From the 1950s right through to today, comic book TV shows have delighted, excited, and entertained audiences the world over. Whether it’s cartoon capers and chuckle-worthy comedies, or horror stories and super hero shows, viewers have loved seeing their favourite comic book characters transported onto the small screen for inspirational adventures.
But if you’re fairly new to the realm of comic book television, what are the shows you should be watching? Are you aware of all the great comic book shows that have been produced or is your knowledge a little patchy in places?
Well, if you could do with a few pointers, worry not, because you’ve come to the right place. In this post I am taking a look at the best comic book TV shows to provide you with a guide to what to watch.
From The Incredible Hulk, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Todd McFarlane’s Spawn, to The Boys, Wednesday, and Legion of Super Heroes, I’m covering all the good stuff, and none of the bad. Below you will discover a list of the stone-cold classics, the must-see series, and the hidden gems.
Phantom 2040 (1994)
First up is a futuristic animated series from the 1990s, which often gets overlooked. The show – Phantom 2040 – is a cartoon loosely based around Lee Falk’s popular purple-clad superhero, The Phantom.
Set in Metropia in the year 2040, the series follows the story of Kit Walker Jr., the 24th hero to don the Phantom costume. In the show, Walker uses high tech gadgets, as well as his own skills, to battle evil and fight injustice.
The Incredible Hulk (1977)
Next up is one of the best-loved superhero shows of all-time, the action-packed adventure drama, The Incredible Hulk. The series – based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name – ran for five seasons during the late ‘70s/early ‘80s and was a huge hit around the world.
In the series, after being exposed to a high dosage of gamma radiation, Dr. David Banner finds himself transforming into a monstrous creature every time he gets angry. This creature – quickly named The Hulk – is a green brute, who is very different to the mild-mannered Banner.
Featuring truly excellent performances from lead stars Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, The Incredible Hulk is an engrossing, entertaining, and occasionally emotive series about a man struggling with the creature he unleashed. Across the course of the series he tries desperately to find a cure to his condition, which creates a great deal of drama along the way.
There are few people on the planet who aren’t aware of this next series, but for those new to comic book TV shows, Batman is arguably the most famous one of them all. This camp, colourful, and truly creative television series was a HUGE hit in the 1960s and is still loved to this day.
Starring Adam West and Burt Ward, Batman follows the story of crime-fighting twosome, Batman and Robin as they battle a never-ending array of villains, including the likes of the Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, and Riddler. Played for laughs, and with tongue firmly in cheek, the series sees the Dynamic Duo crack cases, fight evildoers, and continually save the citizens of Gotham City from countless crime sprees.
Wonder Woman (1975)
Onto another comic book series from yesteryear and yet another total classic. This time around it is Wonder Woman – a much-loved series from the 1970s, based on the DC comic book character of the same name.
Lynda Carter takes on the title role, as the star-spangled Amazonian, who fights for truth and justice. As for the show itself, the series sees Wondy take on an array of villains, initially during the dark days of World War II (season one), before the action is transported to the 1970s (seasons two and three).
The Mask (1995)
Based on the Dark Horse comic book character of the same name, and conceived as a spin-off of the 1994 movie starring Jim Carrey, The Mask is an animated action-comedy series about a superhero with cartoon-ish powers. In the show, Stanley Ipkiss has access to a magical mask which grants him unique abilities, which he uses to take on a rag-tag collection of foes.
Based on the Uncle Scrooge comics by Carl Barks, DuckTales is a delightfully entertaining children’s cartoon series, about an extremely wealthy duck and his family who regularly get involved with some high-stakes adventures. The show ran for 100 episodes, features a great case of characters, and includes one of the best theme tunes of any animated series.
Based on the Vertigo comic of the same name iZombie is a crime procedural show which follows the story of a coroner’s assistant, who helps solve police investigations, while maintaining the secret that she’s really a zombie. During its run, the supernatural series clocked up 71 episodes and built up a loyal following.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (2023)
One for younger audiences now, in the shape of the animated show, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. This lively cartoon boasts eye-popping animation, and some slick storylines, which make it perfect for the smaller members of the household.
In the show, 13-year-old genius, Lunella Lafayette accidentally brings a dinosaur from the past to the present day. She then teams-up with the creature to fight crime in the Lower East Side of New York.
Delightful, optimistic, and simply wonderful, Heartstopper is a superb teen drama about two high school students who find love, after developing a strong friendship in class. The show – which stars Joe Locke and Kit Connor – is based on the Alice Oseman graphic novels of the same name, and is one of Netflix’s most successful LGTBQ+ shows.
