When we think of comic book movie adaptations, our minds automatically turn to The Avengers, Batman, The X-Men, Superman etc. But there are tons of blockbuster movies out there that were based on comic books that just weren’t as generally well known as the big DC/Marvel heroes that we all know and love. Here, we take a look at some movies that you may not know are in fact based on a comic book!
The film Wanted, starring Angelina Jolie, was actually a Mark Millar comic book series first. The book ran form 2003 – 2005 and the movie adaptation was made in 2008. The comic book was Mark Millar’s breakout original series, having previously penned for Marvel. There are a fair amount of differences between the comics and the movie. Namely, the comic book version being way more violent. The comics are also a lot more risqué, featuring characters like Johnny Two-Dicks, Shithead, and a cloned superhero with Down’s syndrome.
The Road To Perdition
This one usually comes as a big surprise to most. The movie adaptation was released in 2002 and stars Tom Hanks as the lead character. The original comic was released in 1998, and has spawned a number of spin offs since its original run. The movie was directed by Sam Mendes and was based on two of the editions from the comic book series. The Max Allan Collins’ comic book series was in turn based on the 1970 Japanese manga series, Lone Wolf And Cub. The movie is set in 1931, whereas the graphic novel version spans multiple generations, from the Great Depression to a post-Vietnam America. Cinematographer Conrad Hall won a posthumous Oscar for the graphically influenced cinematography of the movie.
The Comic book Barb Wire ran from 1994-1998 and was adapted for screen in 1996 by David Hogan. The movie starred the buxom Baywatch beauty, Pamela Anderson, and was a resounding flop at the time. Bizarrely, both the comic and the film are loosely based on the old world Hollywood classic, Casablanca, although you would be forgiven if this slipped your notice. In it, Humphrey Bogart’s eponymous nightclub owner, Rick Blaine is replaced by the scantily clad Barb. It is set in a futuristic 2017, while a second American Civil war rages on. Shockingly (note: heavy sarcasm), despite all of this, the movie was still nominated for a Raazzie (a mock award given in recognition of the worst film of the year). It lost out to the movie Striptease.
The Addams Family
The Addams Family screen versions have become ensconced in our collective consciousness since the early 60’s television adaptation. However, it first began as a comic strip in another cultural institution: The New Yorker. Penned by Charles Addams, the strip ran from 1938-1988. There have been three movie adaptations of it, The Addams Family, Addams Family Values, and the direct to video Addams Family Reunion. Despite the incredibly long run of the comic strip, it was always remarkably light on detail. In fact, the characters weren’t even given individual names until the creation of the TV series in 1964.
A History Of Violence
Another one that often surprises people, David Cronenberg’s 2005 crime classic is in fact based on a 1997 graphic novel of the same name. While both are truly brilliant, the movie does differ greatly from its original source material. In the book, we are given lengthy flashbacks exploring the protagonist’s history with the mob. In the movie however, the story is linear.
Men In Black
While not a lot of people know that Men In Black was a comic book first, most wont be surprised given its subject matter. The comic ran from 1990-1997. There has been three movie adaptations so far, Men In Black, Men In Black II, and Men In Black 3. The movie’s focus was the fight against aliens, but the comic book focuses on everything that can be deemed paranormal. Werewolves, zombies, vampires and even demons, none are safe from the Men In Black. The basic premise is still the same, however, the comic books often strikes a much darker note than any of the movies ever did.
The much loved 1994 movie starring Jim Carrey as the titular charecter began its life as a comic book series. The comic ran from 1989-2000, and was published by Dark Horse publishing, an off-shoot of DC comics. While Carrey’s mad-cap comedy routines are beloved by many, the movie’s tone bears little resemblance to the source material. The Mask comic books were full of dark, dark humour, with none of the Carrey-esque, slap-stick comedy that is so prevalent in the film. The two share a basic origin story: a magical mask transforms Stanley Ipkiss into a powerful, cartoonish maniac. However, thematically, the comic’s vision is a much darker more violent one.
Over The Hedge
Over The Hedge started as a newspaper comic strip in 1995, and is still being published today. The movie adaptation was released in 2006, and there are really very few differences between the two. They are even aesthetically very similar, considering the two completely different mediums both are created with. Some of the biting satire of the original strip is lost in translation from page to screen however, but most of the sharp commentary on modern consumerism remains.