12 Movies You Didn't Know Were Based on Comic Books
When most people hear the phrase “comic book movie,” they immediately think of Marvel and DC's superheroes. However, comics explore many genres, and there have been plenty of non superhero-themed comics adapted for the big screen. ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ is just the latest; here are 12 other notable examples.
The Mask (1994)
Jim Carrey exploded in popularity during the summer of 1994, thanks in part to this then-obscure comic book hero. 'Mask' was loosely based on the original Dark Horse Comics mini, though the source material's darker tone was downplayed in favor of a more comedic take -- a change that clearly paid off.
If ‘Timecop’ seems unusually plot-driven as far as Jean-Claude Van Damme films go, perhaps it's because it was based on a serialized comic that appeared in an anthology series from Dark Horse in 1992. This comic introduced the idea of a futuristic cop policing the timestream against would-be abusers.
Tank Girl (1995)
Before he went on to co-create the band Gorillaz, artist Jamie Hewlett cooked up a psychedelic/punk-flavored anti-heroine known as Tank Girl. And in 1995, that comic became the inspiration for this cult-favorite that, among other things, featured Ice-T decked out as a dancing kangaroo.
Men in Black (1997)
This sci-fi comedy not only cemented Will Smith's Hollywood superstar status, it proved that comic book movies could be big moneymakers in a time before superheroes were king. The film took the 1990 comic's basic premise, but like 'The Mask' before it, took a more comedic, box-office friendly approach.
From Hell (2001)
Writer Alan Moore's dislike for films based on his works is legendary. At least ‘From Hell’ stands out as one of the more successful efforts. This film loosely adapted Moore's sprawling, existentialist take on the Jack the Ripper murders, casting Johnny Depp as a drug-addled inspector and Heather Graham as an unlucky prostitute.
Ghost World (2001)
Cartoonist Dan Clowes' critically acclaimed graphic novel became the inspiration for an equally acclaimed independent film. Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson star as two teenage outcasts who grow apart in the summer after high school graduation, while Steve Buscemi impressed in his portrayal of a morose jazz fan.
Road to Perdition (2002)
This Sam Mendes-directed crime drama remains one of the most critically lauded comic book adaptations. It was based on Max Allen Collins' graphic novel of the same name, which itself was inspired by the long-running Japanese manga, ‘Lone Wolf and Cub.’
South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook looked to the Japanese manga ‘Oldboy’ for this second entry in his “Vengeance Trilogy.” ‘Oldboy’ follows a man named Oh Dae-su, who seeks revenge after being imprisoned in a hotel room for 15 years. Spike Lee directed the 2013 remake starring Josh Brolin.
A History of Violence (2005)
Director David Cronenberg (‘The Fly’) turned his eye towards this John Wagner/Vince Locke graphic novel, and the results were every bit as mesmerizing as you'd expect. Viggo Mortensen stars in the tale of a humble diner owner whose past as a mob hitman comes to light in the wake of a shooting.
‘Wanted’ is the first of several films based on the works of writer Mark Millar (with the most recent being ‘Kingsman’). Nightwatch’ director Timur Bekmambetov borrowed the comic's basic premise – an unhappy young man is inducted into a glamorous world of villains – but the comic book featured a more eclectic cast of costumed supervillains as opposed to the film's gun-toting assassins.
The Warren Ellis-written book holds little resemblence to its big-screen counterpart. The biggest change? Hinging the story on several former CIA agents -- Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, and John Malkovitch -- seeking revenge against their former handlers, rather than a lone protagonist.
People have been telling tales of Hercules for thousands of years. This particular Hercules film, however, was based specifically on a graphic novel from Radical Comics called ‘Hercules: The Thracian Wars.’ Appropriately, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was called upon to portray the mighty hero.