Happy National Comic Book Day!
Comic books and movies have had a symbiotic relationship for decades. Sometimes the comic book or graphic novel comes first, and sometimes movies are later made into comics. But when you think of a “comic book movie,” there’s no doubt that your mind immediately goes to all of the Marvel and DC superhero films. From Batman to Superman to Deadpool to Captain Marvel to Black Panther and The Avengers , superhero movies based off of comics have become a multibillion-dollar industry. Now, studios are digging deeper into comic lore in search of new characters and plotlines to adapt for the silver screen, like Marvel’s The Eternals and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and DC’s Black Adam.
Since there’s no escaping comic book movies that revolve around superheroes, I wanted to take today’s “holiday” as an opportunity to highlight 6 other movies that many people don’t realize were also based off of comics or graphic novels.
Red – They’re not your grandfather’s grandfathers! Red is based on a 3-issue limited comic series from 2003 that follows a group of retired CIA agents—played by Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren—who reunite to uncover a conspiracy that threatens them all.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – When an awkward musician (Michael Cera) must battle his new girlfriend’s (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) seven evil exes (including Chris Evans in a classic pre-Captain America role!) in order to win a recording contract, things get a little crazy. I LOVED this movie so much when it came out in 2010 and highly recommend it if you’ve never seen it. It makes really creative use of comic imagery, and is based on the highly successful graphic novel series of the same name that launched in 2004.
The Mask – Yep, the 1994 comedy that cemented Jim Carrey’s status in Hollywood (and also put Cameron Diaz on the map) is actually based on a dark and violent limited comics series!
Atomic Blonde – This action thriller, starring Charlize Theron and James McAvoy, is based off of a 2012 graphic novel called The Coldest City. Theron went through intense training (with 8 different trainers!) for the action-heavy film, as she plays an MI6 spy who must track down several double agents. She even suffered cracked teeth and a bruised rib in the process!
Snowpiercer – I just realized Chris Evans is all about the comic adaptations. Anyway, in this critically heralded postapocalyptic thriller (which was also made into a TV series last year), Evans stars as a lower-class passenger on a train that’s circling the earth at top speed and carrying the last of humanity with it. It’s based on a French graphic novel and was directed by Boon Joon-ho, who won Best Picture last year for Parasite.
Men in Black – And finally, “…here come the Men in Black! Galaxy defenders. Here come the Men in Black! They won’t let you remember.” (Did you just sing that like the Will Smith song? Because that was my intention.) Smith and Tommy Lee Jones teamed up for 3 movies loosely based off of a 6-issue comic series of the same name from 1990. And then there was the spinoff with Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson from last year, but my preference is for the original 1997 film. Frank the Pug 4-eva!