Amazon is killing it lately with their TV shows, and a new favorite is on the way. The Boys is set to release July 26, 2019 on Amazon Prime, and fans of the comics are thrilled. If the show looks interesting, you might be wondering what the series is actually about. If you haven’t read the comics, or it has been awhile, let’s revisit some essential info about the series. Primarily, who are The Boys and what is the show about?
The Boys Comic Book Series
The Boys takes place between 2006 and 2008. In the comics, superheroes exist and live in fame and fortune. Unfortunately, this celebrity lifestyle means their demise, as many begin to act crazy. Not crazy like drunk driving crazy, but like threaten the universe crazy. They become a corrupt population of super men and women who do whatever they want. Because of this, the CIA monitors superheroes. A small squad known as The Boys watches the heroes to make sure they stay in line. The Boys are Butcher, Mother’s Milk, the Frenchman, the Female, and new addition, “Wee” Hughie Campbell. In their early issues, the tone is prominent: violence rules all.
The superheroes aren’t happy to be monitored, and The Boys don’t take their nonsense. There is so much violence in the series and anti-superhero content that it caused the series’ demise. We’ll touch on that later when we talk about publication. From the get go, the plan was to make the most violent, sexual comic book series to date. It was not without its reasons; the dark underbelly of comic books is always there. It’s hidden behind the glory of heroes, however. The series is meant to show that their power is just as corrupting as any human being. The Seven, a group of the worst and most powerful heroes, serve as The Boys’ enemies throughout much of the series.
The Boys Comic Book Publication History
The Boys comics debuted in 2006 and ran through November 2012. The series added up to 72 issues when all was said and done. Wildstorm initially published the series’ start. After a short 6 issues, it was canceled due to DC’s uneasy feeling about the anti-superhero content in the series. Wildstorm worked under DC at the time, and that meant they had final say. A planned collection for more issues was later canceled as well. Co-creator Darick Robertson noted that this led to a push to leave Wildstorm and DC. The series’ 6 issues would be traded to a new buyer. Robertson, who was contracted by DC, was released as well. Dynamite Entertainment picked it up and held it for the entire run.
A Movie that Never Was
In 2008, a movie nearly made it to production. Columbia Pictures optioned the comic, with Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi set to write the script. Hay’s written work consists of Aeon Flux, Crash of the Titans, and other action films. Manfredi writes films like that as well, including Ride Along 1 and 2, and R.I.P.D. They had often worked together, and Adam McKay signed on to direct. The script was finished, but Columbia dropped the option in 2012. Paramount then hired the writers to work on the film, but it never made it to the screen.
Cast of The Boys TV Show
- Karl Urban as Billy Butcher
- Elisabeth Shue as Madelyn Stillwell
- Laz Alonso as Mother’s Milk
- Jack Quaid as “Wee” Hughie Campbell
- Karen Fukuhara as Female
- Tomer Kapon as Frenchie
- Jennifer Esposito as CIA Agent Susan Raynor
- Simon Pegg as Hughie’s father
- Chace Crawford as The Deep
The Significance of The Boys
DC may not have seen the value in The Boys, but fans did. In the 1980s, a rise in anti-superhero storylines became very popular. It’s not that fans don’t like heroes. The contrast just makes the stories so much richer. A prime example, and maybe the most famous one, is the Watchmen series. Fans love Watchmen because it challenges everything comic books usually follow: moral heroes, somewhat powerless bad guys, and a relatively happy ending. With more anti-hero comics coming out of the 1980s and 1990s, Marvel and DC felt largely lost.
It didn’t take long for Marvel and DC to double down on the hero tropes and win back favor. By the 2000s, many new series with favorites from the Golden Age of Comics gained prominence once more. A big change in comics had occurred, however. The Boys and other comic series that came out in the 2000s mirrored those challenges introduced to comics in the 80s and 90s. Thankfully, the idea of anti-hero runs was common, meaning a place for these fringe series in the market.
Extra Violent, Extra Engaging
The most redeeming concept in The Boys is the gruesomeness of it all. By theoretically killing the hero comic tropes with their story, the violence and sex central to the series literally killed them too. The extreme themes in the series made it a must read, and makes the show that much more promising.
If DC didn’t see the value in anti-superhero content, that’s okay. They need to protect their moneymakers, if you will. For fans of comics that push the envelope, The Boys is can’t miss reading. Now, the Amazon show should only increase the amount of fans of this iconic series. The Boys is set to release July 26, 2019 on Amazon Prime. For all things comics, TV, and culture, keep coming back to Comic Years!
Taylor loves to play video games in his spare time. He has two degrees in Political Communication and wrote his thesis on Marxism and the exploitation of college athletes. In his spare time, he loves spending time with his wife and two Toy Australian Sheppards. He’s always got headphones in, and he’s a diehard Cubs fan.