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10 Films You Didn’t Know Were Based On Comics

10 Films You Didn't Know Were Based On Comics

With the upcoming release of Netflix’s The Old Guard, based on the Image comic of the same name, we at FandomWire thought it would be a great time to revisit films that you (probably) didn’t know were based on comics.

If you are anything like me, seeing based on the acclaimed graphic novel during the trailer for Old Guard caught you by surprise, I fancy myself a comic connoisseur, but it seems I missed out on this series completely.

This series began as a five-issue miniseries in 2017 and has since been revisited. The Old Guard is the story of old soldiers who never die…and yet cannot seem to fade away. Lead by Andromache of Scythia, “Andy” and her other immortal comrades sell their unique talents only to those who can find and afford them. Where it was once easy for the world to forget a face, The Old Guard face a new unique challenge in 21st century.

Here are my top 10 films you (probably) didn’t Know were based on comics, once again these are just my personal picks. If you opinions differ please submit your Top 10, leave a like, comment or share.

Men in Black

Here come the Men In Black, sorry if Will Smith’s song is stuck in your head now but I had to prove my point somehow. When thinking of the movie Men In Black you remember the films, the cartoon, the music video, the awesome Universal Studios ride, even the horrible video games based on the license, but how often do you remember its source material.

Originally published by Aircel comics (now owned by Marvel) this limited series consisted of six issues created and written by Lowell Cunningham and illustrated by Sandy Carruthers.

Since the release of the original film Marvel has again revisited this franchise publishing a series of one-shots that include a prequel, sequel, and a film adaptation.

The film and comic are very different in tone. Where Men In Black the film is fun, comedic and lighthearted, the comic is far bleaker. Also omitted are the Men In Black’s other areas of expertise. In the film, the agents only stop aliens, but in the comic, the Men In Black are called into action whenever anything paranormal occurs, this includes werewolves, demons, zombies, etc.

Cowboys and Aliens

After the success of Iron Man and Iron Man 2, Jon Favreau directed another comic book movie, surprisingly it was not a comic produced by Marvel. The comic in question was Cowboys and Aliens.

One of the interesting things regarding this property is the film rights were sold before the comic was published. In May 1997, Universal Pictures and DreamWorks bought the rights to the “graphic novel in development.”

The graphic novel was finally published in 2006 by Platinum Studios Comics. Created by writers Fred Van Lente and Andrew Foley, and artists Dennis Calero and Luciano Lima.

Cowboys and Aliens the comic was involved in a controversy regarding the legitimacy of its selling practices, and due to these inflated sales numbers Universal and DreamWorks moved ahead with its film adaptation.

I remember seeing the trailer and cast announced for this film and being extremely excited but upon viewing left the theater disappointed, and if you felt the same way I would recommend reading the graphic novel as it fixes a lot of the plot holes noticed in the movie.

30 Days of Night

Much like Cowboys and Aliens, 30 Days of Night started as a film pitch, but did not see the initial interest from the film studios it was pitched to, unlike that film.

Created by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith the comic was originally only three issues but after the success of the comics and the film adaptation in 2007, multiple comic sequels have been produced, as well a film sequel 30 Days of Night: Dark Days.

This is an enjoyable movie and if you are a fan of over-the-top R-rated Horror Movies, like From Dusk til Dawn or The Cabin in the Woods you owe it to yourself to check this one out as well as the graphic novels that inspired it.

The Rocketeer

I love the Rocketeer and I’m interested to see what Disney has in store for the character as there have been talks of rebooting or making a sequel to the 1991 film. If you have children, there is a animated series on Disney Junior.

I remember renting this movie when I was a kid from Blockbuster based off nothing, but the VHS cover and I was immediately hooked. I had already seen all the Indiana Jones films that were out, so it was cool to find another pulp hero, coincidentally I also love films based on The Phantom, The Shadow, and Flash Gordon.

Created by writer and artist Dave Stevens in 1982, this character was an homage to the heroes found in serials of the 1930’s to the 1950’s.

With a plot that involves gangsters, a stolen rocket pack made by Howard Hughes, the “Golden Age” of Hollywood set against the backdrop of World War II and a Bond Actor playing a villain, how could you possibly go wrong. You can stream it on Disney+, and if you haven’t seen it yet do yourself a favor and give it a watch.

The Crow

Rest in peace Brandon Lee.

Brandon Lee, like his father Bruce Lee played the role of an iconic hero. Bruce Lee played Kato in The Green Hornet series from 1966 to 1967 and his son Brandon stared as the lead in the 1994 film The Crow.

It is impossible for me to talk about this film without the specter of Brandon Lee’s death on set coming up, it is a horrible tragedy that weighs heavily over this film. Brandon Lee’s portrayal of Eric Draven / The Crow is very reminiscent of Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight, both are amazing as their respective characters and both performances ended in tragedy.

The comic the film is based on is also surrounded by sadness as it was created as a way for author James O’Barr to process his grief after dealing with the loss of his girlfriend at the hands of a drunk driver. Originally published in 1989 it became a cult classic in comic book stores before making its transition to the big screen.

I hope this series gets the revival its main character is known for, as both Jason Momoa and Tom Hiddleston have both been attached to The Crow reboot at one time.

