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Monday, October 27, 2014

5 Movies You Didn't Know Were Based on Comic Books

Marvel recently released its three year plan to take over the movie box office (and then the world!). And why not? The collective gross on the X-men franchise alone out-earned most of the members of the United Nations. As a result, everyone is releasing comic book-inspired films these days. No seriously. Everybody.
You didn't believe me, did you?

It won't be long until Merchant-Ivory churns out some period drama about a guy named Phineas Codswallop, a lowly stablehand who simulataneously romances a woman above his station and fights highwaymen by night. It will be based on the imaginary comic book series I'm working on entitled 'The Walloping Codswallop and His Wench of Doom'.  Of course, Merchant Ivory will do everything in their power to hide the fact that their Oscar-winning movie had its lowly origins on the pages of a comic book. Because making comic-book money is one thing, being associated with comic book nerds is a whole other bottle of Clearasil.

And they wouldn't be the first to studio to do it either. Check out these other movies which were born from the pages of comic books and from the minds of men who didn't get laid until well after college.

5. A History of Violence (2005)
A History of Violence stars that guy named Vigo who looks like Tom Petty and Kid Rock's love child.
Tell me you see it too.

Vigo stars as a guy who has a history of violence and it comes back to violence the crap out of him. Okay, I didn't actually see the movie and the Wiki entry was just so damn long. There's probably a lot of talking in between a couple of scenes of people getting their heads kicked in, if Vigo's previous roles are any indication.

But did you know? This movie was based on a graphic novel by John Wagner, the man who was also responsible for the source material for the 1995 Judge Dredd film. I'm sorry. I can't find it in myself to defend the man.


4. RED
RED is a movie about a group of geriatric former spies and previous Cold War enemies who team up to take out current spies turned bad, all the while assisted by a call center representative.


Who, if the movie was at all realistic, would look like this.
That wasn't racist. Some of my best friends are cell center representatives.

It was the last gasp in Bruce Willis's action career and the first time John Malkovich had a convincing role (as an insane old dude). The movie was occasionally funny, action-packed, romantic and terribly disappointing so of course it made a buttload of cash (more than an armload, less than a colon-fill).

But did you know? RED was actually based on a three-issue comic series of the same name by writer Warren Ellis. Remember the shitty movie--now remove the recycled cold war jokes, stereotypical Russians, and one-dimensional characters who existed solely for comedic relief. Keep all the action. Add a badass killer. And take away any redemption or a happy ending. That's RED. It's awesome. Go read it.

3. Surrogates (2009)
In yet another entry in the ongoing series 'How else can we rip off Blade Runner'? Bruce willis, in his second nod on this list, stars as a cop investigating a murder involving clones in a movie which is not at all a copy of ten other clone-murder films. Because they're called surrogates, you see. It's totally different.
He doesn't change his facial expression the entire movie.

But did you know? Surrogates is based on the series of comics by Robert Venditti and is much more Logan's Run than Blade Runner. It's not another humdrum cloning movie that asks the same rehashed questions about what makes a human, human, but a story of an inventor whose creation got away from him. It's Frankenstein only the monsters are damn near everywhere. There's collected editions out there. Treat yourself.


2. Wanted (2008)
Wanted stars Mrs. Brad Flick and the guy who played 'Delivery Man' in the Muppets Most Wanted. He's an assasin and doesn't know it. She's a sexy blah blah blah. And then blah blah blah. This movie made a lot of money, but honestly I don't even remember it being in theater. Though to be fair, if it wasn't animated and made by Disney or Pixar, my kids did not allow me to see it.

But did you know? This movie could have been sooooooooo good. For one, the original comic source was written by Mark Millar, the guy responsible for Kick Ass, one of the freshest super hero comics written since The Watchmen. And while Kick Ass was about ordinary joes stepping up and becoming heroes in a hero-less world, Wanted was about a world where all the heroes had already lost and the villains were now in charge. It was gritty, edgy, dark, and most of all surprising. If you saw the movie, I apologize. Now here's your reward for having sat through it:


1. Weird Science (1985) Weird Science is easily one of the most identifiable films to come out of the 1980's. It stars the skinny guy who got picked on in every John Hughes film, that dude from Twister, Iron Man, and Kelly LeBrock's panties. A lot of twisted and weird shit happens, even by 1980's standards.

But did you know?  The original source material for this gem of a movie, comes from the old EC comic book of the same name. In particular, a story from the fifth issue which you can read in full here: link

This is the one case where deviating from the source material actually works, but I'm warning you Marvel, if you screw up Deadpool for me or let John Wagner anywhere near the studio, I will hunt you down.