When it comes to comics adapted into films, we tend to forget about the underrated movies that are based on some long-running comic series. It is because of the ongoing stream of Marvel & DC movies that often take the spotlight as they release blockbuster hits every year. Whenever we hear “Comic book movies” our brain automatically goes to superheroes.
But some stand-alone movies are smaller in size, ranging in different styles and visual representations. Regardless of whether it’s anything but a totally free interpretation, comic books have motivated various movie producers, and have acquired completely new crowds through their transformation to film.
For years, Hollywood has been adapting comics into movies, which even the movie geeks Macaulay wouldn’t have noticed (like myself)…
Beyond Marvel & DC there is a whole world of fantastic adapted movies inspired by great comics.
Table of Contents
So here are 13 non-superhero movies that came to life and you (probably) didn’t know about, and you are not alone.
Comic book: Le Transperceneige (1982-2000)
Film: Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-Ho, 2013)
Not only is it surprising to many that Snowpiercer was based on a comic but would you believe the comic – Le Transperceneige was published back in 1982? It was a co-production of South Korean and the Czech Republic film companies starring big stars. The comic was later renamed The Escape and was founded by director Bong Joon-Ho in 2004.
While Bong Joon-ho thought of another story and characters, he ingrained similar tragic topics and battles which were mentioned in the realistic comic. With stars as Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, and Jamie Bell, it denoted the director’s debut into English-language filmmaking and was an extraordinary accomplishment among critics. It got such high praise that its underlying appearance extended to more theatres, and even to streaming platforms.
2. MEN IN BLACK
Comic book: The Men In Black (1990-1997)
Films: Men In Black (Barry Sonnenfeld, 1997), Men In Black II (Barry Sonnenfeld, 2002), Men In Black 3 (Barry Sonnenfeld, 2012)
The not-so-famous mini-series that lasted six issues was created by Lowell Cunningham and released in 1990 and 1991. Though the basic premise and main characters stayed the same, there are some notable differences between the comic and adaptation.
The first Men In Black saw Will Smith in a massively profitable film combined with immensely effective music, which was just a year after his just as effective TV series finished its run. Smith owes a ton of his megastar status to Men in Black’s success, the moderate niche comic book series that inspired it.
The principal portion of the trilogy made a staggering $497 million profit from its $90 million budget, making the franchise’s status a pop-cultural trend.
While in the film, the Men in Black organization limits itself to just dealing with aliens, the comic has agents fighting powerful supernatural and even mystical foes. The comic book MIB would willingly kill witnesses instead of erasing memories, definitely less family-friendly than the film.
Comic Book: RED (September 2003 – February 2004)
Films: RED (Robert Schwentke 2010)
Bruce Willis has been on a voyage for as long as a decade, taking movies for the check and appearing as though he was bored or exhausted while shooting them. Fact is, one of the last times he was by all means genuinely making some great memories on screen was in the 2010 action film Red, with a great cast that included Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren, all seeming to have some good times.
Retired, Extremely Dangerous (RED) saw silver-haired professional killers pressing genuine warmth on the cinema. The lighter tone of the film is notably unique concerning the comic book with the similar name it depended on, which slanted significantly to become more obscure. Creator Warren Ellis – a productive and exceptionally cerebral author – noted on his blog that the contrasts among page and screen adaptations of the story were possible because of his unique mini-series comprising only 3 issues (66 pages altogether) which would presumably just add up to, “40 minutes of the film”.
At last, he gave the progressions his approval. They haven’t adapted it badly, using all means. And if anybody has a genuine issue with that, I say to you: Helen Mirren with a sniper rifle.
4. THE MASK
Comic book: The Mask (1989-2000)
Film: The Mask (Chuck Russell, 1994), Son Of The Mask (Lawrence Guterman, 2005)
In 1991, the main part of writer Doug Mahnke and artist John Arcudi’s limited series was published by Dark Horse Comics. The new series comprised three volumes – The Mask, The Mask Returns, and The Mask Strikes Back – and closed in 1995.
In 1994, while the comic book series was still thriving, a film transformation story hit theatres. This was named, The Mask, and featured Jim Carrey as the lead character, Stanley Ipkiss, the dorky bank assistant whose life is always changed when he experiences the mystical mask.
