Fans often forget that some truly iconic movies were inspired by comic books, gaining fame in cinema that overshadowed their source material roots.
Hollywood has always looked to a wide range of source material to inspire their new projects. One of the greatest sources of good storytelling in cinema is comic books, and that has never been more true. However, fans often forget when a movie – or TV series – took its inspiration from comics. There are many reasons this can occur, namely the presumption that comics are strictly the domain of superheroes.
Understandably, while fans are quick to spot superhero movies' links to comics, it can be harder to draw that link in other genres. However, many of the greatest comic book movies of all time have nothing to do with superheroes or powers. In fact, many of them are much more grounded, some even based on real history. Comics will always be a great source of inspiration – and those original books deserve recognition.
Surrogates starred Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell and was set in a future where human interaction has been replaced with machines. People in this future use these machines – surrogates – as idealized stand-ins of themselves, eliminating their need to leave their homes.
Due to the lack of superheroes and minimal fanfare for the comic or movie, Surrogates would have easily been passed off as a standard sci-fi action. However, it was based on the excellent comic book created by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele.
Due to the fact it came out in a decade known for cheesy science fiction and B-movies, it makes sense that Flash Gordon is thought of as just another low budget flick. However, it was based on one of the comic book industry's most beloved heroes of pulp fiction.
Flash Gordon's film surpassed his comic book existence so much that it's easy for fans to be unaware of his print adventures. After all, he's rarely even given a comic book series in modern times. His movie followed his first adventure to Mongo and his battle with Ming the Merciless.
From Hell was one of Alan Moore's many independently published comics, alongside the likes of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and V For Vendetta. The movie starred Johnny Depp and focused on the comics' original premise of exploring the Jack the Ripper murders.
From Hell was a good horror/thriller, and followed a psychic Victorian detective as he investigated the killings committed by Jack the Ripper. While the comics inspiration of Watchmen may seem self-evident, From Hell's historic tone makes it easy to think it was just another spin on the famous serial killer.
The Rocketeer was based on the original pulp comic book hero created in the 1930s. The hero – a young man in possession of a jetpack – uses technology to fight crime in 1930s Los Angeles and New York. The film was true to the tone and style of the original comics.
The movie follows the young Rocketeer, Cliff, as he first comes into possession of the jetpack and helmet. Despite being an obvious Golden Age story, the film has become relatively obscure, and many remember it as an original action/adventure 90s movie.
The Losers originated with Wildstorm, a company – later DC imprint – known for more action-packed stories that deviated from traditional superhero stories. The series was more of a grounded and gritty spin on characters like the A-Team, with each hero having a unique set of skills.
The Losers starred Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans and Idris Elba, yet released to relatively low fanfare in 2009. It follows a similar story as The A-Team, with the team of heroes being framed for crimes they didn't commit and turning into soldiers of fortune to clear their names.
One of the biggest cases of people forgetting comic book inspiration, many people still think 300 was meant to represent the true story of Leonidas's battle. However, it was actually based on Frank Miller's 300 miniseries, which used his signature exaggerated style of events and characters.
Miller, the author of The Dark Knight Returns, has shown a love of embracing historic themes, giving the same treatment to Japan's Samurai in Ronin. Replete with super-human warriors, mysticism and slow-motion action, 300 was as good an adaptation as it was an action movie.
Though neither Alien nor Predator originated in comics, the match-ups between the two characters was prominent throughout the 90s in comics. Not only did the duo fight each other solo but they even went head-to-head with Batman and Superman in various series.
Alien versus Predator, despite an abysmal sequel, is still one of the best entries of the Alien and Predator franchises. Its great use of action as well as further exploration of the two species was a lot of fun. The duo first fought in 1990s Alien vs Predator from Dark Horse comics.
30 Days of Night is set in a remote mining town in Alaska, far north enough that residents experience 30 days of night and day. It follows the residents in a battle against an invading horde of vampires, who use the long period of darkness to roam the streets.
As the number of survivors slowly declines, the movie draws closer to its inevitable showdown between the movie's heroes and the vampires. The film was based on the original IDW comics miniseries of the same name, created by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith.
Road to Perdition remains one of the greatest mafia movies, as well as one of the highlights of Tom Hanks's career. It follows Michael Sullivan, the adopted son of an Irish mob boss, who is forced to take his son on the road when he witnesses a murder and gets a target on his back.
When the mafia murders Michael's wife and other son, the father/son duo head out on a mission of revenge against the old family. The movie was based on an original graphic novel miniseries, which is still one of the best crime comics ever made.
Created by John Wagner of Judge Dredd fame, A History of Violence focused on a small town café owner thrust into fame when he stopped two criminals. His new position in the spotlight was followed by a big city gangster showing up claiming to know him.
A History of Violence began as a black and white comic book, but the movie made for much more entertaining viewing. Due to its incredibly grounded, drama-based nature, it's easy to understand why fans would assume it to be an original crime film fitting of its time.
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