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When Will ‘Daria’ Get its Comic Book Due?

One of the fun things about comics is something that is a failure in movies or TV (Hello, Whedonia!) can be a runaway success when transformed into sequential art. Lower costs, and lower audience expectation, make smaller groups of devoted fans worth catering to. And since you’ve tapped into a collector mentality, people will even re-buy stories that they’ve already read (Hi, Stephen King!).

This doesn’t make every comic book adaptation a success. Many factors are necessary to succeed in the long run. There needs to be recognizable opportunities for a new element which can be added through the comic book medium, and enough demand to ensure a proper release. One of the main factors driving demand, of course, is nostalgia. All those factors come together in Daria, which makes me wonder, why isn’t there a Daria comic on the market yet?

Daria wasn’t a huge hit as a TV show, and MTV has moved way, way past it – or regressed way, way behind it depending on how you look at things. Still, it had a devoted audience, and that audience embraced the release of the full series on DVD this past spring.

Daria also has plenty of opportunities for more stories. The series was set in high school – by all accounts an unrealistic high school. It wasn’t really much about the structure of school. Although it had a set cast, it didn’t really rely on its characters, either. Instead, it took swipes as society. It roasted the general population’s obsession with looks and celebrity. It showed how being popular is often much more important than being right. It was a satire. There’s no reason why Daria and Jane couldn’t be taking the same jaded view of college life or adult society here in 2010.

Daria’s art style and tone are set, so any comic featuring her would be instantly recognizable. And, of course, she’s been in comics before, in Marvel’s Beavis and Butthead series. There won’t be any mistaking her book on the shelf.

I think, though, Daria’s core appeal was its shameless pandering. Daria was an unpopular loner who almost always turned out to be better, smarter, and more perceptive than anyone else. Gee, I wonder if any readers would relate to that? All she wanted was to be left alone, but she kept getting caught up in adventure after adventure. Sound like anything you know? And, of course, she responded to whatever life threw at her with a pithy remark and an undaunted attitude.

Let’s face it. Daria was a superhero with combat boots instead of a cape. This show is made for comics.

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