Wanted

Definitely different from the comic series it is based on, but a great introduction to the universe created by writer Mark Millar and J.G. Jones. Even as an R-rated movie it doesn’t live up to the amount of sex, violence and overall depravity of the original six issue limited series published by Top Cow Productions. I will applaud director Timur Bekmambetov for the version of Wanted we did get though because it at least captures the spirit of the comic.

In the film, we follow Wesley Gibson played by James McAvoy a character plagued by panic attacks. It is later revealed to him that his panic attacks are due to his underlying superpowers. Wesley enters into the world of the Fraternity a group of assassins; Wesley is sought out after his father dies and the Fraternity want Wesley to take his position in the group.

I enjoy this film a lot as a fun action movie, there are shootouts, car chases, and great visual effects throughout, what is not in the film though, and almost unforgivable is the amazing costume from the comic; the Killer Suit is a special suit worn by Wesley during assassination missions in the comic. This is remedied in the tie-in video game of the same name.

Ghost World

If you thought Scarlett Johansson’s first comic book role was in the MCU, you’d be wrong. Her first comic inspired role came in the film Ghost World, and I’m not going to hold it against you if you didn’t remember Johansson’s appearance in Frank Miller’s Spirit movie either.

Unlike the Spirit movie that Frank Miller directed that was both a financial and critical failure the Ghost World film is much closer to the authors original story and vision.

Based on issues #11 – #18 of the alternative comic Eightball created by Daniel Clowes and published by Fantagraphics Books; We follow Enid played by Thora Birch and her friend Rebecca played by Scarlett Johansson. The story focuses on these two characters as their friendship starts to take a turn once Enid starts to take notice of Steve Buscemi’s character Seymour’s love life.

Interestingly before directing this film director Terry Zwigoff made a documentary called Crumb in 1994 that chronicled the life of Robert Crumb and his contributions to alternative comics paving the way for the likes of Daniel Clowes

This film and comic are important as the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay, written by Clowes and Terry Zwigoff and showed you don’t have to have a buff guy in tights to create a great comic book adaptation.

I would definitely recommend this to fans of the cartoons Daria and Mission Hill.

Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer is based off the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige created by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette and originally published in 1982 by Franco-Belgian comics publisher Casterman. The English translation was released in 2014 by Titan Comics; Snowpiercer: The Escape and Snowpiercer: The Explorers were released in 2014 with a third volume in released in 2016 and a prequel series in 2019.

The story has been adapted multiple times, originally brought to film by Korean director Bong Joon-ho in 2013. The film saw release in America a year later. After the success of the film, a television series was greenlit in 2015, unfortunately it wasn’t until May of 2020 that we got to see the series premiere.

This series tackles heavy themes such as sacrifice, guilt, violence, human nature, leadership, collusion, and class.

If you can, I would highly recommend reading the graphic novel and watching the two adaptations.

From Hell

Love or hate Alan Moore there is no denying he has written some of the greatest stories ever told in our medium, and it is no wonder so many of his works have been translated to the big screen. With that transition from page to screen is where the problems begin and unfortunately this is a common occurrence with Alan Moore adaptations.

You will either love, hate or be indifferent to them, most notable of Moore’s adaptations are Watchmen, V for Vendetta, The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, and Batman: The Killing Joke, but the version of From Hell that made it to the big screen may be the worst adaptation of one of Moore’s stories.

I would recommend watching the film first, as it is not a bad movie in its own right, but as an adaptation it is lacking. Johnny Depp is great in the film. He does great in these types of roles and I was reminded of Depp’s performance from Sleep Hollow as Ichabod Crane. It is with Depp’s character where problems with the film start. His character, Inspector Abberline is a combination of two characters found in the comics; Inspector Abberline and psychic Robert Less.

This is just one example of the adaptations many disappointing decisions, and another reason to seek out the Graphic Novel, I would suggest the recent Top Shelf Productions hard cover release, I bought it for my wife who is a big fan of Moore’s work and she loved it.

Mystery Men

I am so excited to tell people about this movie; I remember seeing it at a dollar theater in Maryland and laughing the entire time.

Based loosely on Bob Burden’s Flaming Carrot Comics, we see a group of what would be considered C to D tier heroes in Marvel or DC comics save the day.

This film is the definition of a cult classic as it was a box office bomb making $33 million on a $68 million-dollar budget, but man does it have an all-star cast. You have Ben Stiller, Paul Reubens, Kel Mitchell, William H.Macy, Janeane Garofalo, Greg Kinnear, Geoffrey Rush and many more in a Superhero ensemble film in 1999 over a decade before the likes of the Avengers films.

As a fan of comics, Mystery Men definitely deserves its place in comic book history.

And that concludes my list. Did you know about all of these, did your favorite comic to movie adaptation not make the list? Let’s keep the conversation going on FandomWire.com, or comment on FandomWire’s Facebook and Twitter.

Written by Steven Craighead

90's Nerd who enjoys Comics, Cartoons, Video Games, Anime and Movies.
Staff Writer for Fandom Wire, Army Veteran, Happy Husband and Dog Dad.

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