Problems ‘The Boys’ Might Face Being Adapted For TV On Amazon Prime

by Benjamin Hall

[**Trigger warnings for talk of politics and non-consensual violent acts!]
[**Spoilers and Potential Spoilers for the entire comic book series The Boys [2006-2012], including its miniseries: The Boys: Herogasm [2009], and The Boys: Highland Laddie [2011], The Boys: Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker [2012]!]

Amazon Prime is going to debut their adaption of Garth Ennis and Darick Roberston’s comic series The Boys in 2019. However, this adaptation has a few obstacles that could cause it to fail. Said obstacles are: Amazon’s founder and owner Jeffrey Preston Bezos, audience reaction to the source material, the adaptation’s differences, and triggers like real world politics and rape.
The foremost obstacle is not so much Jeffrey Bezos, but the poor public relations he has generated. One example is that in October 2018, he reportedly authorized the removal of certain worker rewards and replaced them with a “false” wage increase. I say “false” due to how the increase allegedly results in around the same, or less, in financial benefit as before. Though it has also been reported that the removal of rewards is apparently being reassessed (according to a Business Insider article by Isobel Asher Hamilton). However, bad public relations are bad public relations. Thus there are those who could be unwilling, or at least feel a reluctance, to pay Amazon and its subsidiaries (such as comiXology) for content or product.
Yet the original version of The Boys could also create obstacles for those wanting to see the adaptation. One of the possible deterrents is the prevalence of slurs in the work, and the fact that even the protagonists use them. For example, when we are first introduced to Wee Hughie, he’s using a gay slur in his description of other world aliens. Also those wishing to explore the source material first might have issues with how extremely graphic and explicit it is. Case in point , those who feel strongly about animal rights could be turned off by the horrific introduction of Wee Hughie’s hamster.

The Boys #29 (2009) Cover Art by Darick Robertson, Cover Colored by Tony Aviña.

Not to mention that The Boys is highly political in several aspects. For example, the origin of the character of Mother’s Milk, while horrific, is arguably a civil rights story. While the character of Stormfront seems to exist as a comment on how hate resides in certain supporters of political figures. Also the fictional company of Vought-American is a definite comment on the military-industrial complex, and their effect on politics. Another example is how writer/co-creator Garth Ennis repeatedly points out how propaganda can affect politics. In the case of The Boys, propaganda is mainly shown in the form of comics.
There is also the inverse problem of those who love or like the source material being turned off by the adaptation process. According to various interviews, this show is going to have a number of differences from the original comics. For example, the character The Female is allegedly going to have more of a personality, possibly one that speaks, and that might annoy some people (NYCC 2018: THE BOYS – Laz Alonso, Karen Fukuhara interview with Whedonopolis). Another difference is the fact that Simon Pegg, the visual basis for Wee Hughie in the comics, is going to play Wee Hughie’s father (Simon Pegg ‘The Boys’ Interview #NYCC – Bleeding Cool). Not to mention that they may tone down or change certain very sexually graphic events, such as those found in The Boys: Herogasm. There has even been one comment about the show lessening the political aspect of the comics (NYCC 2018: Antony Starr and Chace Crawford discuss The Boys and The Seven by Alexandria Ingham).
Finally, there is the factor of emotional and psychological triggers that may make the show unwatchable for some. For example, Butcher’s origin story centers around his wife’s rape and death. While the character of John Godolkin would be triggering for those who find pedophilia, kidnapping, or cults to be trigger. In conclusion, this show may turn out to be something too extreme for mainstream audiences to support.

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