30 Movies You Didn't Know Were Comics

Ghost World (2001)

The Movie: Thora Birch stars with Steve Buscemi and a before-she-was-famous Scarlett Johansson in Terry Zwigof’s darkly hilarious indie comedy.

The film centres around two friends just graduated from high school across a summer where they make their first encounters with the trials of adult life, with a brilliant turn from Birch as the troubled Enid.

Based On: The series was created by comics legend Daniel Clowes, who collaborated with Zwigoff on the award-winning screenplay. Ghost World debuted in 1993 in Clowes’ Eightball anthology series.

Faithful To The Source Material? Ghost World captures the melancholic and wry tone of the original, while adding a more cohesive plot for the film adaptation. The comic is even more venomous and twisted, if you can believe it.

Snowpiercer (2013)

The Movie: The South Korean grim sci-fi centres around a world gripped in polar ice after a failed experiment to end global warming. An all-star cast featuring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell and John Hurt are among the only survivors who live on a train that perpetually circuits the frozen earth and its rife with inequality.

The well-received movie has attracted controversy over the extent of cuts and editing demanding for its forthcoming US release.

Based On: Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette’s 1982 French sci-fi graphic novel series La Transperceneige is considered by many to be a masterpiece of the genre.

Faithful To The Source Material? Difficult to say at this point, although the characters and setting of the film seem to stick fairly closely to the first volume in the series.

Mystery Men (1999)

The Movie: Ben Stiller’s Mr Furious is a would-be superhero who gathers together a team of similarly underappreciated and downtrodden heroes to fight Geoffrey Rush’s crazed villain Casanova Frankenstein.

The cult classic performed poorly in the cinemas, but has been better appreciated in recent years for its impressive cast, which includes Tom Waits, Janeane Garofalo, Eddie Izzard, William H Macy and Hank Azaria.

Based On: Bob Burden’s oddball, Don Quixote -inspired Flaming Carrot Comics, about a man who reads 5,000 comics in one sitting, goes mad and adopts the titular superhero persona. He was a sometime member of the blue collar team called the Mystery Men.

Faithful To The Source Material? The film differs greatly from the comic, including the lamentable absence of the flaming carrot-headed star.

From Hell (2001)

The Movie: Johnny Depp stars as detective Frederick Abberline in the atmospheric Jack the Ripper movie mystery from the Hughes Brothers, with Heather Graham co-starring as the ill-fated prostitute Mary Kelly.

Based On: Legendary Watchmen writer Alan Moore’s lengthy and impressively researched collaboration with Eddie Campbell.

Faithful To The Source Material? The book and film differ considerably in tone and style, famously leading to Moore declaring he would never sell the rights for any adaptations again.

Differences included the shift from the detailed occult tract to a more standard whodunit and Abberline’s transformation from an ordinary man to what Moore described as an "absinthe-swigging dandy".

Road to Perdition (2002)

The Movie: Sam Mendes followed-up his Oscar-winning American Beauty with this tale of a former mob enforcer and his son as they seek revenge on the men who murdered the rest of their family.

Tom Hanks impressed with his unusually gritty performance as a man with only one thing left to loose.

Based On: Loosely based on the classic manga Lone Wolf and Cub , Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner’s comic arrived at DC Comics’ now defunct Paradox Press imprint, and went on to spawn a series of comic book and prose novel sequels.

Faithful To The Source Material? The film stuck mainly to the book, with only a few tweaks including the addition of Jude Law’s Harlen Maguire character.

Barbarella (1968)

The Movie The quirky cult classic cast Jane Fonda in the title role as the spacefaring adventurer sent to retrieve a kidnapped scientist from a hostile alien world.

A critical and commercial flop on release, the film is now consider iconic, although it seem to mainly be an excuse for Fonda to employ a huge series of outfit changes from scene to scene.

Based On: French creator Jean-Claude Forest’s Barbarella series predated the summer of love by several years with its portrayal of the smart and sexually liberated pulp heroine.

Faithful To The Source Material? While taking many aspects from the space heroine’s first adventure, the film is significantly less sexualised than the original comic, and Fonda’s damsel is far less independent and capable than her namesake.

2 Guns (2013)

The Movie Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg united in Batlasar Kormákur’s take on the buddy cop drama. The pair play two undercover operatives who have - unknown to each other - both been place undercover in a drug lord’s cartel.

Discovering each other’s true identities, the pair find themselves on the run with $43 million in stolen cash. The film struggles to balance its violent and comic elements, but Washington and Wahlberg form a solid and likeable partnership.

Based On: Steven Grant and Mat Santolouco launched their 2 Guns miniseries at publisher BOOM! Studios in 2006, with Grant recently returning alongside artist Emilio Laiso for the sequel predictably titled 3 Guns.

Faithful To The Source Material ? The film differs wildly from the comic, taking the same premise but altering major aspects of the characters and plot.

The Mask (1994)

The Movie Jim Carrey starred in Chuck Russell’s film about a mask that transforms its wearer into a mischievous, superpowered being. Mild-mannered Stanley Ipkiss found his life turned upside down when he discovers the mask, which he uses to fight crime and romance Cameron Diaz (in her first acting role).

Alongside 1994’s Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Dumb and Dumber, this film helped catapult slapstick actor Carrey to superstardom - an eventuality you may celebrate or lament.

Based On: Dark Horse Comics founder Mike Richardson passed his initial idea onto writer John Arcudi and artist Doug Mahnke. The Mask transformed a series of characters into the dangerous anti-hero across various miniseries.

Faithful To The Source Material ? The film downplayed the comic’s elements of horror and violence. The amoral hero - called ‘Big Head’ in the original series - was as much a figure of danger as of fun in the comics.

A History of Violence (2005)

The Movie Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello lead David Cronenberg’s thriller about a small town man who attracts unwanted attention from the mob when he kills two men in self-defence.

The film garnered a great deal of attention for its portrayal of a quiet life shattered by hidden secrets, although even Cronenberg was not originally aware that it began life as a comic book.

Based On: 2000 AD legend and Judge Dredd co-creator John Wagner and artist Vince Locke’s Paradox Press graphic novel, that was later transferred to DC Comics' Vertigo imprint.

Faithful To The Source Material? Minor character changes become more pronounced as the film progresses. The film jettisoned the graphic novel’s extensive flashbacks and more unrealistic elements of extreme gore.

The Addams Family (1991)

The Movie: Following on from the 1960s TV series, the tale of the oddball but good-natured supernatural family featured a fantastic cast including Anjelica Huston, Raul Juliá, Christopher Lloyd and a very young Christina Ricci, as well as a series of excellent cameos. It went on to spawn the 1993 sequel Addams Family Values .

Based On: Cartoonist Charles Addams’ one-panel gags lampooned the vision of the ideal America family featured in The New Yorker between 1938 and his death in 1988.

Faithful To The Source Material ? Although a large leap from the short strip to the big screen, the film was able to replicate the ghoulish and humorous spirit of the original.