Comics, Film & TV

70 Movies and Shows Adapted from Indie Comics (Part 2)

In part 2 of our list, we explore titles that date back to the 80s and beyond! Discover how comics have influenced Hollywood for longer than you think.

70 Movies and TV Shows Adapted from Indie Comics Part 2
Image: GONKGONK
By: Javier ReyesFeb 2, 2024, 9:06 PM

Welcome back to our deep dive into movies and TV shows adapted from indie and creator-owned comics! Coming from part 1 of our list, we only scratched the surface of titles out there that secretly have roots in comics. In this part of the list, we cover several titles comic book titles that date back to the 80s and older. It goes to show that the impact of comics is not just a modern trend, but something that’s been known for a very long time. From North America to Europe, comics have been used as a medium to tell fun and powerful stories that can inspire readers for decades. And there's still more to come as we have part 3 and part 4 of our list to look forward to. Let’s dive right into the list and see what other titles there are to discover!

Asterix and Obelix

Adapted into a Movie in 2023 by Les Editions Albert Réné

Comic created by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo

Published in 1959 by Dargaud

Genre: Comedy, Adventure

Asterix and Obelix Movie and ComicsImage: Dargaud

Along with Tintin, Asterix is one of the most iconic and enduring European comic series in history. The comic’s main characters are Asterix, a smart and shrewd warrior, and his best friend Obelix, an oafish menhir deliveryman with super-strength. Throughout the series, the duo embarks on various adventures, both within Gaul and in far-off lands, facing off against the Romans, meeting historical figures, and confronting various comical challenges.

The enduring popularity of "Asterix" comics led to their adaptation into various animated and live-action films over the decades. Among the most notable live-action adaptations are "Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra", "Asterix at the Olympic Games," and most recently “Asterix & Obelix: The Middle Kingdom.“

I Kill Giants

Adapted into a Movie in 2017 by 1492 Pictures

Comic created by Joe Kelly and JM Ken Nimura

Published in 2009 by Image Comics

Genre: Fantasy, Drama

I Kill Giants Movie and ComicsImage: Image Comics

“I Kill Giants” is the story of Barbera, a young girl who’s enamored by the world of Dungeons & Dragons. She is obsessed with the idea of being the sole protector of her town against an incoming force of giants that want nothing but to wreak destruction on her people. While there’s nothing wrong with a little make-believe, her fantasies slowly seep into real life, affecting how she perceives the world and others. What unfolds is a touching story about self-discovery and the bravery it takes to face off against the things that scare you the most. The 2017 film adaptation captured the comic’s unique take on magic realism while making the giants appear larger than life.

iZombie

Adapted into a TV Show in 2015 by The CW

Comic created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred

Published in 2010 by Vertigo

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Horror

iZombie TV Show and ComicsImage: Vertigo

iZombie is about the peculiar afterlife of Gwen Dylan, a zombie who consumes brains and takes in the memories of those she feeds on. She uses those memories to solve the mysteries behind their deaths. The world of the comic is eerie and fantastical, as it's filled with other supernatural creatures like ghosts and vampires.

The iZombie TV series, however, has the unique case of being so different from the original comics that it might as well be considered an entirely different property on its own. Instead of Gwen, the lead character is Liv Moore, a medical resident turned zombie who also solves crimes by using the memories from the brains she eats. The similarities end there, but that does not make it a bad thing. While the show is lighter on the supernatural elements, it is presented more like a procedural crime drama that’s fun, comedic, and full of juicy drama.

Locke & Key

Adapted into a TV Show in 2020 by Netflix

Comic created by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

Published in 2008 by IDW Publishing

Genre: Horror, Fantasy

Locke & Key TV Show and ComicsImage: IDW Publishing

Created by horror mastermind Joe Hill, “Locke & Key” is the story about the Locke family and their connection to magical keys created from the bodies and spirits of demons. Lurking deep within their home, the Keyhouse mansion, is a dark entity desperate to harness the powers of the keys and escape from its prison. The fantastical tale was adapted into a TV series by Netflix in 2020. The show, while preserving the key elements of the comic’s story, offers a slightly more accessible tone, catering to younger audiences.