Todd McFarlane’s Spawn (1997)
Following the huge success of Todd McFarlane’s Spawn comic, which launched in 1992, HBO commissioned an animated series to adapt the titular character. The show – which arrived on the US pay-network in 1997 – followed the story of former Marine, Al Simmons, who returns from beyond the grave to become a Hellish vigilante.
Boasting superb animation, strong writing, and adult-orientated content, the cartoon series was a big hit with viewers and fans alike. In total it ran for three seasons, and clocked up 18 episodes.
Moon Knight (2022)
Based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, Moon Knight is a mystery-fantasy series, about a hero with dissociative identity disorder. The show – which stars Oscar Isaac – follows the story of Marc Spector, as he comes to terms with his role as a superhero, while also dealing with his multiple personalities.
Batman: Black and White (2008)
In the mid-‘90s, DC Comics began publishing a collection of standalone Batman stories, which boasted two key selling points: These stories were written and illustrated by top creative teams, and they were to be published in black-and-white only.
When the comics made their debut, they were an instant hit with comic book readers and received critical acclaim. As such, DC not only continued making them, but in 2008, DC’s parent company Warner Bros. transformed some of these stories into the realm of ‘motion comics’ (i.e. semi-animated shorts).
In total, two seasons of the Batman: Black and White ‘motion comics’ were produced, comprising a total of 20 shorts. These shorts adapted some of the most notable stories at the time, and while they feature limited animation (to say the least), they are a heck of a lot of fun to watch.
In Smallville, the Superman mythology is given a bit of an overhaul via a teen sci-fi series, which focuses on the early days of Clark Kent. Rather than spend each episode telling stories about the adult Superman, the series instead concentrates on Clark’s formative years in his home town of Smallville, as he learns about his heritage and his unique powers.
Spanning the course of a ten-year period, Smallville ticks off many of Clark’s milestones, including his first encounter with Lex Luthor, his romances with Lana Lang and Lois Lane, and the steps he takes to become Superman. The series also spotlights Clark’s insecurities, his fears about his future, and his relationship with his parents.
Starring Stephan Amell, Arrow is a fantasy superhero show, based around the DC Comics character, Green Arrow. The series – which launched its own universe, known as the Arrow-verse – details Green Arrow’s debut, as well as his rise to become the saviour of Star City.
Marvel’s 616 (2020)
A little bit of a change of pace for this next one, as Marvel’s 616 is an eight-part documentary series, which focuses on stories related to Marvel Comics. The show – which made its debut on Disney+ in 2020 – covers various different subjects, including Marvel cosplay, comic book creators, and the history of the Japanese Spider-Man show, amongst others.
The Flash (1990)
In The Flash, John Wesley Shipp takes on the role of forensic scientist-turned-superhero, Barry Allen, for this dark fantasy show. The short-lived series followed Allen’s adventures in Central City, as he finds himself fighting various villains, including the Trickster!
Robot Chicken DC Comics Specials (2012)
Up next is a trilogy of comedy specials which poke fun at the DC Universe. These specials – which ran from 2012 to 2015 – include Robot Chicken DC Comics Special, Robot Chicken DC Comics Special 2: Villains in Paradise, and Robot Chicken DC Comics Special III: Magical Friendship.
The 30-minute shows are sprinkled with light humour and plenty of sight gags. They send up some of the dafter aspects of comics and superheroes, while maintaining a sense of fun throughout.
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993)
In Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, the Superman mythology leans into a touch of romance for a fun action show which places its focus on the developing relationship between Lois Lane and Clark Kent. Terri Hatcher and Dean Cain take on the lead roles, for a series that ran for four seasons and was hugely popular during the 1990s.
In this adult-orientated, stop-motion series, M.O.D.O.K. is a supervillain who is trying to juggle the day-to-day challenges of his home life, with his career as a deadly supervillain. Does he achieve it? Well, you’ll have to watch the ten-episode series to find out, but what I can tell you is, there’s comedy, there’s chaos, and there’s a lot family drama in between, as M.O.D.O.K. tries his best to please everyone, including himself.
The Punisher (2017)
Based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, The Punisher is a dark, gritty series about a vigilante who uses whatever methods necessary to fight a war against crime. Jon Bernthal takes on the title role, while the support cast includes Ebon Moss-Bachrach and Ben Barnes.
