Bringing an Iconic Cult Comic to the Small Screen
When the team at SyFy slid the pages of the cult classic comic Deadly Class across our table and tapped their finger against them saying “this is what we’re making” we were stoked. The preview of the show’s cinematography showed the care and consideration that’s needed for a faithful translation – and the fans of the comic agree, the show is doing well enough to warrant a second season.
As the comic itself has punk-rock roots, we created a fast-paced and highly stylized trailer that both showcased panels from the original comic book and juxtaposed it with the content from the new show. This also included crafting written copy and title cards that felt like they belonged in the world and tonality of the comic.
Revisiting the Decade of Decadence
The 1980s was a hell of a time to be alive. The Beastie Boys were killing it, Tim Burton was crafting his magnum opus, fashion was on point with the baggy swap meet pants… generally all of Pop Culture was correct. Deadly Class paints a much darker picture of what the ’80s were like, and the SyFy show brings that to life in every scene. Set in a private school for assassins, Deadly Class is more reminiscent of the War on Drugs and the Iran-Contra than MTV and colorful Trapper Keepers.
As modern cinema has already experienced, when adapting a comic book to a live-action story, things can get lost in translation. There is a built-in expectation for each fan, as to what it should be, and how it should look. So we needed to reassure the fans that they were still getting the original content they fell in love with. The show was staying as true to its roots as possible.
Secondarily, we also needed to entice potential new fans who might not be familiar with the original content. Introduce them to the storyline, and pique their interest to give the show a chance.
The passionate showrunners wanted to treat this series with respect to the source material, so we developed several options to show how the show’s style, framing, and directing would translate to the graphic novel in motion.
Crafting a Trailer as Fan Service
Deadly Class has a cult following. It’s not the most well known of books, but for those that have been following it, their love for the material is unquestionable. SyFy knew this going into Comic-Con.
They also knew the fans would appreciate their faithful translation – which is why we leaned so heavily into the source material as we were solving for the look of the trailer. It was reassuring to say the least when fans got a taste of what we worked on, and it’s been a pleasure seeing the show find its success. It’s well deserved.