WGN America has been instructed to adapt DC Comics “Scalped” into a one hour drama pilot. It is described as a modern day crime noir/western story set on a Native American Indian reservation and based on the 60-issue graphic novel series from DC imprint Vertigo Comics written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by R.M. Guéra.
The series focuses on the Oglala Lakota inhabitants of the fictional Prairie Rose Indian Reservation in modern-day South Dakota as they grapple with organised crime, rampant poverty, drug addiction and alcoholism, local politics and the preservation of their cultural identity. It explores themes of power, loyalty and spirituality in a community that is led by the ambitious Chief Lincoln Red Crow a.k.a. John Rayfield Bustill, a bullish Lakota elder in his fifties, a “big man” on the reservation with fingers in many pies, he is President of the Oglala Tribal Council, Sheriff of the Tribal Police Force and Managing Director of the Crazy Horse, his chief project since leaving the Native American Rights movement. The series follows Chief Lincoln Red Crow as he reckons with Dashiell “Dash” Bad Horse a.k.a. Dashiell Bradford, a full-blooded Oglala Lakota who left the Prairie Rose Indian Reservation at the age of thirteen before returning to the reservation with a vengeance in 2007.
According to deadline.com, the Pilot episode will feature an all Native American cast. The Native American casting will be a first in recent history for a television series. The comic was first published by DC imprint Vertigo and launched in 2007 as a monthly that ran for 60 issues, Scalped used elements from the true story of Native American activist Leonard Peltier, convicted of murdering two FBI agents during a 1975 shoot out on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
It would appear that some of the characters’ names are homages to noir prose authors, such as Dashiell himself standing for The Maltese Falcon’s Dashiell Hammett as well as Carol Ellroy borrowing her last name from LA Confidential’s James Ellroy.
Scalped has been met with near universal praise throughout its run. Comic Book Resources referred to it as “one of the few comics capable of evoking real, visceral emotion from the reader”, and Newsarama called the final issue an “awe inspiring conclusion” and gave the issue a score of 10 out of 10. Scalped will be the latest DC Comics production to take on the small screen and if the pilot is successful it will join other DC Comic smashes Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and Gotham.