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (2010)
Running for two season between 2010 and 2012, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is a superb animated series, which follows Marvel’s iconic super-team as they do battle with a horde of villains, including Kang the Conqueror and Galactus. The show is a lot of fun, includes countless heroes (the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, etc) and is perfect viewing for those who adore the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Black Lightning (2018)
Based on the DC Comics character of the same name, Black Lightning is a four-season superhero show, about a retired hero who resumes his career in later life. Cress Williams takes on the title role.
Set in the MCU, Runaways is a superhero teen drama series, about six teenagers who unite against their parents, after they discover they are supervillains. The show made its debut in 2017 and ran for three seasons and 33 episodes.
A decade after the majority of the members in the Justice Society of America are killed in battle, high school student Courtney Whitmore discovers a cosmic staff which grants her unique abilities and transforms her into Stargirl. Brec Bassinger takes on the title role, while Luke Wilson features amongst the cast.
The Addams Family (1964)
Creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky, The Addams Family is a black-and-white sitcom about a macabre, but loveable family. The show – based on Charles Addams’s single-panel comics which appeared in The New Yorker – ran for two seasons, and a total of 64 episodes.
Marvel’s half-human, half-vampire, vampire hunter, takes the lead in this one-season anime, which was released in 2011. The 12-episode show sees Blade go up against a mysterious organization known as the Existence, as well as an old enemy in the shape of Deacon Frost.
Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes (2006)
In Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes, Marvel’s premiere super-group do battle with an array of foes including the Wizard, the Puppet Master, and Annihilus, while fellow heroes Iron Man, Ant-Man, and She-Hulk drop by for guest appearances. The show features superb animation, and is a fun, often over-looked Fantastic Four series.
Tales from the Crypt (1989)
Inspired by stories published by EC Comics, Tales from the Crypt is a horror anthology series, which originally aired at the tail-end of the ‘80s and ran through the early ‘90s. The series – overseen by the Crypt Keeper – serves up various blood-thirsty stories, usually featuring some of the most recognisable faces in the film and television industry.
The Tick (1994)
Based on the New England Comics character of the same name, The Tick is a satirical animated show about a muscle-bound superhero. The show features sharp humour, as well as a collection of colourful characters, and ran for three seasons and 36 episodes between 1994 and 1996.
Following the success of 20th Century Fox’s long-running X-Men movie series, plans were put in place in 2017 to develop a collection of television series that could exist as loosely connected spin-offs to the X-Men films. One of these spin-offs was Legion – a mind-bending three-season drama, about a mutant diagnosed with schizophrenia.
The Gifted (2017)
The other X-Men movie spin-off show, which popped up at the same time as Legion, was The Gifted – a two-season series about a group of mutants living in a world that hates and fears them. The show focuses on the Strucker family, as well as a collection of mutants, as they go on the run from the shadowy organisation known as Sentinel Services.
Batman: The Animated Series (1992)
There are many great television shows on this list, but one which stands at the very top, and towers over many of its peers is Batman: The Animated Series. The show – which features the voice of Kevin Conroy – is without doubt one of the greatest cartoons of all-time, as well as one of the best interpretations of the Batman mythology outside of the comics.
Batman: The Animated Series boasts fantastic character designs, excellent animation, and some of the strongest writing on television. The highly influential show helped to elevate the quality of animated shows in the 1990s and is still loved today.
Superman: The Animated Series (1996)
And you can’t have Batman: The Animated Series without its stable-mate, Superman: The Animated Series. As with its counterpart, the show is a superb showcase of Superman characters and stories, with Tim Daly providing vocal duties for the titular character.
Following a series of tragic events in her life, Wanda Maximoff suffers a mental breakdown and creates a new reality inspired by classic sitcoms. In this reality, Wanda has a house, a husband, two children, and the perfect existence, but sadly it is all a façade which she struggles to maintain.
Filled with action, adventure, and plenty of laughs, Hawkeye is a rip-roaring comic book series which focuses on the former Avenger, and his attempts to readjust to normal life following the events of Avengers: Endgame. However, readjustment isn’t easy, especially when the young Kate Bishop comes into his life, looking for a mentor.
In this live-action series, based on the Teen Titans comics, Nightwing, Starfire, Beast Boy, and Raven step into the spotlight for some gritty action, and plenty of drama. The show features various fan-favourite characters from the DC Universe, and ran for four seasons.
