Comic Adaptations ‘The Boys’ & ‘WandaVision’ Lead Historic Emmys



Last September, HBO’s Watchmen made television history as the first-ever comic book adaptation to win a major Emmy award, taking home best limited series. The accolade pierced a half-century of industry snobbery over superhero TV shows, dating all the way back to the Adventures of Superman series from the 1950s.

On Tuesday, comic book adaptations made an even more heroic showing at the Emmy Awards, with 39 nominations across six series. Some — including Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy and Lucifer, and HBO Max’s Doom Patrol — were purely for below-the-line categories (costumes, cinematography, sound editing) in which genre shows have traditionally fared well. But for the first time in Emmys history, two comic book adaptations earned nods in top Emmy categories: Amazon Prime Video’s The Boys for best drama series and Disney+’s WandaVision for best limited series.



The drama series nomination for The Boys — a graphically violent satire of the crass commodification of superhero pop-culture — is a noteworthy milestone for the genre, especially since it’s the first-ever comic book adaptation to be nominated in that category. (NBC’s Heroes, an original series inspired by comic books, was nominated for drama series in 2007 for its first season.) While The Boys didn’t earn any acting nominations, it did pick up a writing nod for its Season 2 finale, and a nomination for best music and lyrics for Never Truly Vanish, a send-up of earnest farewell ballads for the killed superhero Translucent.



WandaVision was one of the leading nominees all around this year with 23 nominations, including nods for supporting actress (Kathryn Hahn), lead actor (Paul Bettany), lead actress (Elizabeth Olsen), writing (with three separate nominations, including for head writer Jac Schaeffer) and directing (Matt Shakman). To underline the point here, while there have been several major TV shows adapted from Marvel Comics, WandaVision is the first-ever TV series produced by Marvel Studios. But while Marvel Studios has been the dominant force not just in superhero filmmaking, but in the film industry at large for over a decade, it took 10 years and 18 movies for the company to earn a best picture Oscar nomination (Black Panther). And no actor has ever earned an Oscar nod for a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. WandaVision also earned a nod in the music and lyrics category for the earworm-y Agatha All Along.




While Marvel Studios’ other eligible series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, earned largely below-the-line nominations — including for special visual effects and stunt coordination — the show also earned Don Cheadle his 11th career nomination for guest actor in a drama for just under two minutes of decidedly low-key screen time.



Christina Wiggins

Nerd culture is my life, and when I'm not writing, I speak in pictures. Check out my insta here!