The Best Crime Comic Is Becoming A TV Series

The underworld comic book Criminal is being adapted into a series by Amazon.

By Jennifer Asencio | Updated

The comic book Criminal is getting an adaptation, thanks to a deal between creator Ed Brubaker and streaming giant Amazon. Deadline reports that this TV series will be executive produced and run by Brubaker, who will also be writing the script. Brubaker wrote the comics, which were illustrated by Sean Phillips.

The comics tell a group of interlocking stories that unite their characters in plots of crime and murder. The comics are all connected by the murder of Teeg Lawless, a mysterious figure who was part of the criminal underworld of the comic’s setting, the fictional Center City. Teeg was the employee of crime kingpin Sebastian Hyde, and while his murderer is known, very little was revealed about him in the Criminal comics, so how Amazon handles his character will be interesting to see.

Since the Criminal comic was an independent production, Amazon has been dealing with Ed Brubaker directly through Nick Pepper, Amazon Studio’s head of video-on-demand content. Pepper was already working with Brubaker to bring Criminal to life as far back as 2019 when he was head of Legendary Television. Also involved in that deal was EVP Development King, which is expected to get an executive producing credit on the series.

While Ed Brubaker is mostly known in the comic book world for a large body of work of which Criminal is only a part, he also has produced a series for Amazon before. Too Old to Die Young followed an ex-cop into the criminal underworld after his partner is shot, and stars Miles Teller and Augusto Aguilera. The series was written by Brubaker and director Nicolas Winding Refn.

sebastian stan
Sebastian Stan as Ed Brubaker’s best Marvel comics character, The Winter Soldier

However, Too Old to Die Young was too graphic in its depiction of the criminal underworld, and Amazon announced after the completion of its first season that it would not be coming back for a second. Critics called out the show’s violence against women as one of the main factors working against the show. Obviously, this didn’t hurt the relationship between Amazon and Ed Brubaker, since he is on board to adapt his comic into a series for the streamer.

In the comic book world, Ed Brubaker has worked on a variety of well-known properties, including Batman, Catwoman, Uncanny X-Men, and Daredevil. From the superhero genre, he is best known as the creator of Captain America’s sometimes-sidekick and sometimes-rival, The Winter Soldier. This led him to be involved in the Disney+ series that bears his character’s name, giving him plenty of experience that can be applied to adapting Criminal for Amazon.

As evidenced by his portfolio, Ed Brubaker has worked with both Marvel and DC Comics, making him somewhat of a controversial figure for some comic book fans. Criminal was produced independently of both companies with longtime collaborator Sean Phillips, who did the artwork for other independent works Incognito, Fatale, The Fade Out, and Kill or Be Killed. Phillips does not seem to be involved in the deal to produce Criminal for Amazon, but his imagery is sure to be included in the show.