Doom Patrol (2019)
More DC-action in this next series – the superhero comedy-drama, Doom Patrol. The show follows the story of a team of super-powered heroes who receive their abilities through tragic circumstances.
Static Shock (2000)
In animated show, Static Shock, 14-year-old boy Virgil Hawkins uses his secret identity, Static, to fight crime. Phil LaMarr voices Hawkins, in this very popular series which ran for four seasons between 2000 and 2004.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996)
Based on the Harvey Comics character of the same name, Sabrina the Teenage Witch is a light-hearted comedy about a young girl who discovers she has magical powers. The series stars Melissa Joan Hart as the titular Sabrina, who lives with her aunts Hilda and Zelda, as well as their talking cat, Salem.
Agent Carter (2015)
Conceived as a spin-off from Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Agent Carter is a period drama which mixes action-adventure with the spy genre. Set during the 1940s, shortly after the events of World War II, Hayley Atwell takes on the lead role of Peggy Carter.
Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994)
Arguably the best Spider-Man animated show to date, Spider-Man: The Animated Series is a five-season cartoon which focuses on Spidey’s interactions with many of his most famous foes. Hugely popular during the 1990s, the series covered many of Spider-Man’s most iconic storylines, and introduced a wealth of characters from the comics.
The Batman (2004)
Set during the early days of Batman’s crime-fighting career, The Batman sees Bruce Wayne take to the streets of Gotham City to tackle the likes of the Penguin and the Joker. Initially Batman works alone, but as the series progresses he is soon joined by Batgirl, Robin, and the Justice League in his fight against the forces of evil.
Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but operating in a dark corner, Daredevil is a gritty action-drama about blind lawyer Matt Murdock, and his double-life as a masked vigilante. The show stars Charlie Cox as the titular hero, while Vincent D’Onofrio excels as the villainous Kingpin.
Based on the DC Comics character of the same name, Lucifer is a supernatural drama series, starring Tom Ellis. The show follows the story of Lucifer Morning Star (DC’s version of the Devil), after he abandons Hell to run a nightclub in LA.
X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men (1989)
A bit of a forgotten show here, largely because it exists as a one-off episode, and nothing more. The show is X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men – a failed, 20-minute pilot that was created in order to kick-start an animated series.
That animated series never went beyond the pilot, but don’t for one minute think this single episode isn’t worth your time. The animation is superb, the story is fun, and Pryde of the X-Men offers a glimpse of what could have been, had a series been given the greenlight.
Envisioned as a loose continuation of the Watchmen comics, the Watchmen television series focuses on a new set of characters and their experiences surrounding racist violence in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The series – created by Damon Lindelof – stars Regina King, Don Johnson, and Tim Blake Nelson.
Set during the early years of Bruce Wayne’s life, long before he transforms into the Dark Knight, Gotham is a Batman-prequel series, which focuses its attention on crime and corruption in the city. The show – which ran for 100 episodes – features various iconic villains, while at the same time it details some of the steps that Bruce Wayne takes as he moves closer to his career as a crime-fighter.
Weird Science (1994)
Designed as a spin-off of the 1985 movie of the same name, which in turn was inspired by an EC Comic, Weird Science is a TV sitcom about two high-school students, and an artificially created woman, who find themselves getting up to mischief on a regular basis. The show originally aired between 1994 and 1998, clocking up five seasons and 88 episodes in the process.
Preacher is a four-season supernatural adventure show, which revolves around hard-drinking, chain smoker, Jesse Custer – a preacher who finds himself with an extraordinary power. The series is based on the DC Comics/Vertigo comic book of the same name, and stars Dominic Cooper, Joseph Gilgun, and Ruth Negga.
A little dated by today’s standards, but still a heap of fun (if you’re in the right frame of mind), Spider-Man is a 1967 animated show which sees the eponymous wall-crawler locked in battle with various adversaries. The series is probably best remembered for its iconic theme tune, rather than its stories, but it should also be appreciated for being the first series to be based on Spidey (a character who didn’t exist until 1962).
Adventures of Superman (1952)
Of all the shows featured on this list, 1952’s Adventures of Superman is by far the oldest. As such, this is one of those shows which has dated considerably, and is probably a little too slow for modern tastes.
But if you can look past the simplistic stories, and its limited special effects, Adventures of Superman is a real gem, which boasts a number of brilliant episodes. The series stars George Reeves in the title role, and it was a colossal hit in the ‘50s.
Based on the comic book character of the same name, Invincible is an adult-orientated animated show about a teenage super hero. The series features the voice talents of Steven Yeun, J.K. Simmons, and Gillian Jacobs, and is filled with lots of drama, and plenty of super hero action.
