The recently released Netflix series “Bodies” has garnered attention for its gripping sci-fi murder mystery narrative and standout performances. While the show is generating buzz, it’s worth noting that “Bodies” originated from a lesser-known graphic novel by British writer Si Spencer.
The series, adapted from Spencer’s work for DC’s Vertigo imprint, serves as a testament to the enduring potential of well-written serialized graphic fiction in influencing film and television.
The Legacy of Si Spencer: A Tribute in Film
Si Spencer, the creative mind behind the original graphic novel, unfortunately, passed away in 2021 at the age of 60, a year before Netflix gave the green light to adapt his work into a series.
The first episode of “Bodies” pays homage to Spencer’s memory with a dedicated title card, acknowledging his contribution to the source material. Shelly Bond, former VP Executive Editor at Vertigo, praises the Netflix adaptation as “probably the most respectful adaptation of any project” she’s been involved in.
Si Spencer: The William Blake of comics
Shelly Bond draws parallels between Si Spencer and renowned British comic writers like Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison.
While Spencer may not be as widely recognized, Bond describes him as the “William Blake of comics,” highlighting his passionate collaboration and unique storytelling approach. Spencer’s experience in television, including work on shows like “Eastenders,” “Grange Hill,” and “Torchwood,” added depth to his contributions to the world of comics.
“Bodies” Graphic Novel: A Time-Traveling Serial Killer Tale
The graphic novel, which serves as the foundation for the Netflix series, introduces a captivating concept—a time-traveling serial killer. Set in London across four historical periods (1890, 1941, 2013, and 2050), the story weaves a complex narrative, and Si Spencer collaborated with a team of talented artists to bring each era to life with distinctive styles.
The Netflix adaptation, according to Bond, successfully captures the soul of the original while introducing an original element with the character Mannix, portrayed by Stephen Graham.
Comics-Based Media: A Contrary Data Point
Amid concerns about the saturation and fatigue of comics-based media, “Bodies” emerges as a contrary data point. The series showcases that lesser-known gems, when adapted with care and attention to quality, can captivate audiences. While major superhero epics may dominate the spotlight, the medium still holds hidden treasures in various genres, waiting to be unearthed.
Challenges for Comic Retailers: A Missed Opportunity
Despite the resurgence of interest in “Bodies” due to its Netflix debut, the graphic novel faces challenges in terms of availability.
The first edition is out of print, and the new edition, released on October 31, coincided with the series drop. However, distribution challenges have left many comic stores unable to obtain copies, limiting the potential for comic retailers to capitalize on the renewed interest.
Conclusion: A Testimony to the Enduring Appeal of Comics
“Bodies” serves as a testament to the enduring appeal of comics in influencing diverse storytelling in film and television. Si Spencer’s legacy lives on through this adaptation, offering a glimpse into the rich and varied world of graphic fiction that continues to captivate audiences across different mediums. As fans discover the hidden gem that is “Bodies,” it highlights the potential for lesser-known comics to find their moment in the spotlight.