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What Could be the Next Walking Dead: An Introduction to Scalped

In this series of posts, we have been looking at what could be the next Walking Dead, by which we mean what intellectual property in the comic book and graphic novel world could be mined to become another hit television show.

So far, we have looked at the saga of Manhattan in the second American Civil War, that is DMZ.  We looked at the “all men are dead but one” adventure of Y the Last Man. We theorized about the supernatural and spiritual story of a demon possessed Preacher.  All worthy candidates potentially.

When you think of what can make a great television series, you need to look at a variety of factors.  Is the story complete?  Would it be reasonable to film cost-wise?  Does the story build a big enough world that you can tell other stories successfully other than just the main one?


Which comic series could be the next Walking Dead?

One terrific candidate would be Jason Aaron’s Vertigo imprint book Scalped.  The comic series Scalped tells the story of Dashiell Bad Horse, a Native American who returns to the corrupt Indian reservation as an undercover FBI agent.  Adventures ensue and in order to avoid spoilers, not much more can be said.

But this book is excellent.

When a comic book is good, my approach is to plow through it as fast as possible.  When a comic is excellent, I slow down and savor it.  After having heard this book get praised for many years, my local book swap place had the whole run on trades one day and I had enough credits to snatch it up.  And after a fast start, I have been slowly reading my way through it.


Would would Scalped be great for TV?

Here is why it could be a great series on television:

  • scalpedOne, it merges and mines certain dramas.  It is a mix of an undercover agent story but also a story of a man wrestling with his history.  Bad Horse is a fantastic main character and casting the right person would be key to the series working.  But it would be great.
  • Two, the world of the Rez opens up to so many stories, flashbacks, and spin-off stories that it would be compelling to watch.
  • Three, Scalped has a beginning, a middle and an end.  While there are some parts of it that could expand or contract, there is a lot of potential in bringing this one to a close.
  • Four, Scalped has really interesting, compelling side characters.  As a reader, there are rarely moments where I can’t or don’t on some level empathize with the characters.  That is compelling television in a way that a lot of television isn’t.  (I’m looking at you Scandal, a series where everyone is just worthy of spite and hate. You deserve zero ratings and you are taking up a slot on my television that should be occupied by a great comic book property.)

Read Part 1: DMZ, Part 2: Y the Last Man, Part 3: Preacher. Then tell us in the comments what comics you think would make excellent television shows!

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