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Comics, Film & TV

70 Movies and Shows Adapted from Indie Comics (Part 1)

Did you ever notice how many movies and TV shows are adapted from comics? You'll be surprised by this stacked list of titles coming from indie comics!

70 Adaptations Part 1 Cover
Image: GONKBONK
By: Javier ReyesJan 31, 2024, 1:51 AM

There’s no hiding the fact that Hollywood has a secret obsession with comic books. After all, the MCU is one of the biggest entertainment powerhouses in the world. And it’s built on the backs of bright and colorful comic book superheroes. Just look at how the biggest draws of San Diego Comic-Con have mostly been big Hollywood features over the years. But the funny thing about the MCU, and the DCEU for that matter, is that it only scratches the surface of the films and TV shows out there that are inspired by comics and graphic novels. In this extensive list, we cover the vast number of media that have roots in indie and creator-owned comics. The list is so big, that we had to segment this series into four different parts which you jump straight into here, here, and here. Publishers like BOOM! Studios, Image Comics, and Dark Horse Comics have been killing it for a long time, putting out some of the most inventive stories you can find on the medium. Comics offer way more to readers than just capes and superheroes. Of course, Hollywood can’t help but take notice.

You might be surprised by some of the titles we’ve listed here. There’s a chance you could find your favorite film or TV show somewhere along this list. What we want to be your takeaway from all this is that maybe you do like comics after all. Let’s check out the titles!

2 Guns

Adapted into a Movie in 2013 by Marc Platt Productions

Comic created by Steve Grant and Mateus Santolouco

Published in 2007 by BOOM! Studios

Genre: Action

2 GunsImage: BOOM! Studios

2 Guns is an action-packed buddy cop story with a twist. Trench works for the DEA while Steadman is part of Naval Intelligence. Both officers go deep undercover as criminals but never realize each other’s true identity. When the two find themselves in the middle of a set-up involving stealing millions from the CIA, lots of gun-toting hijinks ensue. As well-received as the 2013 film adaptation was, it has noticeable differences from the source material. While the comic is a more vibrant and humorous romp, the film delivers a more gritty and bombastic experience. The best thing the film has going for it is the incredible chemistry between stars Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg.

300

Adapted into a Movie in 2007 by Warner Bros. Pictures

Comic created by Frank Miller

Published in 1998 by Dark Horse Comics

Genre: Action, History

Accolades: 2008 Saturn Awards for Best Director and Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film

300 Film and ComicsImage: Dark Horse Comics

Few comic book adaptations outside of Marvel and DC are as iconic as Zack Snyder’s 300. The original comic by Frank Miller was a vividly graphic retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae between Spartans and the invading Persians. The story blends history, myth, and fantasy through the lens of Miller’s distinct art style. It proved to be the perfect match for Snyder’s highly stylized direction, as the film masterfully recreated many of the comic’s most brutally impactful scenes. It’s a shot of adrenaline packed into 120 minutes of cinema.

The Mask

Adapted into a Movie in 1994 by Dark Horse Entertainment

Comic created by Mike Richardson

Published in 1989 by Dark Horse Comics

Genre: Fantasy, Comedy

The Mask Film and ComicsImage: Dark Horse Comics

With its outlandish aesthetic and over-the-top humor, “The Mask” is one of those movies that are not surprising when you find out it’s based on a comic book. But you’ll be surprised to find out how different the comics are from the iconic film. Instead of dealing with bad guys in a cartoonish fashion, the comics have Stanley Ipkiss murdering his enemies in the most violently strange ways imaginable. It just makes sense for the film to go in a more lighthearted and hilarious direction. After all, if you’re going to cast Jim Carrey in the lead role, you’re going to strike comedy gold.

Paper Girls 

Adapted into a TV Show in 2022 by Amazon Prime Video

Comic created by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang

Published in 2015 by Image Comics

Genre: Sci-fi

Paper Girls TV Show and ComicsImage: Image Comics

There’s nothing like coming-of-age stories set in the 80s that involve a little bit of time travel. Paper Girls is about four bicycle-riding girls who find themselves caught in the middle of an interdimensional war between two time-traveling factions. What starts as an ordinary bike ride through town one Halloween morning turns into a time-displaced journey involving the future versions of the girls. The 2022 TV series adaptation for Amazon stayed faithful to the comic’s beloved aesthetic while adding more depth to the characters. Unfortunately, the show was canceled after just one season, making it unable to explore the crazy places the story goes to in the comics.

