7 Films Based on Graphic Novels/Comics

In no particular order and excluding “superhero” comics, including Batman, Superman, Spiderman, and the Marvel Universe.

I. Alan Moore is a force to be reckoned with. He is the creator of so many epic graphic novels, from Watchmen and Batman: The Killing Joke to Jerusalem and V for Vendetta. His graphic novel From Hell (1999) re-imagines the mystery surrounding the identity of the infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper operating in London in 1888. It was the basis of a rather underrated film From Hell, starring Johnny Depp and Heather Graham.

II. Snowpiercer (2013) is a thrilling dystopian action story and a perceptive societal satire all in one from director Bong Joon-ho (Parasite (2019)). It focuses on one “self-sustaining” train that makes rounds around the world, comprising of human survivors divided into different social classes. The story is actually based on the French-language graphic novel Le Transperceneige (1982) by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette. Snowpiercer has also been made into a 2020 TV series.

III. V for Vendetta is another creation of writer Alan Moore (illustrated by David Lloyd), and tells of a masked man seeking both revolution and revenge. The great film of 2005 – V for Vendetta – starring Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman is not altogether true to the series, but still conveys the spirit of the source material. “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea…And ideas are bulletproof.”

IV. A History of Violence (2005) is one of Cronenberg’s best films. It is masterfully directed, with no shot wasted, and even, paradoxically, has a feel of a theatrical play, so nuanced it is. Viggo Mortensen fits the image of now law-abiding and caring, but once “violent” man well, and William Hurt even managed to get nominated for an Oscar for his performance that lasts less than ten minutes. The film, though, is based on a graphic novel A History of Violence by John Wagner (Judge Dredd), with illustrations by Vince Locke.

V. Blue is the Warmest Colour is an awards-winning film by Abdellatif Kechiche about the relationship between two women. The film is based on a French graphic novel of the same name Le bleu est une couleur chaud by Jul Maroh.

VI. Old is Shyamalan’s 2021 film about “a group of people who find themselves aging rapidly on a secluded beach”. However, the story is actually based on the French-language Swiss graphic novel Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters, and see also my post Film vs. Book that compares Shyamalan’s film The Village to the novel Running Out of Time (1996), and also this exciting trailer to Shyamalan’s new film Knock at the Cabin.

VII. Road to Perdition is Sam Mendes’s film starring Tom Hanks, Jude Law and Paul Newman, and set during the Great Depression. Here, a mob enforcer and his son seek vengeance against a mobster who murdered the rest of their family. However, the film’s origin is actually a comic book of the same name – Road to Perdition – by Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner.

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. moviefanman says:

    Nice list there, solid choices. I saw an interview with Alan Moore once and he came off as kind of a hypocrite actually, saying he never really liked the film adaptations of his work, yet at the same didn’t feel bad about taking the money the studios offered him. Blue is the Warmest Color is a such a beautiful and heartbreaking film, and I imagine so is the book it’s based off of.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sam Simon says:

    I didn’t remember that A History of Violence came from a comic! Nice post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gijs Grob says:

    I’d add Sin City, but my favorite adaptation is Ghost World

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m actually in the middle of a review marathon of movies based on graphic novels that aren’t superhero related. I already reviewed V for Vendetta years ago, but almost everything else I saw recently. Still need to see Blue is the Warmest Color!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great! Before making this list, I had no idea and it really surprised me some of these films were based on graphic novels, including A History of Violence and Road to Perdition. The more I find out about film the more I realise just how much of the screenplay material out there is not actually “original” but adapted in some form or another from other medium, be it from a short story, a novel, a graphic book or even a videogame.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. From my 27 years of movie experience I’ve found that nothing is 100% original. Even original movies are in some way inspired by another work. For example: Star Wars is original, but it was heavily inspired by Akira Kurasawa samurai films, westerns, World War II Fighter plane footage, and Flash Gordon.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think there is still quite a gap between “based” and “inspired”, but I agree! Anything can be “stretched” that far, hitting something else.

          Liked by 1 person

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