Nothing is more likely to divide opinion than a discussion on comics (OK maybe politics, religion…) so I thought I’d be the one to get you shouting at a blog post. With the onslaught of movies being released it could be argued that we’re living in the golden age of comic book adaptations.
However, they’re nothing new. The first Batman movie was made way back in 1943, and the first Captain America one in 1944. So, are we living in the golden age of comic movies, or are we actually only witnessing the most recent part of an ongoing saga?
The comic book world is a serious place and adapting a comic into movie form is incredibly risky. Get it wrong and you have an army of comic book devotees ready to slam you down from every side.
Continuity has become a massive issue recently with characters hopping about all over the place. When it was announced that Spiderman is going to appear in the new Captain America film, many people said “Great! Which one?”
It’s also much harder for a film to be watched in isolation as the requisite backstory can only be worked out by watching the film(s) that came before it. Are we really making movies anymore, or are all these films actually a TV series dressed up in the format of a movie?
The early noughties
If we were having this debate in the early noughties, comic books would certainly have the edge. There were some truly awful movie releases at the time; Daredevil (2003) and its Elektra spin-off (2005) were widely slated and left Marvel fans hugely disappointed.
However, it wasn’t all bad. Fantastic Four and Hellboy were also released at this time and the noughties slowly began the build-up to the incredible comic book movie success that we’re experiencing today.
Marvel and DC Comics
Marvel and DC comics currently rule the roost when it comes to comic book movies. They are relentlessly filling our cinema screens with their new releases, to the point where there’s often little else available to watch. However, if you’re not a true comic book devotee, it can be hard to keep track of who’s who with all the cross-overs and mixing of universes.
Tim Burton’s Batman appeared in 1989 and he was a much darker character than the comic books had ever drawn him. This new adaptation of Batman suddenly brought comic books to the masses and made everyone take the world of comic books much more seriously.
The more recent Batman adaptations have explored this dark world further, and have pushed the movie-making boundaries. However, it was Tim Burton that paved the way for all the comic book movies we see today.
Big Hero 6
This is possibly the strongest example of a comic book movie winning the battle. The Marvel comic book series launched in 1998, and it featured Superheroes that were assembled by the Japanese government to fight for their Emperor after nuclear bombings took place.
The comic book series proved to be completely inaccessible and was a complete flop. However, Disney was on the lookout for something off the radar for its new film, and selected Big Hero 6. Disney completely overhauled the look, the story and the characters of the comic book, of course, and miraculously it became their third most successful animated film of all time. A TV show is also planned for next year.
Suicide Squad is the newest example of the ongoing comic book versus movie debate.
The Suicide Squad movie has been long-awaited, with advertising creating a buzz about the film more than a year before its release. After such a tremendous build-up, is it almost inevitable that it’s going to disappoint? We’re not sure, but Suicide Squad’s current Rotten Tomatoes rating is 27% and it has a disappointing average rating of 4.7/10.
Success or failure is never clear-cut though. Twitter has as many people raving about the film as it has bemoaning it. The movie seems to have a marmite quality about it that makes people either love or hate it, with very little in between.
Our Top 10 Comic Book Movies
Are these movies better than the comic books? We’re not sure. But they’re amazing movies, nonetheless.
- The Dark Knight
- The Crow
- Batman (1989)
- Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
- Sin City
- Avengers Assemble
- Spider-Man 2
- Iron Man (2008)
- Superman (1978)
What do you think – who wins the battle? Comic books or the movies?
Also, for the old school fans of real comic books, check out the list of the rarest comic books on the planet… see if you are one of the very few owners of the million dollar comic.