One could easily argue that we are in the midst of the comic book era. With the huge success of Walking Dead on AMC and Arrow on CW, the precedence is set for other networks to dig deep into their pockets and find something to produce. I believe HBO should get in the comic book game because they are simply one of the best at delivering brilliant and entertaining television.
For HBO the trick is to find a franchise that fits with its target audience and makes it stand out amongst the rest. Walking Dead has its compelling drama mixed with a classic horror zombie slasher. Arrow has its dark and brooding teen angst mixed with moments of thrilling action scenes. What are HBO’s strong characteristics, that it can wield with authority and uniqueness to stand alone? Simple, HBO is well suited for gritty violence, smart humor and mature themes. The first comic franchise that comes to mind is Marvel’s, Deadpool.
If you are unfamiliar with Deadpool, that’s ok, he is a bit of a niche character. According to Wizard’s 200 Greatest Comic Characters of All Time he made the list at number 182. If I had to describe him, based on more popular characters, he is a mix between Wolverine and Spider-man. He has a remarkable healing factor that would make Wolverine envious and a crass sense of humor that would make Spider-man blush. But what would really make Deadpool interesting to watch is his other and more unique feature, his ability to break down the fourth wall.
Breaking the proverbial fourth wall would mean, you could break linear storytelling and give the audience something new and refreshing to experience on television. What is the fourth wall? Simply put, the fourth wall is the imaginary divide between what is actual reality and what is fictional reality. For example, Deadpool can exploit the knowledge that he is really a character in television or comic to manipulate the story, as if he could take control of his dreams. It is used largely as a comedic tool in the Deadpool comics and not so much to change any given story line; although the possibility is there.
Deadpool can be a very gritty comic at times. His super Wolverine like ability to regenerate his cells helps him shrug off anything you could physically do to him. He has lived through decapitations, bullets to the brain and much worst. He is probably the most immortal character in comics. This insane ability to rejuvenate his cells and tissue has led to some interesting and gory situations; which could only be explored in creative ways on a premium channel like HBO. Not to mention he is a very violent, sociopath/psychopath mercenary.
The Merc with the Mouth, as he is often called, also has a dark sense of humor that isn’t easily ignored. Much like Spider-man, Deadpool will taunt his enemies with puns and other jokes. Mostly because he is insane. For this reason alone Deadpool would be a dark comedy. If you are a fan of Fight Club, Deadpool would interest you. Jokes, gore, and mind-bendy-plots are definitely something HBO could easily do, successfully.
If this ever came to fruition, my head would explode. In reality the, ‘who owns what property’ and ‘how to split costs for those properties’, would sink this dream boat before she found water. Even if HBO could not get the rights for Deadpool, they should still be hunting for a comic franchise.