Fans of animation and comic books can collectively rejoice at the announcement of Robert Kirkman (creator of The Walking Dead)’s upcoming series Invincible. The series is set to air on Amazon Prime and boasts a very strong cast that includes Kirkman alumnus Steven Yeun and Oscar Winner J.K. Simmons leading the pack. One has to imagine that Amazon feels excitement at their new relationship with Robert Kirkman. His previous relationship with AMC produced two series based on his still running seminal zombie comic book series The Walking Dead, and at its height the property’s flagship series brought in Superbowl sized numbers of 17 million viewers plus per episode and is still the most watched show in television history.
Invincible is also based on a long running comic book by Kirkman that ended in February of last year. The series tells the story of typical teenager Mark Grayson (Yeun) and his not so typical superhero father Omni-Man (Simmons). It’s a coming of age story where we see the young Jason grow and develop his own powers while at the same time learning more about his father Omi-Man that challenges and perhaps even shatters the heroic image Mark has always held of him. The animated series will have eight hour-long episodes, and is expected to arrive in 2020.
If that intriguing spin on the superhero genre for some reason is not enough to pique the interest of any viewer the supporting cast including Golden Globe winner Sandra Oh, Seth Rogen, Zazie Beetz, Gillian Jacobs, Jason Mantzoukas, Mae Whitman, Chris Diamantopoulos, among many others should do the trick. Adult animation has proven to be quite popular with critics and fans during the past decade with shows like Bojack Horseman, Rick and Morty, F is For Family, and Big Mouth.
Three out of four of those shows are Netflix originals so it is hard not to see Invincible as Amazon’s attempt at a direct challenge. This author would definitely recommend keeping an eye on this project as it develops. Also in conjunction with the animated series, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Superbad, Pineapple Express) are developing a live action feature film also based on Invincible that the pair will write, produce, and direct for Universal Pictures. Rogen is also a member of the cast of the animated series and both Rogen and Goldberg serve as executive producers on the series as well.
The news of the upcoming film iteration that will follow Kirkman’s animated series shows that Amazon believes in Invincible and is going all in on the creator himself. If the show proves successful, Amazon will have successfully challenged the idea that Netflix is the king of current quality adult animation, especially among the streaming services. One show would have to go a long way to entirely upend that idea, but its success opens the door for the folks at Amazon to start searching for other high-quality adult animation as well. The streaming wars are about to heat up with Apple and Disney both unveiling expansive services in the near future and Amazon seems to have made an exciting bet on Invincible.