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6 MOVIES THAT MAY SURPRISE YOU WERE BASED ON COMIC BOOKS –

Comic book movies feel like they’ve completely taken over the film industry at this point. The biggest movie of the year (and one of the biggest movies in the history of film) is undeniably Avengers: Endgame.But comic book movies have always been here, you just might not have noticed. There have been a ton of comic book movies that most people have no idea were based on a comic, and we’re going to run through a few of them. And trust me, these entries get very strange by the end. Very goddamn strange.

 

Men in Black (1997)I love the opening credits of this movie so much. For the unfamiliar, the opening credits are spent following a large dragonfly as it flies around desert roads, passing dangerously close to cars. I’ve always been obsessive about movies, but it even took me way too long to notice that the credits mention “Based on the Marvel Comic by Lowell Cunningham.”

 

To sum up complicated copyright nonsense, the original comic, called The Men in Black, was published through a company called Malibu, but Malibu comics was bought by Marvel in 1994. And that original comic didn’t run for very long, running at only six issues between 1990 and 1991. Until the movie, it was an obscure comic to say the least.

 

Wanted (2008)I feel like when I was growing up, the summer of 2008 felt dominated by the hype of Wanted being a batshit R-rated murder-a-thon (along with the hype of The Dark Knight, but that’s a whole other level of hype). It certainly was, delivering some really iconic moments, like Professor X smashing Starlord’s face with a keyboard.

Lost in the shuffle was that it was originally a comic book by Mark Millar, who later went on to write the comic Kick-Ass and many other famous projects. The comic and the movie are pretty different, only sharing the whole “international networks of murderers” premise. The comic takes it much farther, revealing that supervillains secretly took over the world instead of mere assassins.

 

The Mask (1994)This might not be too surprising. After all, the movie is about a larger-than-life cartoony character causing mayhem, not too much of stretch to assume it came from a weird source (though, the premise is so perfect for Jim Carrey, I wouldn’t blame anyone for assuming this was an original idea).

 

Where the movie and the comic diverge is that the comic was much darker than the film ever dared to be, featuring multiple people who put on “the Mask” and would occasionally carry out horrific deeds. The series debuted in 1989 under Dark Horse Comics, a label known at the time for publishing some pretty weird shit (more on them later…).

 

Ghost World (2001)If you’ve never seen Ghost World, it sure does sound like a movie based on a comic book, because maybe you’d assume that it’s literally about a world of ghosts.The movie is a critically acclaimed indie dark comedy, nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Academy Awards. It’s about the lives of two deeply cynical teenage girls. That’s it, no world-saving stakes, and certainly no actual ghosts.

 

Which is probably why it doesn’t occur to a lot of people that a story like that came from a comic book. Unlike most of these comic book movies based on strange sources, Ghost World does not deviate nearly as much from the comic: The Academy Award written screenplay was co-written by the comic’s writer, Daniel Clowes.

 

Road to Perdition (2002)Yeah. This one always throws people off.Normally, moody R-rated gangster dramas that win Academy Awards are not based on comic books, especially when your cast includes Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, Stanley Tucci, and Jennifer Jason Leigh (plus, a pre-007 Daniel Craig), directed by Sam Mendes of American Beauty.

 

But Road to Perdition is based on a comic, and one from DC in 1998. The writer of the comic, Max Allan Collins, was ultimately shut out of the writing process, though he seemed mostly happy with the final result. One of his biggest objections? The use of profanity, which he felt was out of place in his story.I’ll just respectfully disagree and move on.

 

And hey, while we’re here, we’ll throw this story in. Think of it as a bonus:

 

Alien vs. Predator (2004)Yes, obviously both of these monsters originated from movies, but the specific concepts this movie plays with come from a very famous comic book run in 1989 of the same name published by Dark Horse Comics.But what’s kind of hilarious is how this movie happened. In short: It happened on “accident” the only way a movie possibly could. With a joke.

If you’ve ever seen Predator 2, you know that among the Predator’s trophy case is an Alien skull. Fans saw it as a not-so-subtle sign that an Alien Vs. Predator movie was being planned, which honestly isn’t the most unreasonable assumption. Predator 2 came out in 1990, and Alien 3 didn’t come out until 1992, so if you were a super nerdy comic book fan back then, it seemed like a dream come true.

 

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The reality is that the director, Stephen Hopkins, really liked the AVP comics, and since 20th Century Fox owned Alien and Predator as franchises, they approved putting the skull in as a joke of sorts.The “joke” skyrocketed the comic’s popularity and led to fan demand for a movie of the comic, which 20th Century Fox had no plans for in 1990. Fourteen years later, we got a movie and… It’s not good, but it’s entertaining as hell.

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