The Best Movies Based on Comics (that you didn’t know)

In today’s society, inspiration for movies comes from all sorts of unlikely sources. It might be based from history (such as Titanic and Pearl Harbor, minus the lovey-dovey scenes, of course) or it could be based from just an object seen in passing (“Hey, a chainsaw! Let’s make a movie out of that!”)

But, some movies, great ones, in fact, come from books or even comic books.

Of course, we cannot say that all movies that are adapted from comic books are fantastic and worthy of praise; actually some of them are a downright waste of time and money (that’s for another list, folks). But then, I am going to focus all my energy today to make a list of those that actually stood out from the meh-movies and made an impact. In no particular order (I have to put that in there to avoid hordes of fanboys and fangirls rampaging after me with pitchforks), I present to you the list of awesome movies that are based from comics. Oh, did I forget to mention that there are no superheroes with powers here here? (Sorry, Captain America.)

1. Hellboy

Hellboy
This demon-turned-good-guy certainly is something that makes this movie worthwhile. One particular feature that I liked about this movie is that the main character doesn’t really fit the usual cookie-cutter type of hero with good looks and charming persona. However, his snarky witticisms combined with a heroism you would have never expected certainly made up for that. Nevertheless, they did a pretty darn good job with the storyline. And did I mention that Hellboy as a baby is pretty darn cute?

2. Blade; Blade II; Blade: Trinity

blade
If you’ve noticed, I just combined the three since all of them are about the same main character. In this movie, Wesley Snipes plays a vampire/human hybrid named, well, Blade. Just like what his name suggests, he slices and dices his way through hordes of vampires to get to the boss vampire (in Part 3, he actually comes face to face with Dracula himself). Filled with epic swordplay and some humor (yes, humor), I’d definitely watch this again.

3. 300

300
Hailing from a comic book of the same name, 300 is all about the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which 300 Spartans, led by the King Leonidas, face off against the Persian Emperor Xerxes and his legions upon legions of soldiers. What actually made me love this movie (besides the storyline, and Gerard Butler) is the way the film was depicted on screen. It basically looks like it was actually ripped from the comic book itself, somehow hovering between fantasy and reality with awesome graphic effects. Also, if you never watched this movie with a fantastic sound, spend money buy one of the best soundbar for $200 and enjoy the difference. With gut-wrenching fight scenes always around the corner and glorious speech moments (think King Leonidas’ last words), this movie is downright epic.

4. Kick-Ass

Few people may realize that this movie has been adapted from a comic book. What is unusual about this storyline is that it answers the question: “What if ordinary human beings decide to wear costumes and fight crime?” The answer results in epic fights, slapstick comedy, dark humor, struggles with normal life and more epic fights.

5. Sin City

Coming from a comic book of the same name, Sin City offers viewers a look at the comics transformed into a moving masterpiece. The special effects, the shot framing and the dialogue is very much spot-on. Very visually-stunning, to say the least.

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Marvel Comics and the Marvel Universe

Marvel-Comics

If you grew up watching Captain America or reading Iron Man comic books, chances are you are a marvel fan.

Marvel Worldwide Inc., also known as Marvel Comics, is one of the well-known names in the comic book industry. It originated in the United States and is a publisher of comic books and other types of related media.

So, how did Marvel Comics start? Marvel Comics was originally known as Timely Publications and it was founded in 1939 by Martin Goodman. The first ever publication under Timely Publications was Marvel Comics #1 in October, 1939. These comics usually focused on superheroes.

However, after the war, superheroes in comics are slowly fading away, so Goodman decided that the comics should be expanded and take on a wider variety of genres, like horror and westerns. Soon after, Marvel Comics started taking on superhero storylines once more, starting with their first superhero team, The Fantastic Four #1, dated November, 1961).

On August 31, 2009, Marvel Entertainment (Marvel Worldwide’s parent company) was acquired by The Walt Disney Company for about $4 billion.

Marvel Universe

Marvel-Universe

With plenty of Marvel Characters out there with different storylines and backgrounds, the creators of these characters have placed all of them in one shared fictional universe, the Marvel Universe.

However, even if majority of the stories take place on Earth, some of the characters are pretty much not from the same planet, or even the same galaxy. So, we have come to believe that the Marvel Universe is just not one universe but a combination of separate universes.

Writer/editor Stan Lee, together with several other artists, developed a concept that makes it seem that the lives of the heroes are somewhat intertwined, in such that events in a particular storyline has some effects on another story plot. What makes the universe interesting is that Marvel has set most of the story scenes in real-life, well-known cities, like New York (Why New York, I’ll never know). Although some settings in the Marvel Universe are purely fictional, such as the agency S.H.I.E.L.D., great care has been taken to show cities as close to reality as possible.

