Following on from my post last week about there not being any great comic book movie adaptations I want to highlight an example of a really good one currently on TV.
Stumptown was created by writer Greg Rucka and artist Matthew Southworth with Justin Greenwood taking over art duties from the third volume of the series.
The adaptation is on ABC in the US, making it the first network television series I’ve given a shit about that isn’t a sitcom in years!
Stumptown is the story of Portland based P.I. Dex Parios and her friends and associates. The first couple of volumes of the comic were limited series and told contained stories with the third volume beginning an ongoing series that presumably transitions from case to case. I can’t say for certain though as I’ve only read the first two.
I remember being super excited for a new detective story from Rucka and being very impressed by Southworth’s art. Rucka has been telling great crime stories for years and in particular his Gotham Central run is a favourite of mine, that was the day to day life of the cops in Gotham City with the barest minimum inclusion of Batman or any colourful super heroes. It felt way more like a police procedural than a super hero comic.
Stumptown takes any chance of capes and powers away by setting these stories firmly in the real world of the Pacific North West, complete with hipsters in bars, jilted native America business owners, war vets and enough other shady characters to fill a city.
The pilot episode of the tv adaption, which stars How I Met Your Mother and MCU star Cobie Smulders and New Girl’s Jake Johnson, adapted the first arc of the comics in one episode, but because of the nature of tv story telling compared to the page it didn’t feel stripped down. It did a great job of introducing all the relevant players, their motivations, a few character quirks to get in interested and wanting to come back.
I’m three episodes in now and am really enjoying it! There is a definite ‘case of the week’ feel to the show, but there is also ongoing narratives that have some light shed on them each episode. It’s following a classic tv structure but because it works well as Rucka was already following that structure on the page and had been influenced more by tv shows than anything else while writing the comic book.
I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with the characters going forward. I’m not so attached to the original versions that I can’t see past them and it’s been so long since I read any of it anyway that I’m just able to enjoy the characters as they’re portrayed on screen.
Hopefully the show is doing well enough to continue on, I have no idea at the moment as I don’t keep track of these things any more. I don’t know if it has a home internationally at all, but if you have a way of watching it I definitely think it’s worth a shot.