The transition from comic book to television screen has been pretty popular over the past several years, and DC’s Stargirl is a good example of why. Adapted from the comic book series, Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E., DC’s story-driven, but still action-packed, television show has resonated with a lot of fans.
The process of taking great superheroes and their stories from the page to the screen has a long history of success, starting with Captain Marvel in 1941 and continuing with a plethora of heroes today. What are the factors that make this transition a success?
Understanding the Comic Book Character
One of the most important things that producers must focus on is presenting the character that so many comic book readers have grown to love. Although Geoff Johns, executive producer of Stargirl, introduced a few character twists of his own, television’s Stargirl has the same youthfulness, teen struggles, and naivety found in the comic book superhero. When producers draw beloved characters from the pages and present them as a living breathing incarnation with their personalities intact, readers and viewers are much happier with the outcome.
Creating the Stories That Form the Heroes
Another key factor in the success of the path from comic book to television show is attention to the stories outlined in the comic books. DC’s television Stargirl sticks closely enough to the comics that readers and viewers get a feel for Courtney’s struggles as she tries to balance her school life with her superhero life. The issues she faces in the televised episodes are clearly influenced by the comic book stories. This also includes the creation of sidekicks and other characters who play important roles in the life of the superhero.
Presenting Action Without Too Much Violence
When families settle down for an evening of television, some carefully planned and choreographed action scenes can keep everyone entertained. This puts some pressure on the producers and directors to make sure that these scenes are entertaining and not-too stressful, with just enough doubt about the hero’s ability to win to ensure a sense of triumph when the final blow has landed. This is no problem for Stargirl who is still learning to control her powers.
Although are clearly many comic books that have dark themes and plenty of gory action, this isn’t the case for Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. and it isn’t the case of the television show, either. This is a show that is safe for families to enjoy together.
Focusing On the Details
Finally, take a look at the great costumes worn by Brec Bassinger, who plays Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl, and her fellow crewmates. Attention to the small details sketched out on comic book pages is a mainstay for fans of those comics. Fans of the television show, even if they haven’t read the comics, are sure to notice flaws in the details of costumes, the setting, and aspects of the story. When writers, producers, and directors focus on getting the details right, the story on screen feels as familiar as the story on the page.
Families hoping to enjoy some superhero exploits on TV can enjoy Stargirl together. This show has captured a lot of the appeal presented first in the comic book version.