Film Adaptation - Comic Book Adaptation

Comic Book Adaptation

See also: Superhero film and List of films based on comics

Comic book characters, particularly superheroes, have long been adapted into film, beginning in the 1940s with Saturday movie serials aimed at children. Superman (1978) and Batman (1989) are two later successful movie adaptations of famous comic book characters. In the early 2000s, blockbusters such as X-Men (2000) and Spider-Man (2002) have led to dozens of superhero films. The success of these films has also led to other comic books not necessarily about superheroes being adapted for the big screen, such as Ghost World (2001), From Hell (2001), American Splendor (2003), Sin City (2005), 300 (2007), Wanted (2008), and Whiteout (2009).

The adaptation process for comics is different from that of novels. Many successful comic book series last for several decades and have featured several variations of the characters in that time. Films based on such series usually try to capture the back story and “spirit” of the character instead of adapting a particular storyline. Occasionally aspects of the characters and their origins are simplified or modernized.

Self-contained graphic novels, and miniseries many of which do not feature superheroes, can be adapted more directly, such as in the case of Road to Perdition (2002) or V for Vendetta (2006). In particular, Robert Rodriguez did not use a screenplay for Sin City but utilized actual panels from writer/artist Frank Miller's series as storyboards to create what Rodriguez regards as a "translation" rather than an adaptation.

Furthermore, some films based on long-running franchises use particular story lines from the franchise as a basis for a plot. The second X-Men film was loosely based on the graphic novel X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills and the third film on the storyline Dark Phoenix Saga. Spider-Man 2 was based on the storyline Spider-Man No More! Likewise, Batman Begins owes many of its elements to Miller's Batman: Year One and the film's sequel, The Dark Knight, uses subplots from Batman: The Long Halloween.

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