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5 Gritty Comic Reimaginings That Actually Worked

5 Gritty Comic Reimaginings That Actually Worked


It’s hard to make up new and interesting things. That’s why reboots and remakes are so omnipresent. Invariably, the most popular subjects of remakes and redos are characters and franchises people enjoyed as children — the Smurfs, the Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sometimes though what people decide to do isn’t remake them as they were, but remake them as the audience now might (supposedly) like them. Which usually means making them “adult.” Or gritty. Or so ridiculously dark it makes vantablack look like the rainbow. Most of the time this approach ends in disaster , but sometimes they’re so glorious that they make the original one look like a fake piece of dog poop. Here’s what we’re talking about:

1. Sabrina the Teenage Witch plunges into demonic horror

The best horror comic running comes to you care of Archie. Nothing on Earth will prepare you for the horrific majesty of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Set around the fifties, this comic tells the tale of a doomed teenage daughter of a witch and a warlock, a girl who is pledged to Satan, whose boyfriend is flayed alive by witches, and whose blood brings back a villain named Madam Satan. This is a comic about blood, sex, and death — and it portrays it all unflinchingly. And there isn’t a single cheesy animatronic cat to be found.

If you took this comic back in time and showed it to Melissa Joan Hart it would melt her brain and most of the cast of TGIF. If you showed this to your parents, they would spontaneously turn into the band KISS.

As you can see, it has this sort of terrible beauty thing going on. These weird, warped images will stick with you for months. Somehow this Archie Comic has managed to be one of the strangest pieces of media out there — including the show Riverdale (which has full-on incest) and Afterlife with Archie (which is about a zombie outbreak).

Maybe the oddest part of all this? All three of these Archie products mentioned — Chilling, Afterlife, and Riverdale — are all written by the same man, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. This guy also happens to be the freaking Chief Creative Officer of Archie Comics, the same one who got his start writing (and being sued for) a play about how Archie was gay. Until Aguirre-Sacasa writes about his own life, there won’t be another comic cooler than this.

2. Wacky Races drives into the post-apocalypse

There’s not much like it today, but the original Wacky Races was kind of a trip — even if it was almost definitely inspired by the success of Speed Racer. The rebooted Wacky Raceland comic might be unrecognizable to fans of the Hanna-Barbera original, as it moves from a silly cartoon world into an apocalyptic future. Imagine Mad Max: Fury Road, but with a messed up sense of humor and a ton more BDSM. That’s Wacky Raceland.

Familiar characters from the show are back, having been given wasteland makeovers. Penelope Pitstop has donned a pink dominatrix-style jumpsuit, and the giggly dog Muttley is now a cyborg hound from hell. Matching the R-rated tone, blood and violence has also been amped up.

It’s horrifying… yet still somehow awesome? It’s like we slipped into another Universe where our favorite cartoon characters are themselves but grim, grittier, and sometimes evil (with a dash of sexy added in because why not). It sounds goofy, but the comic embraces the ridiculous, and is all the better for it.

Cthulhu sandworms may not have been featured in the original Wacky Races, but you know, they’re taking some liberties here.

3. The future of the new Jetsons is kind of horrifying

You might have heard of the surprisingly excellent Flinstones comic, but The Jetsons have their own book on the way too.

The new series isn’t quite out yet, but DC did release a small prologue. The story involves the mother of George Jetson waking up and leaving the family; she’s old, frail… too old. She’s over, her life is done. She brings her granddaughter, Judy, who tries to talk her out of this procedure she’s going to undergo — heavily implied to be euthanasia. But grandma won’t listen.

Back at home, George and the rest of the family realize who is missing and slowly put two and two together. Meanwhile, the Judy has been unable to talk her grandmother out of it and the two say their goodbyes. As the family rushes to her side, the grandmother undergoes the procedure just as her family comes in the room.

But grandma wakes up. And when she does, she’s a little… different.

Oh, yes, Rosie the Robot is actually the dead mother of George Jetson who transferred her mind into a robotic body so she could continue living as her physical body failed. She’s living the dream of every cyberpunk fan — minus the part where she cleans up after her family for the rest of eternity.

4. Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys go hardboiled noir

This one might actually be the least surprising one to get a reboot — after all, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys are detectives, right? It was only a matter of time until a comic came out in which the Hardy Boys are suspected of murdering their father. It seems perfectly natural that Nancy Drew would play the femme fatale who draws the Hardy Boys into a conspiratorial web as deep and dark as anything Raymond Chandler ever wrote.

Everything about this was inevitable, except for the fact that this is Nancy Drew and the freaking Hardy Boys.

Somehow though, shoving them into the deep end of the noir pool works wonders. Their charecters still shine through — and even the ridiculous plot seems like something that could actually happen. Reading it, you get the sense that the kids books are actually the made-for-tv movie adaptations of these characters’ real adventures.

As far as gritty reboots go, it’s less Dawn of Justice and more Batman Begins.

5. Batman teams up with… Elmer Fudd

This is, without a doubt, the single greatest comic book that has ever been printed, made, read, drawn or thought up. We’re not exaggerating when we say that The Batman/Elmer Fudd one-shot justifies the art form.

Fudd is our narrator, and his rain-soaked inner-monlogue (compweet wif swurred speech) tells us how he’s mourning the loss of his love, Silver St Cloud. He goes into a joint named Porky’s and finds Bugs “The Bunny,” a bucktoothed (human) scoundrel who has an infatuation with carrots. Throughout the bar are other reprobates including a man with a skunk line down his hair (Pepe Le Pew), a strong man beating the hell out of someone else while screaming (Tasmanian Devil), and a small bald man with a large head talking about a “puddy tat.” Foghorn Leghorn and Yosemite Sam round out the barflies.

Fudd calmly expwains he’s on a mission to kill the murder of St. Cloud. Bugs tells him that he did do the job, but was hired by Bruce Wayne. You can see where this is going.

If that alone doesn’t convince you, there’s a scene where the Batman and Elmer Fudd team-up and beat the shit out of humanized versions of every Looney Tunes character you can think of.

Words fail. This is what people in heaven get to read.

One reply on “5 Gritty Comic Reimaginings That Actually Worked”

excuse me, i have to go find that batman/elmer fudd story immediately.

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