Every year we see an increase of spandex-wearing, crime-fighting and vigilante superheroes make the leap from the panels in a comic book to the screen in a cinema.
With Marvel and DC churning out superhero films by the dozens, general audience members might believe that these superheroes are all that comic books have to offer. That would be a big mistake on their part. Comic books or graphic novels have become a legitimate method of storytelling, giving writers the ability to convey their story in a whole a new way. Superheroes might be the biggest selling genre, but that is all it is to comic books, a genre.
Films like 300, The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, RED, Men in Black & V For Vendetta are the most famous examples of highly successful films that were based on Comic Books. With that being said, I bring you 5 films that are based on comic books and you didn’t even know!
5. 30 DAYS OF NIGHT
This is the story of an isolated Alaskan town that is plunged into darkness for a month each year when the sun sinks below the horizon. As the last rays of light fade, the town is attacked by a bloodthirsty gang of vampires bent on an uninterrupted orgy of destruction.
Not exactly a smash hit, reviews were mixed, but audiences who saw the film more often than not liked the film.
30 Days of Night is based on a comic book miniseries of the same name. First published in 2002, the books were met with great success. The story came from Steve Niles, who originally pitched the story as a film, however, it was rejected. He then turned to illustrator Ben Templesmith and set to redevelop the story as a comic book. The comic book was published by IDW Publishing and was a huge success. Hence, Hollywood stepped in and came back to do the film. That’s life for you!
Christopher Nolan credits Bryan Singers X-Men as being an inspiration for his Batman Begins. Essentially X-Men was the first film to take these characters reinterpret and ground these comic book properties in a world that wasn’t too far off ours. Truthfully, Blade is the first comic book film to do this and it’s probably why Bryan Singer figured he can do it too.
Blade wasn’t even a B-List, C-List, or D-List character in terms of popularity in Marvel Comics. Originally debuting in 1973 in Marvel, the character was largely a supporting character and wasn’t quite as popular as Marvel’s lesser-known properties like Squirrel Girl (yes she’s real). Most comic fans didn’t even realize that the character was in Marvel Comics until he made an appearance in the Amazing Spider-Man TV animated series. Most only found out a few years ago when there were talks concerning the characters property rights going back to Marvel.
Truthfully, the character was totally reimagined by Wesley Snipes, writer David S. Goyer (Man of Steel) and director Stephen Norrington. Frankly, Wesley Snipes is the reason that Blade is so cool and badass! He single handily took a no-name Marvel Character and made him one of the most recognized characters to ever hit the big screen.
Since Wesley Snipes portrayal of the character and his subsequent changes to the characters “super-abilities”, Marvel soon followed suit and changed the comic book counterpart accordingly. Wesley Snipes is Blade!
Come on! This cant be a surprise. People were curving bullets around objects. Did you really think that Hollywood could come up with this stuff?
Based on the comic miniseries by Mark Millar and J.G Jones, the film starred James McAvoy, our young Professor X and Angelina Jolie, The Mother of the United Nations.
The film was a smash hit at the box office, going down well with critics and general audience members alike. However, even though the film proved to be something quite cool, many critics criticized the film for not following the comic a little more closely. Had it done so, Wanted would have been an exceptional film as opposed to just a good film.
2. ROAD TO PERDITION
Directed by Sam Mendes (Skyfall), starring Tom Hanks, Jude Law, Daniel Craig, Stanley Tucci and Paul Newman, Road to Perdition is a classic crime thriller.
Road to Perdition was nominated for six Academy Awards; Best Supporting Actor (Paul Newman), Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography (Conrad L. Hall), Best Original Score (Thomas Newman), Best Sound (Scott Millan, Bob Beemer and John Pritchett), and Best Sound Editing.
This classic film was based on a graphic novel of the same name, written by Max Allan Collins and published by Paradox Press, DC Comics imprint.
The film hits on many themes, taking a deep look at the relationships between father and sons as well as the dealings of the mob. It’s a thrilling film which originates out the pages of a thrilling comic book.
1. A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
Critically applauded, loved by general members and nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Willaim Hurt) and Best Adapted Screenplay, A History of Violence is certainly one serious thriller with a unique temperament.
The majority of the film was faithful to the graphic novel of the same name, written by John Wagner and published by Paradox Press and Vertigo, both imprints of DC Comics. There were significant changes to the third act of the film and minor changes throughout the story.
Many believe that the changes made in the third act of the story is the reason why the film is so incredible. While the comic has come under some criticisms in recent years, no one can deny it’s an intriguing quality.
BONUS: TV SHOWS
THE WALKING DEAD
That’s right, one of the most popular shows on TV is, in fact, a comic adaption!
First published in 2003 by Image Comics, this comic series still runs presently on a month-to-month basis. Written by Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead is a highly successful comic series, which is why when it made its way to television its debut episode was ranked so high!
SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH
Yep, I know what you thinking… mind blown! That sitcom featuring Melissa Joan Hart was in fact based on a comic book.
Sabrina The Teenage Witch was first published all the way back in 1971 by Archie Comics and was written by George Gladir. The series’ premise is that Sabrina, a “half-witch” – her mother is an ordinary human or “mortal” as witches refer to them, while her father is a warlock – lives with her two aunts, Hilda and Zelda Spellman, both witches themselves, in the fictional town of Greendale, which is located somewhere near Riverdale, the home of Archie Andrews. Also living with the three women as the family pet is Salem Saberhagen, a warlock who’s been turned into a cat as punishment for world domination attempts.
Mark Walhberg and Denzel Washington star in 2 Guns, which is based on the Boom! Studios comic series of the same name, this film is about an elaborate scam, which has a DEA agent and an NCIS agent investigating one another in the belief that they are stealing money from the mob. But when they realize that the CIA set them up, they must work together to return the money and stay alive.
Well, there isn’t any spandex or superpowers, but this is still a comic book film. Mark and Denzel look like they really enjoyed making this film, as it looks like it will be quite the humour-filled action ride. Make sure you catch it when it releases!