Comic Book Movie July – Final Thoughts

Persepolis, 300, Sin City, V for Vendetta, A History of Violence, Constantine, Ghost World, From Hell – eight unique movies that have little in common except that they are based on comic books. For Comic Book Movie July, I assembled them and tried to investigate whether that actually meant anything – an endeavour that quickly failed. Instead I wrote about them in the most boring fashion possible. But now, for the final conclusion of glorious Comic Book Movie July, the first and probably last Theme Month at Fabricated Truth, I will reexamine the question.

It’s probably impossible to answer the question whether comic book movies are significantly different from non-comic book movies. As the eight reviews have shown, the subject matters as well as the approach to film-making in this sample differ significantly. The only thing they have in commmon is that most of these movies are pretty good – but that was actually the main reason I selected those eight. Movies like Ghost World, A History of Violence and V for Vendetta could have come from any source – a novel or original screenplay as well as a comic book. With the other five, the visual style is a clear connection to their comic book origin, but how important is that?

In Sin City, it is very important. The visual style is one of the most appealing things about the film. In 300, it could be equally important – if only that film was so ridiculous that you barely notice the visuals. Persepolis doesn’t really qualify for the question since it is animated and different rules apply for animated features. But From Hell and Constantine don’t really depend on the visual style, so it certainly is not what makes a comic book movie a comic book movie.

But what does? In my opinion, there isn’t anything. Comic books should be recognized as “normal” source material for movies, just like novels or plays are (and even theme park rides and breakfast cereal toys). Graphic novels can be just as insightful and meaningful as regular novels – and I hope that these eight movies have shown this. So the next time you read that a movie is based on a comic book, don’t expect another Batman, Spiderman, Superman, Antman, Aquaman or whatever Superhero – it might be something completely different.

All that doesn’t mean that I’m not terribly excited about The Dark Knight and desperately want to see it.

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