I can see a future of animated mini-series, hour-long dramas, premium channel exclusives, mature content for older audiences, stylized CG, and mixed media.
The main reason I think that American cartoons will evolve from juvenile to mature is because the same thing has already happened in comics. I also believe that animated adaptions of comic book properties will help broaden the genres and audiences of cartoons.
Batman in particular has had many different animated adaptations that have all been interesting and entertaining in their own way. Furthermore, superhero shows are some of the few cartoons that feature adult protagonists. However, there’s more to comics than just superheroes. So I’ve compiled a short list of indie comics I’d like to see as animated shows.
Battling Boy is set for a feature adaptation by the same director as the cell shaded animated short, Feast. The cell-shading will help capture the spirit of the comic while also utilizing the medium of 3D animation. Battling Boy has a complex and unique world that would merit further exploration in a TV series.
With a live-action Hellboy reboot making its way to the big screen, it’s a great time to introduce Hellboy to new audiences. A TV series set in the Hellboy universe could explore side concepts and characters like the BPRD, Abe Sapien, and Lobster Johnson. There’s just so much material that it could run for multiple seasons without getting stale.
Mike Mignola’s character designs could translate well to stop-motion and elicit the same feel as monster-filled adventures animated by Ray Harryhausen
I adored the live action adaptation of the Scott Pilgrim series. But there’s more character development in the books to be explored. Scott Pilgrim could make a funny and charming animated show with a definitive story arc and ending. There’s plenty of room to have out-of-continuity episodes where the characters are just goofing around.
I HATE FAIRYLAND
I Hate Fairyland is one of the funniest comics on the shelves right now. Its colorful, cartoony art makes it already feel like an animated show. Whether it’s 2D or 3D, fairyland would be fun to visit.
Chew as a TV series has been stuck in development hell for years. The premise and the art are so bizarre that I think it would only work as an animated show.
Speaking of development hell, there were plans for The Goon as an animated feature film. No word on whether things are moving forward. Personally, I’d like to see a more desaturated color palette in line with Eric Powell’s more recent comics.
It’s no secret that I love Blacksad. I’m not sure if studios are ready to make what is essentially R-rated Zootopia. But with enough passionate furries and anthro-lovers with disposable income, anything is possible. The closest thing to animated Blacksad I’ve seen is this music video by Caravan Palace. If you’re going to adapt Blacksad, it needs a great soundtrack.
Rick Remender is already having his comic, Deadly Class adapted into a live-action show. As a fan of Remender’s science fiction stories, I’d love to see LOW as an animated show. The cartoon would look as beautiful as Samurai Jack and be as epic as Final Space.
While The Strange Talent of Luther Strode is my favorite work by Justin Jordan, I think Spread would make a better TV show. Jordan described the series as “Lone Wolf and Cub vs John Carpenter’s The Thing.” With The Walking Dead coming to a close, audiences should get ready for the new post-apocalyptic adventure. I think Spread would look fantastic in a gritty cell shaded CG art style as shown in the videos below.