As you’re no doubt well aware, comic book movies are all the rage these days. While we still get the odd dud (Fantastic Four, Justice League, etc.), the genre continues going from strength to strength and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is at the forefront of that right now.
However, while we all know who characters like Captain America, Spider-Man, and The Hulk are from our childhoods, there are a lot of comic books out there you probably haven’t heard of. The question is, do you know which of your favourites movies are based on them?
Accident Man is one such film, adapted by Stu Small and Scott Adkins from the Toxic comic strips by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner, and directed by Jesse Johnson, it arrives on Home Entertainment formats this week. It film is lead by Scott Adkins, who appears alongside Ashley Greene, Michael Jai White, Ray Park, Ray Stevenson, David Paymer, Nick Moran, Perry Benson, Ross O’Hennessy and Amy Johnston.
It is a revenge thriller which deals with an extravagant hitman who has his life turned upside down when his girlfriend is murdered. Though its comic book origins are well known in certain circles, many may not realise where the story began.
Here, we look at seven movies you never knew were based on comic books, examining how they differed from the source material and how well the adaptations worked on screen…
7. Cowboys And Aliens
Iron Man helped give birth to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so fans were understandably anxious to see what Jon Favreau would do next. Unfortunately, that was the underwhelming Cowboys and Aliens, a movie made to cash-in on the popularity of comics.
At the time, though, it’s fair to say that most people thought this was just a random mashup idea dreamed up by studio execs desperate to find a new blockbuster. Well, it pretty much was as this movie borrowed only the title and basic premise from the comics.
6. The Mask
Jim Carrey’s popularity took off in the mid-90s when he landed not only the role of Ace Ventura but The Mask as well. The goofy, zany movie was a lot of fun and it’s honestly shocking that it’s never been remade (perhaps those awful sequels are to blame for that).
Regardless, what you probably don’t realise is that The Mask was loosely based on a Dark Horse comic book series which actually offered a much darker take on the material than the movie did. The decision to take things down a more comedic route paid off, though.
5. Men in Black
Will Smith’s Hollywood stardom was cemented by Men in Black and a reboot is currently in the works starring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson. However, long before it graced the silver screen, the adventures of “Jay” and “Kay” were documented in a comic book.
Like The Mask, this was a much darker and serious affair than the comedic movie but the premise remains very much the same. Marvel – who were publishing Malibu titles at the time – did produce a prequel, sequel, and adaptation of the movie when it was released.
4. Road To Perdition
You didn’t see this one coming, did you? The Sam Mendes helmed Road to Perdition is one of the most critically acclaimed comic book movies of all-time…even if 99.9% of people are unaware that it’s actually based on Max Allen Collins’ graphic novel of the same name.
Published by DC Comics’ Paradox Press imprint, the movie stuck fairly closely to the source material even if the decision to cast Tom Hanks as a cold-blooded killer was on odd one. Interestingly, this comic was itself inspired by Japanese manga, “Lone Wolf and Cub.”
3. A History Of Violence
David Cronenberg (The Fly) would be a fitting choice to helm any number of comic book adaptations but it’s fair to say no one could have expected A History of Violence to be the one he chose. He adapted that faithfully but the results on screen were definitely different.
On the page, this was a relatively straightforward (but still brilliant) crime story but the filmmaker arguably elevated the material by adding some ambiguity and mystery where the comic chose to spell things out for the reader. Both are well worth checking out.
Red brought together a lot of older actors for an action blockbuster which sounded like a lot of fun on the surface but proved to be…is “hot garbage” too harsh? Amazingly, it did well enough to justify a sequel which was also terrible but how did they compare to the comics?
Not very, because the Warren Ellis penned series holds little resemblance to the movies beyond a few characters and ideas. Fans weren’t that disappointed, though, because it’s not like we’re talking about a huge Marvel or DC series. Still, this was a major waste.
Since making the leap from the wrestling ring to Hollywood, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has produced a lot of hits. However, he hasn’t always struck gold and Brett Ratner’s take on Hercules was an underwhelming affair which failed to strike a chord with audiences.
Considering the fact Hercules is such a popular figure, what you may not have realised at the time is that it took its inspiration from Hercules: The Thracian Wars, a graphic novel with a similarly moody aesthetic. It’s just a shame Ratner dropped the ball adapting it.
Accident Man is out on DVD on the 16th of April.