When it comes to the origins of their superpowers, heroes and villains alike have all sorts of superpowers, resulting from genes that are activated from birth or due to external factors like chemicals and radiation. Other possible reasons why there are super humans may include magic or bionic implants. Others in the Marvel Universe, however, were not given superpowers, but they have other skills such as genius-like intellect, and may have to depend on combat training and/or advanced technological equipment.

DC Comics and the DC Universe

DC Comics

Quite a lot of kids nowadays (and heck of a lot of adults, too) are well aware of superheroes because of comic books. We have fully integrated comics into our society to the point that we have various local and national events dedicated to all comic book enthusiasts, and even letting then don costumes much like their beloved favorite hero or villain (Hello, ComicCon).

So, if you grew up collecting comics (I know I did), you should be aware of the comic book juggernaut of a company called DC Comics, Inc.

DC Comics, Inc. is basically a comic book company from the United States, based in California. It is actually one of the most successful companies dealing with comic books and has introduced some of our most beloved characters, such as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

The DC Comics was founded in 1934 by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, under the name National Allied Publications. It introduced its first comic book entitled “New Fun: Big Comic Magazine #1”, dated February, 1935. In 1969, DC Comics merged with the company Warner Bros.

DC Universe

DC Universe

Just like that of other comic book realms, storylines from DC Comics all take place within a singular universe, called the DC Universe. It also involves a DC Multiverse, meaning that the DC Universe is just a part of many universes in the DC realm.

With many well-known characters, the DC Universe is created with the idea of creating a world based on real-life, albeit with plenty of fictional countries and cities that are major areas. While some villains are depicted as well, more or less, humans, some of the villains that the superheroes encounter in the DC Universe are alien in nature, and arrival of alien spacecrafts are pretty much normal.

The powers of the superheroes and villains are obtained in a somewhat similar way such as those from the Marvel Universe. While some of the heroes and villains obtained their superhuman abilities due to genes, some get their powers due to exposure to (yep, you’ve guessed it) chemicals and radiation.

The powers of those in the DC Universe are not considered to be all-powerful. In fact, some of the superheroes have one or two things that would render him or her as vulnerable (think Superman and Kryptonite).

Superheroes in the DC Universe are depicted in a somewhat different way than that of those in the Marvel Universe. While those from the Marvel Universe are usually feared and shunned by other members of the society, the superheroes from the DC Universe are well-received, and even praised, for their heroic deeds.

Introducing Beginners To The Comics World

People of all ages have known the joy of saving money and to rush to your nearest bookstore to buy that latest comic book installment of Batman or X-men. You would also know that sheer bliss of being able to feel the smooth pages of your new comic book as you turn the page to read the story with ever increasing excitement.

ComicsIntro1

However, with the advent of technology today, some people (especially the younger generation), have turned away from buying comic books and instead turn to watching their favorite superheroes fight the villains on the big screen. Some probably have no idea that the superheroes that they have come to adore from the movies have started as a humble paperback comic book.

Comic Books in the 21st Century

With comic book giants such as Marvel Comics and DC Comics continuously turning to transform their comic book characters as part of the big screen, it’s really no wonder that most of the younger generation have would prefer to watch movies like Iron Man rather than reading it from the source itself.

Another implication of technology when it comes to the development of comics is the form of media it is presented in. While some bookstores still offer these comic books in their luscious paperback form, it is somewhat sad to note that the internet has also become a source of these reading materials, giving readers a chance to read their favorite comics, albeit in PDF or e-book format.

You know what this means? Comic books and bookshops are now under threat. Much like the disappearance of videotape rental shops when VCDs (or even downloaded movies) started appearing, it is highly possible that with the introduction of e-books through the internet (some of them free, by the way), and also the continuous turnover of comic book story plots into movies , comic book sales may start to plummet.

ComicsIntro2

However, some people have said that comic books being turned to digital format may not be such a bad thing. For one, a positive side is that the images that are offered to readers are visually- stunning since the colors really pop. Readers can zoom in on the page that they want to examine more closely and they don’t take up a lot of space in your room.

Others, on the other hand, do not share these sentiments as they prefer the sheer excitement of peeling the actual page of the comic books themselves. Some of them even have the actual first-ever comic book that was printed (lucky them..)

One thing is for sure. With the declining interest of the newer members of the public for comic books, publishers and companies have to find ways to make them appealing to potential new readers, whatever the format may be.