Back Issues: Comics more than superheroes

Movies, shows you didn’t know were based on comics

In the Netflix series “The Umbrella Academy,” a disbanded group of superheroes reunites after their adoptive father, who trained them to save the world, dies. (Photo Provided)

A few months ago, big spender that I am, I acquired the complete run of the 1994 animated “Iron Man” series on DVD for a whopping $5.

I don’t remember it as a particularly great show, and my viewing of the first episode certainly confirmed that. Still, a certain nostalgic fondness remains.

I think that’s because, back then, you really had to work to find a comic book-based show or movie. When you finally got one, you appreciated it. You didn’t know when you might have the chance again.

Oh how times have changed.

While the comic book roots of some shows and movies are easily recognizable, there are a host you might not realize also come from that same source. Heck, a few I had to research and I’ve only been reading comics since around the time I could read at all.

Several have debuted recently or are about to premiere. Many of these are not suitable for children, so please do your research if a youngster wants to check any of them out.

“Deadly Class,” the new Syfy show about a school for young assassins that premiered Jan. 16? That’s based on an Image comic created by Rick Remender and Wes Craig.

A second season is set to premiere in March of another comic-based Syfy show, “Happy!” The extremely violent and vulgar limited series by writer Grant Morrison and artist Darick Robertson told the tale of ex-cop-turned-hitman Nick Sax, enlisted by a young girl’s imaginary friend, Happy, to save her from a horrific fate.

Around Valentine’s Day, Netflix will unveil episodes of “Umbrella Academy,” a comic about a team of seven mysterious individuals battling bizarre threats, written by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way. Netflix’s dark comedy show “The End of the F***ing World” started out as a graphic novel by Charles Forsman, who indicated in interviews that he was in the dark about the announced second season since the first series of episodes ended the same way as the comic.

“Hilda,” based on the graphic novels of Luke Pearson, premiered on Netflix in September, telling stories of a young girl encountering various mystical creatures.

Netflix is working with comic writer Mark Millar on a number of his properties. Multiple Millar creations have already made their way to the big screen, including the “Kingsman” franchise, “Wanted” and the unfortunately named “Kick-Ass.”

“Red,” the 2010 film starring Bruce Willis as retired CIA assassin Paul Moses, was based on a much darker 2004 Homage Comics limited series by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner. “Snowpiercer,” the post-apocalyptic tale in which the remnants of human society traversed a frozen landscape aboard a massive train divided by classes, came from a 1982 French graphic novel by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette that was published for the first time in English to coincide with the 2014 film release.

It’s no surprise the dark 2009 superhero film “Watchmen” was based on a comic, but it wasn’t the first work of writer Alan Moore that has been adapted by Hollywood. Both 2001’s “From Hell,” starring Johnny Depp as a detective investigating the Jack the Ripper murders in Victorian-era London, and 2005’s “V for Vendetta,” about a masked revolutionary in a totalitarian Great Britain, were based on comics by Moore (much to Moore’s disdain).

While comic book-derived properties are more plentiful these days, they’re hardly a new development.

“Men in Black,” which is receiving a cinematic reboot later this year, was based on an obscure limited series released by Aircel Comics in 1990 and written by Lowell Cunningham. In the comics, which only lasted six issues, the team’s jurisdiction isn’t limited only to aliens.

“The Crow,” the 1994 movie made infamous by star Brandon Lee’s death during filming, is based on the avenging character created by James O’Barr and introduced in 1989’s “Caliber Presents #1.” A planned reboot starring Jason Momoa was recently canceled.


Also Based on Comics:

* “Ghost World” — 2001 movie starring Scarlett Johansson and Thora Birch, based on the comics by Daniel Clowes published in the mid-90s.

* “Witchblade” — 2001-02 TV series starring Yancy Butler, based on the Image comic.

* “Road to Perdition” — 2002 movie starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, based on the comics from Paradox Press comics, a DC imprint.

* “A History of Violence” — 2005 movie starring Viggo Mortensen, based on the Paradox Press graphic novel.

* “Painkiller Jane” — 2005 TV series starring Emmanuelle Vaugier, based on comics published by multiple companies.

* “Sin City” — 2005 movie and 2014 sequel based on the classic noir comics by writer/artist Frank Miller.

* “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” — 2010 film starring Michael Cera, based on comics published by Oni Press.

* “2 Guns” — 2013 film starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, based on a 2007 limited series from Boom! Studios.