The Men in Black

Adapted into a Movie in 1997 by Colombia Pictures

Comic created by Lowell Cunningham and Sandy Carruthers

Published in 1990 by Aircel Comics

Genres: Sci-fi, Action, Comedy

Men in Black Movies and ComicsImage: Aircel Comics

Arguably one of the most iconic popcorn flicks of the 90s was “Men in Black” starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. Even by today’s standards, the comedic chemistry between the two stars is unmatched. It’s interesting to look back on the comics that inspired films and see how their stories were much darker. More than just blasting aliens, Agents Jay and Kay took on a whole suite of supernatural monsters like vampires and demons. Considering they cast Will Smith for the movies, it’s no surprise the story went in a more humorous direction.

Nimona

Adapted into a Movie in 2023 by Netflix

Comic created by ND Stevenson

Published in 2015 by HarperCollins

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Comedy

Nimona Movie and ComicsImage: HarperCollins

Starting originally as a webcomic created by ND Stevenson, “Nimona” has been capturing the hearts of readers with its wholesome story about a plucky shape-shifter who dreams of being the trusty sidekick of a supposed supervillain. Set in a world that blends sci-fi and fantasy, the comic weaves together a whimsical and hilarious tale that explores themes of identity, queerness, and heroism.

Fans waited a long time for the comic to be adapted. Which is something that almost didn’t happen. After years of being stuck in development hell, Nimona was revived by Annapurna to finally release on Netflix in 2023. Just like the titular shapeshifter, the film looks very different from the source material but the spirit of its story is intact.

Polar

Adapted into a Movie in 2019 by Netflix

Comic created by Victor Santos

Published in 2012 by Dark Horse Comics

Genre: Action, Thriller

Polar Movie and ComicsImage: Dark Horse Comics

Created by Spanish cartoonist Victor Santos, Polar is a spy thriller centered on the exploits of international hitman Black Kaiser. The comic stands out for its minimalist approach to storytelling, characterized by its sleek art that only uses black, white, and splashes of orange for coloring. The bloody and stylish series caught Hollywood's attention, culminating in a 2019 film adaptation by director Jonas Åkerlund. But despite having the always amazing Mads Mikkelsen in the lead role of the ruthless assassin Black Kaiser, the film fell flat and was relegated to being called another “John Wick knock-off.”

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Adapted into a Movie in 2010 by Marc Platt Productions

Comic created by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Published in 2004 by Oni Press

Genres: Comedy, Action, Romance

Scott Pilgrim VS. The World Movie and ComicsImage: Oni Press

Few comics can match the big nerd energy that flows out of every page of the Scott Pilgrim series. It’s got references to films, comics, video games, and everything in between. All within a story about a guy who must fight through the league of evil ex-boyfriends to win over the girl of his dreams. It took the immensely creative mind of director Edgar Wright to bring the colorful world of Scott Pilgrim into the big screen. It was a treat for long-time fans to see near 1:1 recreations of many of the comic’s most memorable scenes captured on film.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties

Adapted into a Movie in 2019 by HanWay Films

Comic created by Neil Gaiman, Fabio Moon, and Gabriel Ba

Published in 2016 by Dark Horse Comics

Genres: Sci-fi, Romance

How to Talk to Girls at Parties Movie and ComicsImage: Dark Horse Comics

Originally a short story written by Neil Gaiman in 2006, “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” was adapted into a graphic novel together with the all-star artist duo of Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba. In true Gaiman fashion, the comic blends magic realism with sci-fi to tell a story about two men who go to an unforgettable party and meet women who are out of this world. The comic is short, sweet, and brimming with incredible art. The film adaptation starring Elle Fanning and Alex Sharp broadens the original comic’s narrative by exploring the magical relationship between Enn and Zan beyond the fateful night they met at the party.

Stumptown

Adapted into a TV Show in 2019 by ABC

Comic created by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth

Published in 2009 by Oni Press

Genres: Crime, Drama

Stumptown TV Shows and ComicsImage: Oni Press

You can never go wrong with a crime drama written by Greg Rucka. Set in the chaotic streets of Portland, Oregon, “Stumptown” follows the complicated life of Dex Parios, a sharp-tongued private investigator who doesn’t play by the rules and is knee-deep in debt. Over the years, the comic has been regarded as a cult classic for its modern and grounded take on classic detective storytelling. Fans of the comic were delighted to see Cobie Smulders bring the wise-cracking nature of Dex’s character to life in ABC’s TV series adaptation. Much like what the comic accomplished, the show offered a refreshing spin on the procedural detective genre. It’s just a shame the show only got one season before it was eventually canceled.