Atomic Blonde

Adapted into a Movie in 2017 by Sierra Features

Comic created by Antony Johnston and Sam Hart

Published in 2012 by Oni Press

Genre: Action, Spy Thriller

Atomic Blonde Movie and ComicsImage: Oni Press

Originally titled "The Coldest City" by Antony Johnston, the comic is a thrilling spy story set in Germany during the collapse of the Berlin Wall. With its stylish black-and-white art by Sam Hart, the story follows MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton in her mission to recover a top-secret list containing the identities of double agents being smuggled into the West. Director David Leitch adapted the comic, changing the title to “Atomic Blonde” and cast Charlize Theron as Broughton. The film captured the original comic’s gritty atmosphere and high-tension espionage drama while injecting it with stylish, neon-colored aesthetics.

The Maxx

Adapted into a TV Show in 1995 by MTV

Comic created by Sam Kieth

Published in 1993 by Image Comics

Genre: Fantasy, Superhero

The Maxx TV Show and ComicsImage: Image Comics

In a time when comics were exploring darker and edgier themes, The Maxx boldly set itself apart with its deeply introspective story about broken individuals struggling with their identity in a bleak and dilapidated world. MTV adapted The Maxx during the height of its popularity, perfectly capturing the surreal and psychological atmosphere that made the comics so beloved. To this day, few adaptations match as perfectly with the source material as The Maxx.

Blue is the Warmest Color

Adapted into a Movie in 2013 by Wild Bunch

Comic created by Julie Maroh

Published in 2010/2013 by Glénat/Arsenal Pulp Press

Genre: Romance, Drama

Accolades: Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival

Blue is the Warmest Color Movie and ComicsImage: Arsenal Pulp Press

"Blue is the Warmest Color" is a poignant graphic novel by Julie Maroh that follows the romantic journey of two young women, Clementine and Emma, unfolding a beautiful tale of self-discovery, love, and heartbreak. This profound exploration of sexual identity and emotional truth was adapted into a critically acclaimed film in 2013, directed by Abdellatif Kechiche. The film captured the essence of the graphic novel while offering an intense, intimate portrayal of the characters' touching love story.

Deadly Class

Adapted into a TV Show in 2019 by Syfy

Comic created by Rick Remender and Wes Craig

Published in 2014 by Image Comics

Genre: Action, Drama

Deadly Class TV Show and ComicsImage: Image Comics

The kids are not all right in this gritty coming-of-age comic series by Rick Remender and Wes Craig. Set in the 1980s, the story follows the rough and violent life of Marcus Lopez, a homeless young man who gets inducted into a secret high school for deadly assassins. Instead of math and biology classes, Marcus learns how to break necks and build bombs. Fans were ecstatic to see the TV series faithfully adapt the wild, bloody, and drug-addled lives of the kids that walked the halls of Kings Dominion. But as well received as the show was by readers and watchers alike, it didn’t continue beyond its massive cliffhanger ending of season one.

DMZ 

Adapted into a TV Show in 2022 by HBO Max

Comic created by Brain Wood and Riccardo Burchielli

Published in 2005 by Vertigo

Genre: Dystopia, Drama

DMZ TV Show and comicsImage: Vertigo

“DMZ” is set in the distant future when a civil war breaks out between the federal government of America and the Free State armies. The raging conflict forces the island of Manhattan to be used as a demilitarized zone. The story follows journalist Matty Roth as he reports on the people living in the DMZ and its surrounding war-torn areas. HBO Max’s adaptation takes the core concept and themes of the original comic to create a unique story set within the dystopian universe. While the future of the tv series seems bleak, the comic is always worth checking out for its powerful social commentary about war and journalistic ethics.

Judge Dredd

Adapted into films in 1995 by Hollywood and 2012 by Reliance Entertainment

Comic created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra

Published in 1977 by 2000 AD.

Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopian

Judge Dredd Movies and ComicsImage: 2000 AD

Judge Dredd first burst onto the scene in the British science fiction anthology "2000 AD" in 1977. The character has since been delivering his distinct brand of hard-edged justice on criminals, acting as the judge, jury, and executioner of Mega-City One. While the 1995 film “Judge Dredd” starring Sylvester Stallone introduced the iconic character to a wider audience, it was the 2012 reboot, "Dredd," that captured the grim and brutal tone that readers have loved for decades.

Happy! 

Adapted into a TV Show in 2017 by Syfy

Comic created by Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson

Published in 2013 by Image Comics

Genre: Fantasy, Drama

Happy! TV Show and ComicsImage: Image Comics

Few comic creators can create a surreal story quite like Grant Morrison. “Happy!” is about an ex-cop whose life spirals out of control into that of a soulless hitman. Things become more bizarre for him when he starts seeing an imaginary flying horse named Happy after a near-death experience from a failed hit. The show takes the absurd concept of the comics and dials it up to 11 with psychedelic visuals and outlandish performances from the lead cast. After all, who wouldn’t get a kick out of watching Nick Meloni lose his mind while talking to an animated blue horse voiced by Patton Oswalt?

I Am Not Okay With This

Adapted into a TV Show in 2020 by Netflix

Comic created by Charles Forsman

Published in 2017 by Fantagraphics

Genre: Fantasy, Drama

I Am Not Okay With This TV Show and ComicsImage: Fantagraphics

“I’m Not Okay With This” is not your normal coming-of-age story. Sydney is a hot-tempered teenager grappling with school, family matters, and sexuality. Oh, and she also has telekinetic powers that spring up at the most awkward times. Created by alt comics creator Charles Forsman, the comic perfectly blends the mundanity of teenage life with the absurdity of having extraordinary powers. The resonant story gained new life when it was adapted into miniseries for Netflix. The show captured the comic’s humorous tone while depicting it like a classic 80’s flick.

Outcast 

Adapted into a TV Show in 2016 by Cinemax

Comic created by Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta

Published in 2014 by Image Comics

Genre: Horror, Drama

Outcast TV Show and ComicsImage: Image Comics

Created by Robert Kirkman, this eerie comic follows the tormented life of Kyles Barnes, a man whose been haunted by demonic forces for his whole life. This was Kirkman’s first real take on a horror story, as it explored the experience and trauma of being in a living hell. Kirkman went on to produce the TV show adaptation to be faithful to the comic's ambiance and psychological horror. Outcast may not have reached the same heights as The Walking Dead, but it still showcased how Kirkman’s name is a big draw within Hollywood circles.

Persepolis 

Adapted into a Movie in 2007 by Celluloid Dreams

Comic created by Marjane Satrapi

Published in 2000 by L'Association

Genre: Autobiographical

Accolades: Nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 80th Academy Awards

Persepolis Movie and ComicsImage: L'Association

"Persepolis" is an evocative autobiographical graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi, charting her early life during the Iranian Revolution. The iconic graphic novel is known for its unique depiction of family, religion, politics, and the struggles of self-identity. In 2007, Satrapi co-directed the animated film that brings her distinct black-and-white art style to life. Together the film and graphic novel offer a poignant, often humorous perspective on life during a turbulent era in Iran's history.

R.I.P.D.

Adapted into a Movie in 2013 by Dark Horse Entertainment

Comic created by Peter M. Lenkov

Published in 1999 by Dark Horse Comics

Genre: Sci-fi, Action

R.I.P.D. Movie and ComicsImage: Dark Horse Comics

This little-known comic by Peter M. Lenkov is about an otherworldly police force who hunt down rogue spirits that refuse to move on to the next life. Officer Nick Cruz is a recently deceased cop who joins the RIPD to track down his murderer. Fun and trouble happen when Officer Cruz teams up with Roy Pulsipher, a self-professed lawman from the Old West. The comic’s supernatural buddy-cop formula made its way to the big screen in a film starring Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges. But as perfect as Bridges was for the role of an eccentric cowboy, it wasn’t enough to save the film from bombing at the box office.