While Jim Carrey’s wacky comedy is adored by many, it bears little likeness to its pitch dark source material. The two begin from a similar essential thought of a mysterious veil changing Stanley Ipkiss into an amazing, silly, insane person, yet the comic’s vision is a dull and fierce one. There is significantly more murder in the Mask’s print appearances, and the film was initially expected to convey this savagery over. Instead, it proved safer – and easier – to make it a straight-up comedy, with a far more cartoonish feel.
Comic Book: Wanted
Film: Wanted (Timur Bekmambetov 2008)
Russian director Timur Bekmambetov made an immense drop with his zombie film Night Watch, breaking film industry records in his country and making fans like Quentin Tarantino and Tim Burton.
For his first American movie, Bekmambetov chose to coordinate with the polished activity frolic Wanted, which featured a then cutting-edge James McAvoy, just as Angelina Jolie who had become an uncommon big-budget Hollywood creation of an actress by that point. The twisting story depended on a limited comic series of the same name, published four years earlier.
Before Kick-Ass, Kingsman, and Logan, Wanted was the absolute first film transformation crafted by commended comic book writer, Mark Millar. The mini-series delivered during 2003 and 2004 told the story of a “going-no place” office specialist, Wesley Gibson, whose life is flipped around when Fox, a slug twisting professional killer, reveals to him that his dad, known as “The Killer,” was the head of a secret super villain fraternity. Following his dad’s homicide, Wesley is destined to follow in his footsteps; however, his “weak” persona is in critical need of some strengthening from Fox first.
6. V FOR VENDETTA
Comic Book: V for Vendetta
Film: V for Vendetta (James McTeigue 2006)
Alan Moore is one skilled comic book author. From ‘V For Vendetta’ to ‘From Hell’ to ‘Watchmen’, the entirety of his magnificently composing works is not revived appropriately on the big screen. However, V for Vendetta remains the best example. With the screenplay written by the Wachowski siblings, V for Vendetta was the directorial debut to their assistant director on the Matrix trilogy, James McTeigue.
Along with a large gathering, the film was loaded up with skilled acting, a drawing plot, and great profundity. There are outstanding contrasts between the film and unique comic books, which have regularly been credited to the Wachowskis fitting the story into a more current political setting. With that, a significant number of the characters were also changed. As it may, the film exhibited similar topics revealed in Moore’s exemplary piece.
Alan Moore’s general disgust for Hollywood makes it difficult to know how many movies have been adapted from his comics as he refuses to take credit for them. Not all movie adaptations of his comics have been terrible, but if you have seen ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ his bitterness would be justified.
7. ROAD TO PERDITION
Comic book: Road to Perdition
Film: Road to Perdition (Sam Mended 2002)
Directed by Sam Mendes, Road to Perdition is a film in which Tom Hanks is a bad guy. But can he be a bad guy? The movie tells a story of an Irish Mob in which Tom Hanks’ character is a hitman. He still comes across as kind and sympathetic.
The comic book is based on a Japanese manga series called ‘Lone Wolf and Cub’ which the film used in adapting its screenplay, adapted from Max Allen Collins’ graphic novel. The comic saw multiple sequels, with some original characters and some featuring entirely new characters.
The movie, with great depth in the story, mostly focused on the cinematography and lead performance by Tom Hanks and Paul Neman. Steven Spielberg directed Road to Perdition, as he was one of the first to set eyes on the original comic and wanted to take it to the theatres, but he did not pursue directing this project.
Mendes after completing American Beauty got this project. He showed a simple narrative but it also had the themes of the comic and how the characters dealt with violence in the movie.
8. A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
Comic Book: A History of Violence
Film: A History of Violence (David Cronenberg 2005)
David Cronenberg’s – A History of Violence was hailed by many critics as one of the best movies of the 2000s. The story was adapted from a 1997 comic by the same name. Despite the director’s liking towards extreme violence, the screenplay was loosely based on the comic. While many of the characters’ names and relationships and even much of the story progressions were changed in the film, the themes and story were explored for the most part.
There is a difference between a comic and a film but the way Cronenberg translated the same, it didn’t feel like there was any difference. This was a success, in its way inspired by the violent themes and character studies explored on the pages.