Jessica Jones (2015)
Starring Krysten Ritter, Jessica Jones is a neo-noir thriller, about an ex-superhero, who now operates as a private detective. The series follows as Jones as she takes on cases, while battling villains including the terrifying Kilgrave.
Luke Cage (2016)
Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (in the same corner of the MCU as The Punisher, Daredevil, and Jessica Jones), Luke Cage is an action series about a former convict, who boasts superhuman strength and unbreakable skin. The show stars Mike Colter in the title role, and is a slick series, which packs a punch!
A bit of an unusual one here, that you may have to hunt down, but it is worth your time – especially if you’re a fan of the 1966 Batman television series. Batgirl is effectively a short pilot, that was created as a spin-off of the Batman show, with Yvonne Craig in the title role.
This pilot episode was never turned into a long-running series, and it only lasts a few minutes in length, but it is a great little piece of Bat-action (if you can find it). In the episode, Batgirl joins forces with Batman and Robin as they take on Killer Moth and his henchmen, at the Gotham library!
Men in Black: The Series (1997)
Conceived as an animated spin-off from the live-action Men in Black movies, Men in Black: The Series is a quirky cartoon, which follows the further adventures of Agents ‘J’ and ‘K’. Largely forgotten about these days, the series was successful in its own right, and is perfect for those who like to see more cases from the MIB team.
Young Justice (2010)
Featuring a collection of iconic DC Comics characters, including Robin, Kid Flash, and Miss Martian, Young Justice is an animated superhero show, about a team of teen heroes. The show made its debut in 2010, where it lasted just two seasons, but due to fan-demand, the series was resurrected in 2019 for additional seasons.
Based on characters from The Addams Family, Wednesday is a teen mystery series, which follows the story of Wednesday Addams as she attempts to solve a murder at her new school. Jenna Ortega takes on the title role, while Catherine Zeta-Jones drops by as Morticia Addams and Luis Guzmán plays Gomez.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987)
Phenomenally popular during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a whacky animated adventure series, featuring four pizza-loving humanoid turtles, better known as Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo. The series – which ran for a whopping ten seasons – follows the Turtles as they continually lock heads with villains, Shredder and Krang.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)
Set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a sci-fi action show about a peacekeeping organisation, led by Agent Phil Coulson. Picking up shortly after the events of The Avengers (2012), before moving off in its own direction entirely, the series developed a loyal following across seven seasons and 136 episodes.
Superman’s cousin Kara takes the spotlight in Supergirl – a sci-fi action show set within the Arrowverse. Melissa Benoist takes the lead role in the show, while the supporting cast includes Mehcad Brooks, Chyler Leigh, Jeremy Jordan, and David Harewood.
The Flash (2014)
Grant Gustin takes the lead in this highly enjoyable sci-fi show about the scarlet speedster and his adventures in Central City. The show features an ensemble cast, boasts plenty of multiverse shenanigans, and thanks to its nine-season run it is one of the most successful entries in the Arrowverse.
Legion of Super Heroes (2006)
Set in the 31st Century, Legion of Super Heroes is an animated series about a team of super-powered heroes who fight the good fight in the far-flung future. To back them up, the Legion are joined by not one, but two Supermen: A young Superman from the past, and a hero from the 41st Century called Superman X.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008)
There are a number of Batman cartoons on this list, but the zaniest, whackiest one of them all is Batman: The Brave and the Bold – a colourful show, which takes inspiration from the Silver Age of DC Comics. Across the course of three seasons, the series sees Batman team up with various heroes, for some completely bonkers, but totally awesome adventures.
Ms. Marvel (2022)
Following the story of teen superhero, Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel is a coming-of-age tale about an Avengers fangirl who develops powers of her own. The show made its debut on Disney+ in 2022, and showcases great visuals, a solid story, and a strong supporting cast.
Toxic Crusaders (1991)
A bit of a cheat for this next one, as this ‘90s cartoon isn’t actually based on a comic; however, it is a superhero show, so makes it onto the list by default. The show is Toxic Crusaders – a whacky, off-the-wall animated series, based around the Toxic Avenger movies.
In the show, Toxie is a hideously deformed super hero of super human size and strength, who works together with his fellow misfits to wipe out crime in his home city. But while he achieves his goal with each episode, things would be a lot simpler if the evil Dr. Killemoff wasn’t getting in the way.
