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6 Films You Might Not Have Known Were Based on Graphic Novels

So many films are based on books, but did you know these films were based on graphic novels?

Following on from my last post, 6 Unconventional Comic Book Movies, today I am carrying on the comic book theme with this list of films you might not have known were based on graphic novels. Some might argue that comic books and graphic novels are the same thing, but I’m rather impassioned in believing they are two very different things.

Graphic novels are usually comprised of just one or two volumes, and the story is wrapped up. Comic books on the other hand can span for hundreds of issues over a number of years, tied together with one long overarching storyline, featuring spin offs, that may either adhere to or stray from the series’ canon. 

There are few films based on graphic novels as opposed to comic book series, which means that the few that are, are quite widely recognised for doing so. Films such as V for Vendetta (2006), Sin City (2004) and Snowpiercer (2013) are well known for being based on their literary counterparts. Some however, have lesser known origins.

Road to Perdition (2002)

Sam Mendes’ crime film starring Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, and Jude Law, is based on a graphic novel of the same name written by Max Allan Collins and illustrated by Richard Piers Rayner. First published in 1998, Road to Perdition was the first volume in a series of four stories. The story focuses on Michael O’Sullivan, a crime syndicate enforcer, and is set during the Great Depression in the American Midwest.

A History of Violence (2005)

A History of Violence is a thriller film directed by Davi Cronenberg and stars Viggo Mortensen in the lead role. The film is based on a graphic novel, of the same title, written by John Wagner and illustrated by Vince Locke. Originally published in 1997, A History of Violence would go on to be the first filmic adaptation of a work by John Wagner since Judge Dredd (1995). The story follows Tom Stall and the aftermath that ensues after he foils a robbery.

When the Wind Blows (1986)

When the Wind Blows is an animated film directed by Jimmy Murakami. It is based on a graphic novel written and illustrated by Raymond Briggs in 1982. The sad story details the lives of Jim and Hilda Bloggs during the fallout of a nuclear attack on Britain by the Soviet Union.

From Hell (2001)

From Hell is a slasher film directed by the Hughes Brothers starring Johnny Depp and Heather Graham. The film is based on a graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Eddie Campbell. Originally the story was released in a serial form between 1989 and 1998, but in 1999 a full collection volume was released. From Hell is set during the Whitechapel murders and speculates on the identity of the infamous Jack the Ripper.

Ghost World (2001)

Ghost World, starring Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, and Steve Buscemi, is a black comedy directed by Terry Zwigoff. The film is based on the graphic novel, also titled Ghost World, written by Daniel Clowes. The story was originally part of the Eightball comic book series but would go on to be published in book form in 1997. The story follows the suburban lives of Enid Coleslaw and Rebecca Doppelmeyer, two cynical teenage girls in their day to day lives.

Oblivion (2013)

This post-apocalyptic action adventure starring Tom Cruise was based on a graphic novel which the film’s director, Joseph Kosinski, wrote some years before the film’s release in 2005. Kosinski started to write Oblivion in the form of a graphic novel with Arvid Nelson for a company called Radical Comics. In it’s literary form however, Oblivion would never reach fruition as it was never finished. Kosinski later said that he had always seen the story of Oblivion in filmic form, and so used the incomplete graphic novel as a film pitch.

Were you surprised by any of these films? Let me know in the comments below!


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