10 comic book movies that aren’t about superheroes


Superman’s debut in 1938 in Action comics # 1 is the origin story of the superhero genre. More than two decades later, the Marvel Revolution of the 1960s solidified superheroes as the dominant genre in American comics, beating out competitors such as horror, sci-fi, and romance comics. .

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Most comics are about superheroes, most comic book adaptations have been too, especially as Hollywood is increasingly obsessed with producing IP movies. However, some non-superhero comics have made it to the big screen.

ten “A History Of Violence” is a crime thriller in novel and film form

A film about the history of violence

In 1997, Judge Dredd co-creator John Wagner teamed up with artist Vince Locke to create the graphic novel A history of violence. Eight years later, David Cronenberg adapted the story for theaters. Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) becomes a local hero after outwitting thieves at his restaurant in small town Indiana. Soon, however, it attracts unwanted attention from Stall’s past. A history of violence looks like a Cronenberg halfway point – the character-centric drama is an ancestor of its 21st-century Prestige Picture scene, but the outbursts of violence are reminiscent of its roots in bodily horror.

The film owes a debt to Hitchcock Shadow of a doubt, in particular the theme of violence infecting the suburbs. This being an image of Cronenberg, the violence manifests itself carnally – compare the initial tender love between Stall and his wife Edie (Maria Bello) to their violent passion later on down the stairs. Plus, William Hurt exasperated “How the fuck are you doing this ?!” is quite simply one of the funniest online deliveries ever.

9 “American Splendor” is an experimental autobiography

American Splendor Film

Cleveland comic book scribe Harvey Pekar used comics for an autobiography with American splendor. The film, co-directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, was to be an adaptation of an adaptation; the filmmakers decided to adopt it. The film American splendor is therefore half-dramatization, half-documentary.

Interviews with the real Pekar and his wife Joyce Babner are interspersed with recreations of the comic book starring Paul Giamatti as Pekar and Hope David as Babner. On top of that, the film incorporates animated recreations of Pekar’s designs into its setting. Comic book movies are generally not categorized as formally daring, but American splendor is the exception.

8 “Ghost World” sounds like the type of movies that other comic book movies compete with

Ghost World Movie

2001’s Ghost World, directed by Terry Zwigoff, is the type of quirky, boredom-fueled, character-driven indie imagery that, since the 2010s, has been touted as the opposite, or antidote, of the movies. comics. Ironic therefore, that it is based on a comic book itself; indeed, comic book author Dan Clowes co-wrote the screenplay with Zwigoff.

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Enid Coleslaw (Thora Birch) and Rebecca Doppelmeyer (Scarlett Johansson) are two isolated high school graduates unable to connect with people far from each other. As the story, which could easily be called “A Tale Of Two Darias”, unfolds, even their own relationship deteriorates as Enid befriends lonely jazz lover Seymour. (Steve Buscemi), while letting life and opportunities pass.

7 “Men In Black” debuted right before the comic book craze

Split image from the movie and comic Men in Black

Before X Men Proved that there was a market for A-List superhero movies not starring Superman or Batman, Hollywood tended to rely on more obscure comics to adapt them. One of the most successful examples is that of Barry Sonnenfeld in 1997 Men in black, based on an obscure six-issue 1990 comic book by Lowell Cunningham and Sandy Carruthers.

Taking a tone decidedly lighter than the comic, Men in black is based on the charisma of its stars. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as Agents J and K excel as a comedic duo of “salt and pepper” buddies, while Vincent D’Onofrio gives a physical masterclass performance as an alien “bug” clad in a costume.

6 “Oldboy” has its roots in manga

old boy

Park Chan-Wook is one of the most acclaimed directors working in his home country, South Korea, but to international audiences he will always be best known for Old boy. The film centers on Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik), a man imprisoned in a hotel room for 15 years who, upon his emergence, attempts to uncover the goal behind and avenge his kidnapping.

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Although Park Chan-Wook’s most famous film, Old boy is not entirely his work. It is based on the 8 volumes Old boy manga by Japanese writer and artist Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi. An American remake of Park’s film, directed by Spike Lee, was also released in 2013, but met with much harsher reviews than the original.

5 “Persepolis” is an autobiography with a political spirit

It’s rare for comic book creators to have direct control over their adaptations, but that’s what Marjane Satrapi got. Between 2000 and 2004, Satrapi published a graphic novel in two books, Persepolis. The first book, A childhood story, presents Satrapi recounting his childhood in the repression of post-revolutionary Iran through the eyes of his youngest, Marji.

The following, A comeback story, focuses on Marji’s voluntary exile in Europe and a brief return home. In 2007, Satrapi co-directed an animated adaptation of Persepolis with Vincent Paronnaud; the film merges the two volumes into a single narrative.

4 “Road To Perdition” is a classic gangster movie

Route of perdition

Mark Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner took the tale of Lone wolf and wolf cub and updated it for Prohibition-Era Chicago with their detective graphic novel, Route of perdition. In 2002, Sam Mendes made a film adaptation.

Mendes’ prestige imagery can be overwhelming, but the one that works best is Route of perdition. Tom Hanks plays guy like Michael Sullivan, an Irish Mafia henchman; Sullivan and his son Michael Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin) are forced to flee together after the boy witnesses an execution and the rest of the Sullivan family pay the price. Immaculately shot by Conrad Hall and hauntingly tagged by Thomas Newman, Route of perdition is in the top Chicago gangster movie pantheon alongside The public enemy and The Untouchables; the first is the direct inspiration for Perdition‘s soggy climax.

3 “Scott Pilgrim Vs The World” Isn’t Quite A Superhero Story

Scott with a sword and traveling with ramona

Between the second and the third chapter of his Cornetto trilogy, Edgar Wright adapted Bryan Lee O’Malley’s film Scott Pilgrim vs the world. The main character (Michael Cera) is the unemployed bassist of underground group Sex Bob-Omb. Scott is anything but a heroic archetype, but his call to adventure comes when he must defeat the seven villainous ex of his crush Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

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While loaded with past and future stars of superhero movies, from Winstead to Chris Evans and Brandon Routh to Brie Larson, Scott pilgrim does not quite fit the mold. That said, its incorporation of comics, video games, and even musical imagery makes it one of the more formally experimental comic book movies.

2 “Sin City” is a black tribute

Frank Miller has reached the level of comic book superstar thanks to his races on daredevil and Wolverine, The return of the dark knight, and Ronin. The first three are unqualified superhero stories and the last mixes samurai stories with a sci-fi dystopia. Reading these books, however, feels like film noir and detective novels have always been the main influence on Miller. It should therefore come as no surprise that during the 1990s, he produced a collection of mini-series in homage to Noir, collectively titled according to their decor: City of sin.

In 2005, Robert Rodriguez directed an adaptation of three City of sin miniseries: “The Hard Goodbye”, “The Big Fat Kill” and “That Yellow Bastard”. The film wasn’t an adaptation, however, but a recreation: Filmed entirely digitally, green screens were used to recreate the comic book panels on film, so much so that Miller got co-director credit.

1 “Snowpiercer” is a haunting science fiction allegory

Rebel army from the movie Snowpiercer

Bong Joon-Ho exploded into public consciousness thanks to his 2019 film Parasite, but he produced excellence long before. His debut in English, Snowdrops, is based on the French graphic novel The Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette.

Although an adaptation, Snowdrops is a great showcase of Bong’s forces – a Gilliam-style quirky tone mixing terror with dark comedy and a striking but universal political message. Chris Evans also achieves his best performance as the leader of the Curtis revolution; a twist on her character is all the more shocking thanks to Evans’ Captain America live.

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