Another slight cheat here, because Freakazoid! also isn’t based on a comic book – but it sure as heck feels like it should be! Created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini (two of the creative bods behind Batman: The Animated Series), Freakazoid! is a comedic cartoon, about a teenage superhero who battles a collection of really quite bizarre bad guys.
Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight (2005)
In 2005, Warner Bros. Home Video released ‘special edition’ copies of the Batman Anthology movies (1989 – 1997) onto DVD. As part of that release, each DVD incorporated various special features, including an interconnected documentary series, that ran across all four films.
The documentary series was called Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight, and was split into six chapters. The first three chapters appeared on the Batman (1989) DVD, while the three remaining chapters popped up on the DVDs for Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995), and Batman & Robin (1997).
Featuring a wealth of information, and interviews with key cast and crew members, Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight is a wonderful docu-series which provides an insight into four hugely popular Batman movies. The series is perfect for those who like behind the scenes discussions, as well as those who adore the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher era of the Bat-franchise.
Swamp Thing (2019)
Based on the comic book character of the same name, Swamp Thing is a mystery-horror show, about a plant-like creature who fights malevolent forces. Derek Mears takes on the title role, for this short-lived cult favourite.
The Sandman (2022)
Based on the comic of the same name by Neil Gaiman, The Sandman is a fantasy drama about the titular Sandman, aka Dream/Morpheus. The fantasy series stars Tom Sturridge, Boyd Holbrook, Patton Oswalt, and Vivienne Acheampong.
The Boys (2019)
Set in a universe where superpowered beings are recognised as heroes, The Boys explores the idea that in reality, these so-called heroes are in fact incredibly corrupt and completely dangerous individuals. Karl Urban, Antony Starr and Jack Quaid star.
X-Men: The Animated Series (1992)
Taking inspiration from the X-Men comics of the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s, X-Men: The Animated Series is a marvellous cartoon adventure show, about Marvel’s mighty mutants and their continual fight for survival in a less-than-tolerant world. Released to critical acclaim, and quickly going on to become a huge ratings winner, X-Men: The Animated Series was a MASSIVE hit in the ‘90s, and is still one of the best superhero cartoons of all-time.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018)
Kiernan Shipka stars in this deliciously dark teen-drama about a teenage witch who lives with her two aunts. The show follows Sabrina’s story as she balances witchcraft with the day-to-day dramas of high school.
Picking up directly after the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), Loki is a Marvel series which follows the titular Norse god, as he crosses paths with the Time Variance Authority (TVA) – an organisation whose job it is to monitor all the timelines that exist across the multiverse. Tom Hiddleston reprises the role of Loki, while the support cast includes Owen Wilson and Sophia Di Martino.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (2016)
In DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, a rough-and-ready collection of heroes and villains join forces to battle villains throughout time. The show is another entry in the Arrowverse, and includes characters such as the Atom, Constantine, and Vixen.
Superman & Lois (2021)
Initially created as part of the Arrowverse, before it drifted off to become a standalone series, Superman & Lois is an action-adventure show, which follows the titular characters as they battle villains and raise a family. Unlike the previous Superman shows, this series incorporates Superman’s sons into the story, offering up something different from what has come before.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003)
Similar to its ‘80s predecessor, this ‘00s version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles follows four high-kicking mutant turtles, as they take on the villainous Shredder. However, that is about all the similarities that exist between the two shows, as this take on the TMNT mythology plays things a little more seriously, taking greater inspiration from the original comics.
Set after the events of 2021’s The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker follows the story of Christopher Smith (aka Peacemaker) as he joins the mysterious black ops organisation known as A.R.G.U.S. The series features a cast that includes Jennifer Holland, Robert Patrick, and Danielle Brooks.
Up next is the second DuckTales ‘toon to feature on this list, and as with its predecessor it is a thoroughly enjoyable romp. David Tennant takes on voice duties for Scrooge McDuck, while Catherine Tate voices the villainous Magica De Spell in this updated version of the Disney cartoon.
Starring KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Cole Sprouse, and Camila Mendes, Riverdale is a supernatural teen crime drama, about a group of young adults living in a town where strange things happen. The show is based on characters appearing in stories published by Archie Comics, and ran for seven seasons.
The Umbrella Academy (2019)
Based on a comic by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, The Umbrella Academy is a superhero show about a dysfunctional family who reunite to solve the mystery of their father’s death. The first season of the show was a huge hit for Netflix when it began streaming back in 2019, paving the way for three further seasons.
