(WARNING: Minor spoilers for Image Comics' Lazarus Vol. 1–3 and The Walking Dead Season 6)
AMC's The Walking Dead has reached an unprecedented success for a comic book adaptation on television. For the past several years, TWD has dominated the conversation of what great television looks like. The Walking Dead was first released by Image Comics in the early 2000s as a comic book, and is still going strong as Image's top-selling product. It's one of the most watched shows on television, and has been for years now.
Greg Rucka and Micheal Lark's Lazarus came out in October of 2013 under the banner of Image Comics, and it's one of the most revered comic books currently circulating the market. Not only that, The Walking Dead and Lazarus share even more in common, with distinct themes of dystopian societies and unorthodox protagonists that carry each series to new heights. The common theme that encompasses each show is the way that they portray humanity by having them go through impossible situations. Last but not least, the theme of the importance of family rings true in both series.
A Little Bit About Lazarus
The world is in chaos, and there are currently 16 families that rule world. One of the most powerful families, the Carlyles, reside over most of the west coast properties in the United States. Malcolm Carlyle is considered the most powerful person in the world because he has some sort of a medical miracle that allows his family not to age.
Each great family has their own personal weapon called a Lazarus. In the Carlyle's case, Forever, a.k.a Eve, is the daughter of the family's patriarch. The rest of the siblings are jealous because father loves Forever the most out of any of his other children. One could argue that most of Malcolm's other kids share no redeeming qualities as of yet, and it makes sense why Malcolm is so enamored with Forever. Plus, there's some weird incest going on (looking at you, fans of Game of Thrones).
Now, due to the graphic nature of this comic book, it must be broadcast on either HBO, AMC, FX, or Netflix to capture the intense themes of a society that could one day become our own (Hey, Trump won the nominee for President of the United States). In the spring of 2015, it was announced that Matt Tolmach optioned this comic for Legendary Television.
The Walking Dead was successful because it was a high-concept television show done almost pitch perfect by AMC, and they treated the source material with the respect that it deserved. The majority of fans would love to see the show air on HBO, mainly because they're known for being generous with their budgets, and this allows the creators to create something truly memorable. Here are the five reasons that Lazarus could be as successful as The Walking Dead.
1. Uneasy Alliances
One of the greatest things about Lazarus is that it seems like each family and family members are all trying to sabotage each other in the back just for a bit of power. This creates an intense dynamic that permeates through each issue. As of now, the Carlyles absolutely despises the Hocks, who runs New York in a fashion similar to that of the book, 1984. Furthermore, with 14 other families that run the world, there are an endless amount of stories to tell and characters to have fascinating interactions with one another.
2. Quality Of Source Material
There are not many comics out that you unabashedly sink your teeth in and just devour each page. Also, after you're done with your meal, the re-read factor with this comic is incomparable to almost every comic out there. One thing must be mentioned: When The Walking Dead aired on AMC, there were almost 100 issues that could be used by the television show to nitpick the best material. As of writing this article, there are only 24 issues remaining, but if this show decided to go the Game of Thrones route (10 episodes), well, then there's a good chance that Rucka may keep pumping these out and there'd be no risk of overlapping.
3. The Waste And The Serve
In the land of Lazarus, there are basically three types of people: The Family, The Serve, and The Waste. The families run each of their territories, and then the lucky people who were selected to serve each family receive accommodations that resemble something of normal society. They're the lucky ones that still serve some value to each of the families. Lastly, The Waste are people that have no purpose in society, but still must be fed to discourage riots or attacks for the way they've been treated. If Lazarus were to be made a television show, then the writers could focus more on these characters and their way of life. It's a very interesting concept, and somewhat relevant with all the class warfare talk in the last couple of years. This could serve as all the sub-groups that make up The Walking Dead, like The Saviors.
4. Premium Television
If this show could somehow manage to air on HBO, then that already gives it the advantage of being reputable. AMC can obviously do gore very well, as we've all seen in The Walking Dead, but HBO offers nudity and Greg Rucka does not use nudity in a gratuitous manner. By allowing these characters to be stripped down, it would be able to show how cruel of a society this is, and how they really don't consider The Waste as people. Furthermore, there are so many intense action scenes with Forever battling the other Lazari, that a longer shooting time per episode would do wonders for the show. Lastly, Game of Thrones will soon be off the air, and with all the different families ruling the world, this could be a nice substitute to one of the greatest shows of all time.
5. The Main Protagonists
The most important thing about television is that the audience must care about the characters. Forever is one the most unique characters in all of comics. She's impossible to kill and she has one of the biggest hearts in a world where everyone only looks out for themselves. Also, the family feed her pills that make completely obedient, and this could lead to some interesting conversations.
Furthermore, television could always use more strong female role models and Forever fits the bill. There's a scene in the comics that will just crush anyone with a heartbeat. She's in love with another Lazarus named Joacquim, and he asked her to dance. This is her first time ever dancing with someone, and also her first time dressing up in a beautiful gown. Sadly, her father knew what was going to happen, and Hock ended up embarrassing her. If Rucka didn't do such a good job redeeming the night, then most readers would have surely been upset.
With each great series there must be characters that the audiences can't help but root for. Forever might be somewhat of a machine with everything they've done to her, but she's a character we will rally for no matter what, just like Rick Grimes in TWD. With Game of Thrones coming to an end, and The Walking Dead approaching nearly a decade on television, there will soon be a need for another breakout show. Lazarus is one of the best comics out, and it seems destined to be adapted on the small screen. There are so many interesting aspects to explore, and plenty of societal issues that are plaguing everyday life that will hook viewers the minute they start watching this show. Lastly, if this never makes it on the small screen, at least we're still lucky enough to have it as a comic.
Check out the trailer for the newest season of The Walking Dead and start checking out other Image Comics as soon as you can:
Should Lazarus become a television show?