HBO Max Orders ‘Dead Boy Detectives’ Pilot

by Erik Amaya

Vertigo may live again at HBO Max.

Deadline reports the streaming service has ordered a pilot based on the Dead Boy Detectives. Created by Neil Gaiman, Matt Wagner and Malcolm Jones III for an issue of The Sandman, the concept was expanded by subsequent work from the likes of Ed Brubaker and Jill Thompson. The title refers to two British school boys who delight in solving mysteries despite being dead themselves. The proposed series will follow the same concept.

The Flight Attendant creator Steve Yockey is on board as an executive producer and will write the pilot script. Doom Patrol creator Jeremy Carver and Berlanti Productions are also part of the deal. That seems natural as so much of HBO Max’s DC Entertainment content emerges from this group of creatives.

But that connection also suggest the series, if it happens, will be disconnected from the other HBO Max programs and almost certainly devoid of any references to The Sandman television series on Netflix. Although the characters will appear in a third season episode of Doom Patrol, that is no guarantee the Dead Boy Detective series will share the same world. Indeed, Doom Patrol first debuted in an episode of Titans, but quickly established its own Earth and reality once it debut as its own program. And both of those shows’ worlds are distinct from Stargirl‘s Earth-2 and the Arrowverse’s Earth-Prime. It’s a genuinely ingenious was to spread the DC Comics characters around to various parts of the Warner empire, but it means Arrowverse-style crossovers are unlikely. And for the Dead Boy Detectives, this likely means a whole new origin as their refusal to leave for the afterlife is tied to a Sandman story the Netflix series will likely adapt in its third or fourth season.

At the same time, it’s thrilling to see Vertigo concepts find new life at the streamer. Hopefully, it will lead to other oddball comics from the beloved DC label getting adaptations of their own.

Erik Amaya

Host of Tread Perilously and a Film/TV Writer at and Rotten Tomatoes. A former staff writer at CBR and Bleeding Cool, and a contributing writer at Fanbase Press and Monkeys Fighting Robots. Voice of Puppet Tommy on The Room Responds. A seeker of the Seastone Chair and the owner of a Legion Flight Ring. Sorted into Gryffindor, which came as some surprise.