Teen Titans (2003)
Featuring one of the catchiest theme tunes on television, as well as some fun animation, and a fantastic cast of characters, Teen Titans is an action-adventure series about a group of heroes led by Robin. The show mixes comedy with superhero hijinks and is great viewing for audiences of all ages.
Teen Titans GO! (2013)
Following the success of the 2003 Teen Titans cartoon, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. decided that rather than completely abandon the show once it was concluded, they would instead take elements of the series and rework it for a new generation. This reworking meant the core voice cast remained intact, and the character designs and themes stayed in place, but the focus and outlook of the series was to be skewed more toward a younger demographic.
With shorter episodes, simpler storylines, and a larger focus on fun and laughter, Teen Titans GO! made its debut in 2013. The series quickly became a big hit with young viewers, and proved the reboot was a good idea.
In 2019, DC Comics show, Pennyworth made its way onto television screens. The series focused on the early years of Alfred Pennyworth – the iconic butler from DC’s Batman comics.
In total, the series ran for three seasons and 30 episodes. Jack Bannon appears in the lead role, while Paloma Faith pops up as the villainous Bet Sykes.
Krypto the Superdog (2005)
Another one for younger viewers, and a right little gem for those of a certain age who like Superman-related stories. The show is Krypto the Superdog, which follows the adventures of Superman’s canine pal.
Werewolf by Night (2022)
Directed by Michael Giacchino and starring Gael García Bernal and Laura Donnelly, Werewolf by Night is a Marvel horror special, which details the story of a group of monster hunters who gather together to determine who is worthy of wielding the powerful Bloodstone. This TV special is filmed in black-and-white and is heavily influenced by the Universal Monster movies of the 1930s and 1940s.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022)
In this Christmas-set Marvel television special, Drax and Mantis head to Earth to retrieve the perfect present for Star-Lord. The slightly dim-witted duo decide the best gift for their friend would be the actor Kevin Bacon, and they then set about retrieving Bacon, with hilarity ensuing.
Batman Beyond (1999)
Taking place in a futuristic Gotham City, decades after the events of Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond focuses on the introduction of a new hero after Bruce Wayne retired from his crime-fighting duties. However, Bruce is still very much part of the story, with the former Caped Crusader sticking around to help guide his new protégé.
Justice League (2001)
Set shortly after the events of Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League is a team-up show which sees the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel join forces with Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter, and the Flash, to protect the Earth. Most stories in this series are two-part tales, to give the show an epic feel, with the League fighting powerful villains that require more than one hero.
Justice League Unlimited (2005)
Created as a follow-up show to Justice League, Justice League Unlimited is another team-up adventure series which expands the League beyond its core seven members, to include heroes from all over the DC Universe. While this show and its predecessor walk similar paths, Justice League Unlimited ramps things up considerably, and boasts some truly superb storylines.
Spectacular Spider-Man (2008)
Featuring great animation, and excellent writing, Spectacular Spider-Man is a brilliant Spidey animated series, which made its debut back in 2008. Sadly cut short at just two seasons, the series features multiple villains from Spider-Man’s rogues’ gallery, and offers up some truly engaging stories.
Wolverine and the X-Men (2009)
After the X-Men disband, and a government-supported organisation begins registering mutants, Wolverine sets out to reconnect the group in order to fight back against oppression. What follows is an excellent, if sadly short-lived X-Men animated show, not to be missed.
Sweet Tooth (2021)
Starring Nonso Anozie and Christian Convery, Sweet Tooth is a fantasy series based on the comic book of the same name. The show focuses on ‘hybrids’ (part human/part animal) who emerged following a viral pandemic which wiped out most of the human population.
The Walking Dead (2010)
Easily one of the most successful shows on this list, The Walking Dead is a horror-survivalist series, about a group of people living through a zombie apocalypse. The series is based on the comics of the same name, and proved so popular during its run that it aired for 11 seasons, and inspired multiple spin-offs.
What If? (2021)
Based on the comic book of the same name, and set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, What If? is an animated anthology series which poses the question ‘what if something significant happened to a Marvel character, to change their path in life?’ The show then presents the outcome, taking key characters on some very unusual journeys.
Harley Quinn (2019)
Featuring the vocal talents of Kaley Cuoco, Harley Quinn is a dark comedy series, which follows the misadventures of Harley Quinn, as well as her friend and lover, Poison Ivy. The series boasts great animation, and enjoyable stories, as well as a dark tone which puts it above some of its fellow super hero shows.
