The 10 Worst Comics Based On TV Shows
We are truly in a golden age of comic book/TV cross-mingling. TV writers love dabbling in comics, while comic book scribes love how much more TV writing pays. Meanwhile, comics like “Buffy: Season Eight” and the upcoming “Pushing Daisies” series offer fans a glimpse at what could have been if their respective shows had continued. But we didn’t always have it this good.
TV-based comics used to be — and sometimes still are — nothing more than cheap brand extensions, poisoning young minds with their rehashed plots and artwork that appeared to be traced from photos (even then the characters rarely resembled their small screen counterparts). Join us for a look at some of the most awful (and occasionally wonderfully awful) comics based TV shows. (Warning: Chuck Norris and Jennifer Love Hewitt ahead.)
10. “Married with Children”
NOW Comics gave us some truly bizarre licensed material in their day (A “Freejack” movie adaptation? Really?), but their worst offering has to be the “Married with Children” series. It’s all of the wife jokes, with none of the raunch! The art was so poor that pretty much every cover had to be a cast photo lest the reader mistake it for another early Fox show like, say, “Herman’s Head.” Now that would’ve been a great comic.
“ALF” was an entertaining show (and a decent cartoon), but as a comic it outstayed its welcome by about forty issues. Somehow it lasted 50 (yes, “Alf” outlived “Gotham Central”) issues (plus specials), eventually moving beyond cat-chasing antics to meta potshots at Marvel’s then editor-in-chief Tom DeFalco. Nothing the kids like more than a good jab about DeFalco’s beard. (Or a fuzzy alien torturing a defenseless seal apparently.)
8. “The New Kids on the Block”
Adopting the look (but not the humor) of the New Kids’ hit cartoon, the short-lived comic book was in desperate need of more Bizcut antics. (You know you’re in trouble when your comic is nothing more than a giant ad for your 1-900 chat line.) Still, it easily wins the award for the most mullets outside of a Rob Liefeld cover.
7. “Ghost Whisperer”
IDW’s Jennifer Love Hewitt brand extension has all the markings of a terrible TV show tie-in comic: glossy photo covers, stiff artwork that was clearly approved by committee, and stories straight from the writers’ room “reject” pile. The best that can be said for the book is that it’s not the worst thing Hewitt’s been involved with. (That would be Jamie Kennedy.)
6. “Sledge Hammer!”
No one was a bigger fan of “Sledge Hammer!” (and its catchy Danny Elfman-penned theme) than us during the ’80s. But did it really need a comic ? Marvel zombies joke that Spider-Man (or Wolverine) usually pop up in any new book around issue five. Well, ol’ Webhead turned up in issue two. Brandishing a gun. (And it wasn’t even really him.) One can only imagine what events would have transpired if the series lived to see a third issue. Perhaps Captain America paying a visit to Reagan with an A-bomb strapped to his chest?
5. “Saved by the Bell”
Look, we don’t expect much from a “Saved by the Bell” comic. We know it’s ultimately just going to rehash old “Archie” stories. But is it too much to ask that the Bayside gang at least somewhat resemble their TV counterparts? You’re telling us no one signed off on likeness rights? Even Dustin Diamond? Screech resembles a cross between Horshack and Doug Henning, while Elizabeth Berkley looks more like Elizabeth Perkins. This is worse than that boring summer season with Leah Remini.
“Viper” was a poor-man’s “Knight Rider” at best (and a big ad for the Dodge Viper), but in 1994 DC fancied it their ticket to licensed comic gold. Ace cover artist Howard Chaykin lured in readers, but the interiors were bland even by ’90s DC standards. Thankfully it’s failure saved us from DC adapting other ’90s TV duds like “VR.5″ or “Boston Common.”
3. “Chuck Norris Karate Kommandoes”
In a decade full of shameless celebrity cash-ins, “Karate Kommandoes” was easily the worst (and most offensive) of the bunch. (The short-lived toy and cartoon featured everything from a dim-witted Sumo wrestler to a Short-Round rip-off named “Too Much.”) Unsurprisingly, Marvel’s kid-targeted Star line produced a few issues of a comic, drawn by the legendary Steve Ditko. Yes, the co-creator of Spider-Man penciled a comic featuring a character named “Super Ninja.”
2. “Beauty and the Beast”
First of all, what the hell is happening in this cover? Hellboy and Sarah Connor staring at each other intensely, Nazis, weird old people…This would be a prime candidate for Photoshop Disasters if Photoshop had been readily available in 1989. (Please don’t tell us someone actually painted this monstrosity.) Wendy Pini, of “Elfquest” fame, produced a couple of decent “B&B” graphic novels, but the ongoing series (written by the founder of publisher Innovation Comics) barely rose above the level of bad fan fiction. (Something which this show knows far too much about.)
1. “Kid ‘n Play”
Hip-hop duo Christoper “Kid” Reid and Christopher “Play” Martin enjoyed great success with the kids during the early ’90s, despite the raunchy nature of their “House Party” movies. Basically an extension of their Saturday morning cartoon, the series was agreeable enough until the duo were shamelessly forced to meet the Marvel Universe (in an issue by go-to ’90s Marvel guys Jim Scalicrup and Alex Saviuk) before promptly dancing off to the great pull-file in the sky.