My favorite comic book property this year had to be Netflix’s Sweet Tooth. Jeff Lemire’s original comic is one of my very favorites and was such an interesting read. The series mostly stays true to it’s source material but isn’t afraid to make creative changes that let it stand apart from the comic. It’s a sweet and wholesome story that sees a young hybrid boy and a grizzled survivor of the plague travel what’s left of the world to find the answers to what came first: the plague or the hybrids?
Anthony Canton III
There’s something to be said for a show that continues to get better over each of its three seasons. Doom Patrol does that in spades. There’s a level of self awareness, humor, and introspection that makes it the best live-action comic book adaptation I’ve seen. The casts performances particularly this season have been extraordinary. Nuanced, tragic, and some even angry. Brendan Fraser in particular has been a standout in bringing such a broken character like Robotman to the screen. We’ve had a lot of good to great entries in comic book tv and film this year, but no property quite understands it’s assignment like Doom Patrol.
My favorite comic book project of the year is Eternals. I loved how the film made me feel. Through the performances, direction and soundtrack, I felt the weight of human history, the joy of friendships and found family, the terrifying vastness of space, and the drive of needing to pull together to tackle environmental problems. Intellectually I think the film points toward the future of storytelling, in leaving behind The Hero’s Journey and embodying a more collective journey beyond binary perspectives. It’s a shame more people didn’t initially appreciate the film’s complexity, but hopefully that will change over the next few years, as the Marvel Cinematic Universe enriches its appreciation retrospectively. I’m looking forward to Chloe Zhao’s sequel and the Eternals themselves eventually appearing alongside other established MCU characters.
This wasn’t my first choice, but someone with impeccable taste got to that one first (thank you to my friend, JJ!). But in a sense, this show deserves to take the top spot. WandaVision was a pop culture phenomenon. Due to many production delays that affected several projects, it ended up becoming the first Marvel Studios project to be released after the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic and to say audiences were hungry for content is an obvious understatement. The weeks the show was on were some of the best ever to be a comic book fan. The theories ran wild as the show lent itself to the sort of online discourse that drove everyone insane by the sheer magnitude of some of the hot takes. Covering it was a blast as well. I must say that the Murphy’s Multiverse team covered that show as well as any other site, big or small, did. It showed us how much fun we could have while doing something that hopefully everyone enjoyed, and in a way, it became the stepping stone for the work we’ve been doing covering every show ever since. By the enjoyment I got from covering it to following it as a fan it deserves its spot on my favorite comic book adaptations of 2021 list.
I think my favorite comic book adaptation of the year must be Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. I have no prior knowledge or history with the character. So, I went in pretty open about the adaptation. I was hoping for at least some fun kung-fu actions inspired by classics from the genre. Yet, the film went above and beyond as I ended up with an incredibly heartfelt story that also manages to open up the MCU in a creative way. I cannot wait to see Simu Liu’s future with the character and what a sequel might offer.
This will probably come as a shock to absolutely everyone, most of all JJ, but my favorite comic book-based project of 2021 was not a Marvel property. James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad takes the top spot for me and it’s not a particularly close race. While I certainly loved Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings, The Suicide Squad feels like the most complete story. While the casts of WandaVision, Loki and Black Widow were lights out, the cast of The Suicide Squad was all but perfect. And finally, while Marvel Studios did a great job bringing some less-than-popular characters this past year, Idris Elba’s Bloodsport stands as not only the best reinvention of a little known comic book character in the past year, but also arguably of all time. After a year in which the comic book-based entertainment we all love was painfully absent, we had plenty in 2021 but none of them quite matched the quality of The Suicide Squad.
I’m as surprised as anyone to be writing this, but I think the quirky magic of Loki was my favorite experience with a comic adaptation this year. I was firmly against the idea of this project from the start, and you can probably find old tweets of mine stating the show would be a waste of resources on a character whose story I felt was already over. I couldn’t have been proven more wrong. Michael Waldron and Kate Herron managed to craft a fresh, unique spin on the genre that left me wanting more every week. Absolutely charming performances from every member of the cast, genuinely joyous twists and turns throughout, and constantly beautiful set pieces that begged you to keep your eyes on the screen. I think I finally understand why my friends love Dr. Who so much. Can’t wait for the next season.