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Comics in the Movies

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Last night I went and saw The Incredible Hulk and before that it was Ironman. A few years ago it was X-Men, Hellboy, and Batman. Not to mention 300 and all three of the Spiderman movies. It started me thinking about all the movies that are being made right now that are based on comics, especially Marvel Comics.

A lot of people who are going to see these movies are already fans. But, for a fair number, these movies are an introduction to an unknown world. I went because I was dragged, not against my will but with some force, by what could be kindly termed a rabid fanatic. I’ve enjoyed the movies even though I have never read the comics and without knowing the extensive history of the characters. The stories are well told; the characters intriguing; and you just can’t beat the action.  

Not only are the movies based on comics but the movies have spawned media-tie-in novels. Halo and Indiana Jones have done this as well – not to mention the ever present World of War Craft (War Crack, to some). But are they worth checking out? Do these novels have the same merits the comics and graphic novels have? Do they stay true to the character? Or do the characters change too often (as they seem to do) to worry about that?

While I might not be a regular reader of the American comics, I do read a lot of the graphic novels coming out of Japan and Korea. There is a huge fan base for manga and manhwa in the States, and it only seems to be growing. These graphic novels and comics have also been brought to the screen, mostly the small screen in the form of anime. I have yet to see a big budget live action production of my favorite series coming out of Hollywood, but, with the way Marvel has taken off, it makes you wonder. The cartoons seem to follow the comics and then, before you know it, you’ve got animated movies and then live action.  

I do think that the new crop of action movies that are out right now make a pretty good introduction to the world of  superheroes and comics, Marvel or otherwise. I’m dying to read the comics and graphic novels that some of these movies are based on, Hellboy in particular because the new movie coming out looks so great.  It makes me want to sit at home all day with a stack of comics a mile high, eating Oreo cookies and reading until my head explodes.

But where do you start when you’re a newbie? Blogcritics has a regular stream of comic and graphic novel reviews from several writers: Bill Sherman and Mel Odom being two names I see pop up most often.  Not to mention the online sites dedicated with ferocious fandom to any number of comic series that are easily pulled up with a Google search.  

But before I leap head first into the waters of superhero comics I want to know what your thoughts are. What do you think about the movies, the comics, and the novel tie-ins? I would love to hear from a long time reader of The Hulk or Ironman about the new movies. Have they improved on the comics? What do you recommend?

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About Katie T. Buglet

  • Hey, I’ve been keeping up with your articles for a while. Where to start? I could be a fanboy and give you the “definitive” book for each comic book out there, but why not start with podcasts? I can recommend a random few, like iFanboy, Comic News Insider or Comic Geek Speak. While they won’t point you in the right direction for your start in American comics reading, their reviews and descriptions of comics might help you realize what you might want to read.

    To get to answering your question, though, with classic franchises it’s hard to pinpoint one trade or collection you need to read. With Batman Begins, it’s easy. Just pick up Batman: Year One. It’s not a direct translation, but Batman Begins was inspired by it. Hellboy’s a newer book, so it wouldn’t hurt to start at #1.

    With the classics, like Superman, Spider-man, X-men, Iron Man, it’s hard. Should I tell you to go pick up the trades that start at the very beginning? Do you want to read the very first stories of Iron Man, Spider-man or the X-men? Do you want to read the 90’s Superman? I would say that you should go in a local comics shop and go in as a journalist and pick people’s brains. Ask the people behind the register, then ask random people about the essential trades and graphic novels to read.

  • katie

    Podcasts are a great recommendation. I hadn’t even thought of those, which now seems silly since there are podcasts for everything. I’ll have to add those to my list. And hitting up a local comic shop, that too. Thanks for the advice 🙂

  • The only comics I kept up with were “The Thing” (loved the Ben Grimm saga, still own every Thing comic that was published, there weren’t THAT many of them), and then The Flash. He was exceedingly cool.

  • katie

    Next time I see you I’ll have to pick your brain then. Be ready!