Tuesday, December 5, 2017

"I love comic book movies!"

"I love comic book movies!"

This is a constant refrain. While I don't wish to discourage people's new found interest in the medium, I take issue and even cringe a little knowing that they believe "comic book" to equate "superhero". Sure the capes and tights are still best sellers.
Though, when I hear this I can hardly contain the urge to  sarcastically reply with something along the lines of,  "oh, ya? I love Road to perdition! Did you see Ghost World? I heard My Friend Dahmer is the ginchiest!"

It does seem this day that every Hollywood Blockbuster is based on a superhero book or at least every superhero is getting a Hollywood flick.
The available tech and CGI makes the fantastic completely common in these moving pictures. It does make for some spectacular stuff but many of the best adaptations of comics are not related to the genre.

In days gone by the only comics people getting anywhere in the motion picture biz were artists who were largely relegated to storyboarding or set and costume design, rarely having the opportunity to pitch their story ideas to the studios.Today, more and more Hollywood studios are turning to comics for ideas, fortunately there are many execs willing to dig into the more esoteric or personal stories that the medium offers.

Daniel Clowes, auteur extreme has seen a few of his works adapted like
Wilson or the previously mentioned Ghost World. Comics' Mad Mage Alan Moore, much to his dismay has had several of his works refigured by Tinseltown to varying degrees of success.
Others comic scribes are getting ever closer to this with seemingly every new creator owned series being optioned for film by one company or another.
At any rate it is not just capes and tights that have made their way of the page and onto the silver screen and quite often it's the more realistic stories that have made for the best films.

I'll spare y'all my usual long winded web of conspiracy and intersecting evidence that justify my opinions and just lay out a list of good to great films that started as comics.
All the links are for the books, you can do the IMDB search work yourselves.

Here's my shortlist of excellent comic adaptations:

Barbarella by Jean Claude Forest
Robert Crumb's  Fritz the Cat
Max Allan Collins' Road to Perdition
John Wagner and Vince Locke's The History of Violence. Masterfully directed by David Cronenberg and starring Viggo Mortensen
Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's historic fiction From Hell  was adapted largely faithful to the source material at least in tone.
Ghost in the Shell has been adapted to Anime and now live action.
Harvey Pekar's American Splendor
Steve Niles' 30 Days of Night
And of course Frank Miller's 300 and Sin City

Honorable mention go to :
Greg Rucka's Whiteout
Warren Ellis' RED
 Mark Millar's Kingsman
Antony Johnson's ATOMIC BLONDE

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