This year’s New York Comic-Con was full of interesting announcements, from Spider-Gwen (Stacy) getting her own ongoing series at Marvel to Arrow coming to the LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham game. It was a big and busy one!
But one story grabbed my attention like no other. It had to do with the television program based on the Bendis and Oeming series Powers appearing on the PlayStation Network. A teaser was shown about the upcoming show during the convention. I hadn’t heard about this development prior to seeing the teaser even though I love the series.
What this means is, if you are interested in taking your comics property to the small screen, there are now more opportunities than ever to make that happen.
WHAT IS THE PLAYSTATION NETWORK?
I admit it. Before I read this announcement here at MajorSpoilers.com, I had never even heard of the PlayStation Network (PSN). I’m sure those of us who are bigger gamers than I am have, but for me, it was a WTF (What The Freak?) moment. I had to know just what the PSN is.
The information that mostly cleared it up for me was, of course, on Wikipedia. Here’s what I found there: “PlayStation Network, officially abbreviated PSN, is an online multiplayer gaming and digital media delivery service provided by Sony Computer Entertainment for use with the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, and PlayStation Vita video game consoles. The PlayStation Network is the video game portion of the Sony Entertainment Network.”
In other words, if you game on those devices, you’re much more likely to have encountered PSN before. That’s why I was unaware of it.
Of course, like all good entertainment networks, they want to provide original content when they grow up and be like the big guys. It means more pure profit and attracting new people to sign up for your channel, which translates into money.
It is show business, after all.
WHAT IS ‘POWERS?’
Since I’m still on the Wikipedia website, here’s what they say about that: “Powers is an American creator-owned police procedural comic book series by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Avon Oeming. The series’ first volume was published by Image Comics from 2000 to 2004. In 2004 the series moved to Marvel Comics as a part of its Icon imprint.
“Combining the genres of superhero fantasy, crime noir and the police procedural, he series follows the lives of two homicide detectives, Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim, assigned to investigate cases involving people with superhuman abilities, who are referred to colloquially as ‘powers’.”
Mr. Walker is himself a former superhero, so he knows much more about them than about being a police detective. Thankfully, Ms. Pilgrim is along to help keep things as much in line as possible.
Both learn from each other and learn about the different worlds (superhero and cop) as they also get to know each other. It’s a great post-superheroic comic I’ve enjoyed for years.
A LITTLE HISTORY
As great as Powers has been and is, it’s been a struggle for its creators to get it to the live action arena.
Sony first optioned the property for film production way back in 2001. In 2009, Mr. Bendis confirmed that there were indeed plans to turn Powers into a TV show, most likely appearing on the FX cable channel.
A pilot was greenlit, scripted and shot, but when filming completed in the summer of 2011, FX announced that it would be re-shot. Apparently, they weren’t happy with what they were seeing.
Things got quiet for a while until this announcement. Yes, Mr. Oeming told me during a podcast interview a while back that it was still alive, but they weren’t sure what would happen with it.
Now we know.
GET READY FOR ‘POWERS’ THIS DECEMBER
As comics properties continue to move into what’s being called “the frontier of steaming TV” (such as Daredevil going to Netflix), I think we’ll see more and more of this happening.
A big reason for this is that comics have a built-in audience. The people who enjoy Powers and Daredevil are going to seek them out when they move to live-action programs.
That means they’ll likely get bigger audiences than a new property that most of us don’t know about would.
The word is that Powers will begin on PSN in December. The first episode will be free for all PSN users, and PS Plus subscribers can watch the entire first season for free as well. Christian Walker will be played by Sharlto Copley, and Deena Pilgrim by Susan Heyward. You can see them in the illustration above.
Now, the most devoted Powers fans among us are likely to try and sign up for PSN to see the show. This happened to me once before when Stargate SG-1 was on Showtime. Many of us used to subscribe to that channel JUST to get that show.
The trick will be, how many will do that? Combined with the PSN subscribers already there, will it be enough to make Powers worth making? Also, I understand that one will be able to stream it through sonyentertainmentnetwork.com,
If this experiment works, look for other comics-related properties to jump to PSN and outlets like it. It’s kind of like Daredevil on Netflix – we’ll see more of the same if that turns out to be a financial success.
If the other networks have said they aren’t interested in the comic you create, you might want to watch how Powers does on PSN. And if you have a strong fan-base like Powers does, you just might want to start seeing how much support they’ll give you if you go this route in the future.
Who said comics are only for print or digital?