Sweet Tooth

Adapted into a TV Show in 2021 by Netflix

Comic created by Jeff Lemire

Published in 2009 by Vertigo

Genres: Fantasy, Post-apocalyptic, Adventure

Sweet Tooth TV show and ComicsImage: Vertigo

Over his near-twenty-year career, Jeff Lemire has proved himself as a powerhouse of a creator with his massive body of work across every major publisher in North America. With so many great titles under his belt, arguably the one sitting above them all is the heart-wrenching story about a young boy born with deer antlers trying to survive a post-apocalyptic world. In the vein of stories like “The Last of Us” and “The Road,” Sweet Tooth is anchored by the relationship of two unlikely survivors in a harsh and destroyed world.

The TV series adaptation takes the core concepts of the story but presents it in a more light-hearted way. Because of Lemire’s now iconic art style, the comic depicts a world that’s grim and ruthless. A stark contrast to the vibrant and whimsical depiction in the tv series.

Tank Girl

Adapted into a Movie in 1995 by United Artists

Comic created by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett

Published in 1988 by Deadline

Genres: Sci-fi, Action

Tank Girl Movie and ComicsImage: Deadline

"Tank Girl" chronicles the wild escapades of its titular character, a mohawked, irreverent punk rocker who drives a tank and lives for anarchy in a dystopian Australian wasteland. The comics are celebrated for their unique blend of humor, punk aesthetics, and social commentary. The essence of this madcap world was captured in a 1995 film adaptation starring Lori Petty. While the movie faced challenges in mirroring the comic's frenzied spirit and was met with mixed reviews, it has since gained a cult following, admired by fans for its quirky characters and offbeat sense of style.

The End of the F**king World

Adapted into a TV Show in 2017 by Netflix

Comic created by Charles Forsman

Published in 2013 by ‎Fantagraphics

Genres: Fantasy, Drama, Romance

The End of the F**king World TV Show and ComicsImage: Fantagraphics

Two teenagers, one road trip, and… lots of murder? Created by Charles Forsman, “The End of the F**king World” follows the lives of James and Alyssa as they embark on their strange journey of self-discovery. While Alyssa dreams of rebelling against her problematic family, James is gripped by his intrusive thoughts of committing heinous murder. As violent as that all sounds, the story is juxtaposed brilliantly by Forsman’s iconic, cartoonish art style.

The gloves are off, however, for its live-action adaptation for Netflix. The show captures the essence of comics while further developing the characters and depicting the murder scenes in gruesome detail. It’s a fun ride if you love some black comedy mixed in with your stories about teenage angst.

The Tick

Adapted into a TV Show in 1994 by Fox and 2016 by Amazon Prime Video

Comic created by Ben Edlund

Published in 1986 by New England Comics

Genre: Superhero, Comedy

The Tick TV Show and ComicsImage: New England Comics

Just like his namesake, The Tick is a character that creeps up on you as one of the most surprisingly beloved superheroes in history. Along with his trusty sidekick and accountant Arthur, The Tick protects The City from the most bizarre villains imaginable. Whether it’s the 1994 animated cartoon written by creator Ben Edlund or the two live-action series from 2001 and 2016, every adaption of The Tick has embraced the absurdity of the original comic books. It’s a testament to the character’s undeniable charm that a comic book character nothing like the heroes of Marvel and DC has been adapted in some way three times since debuting almost forty years ago.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Adapted into a Movie in 2017 by EuropaCorp

Comic created by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières

Published in 1967 by Pilote

Genre: Sci-Fi, Action

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie and ComicsImage: Pilote

Known originally as "Valérian and Laureline," the comic is a seminal French science fiction series about the intergalactic adventures of a space-time agent and his intelligent and fiercely independent partner from medieval France. Together, they traverse time and space, engaging in daring missions and encountering a myriad of alien civilizations.

Being a work by known French director Luc Besson, the film is notorious for being a bombastic visual spectacle that’s weighed down by its confusing narrative and uncharismatic performances.

Now it’s time to check out Part 3 of the list! Missed out on Part One? You can check it out here! Then keep an eye out for Part 4!

TAGGED: Creator Owned
A new home for fans and creators of comics, manga, webtoons, and more
© 2022 MASTERFILE CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. GONKBONK AND ALL RELATED TITLES, LOGOS AND CHARACTERS ARE TRADEMARKS OF MASTERFILE CO.