8 Movies You Didn’t Know
Were Based On Comic Books
By Matthew Arcilla
The most curmudgeonly of pop culture cognoscenti would have you believe that comics are a finite well to draw inspiration from. That they all be superheroes and nothing more can be had from them. But the truth is that cinema has been tapping comic books for more than just capes and crime fighting. It’s an open secret that no one talks about. Here are eight movies that were based on comic books.
8. Old Boy
Since 2003, this bloody violent neo-noir by filmmaker Park Chan-wook is now a huge influence on action film and TV, with John Wick and Marvel’s Daredevil being some recent examples. But few people know that it’s a mostly faithful translation of a Japanese manga by Nobuaki Minegishi.
For most, this science fiction thriller starring Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton came out of nowhere. In truth, it’s got weirdly disparate roots: a passion project for South Korean director Bong Joon-hoo, Snowpiercer was shot mostly in Czechoslovakia. It was based on a fairly obscure French bandes desinées – that’s comic strips to us non-Europeans – that Bong discovered in a university book store.
6. A History of Violence
When director David Cronenberg elected to defer salary on one of his smaller budgeted projects, he took on this project to make up the money. The result was a film that gained widespread critical acclaim, and a deep friendship with star Viggo Mortensen. Cronenberg can thank John Wagner and Vince Locke for that, as they wrote and drew the original A History of Violence comic book.
5. Men in Black
Predating the big comic book movie boom of the 00s, Men in Black was the first big comic book movie franchise since Warner Bros’ Batman movies. It spawned action figures, cartoons, video games and endless amounts of merchandise. The comic book it was based on was rather obscure though, and was published by a Canadian company that used to install insulation for the government. Or did it?!