This month sees the release of two films based on comic books that most people would never suspect as comics -- today's Kate Beckinsale movie "Whiteout" and the Bruce Willis film "Surrogates" coming out on Sept. 25th. <p>"Whiteout" is based on the comic of the same name by writer Greg Rucka and artist Steve Lieber, while "Surrogates" was first a comic by writer Robert Venditti and artist Brett Weldele. The two are perfect examples of a growing trend in Hollywood to translate comic books to film even when they don't involve the more high-profile superheroes normally associated with the comics medium. <p>To highlight the transition of comics to film, Newsarama has put together a list of the Top 8 Movies People Don't Know Were Comics:
Horror comics are something a lot of movie-goers don't even know exist, but they're the forte of writer Steve Niles, whose vampire comic "30 Days of Night" got a 2007 adaptation by director David Slade. Starring Josh Hartnett and Melissa George, the film took the ghoulishly dark comic book images by artist Ben Templesmith and translated them into a horrific story about the town of Barrow, Alaska, where vampires get 30 straight days of darkness to feed. Although Slade will be directing the third installment in the Twilight movies, his translation of the dark and scary "30 Days of Night" showed just how "un-superhero" comics can be.
Starring Keanu Reeves as the title character and directed by Francis Lawrence, "Constantine" explored the demon-filled world of the Hellblazer comics. While the comic book version of John Constantine is British, blond and chain smokes, Reeves as Constantine battles his way through the angels of Heaven and the worst Hell has to offer, just like his comic book counterpart.
Even at San Diego Comic-Con, amid all the hysteria over newfangled vampires, it's easy to forget that the successful trilogy of films based on the comic book character Blade [that's him on the lower left] also told the story of a modern vampire who could walk in the sunlight and interact with humans. Starring Wesley Snipes as Blade, the trilogy also had appearances by actors like Kris Kristofferson, Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds, but its lack of superheroes means most action-loving movie-goers -- and later television viewers -- thought it was just another cool vampire story.
Another Alan Moore comic, this one with art by David Lloyd, was translated to film in 2005 by director James McTeigue, along with producers Joel Silver and the Wachowski brothers, who also wrote the screenplay. Starring Hugo Weaver and Natalie Portman, the film tells the story of the mysterious V who fights for change in a dystopian future. Although V wears a cape and mask, most who have seen the film never realize this story was originally conceived as a comic book.
Based on Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's graphic novel, the 2003 movie by sibling directors Allen and Albert Hughes tells a surprisingly urban-felling story of an opium-addicted detective played by Johnny Depp, working in the slums of 1888 London to stop Jack the Ripper. While its violence saw mixed reviews -- some hailing it as a masterpiece and others questioning its message -- the thriller's success had nothing to do with superheroics.
The 2001 film by director Terry Zwigoff was based on Dan Clowes' graphic novel, an oddball comedic story of alienated suburbanites who are anything but heroic. Starring Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson and Steve Buscemi, Ghost World has a cynical, deadpan tone that echoes the best of underground American comics.
Directed by David Cronenberg, the 2005 movie based on the pulp-rooted comic by the same name starred Viggo Mortensen and William Hurt in the story of a family man whose past comes back in a violent way. The graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke was turned into an intelligent look at innocence and just how sudden a world can be disrupted by a whole different level of comic book violence.
Based on "The Road to Perdition" comic by Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner, the film version of Road to Perdition is probably one of the more respected comic films simply because of the involvement of Tom Hanks and Paul Newman. Directed by Academy Award winner Sam Mendes, the movie was hailed when it was released in 2002 for its stunning visuals in a story that explored the effects of violence on a family, with not even a nod toward superheroism.