Starring Matt Ryan in the lead role, Constantine is an occult detective drama, about an English exorcist who hunts down supernatural entities. The short-lived series only ran for 13 episodes between 2014 and 2015, but picked up a strong cult following and led to Ryan reprising the role for multiple live-action and animated projects that followed.
Marvel Studios Assembled (2021)
Onto another docu-series now, which this time focuses on various projects developed by Marvel Studios. The show – Marvel Studios Assembled – made its debut on Disney+ back in 2021, and offers background information and insights into some of Marvel’s best-loved shows and movies.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)
The third of the TMNT ‘toons on this list now, and the one that many will claim is the best of the bunch. This one combines the mutant mayhem of the ‘80s cartoon, with the sharper writing of the ‘00s series, to present a fun-loving show with great stories.
X-Men: Evolution (2000)
Running for four seasons, and a total of 52 episodes, X-Men: Evolution is an animated series which places its focus squarely on the teenage years of Marvel’s mutant group, the X-Men. The cast of characters includes Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Storm, Shadowcat, Nightcrawler, Beast, and Spyke.
And finally, Duckman is an animated sitcom inspired by a one-shot comic published by Dark Horse. The show – which features the voice of Jason Alexander – follows the story of an anthropomorphic duck, who lives with his family in LA and works as a private detective.
So, those are the best comic book TV shows, now you just need to find time to watch them! But before you do, here are all the shows again, only this time in one handy list.
- Phantom 2040 (1994)
- The Incredible Hulk (1977)
- Batman (1966)
- Wonder Woman (1975)
- The Mask (1995)
- DuckTales (1987)
- iZombie (2015)
- Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (2023)
- Heartstopper (2022)
- Todd McFarlane’s Spawn (1997)
- Moon Knight (2022)
- Batman: Black and White (2008)
- Smallville (2001)
- Arrow (2012)
- Marvel’s 616 (2020)
- The Flash (1990)
- Robot Chicken DC Comics Specials (2012)
- Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993)
- M.O.D.O.K (2021)
- The Punisher (2017)
- The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (2010)
- Black Lightning (2018)
- Runaways (2017)
- Stargirl (2020)
- The Addams Family (1964)
- Blade (2011)
- Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes (2006)
- Tales from the Crypt (1989)
- The Tick (1994)
- Legion (2017)
- The Gifted (2017)
- Batman: The Animated Series (1992)
- Superman: The Animated Series (1996)
- WandaVision (2021)
- Hawkeye (2021)
- Titans (2018)
- Doom Patrol (2019)
- Static Shock (2000)
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996)
- Agent Carter (2015)
- Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994)
- The Batman (2004)
- Daredevil (2015)
- Lucifer (2016)
- X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men (1989)
- Watchmen (2019)
- Gotham (2014)
- Weird Science (1994)
- Preacher (2016)
- Spider-Man (1967)
- Adventures of Superman (1952)
- Invincible (2021)
- Jessica Jones (2015)
- Luke Cage (2016)
- Batgirl (1967)
- Men in Black: The Series (1997)
- Young Justice (2010)
- Wednesday (2022)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987)
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (2013)
- Supergirl (2015)
- The Flash (2014)
- Legion of Super Heroes (2006)
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008)
- Ms. Marvel (2022)
- Toxic Crusaders (1991)
- Freakazoid! (1995)
- Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight (2005)
- Swamp Thing (2019)
- The Sandman (2022)
- The Boys (2019)
- X-Men: The Animated Series (1992)
- Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018)
- Loki (2021)
- DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (2016)
- Superman & Lois (2021)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003)
- Peacemaker (2022)
- DuckTales (2017)
- Riverdale (2017)
- The Umbrella Academy (2019)
- Teen Titans (2003)
- Teen Titans GO! (2013)
- Pennyworth (2019)
- Krypto the Superdog (2005)
- Werewolf by Night (2022)
- The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022)
- Batman Beyond (1999)
- Justice League (2001)
- Justice League Unlimited (2005)
- Spectacular Spider-Man (2008)
- Wolverine and the X-Men (2009)
- Sweet Tooth (2021)
- The Walking Dead (2010)
- What If? (2021)
- Constantine (2014)
- Marvel Studios Assembled (2021)
- Harley Quinn (2019)
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)
- X-Men: Evolution (2000)
- Duckman (1994)
Thank you for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read this post about the best TV shows based on comic books. For more posts, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.
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