Random Acts of Violence 

Adapted into a Movie in 2019 by Elevation Pictures

Comic created by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray

Published in 2010 by Image Comics

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Random Acts of Violence Movie and ComicsImage: Image Comics

It's not always pretty when life imitates art. Created by the legendary Jimmy Palmioti and Justin Grey, “Random Acts of Violence” is about a comic book writer whose famed character, Slasherman, inspires a real-life killer to recreate the grotesque murders from the comics. It’s fitting how a comic that’s an homage to classic slasher films was adapted into a slasher film of its own in 2019 by Jay Baruchel. While the film’s story differs from the comic, what rings true between both is the intense level of violence that’s both thrilling and terrifying.

Road to Perdition 

Adapted into a Movie in 2002 by The Zanuck Company

Comic created by Max Allan Collins

Published in 1998 by Paradox Press

Genre: Crime, Drama

Accolades: Won Best Cinematography at the 75th Academy Awards

Road to Perdition Movie and ComicsImage: Paradox Press

“Road to Perdition” is often the title that catches people by surprise when they find out its origins come from comic books. Told in striking black-and-white, the original comic is a visceral story about a betrayed hitman’s violent path to avenge the death of his family. The graphic novel's intricate narrative was adapted into a critically acclaimed film that’s anchored by the incredible performance of Tom Hanks. While there are big stylistic differences between the film and the graphic novel, the film adds plenty of cinematic depth to create a poignant exploration of redemption.

Super Crooks 

Adapted into a TV Show in 2021 by Netflix

Comic created by Mark Millar and Leinil Yu

Published in 2012 by Icon Comics

Genre: Crime, Superhero

Super Crooks TV Show and ComicsImage: Icon Comics

In a unique twist to the heist formula, Super Crooks told the story of a group of supervillains who traveled to Spain to plan a smash-and-grab job and avoid the superheroes in America. As part of Mark Millar’s deal with Netflix, the comics were adapted by Japanese animation studio, Bones. On top of being a prequel to the original comics, the series gave the story a fresh coat of paint with its stylish anime aesthetics.

The Adventures of Tintin

Adapted into a Movie in 2011 by Paramount Pictures

Comic created by Herge

Published in 1929

Genre: Action, Adventure

Accolades: Won Best Animated Feature Film at the 69th Golden Globe Awards

The Adventures of Tintin Movie and ComicsImage: Casterman

Tintin is arguably the most famous European comic book character in the world. His globe-trotting adventures with Captain Haddock and his trusty dog Snowy have been thrilling readers for generations. In 2011, Steven Speilberg did what many thought was impossible with his incredible adaptation of the iconic character. While the film portrayed the characters to look more realistic, the story stayed true to the whimsical adventures that make the series a beloved classic.

The Boys 

Adapted into a TV Show in 2019 by Amazon Prime Video

Comic created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson

Published in 2006 by WildStorm/Dynamite

Genre: Action, Superhero

The Boys TV Show and ComicsImage: Dynamite

Who could have expected a series created by Garth Ennis back in 2006 would turn out to be the basis of one of TV’s hottest shows today? The Boys introduced the world to a twisted take on superheroes, showing them not as noble figures but as corrupt, power-hungry, and perverted narcissists. While the show has made big changes from the original series, it’s garnered acclaim for its dark humor, satirization of superhero tropes, and incredible acting performances. Check the comics out if you’re in the mood for some messed-up dark humor, but be ready to experience something vastly different from the hit show.

Whiteout

Adapted into a Movie in 2009 by Dark Castle Entertainment

Comic created by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber

Published in 1998 by Oni Press 

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Whiteout Movie and ComicsImage: Oni Press

This stark black-and-white comic is about a US Marshal investigating a rare murder within the isolated tundra of Antarctica. It turns out the murder is just the first layer of a mystery that hides a deeper truth about the coldest place in the world. The comic’s unique setting allowed artist Steve Lieber to express his work in a gritty style that thematically fit the chilling story. While the comic gained enough recognition to be adapted into a film starring Kate Beckinsale, the film lacked the distinct visual identity that made the original series so impactful.

Want to check out more comics that inspired movies and TV shows? Keep an eye out for Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of our massive list of titles!

TAGGED: Creator Owned
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