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Something is Killing the Children, a Boom! Studios horror comic and one of the biggest indie titles currently on shelves is getting the series treatment thanks to Netflix and the makers of The Haunting of Hill House.
Trevor Macy and Mike Flanagan, the spookmeisters whose Intrepid Pictures was behind not just Hill House but Stephen King adaptations Doctor Sleep and Gerald’s Game, are co-writing and will executive produce a pilot adapting the comic written by James Tynion IV and drawn by Werther Dell’Edera.
Also executive producing are Boom!’s president of development Stephen Christy, CEO Ross Richie, and head of TV Mark Ambrose. Tynion and Dell’Edera will act as co-executive producers as will Intrepid’s Adam Fasullo.
The project is in early development but should it move forward, Macy, the producer opposite Flanagan, the director, would serve as showrunner, a first for the duo. It is unclear at this stage if Flanagan would direct episodes.
Netflix had no comment. The development, however, does put the streamer on track to work on one of the biggest hits, let alone horror properties, to come along in years.
Debuting in September 2019, the comic was a hit that kept growing. The first issue has sold over 175,000 issues over the course of multiple printings while the comic has sold over 1.2 million copies in the 18 months since launch, a rare feat in modern publishing not just in the indie comics world but even with Marvel and DC factored in.
The comic, which was also translated into 10 languages, earned an Eisner for best new series in 2020, a Harvey Award for book of the year, and a Ringo Award for best series. The first volume of the graphic novel, which collects the first five issues, has gone back to press four times.
Some observers have drawn parallels to the early success of The Walking Dead, another publishing sensation whose sum was more than the pieces of its zombie limbs.
Children’s first story arc told of a town plagued by monsters that feast on children, with one teen survivor telling tales that no adult believes. Into this scenario enters a mysterious young woman named Erica Slaughter. The woman, who occasionally converses with her stuffed animal, isn’t there to mince words but rather to mince monsters.
The book isn’t a Buffy the Vampire Slayer retread but a more mature work (it made the list of the America Library Association’s best graphic novels for adults for 2020) that is both scary and sad. Tynion’s writing incorporates flashes of gripping horror against drama infused by grief, alienation, family dynamics and LGBTQ themes while the art is somber.
The comic was initially due to just be a limited series, but its success, both critical and saleswise, has transformed it into an ongoing series. Slaughter as a character has a whole mythology layered behind her, and the character has proven popular enough to inspire cosplay.
Boom! is currently in post-production on its spooky series, Just Beyond, adapting its comic collaboration with R.L. Stine for Disney+. The company has a first-look deal with Netflix and has Mech Cadets in production as an anime at the streamer and is in development on BRZRKR with Keanu Reeves attached to star.
Tynion is one of the biggest names in comics, writing the DC’s flagship title Batman for the last few years, also acting as one of the architects of The Caped Crusader. He has written several books for Boom!, with The Woods and Mimetic, among them.
Intrepid was behind the buzzy and acclaimed ghost story Haunting of Hill House, which premiered on Netflix in 2018. The show’s success led to an exclusive overall television deal with the streamer and yielded a follow-up, The Haunting of Bly Manor. Two other series are on their way: Midnight Mass, a thriller, is in post after wrapping production last year with Flanagan behind the camera; and The Midnight Club, an adaptation of the scary Christopher Pike books.
Macy and Flanagan are repped by WME. Flanagan is additionally repped by Novo and VanderKloot Law, while Macy is repped by Reder & Feig.
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