The DC Crime Thriller Graphic Novel That Needs To Be A Streaming Series

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

In the battle between DC and Marvel, the home of Batman and Superman has a secret weapon that can be deployed at any time: the Vertigo imprint. Starting in 1993, DC editorial would use the Vertigo branding for comics that were too adult for the DC Universe, and these included names that are now familiar to the public, including Sandman, Lucifer, V for Vendetta, John Constantine: Hellblazer, and Doom Patrol.

All those have been adapted, but there are a lot of award-winning comics left that would make for a great series, not even involving superheroes or the supernatural, with 100 Bullets at the top.

100 Bullets Is An Epic Crime Saga

From the mind of Brian Azzarello, accompanied by the gorgeous illustrations of Eduardo Risso, 100 Bullets was a noir-crime series that ran for, of course, 100 issues. During its run, the series won the most prestigious award in comics, the Eisner Award, for the story arc “Hang up on the Hang Low,” which runs from issues 15-18. The storyline takes place early in the series run, back when it was still following the original premise before it expanded into a world-spanning tale of revenge.

Starts At The Street Level

The first few story arcs of 100 Bullets are fairly standard: a mysterious man, Agent Graves, shows up and offers a briefcase with a gun and 100 bullets to someone who has to right a wrong from their past. Dizzy Cordova, the first recipient of the case, is fresh out of prison and back on the streets, looking for revenge. The third recipient, Chucky, is also an ex-con, but Graves gives him the chance to get revenge against his friend, who set him up to take the fall for a DUI manslaughter charge.

A Mystery In The Background

A few of the early stories give hints of what’s lurking behind the scenes. The second story arc, “Shot, Water Back,” features a man framed for a crime he says he never committed, and it turns out he was set up by a woman, Megan Dietrich. Megan is cold, calculating, and playing a very different game than the poor restaurant she set up, which is the first hint that Agent Graves is himself playing a game.

I was late to the party with 100 Bullets as I didn’t start reading it until years after it completed its run in 2009. Once I started, though, I couldn’t stop; I had to know where the story was going.

Movie Plans Were Scrapped

Brian Azzarello was at the top of his game when he wrote 100 Bullets, with characters mentioned in the first few issues not showing up in person until well into its run and even the smallest actions having repercussions later down the line. This is not Game of Thrones, there’s a payoff for everything. Because of that structure, starting small and expanding bigger, it would make for an ideal streaming series.

Others thought so too, as back in 2011, David S. Goyer, the man who wrote Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, was attached to create a television series for Showtime. Goyer eventually scrapped the project, feeling that the political climate in America around guns was simply too hot for the series to be released. Instead, Tom Hardy ended up picking up the rights for 100 Bullets, and at one point, a film was in pre-production, but it never made it any further.

No Marvel Series Like This

This might be the musings of a jaded comic book reader, but a 100 Bullets film would be the absolute worst way to adapt the comic. A story this sprawling yet tightly paced needs to be a streaming series instead. The Boys has proved that the public will eat up superhero stories outside of the norm, and there’s no way Disney will ever approve of a blood and nudity-filled series like this one.

Under James Gunn’s leadership, the DC Universe coming to theaters is taking advantage of the Elseworlds title, and there have already been plenty of Vertigo adaptations in the past, so why not 100 Bullets? The cure for superhero fatigue could very well be found in a strange case delivered by a mysterious man in a suit.