comics Than Film

For reasons that elude only a few of us, it is common for lots of folk to want to see cinematic adaptations of their comic books.

Whether they just like to see people dressed as characters they love, they prefer live action over hand drawn art or something else entirely, this has been a common practice for well over 30 years. But is film really the best way to re-tell the stories from comic pages? Enter the golden age of TV, which if you don’t know is today, thanks to a mix of ever more affordable computer technology, streaming, and breakout shows like Breaking Bad and of course the worldwide sensation that is Game Of Thrones, TV has reached an all time high. In the midst of this comic houses have made some efforts to turn their books into beloved shows too. The Walking Dead, Preacher, Marvel’s Defenders and DC’s mix of shows have all been delivered with varying popularity, but this is still very early on in the phenomenon. Though box office money is far more appealing to Hollywood movie moguls, as a consumer you should really be crossing your fingers for more TV, here is why.

More Time

One of the reasons TV is superior to film is the amount of time you get, as far as minutes of content per dollar; watching a Netflix series ‘for free’ is a far better investment than a 90 minute film, but it’s not just about the cash. Characters need time to develop, plot points take time to advance and really writers need breathing room to allow for balanced pacing. At the very least, surely if all you want is to see someone act as your favourite character, ten hours is always better than two.

Episodic Format

If you don’t read comics as they are ongoing, maybe you aren’t aware of how their format works. Generally each comic comes as an ‘issue’ which is essentially an episode in part of a larger story. Graphic novels usually collect these together in bunches of around 6, which means you are reading several episodes at once. This series of stories makes for a perfect transference to episodic TV. Unlike a film where you are looking at a maximum of 3 hours, here you can easily transfer the stories from the page onto the screen without having to cut vital details or make shortcuts, meaning as a viewer you don’t get sold short.

Easy Crossover

One thing that comes as standard in comics is the crossover, this is where characters from one book appear in another in more than just a cameo. In film this can be very difficult thanks to actors having limited availability, their cost and the overall planning of the films not being as cohesive as a TV show. More than that we have seen that thanks to the deals made with certain rights holders, Marvel have struggled to use their own characters at the best of times. In TV it can be pre-written, pre planned and its not going to break the budget to get ‘ incredibly expensive actor X’ to pop in for half an hour.