George RR Martin's Wild Cards adapted for TV: What's it all about?
Author claims his superhero universe is 'grittier' and 'more realistic' than Marvel and DC
Following the success of Game of Thrones, another fiction series created by George RR Martin is to be adapted for television.
Universal Cable Productions has bought the TV rights to the author's Wild Cards, which is based around the fall-out of an alien virus that spreads across the Earth in 1946.
The vast majority of people infected "died horribly", leaving just ten per cent alive. Of these, nine per cent were turned into Jokers with physical deformities. They face prejudice and persecution and have long struggled for their rights to be respected in US society.
The remaining one per cent are known as Aces and have "extraordinary and unpredictable powers" such as enhanced strength, flight, mind-reading and shape-shifting.
According to Martin's personal blog, the WC universe is as "large and diverse and exciting" as the comic book universes of Marvel and DC. He claims they are "somewhat grittier, and considerably more realistic and more consistent".
Only one character has been confirmed for the television series: Croyd Crenson, aka The Sleeper, a man who transforms every time he sleeps and wakes up with a new appearance and new powers.
Other characters from the WC universe include Turtle, the world's most powerful telekinetic; Water Lily, who can control water, and Dr Tachyon, an alien who attempted to stop the release of the virus and pledged to spend his life helping its victims.
Martin won't be working on the adaption himself, due to his exclusive deal with HBO and his commitments to writing the sixth book in the Song of Ice and Fire series. However, his assistant editor and "right-hand man", Melinda M Snodgrass, will serve as executive producer.
The first volume of the printed series was published in 1986, 22 volumes have been published in total and four more are in the pipeline.