Comic book: 300
Film: 300 (Zack Snyder 2007)
Another Frank Miller comic book makes to the list as the 2007 fantasy war film 300 inspired by the comic book with the same name. Directed by Zack Snyder, one of his well-known directorial features, the visuals and style were true to the comic. It was filmed with a special technique and the accuracy of the same was explored by many themes.
Like every other movie, 300 was also surrounded by much controversy, regardless of that it was a dazzling depiction of the comic book. It was a huge box office success as the visually striking composition was impressive and bringing a story to live-action with such reality was stunning. The story was dark, graphic, violent, and still astonishing, something you would expect from Miller’s writing.
10. RICHIE RICH
Comic book: Richie Rich (1960-1994)
Films: Richie Rich (Donald Petrie, 1994), Richie Rich’s Christmas Wish (John Murlowski, 1998)
This 1994 family comedy starring the famous child star, MaCaulay Culkin – Richie Rich. He is a lot older than he looks and was a side character in a 1953 issue of Daily Dot. The movie was a commercial failure at the time of its release and didn’t do well critically either. It was disappointing but Culkin was nominated for a Razzie.
The movie is every child’s fantasy with unlimited money, luxury living, enormous feasts, and of course a butler – Cadbury. The comic series was ending the same year and it was not exactly helpful for the movie.
It was not just every kid’s fantasy, it was every young adult and adults’ fantasy as well..(I’m talking about myself). The film ran its course and obviously, the comic wasn’t justified by the movie adaptation.
11. ADDAMS FAMILY
Comic book: Addams Family
Film: The Addams Family (Barry Sonnedfeld 1991), Addams Family Values (Barry Sonnenfeld 1993), Addams Family Reunion (Dave Payne 1998)
A spooky and another family-friendly franchise. They are creepy and kooky – they are Addam’s Family. They dominated every media house, including TV shows in the 1960’s and 1990s, they even had animated series, three feature-length films which are now considered cult classics.
Such is the far-reaching extent of the spooky family’s impact that they have been put alongside The Simpsons, The Flintstones, and even the Kennedys in terms of significance in American culture.
12. OLD BOY
Comic book: Old Boy
Films: Oldboy (Park Chan-wook, 2003), Oldboy (Spike Lee, 2013)
Oldboy is a Japanese manga series that ran from 1996 to 1998, lasting eight volumes and a total of 79 chapters. Being a complex and multifaceted story, bringing it on the big screen was unquestionably not a simple undertaking. Yet, in 2003, director Park Chan-wook adjusted the Oldboy series into a widely praised, award-winning film by a similar name.
The film adaptation of Oldboy is regularly viewed as perhaps the most upsetting movie to emerge from the 2000s. It is discussed right up until today, and significantly the 2003 variation of Oldboy collects substantially more acknowledgment than the later 2013 adaptation.
Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi’s Japanese manga series has now inspired two separate films. Though the core idea of our hero being inexplicably imprisoned is found in every version, there are important differences as well. In the manga, the protagonist is locked up for a decade; in the 2003 film it’s 15 years; in Spike Lee’s version, it’s 20. Park’s version also creates its own darkest ingredients. In the manga original, no one dies until the very end, and there’s no famous hammer fight, despite the comic-like framing by Park. Similarly, while incest is integral to the plot of the 2003 adaptation, there are no such untoward shenanigans in the original.
13. ALIEN VS PREDATOR
Comic book: Alien Vs. Predator
Films: Alien Vs. Predator (Paul W. S. Anderson, 2004), Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem (Greg and Colin Strause, 2007)
Thinking about the obvious artistic foundations of both nominal characters, this section may seem like it doesn’t have a place here, yet it does, and shouldn’t be surprising thinking about the amount of a staple mix stories are in the comic book industry.
Predator fans may recall the intergalactic mashup being prodded with a xenomorph (from the Alien establishment) skull in 1990’s Predator 2, yet the genuine seeds for the thought had effectively been planted in the 1989 Dark Horse comic of a similar name initiated by the editor, Chris Warner.
The main comic launched an entire line of Alien vs Predator crossover into different universes, with fan publicity coming up with titles like Batman and Superman vs. Alien vs. Predator (which appears to be somewhat imaginable on the big screen in a post-Batman vs. Superman world).
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