Best Variations To Comics Of Blockbusters And Religion Motion Pictures

The comic book adaptation of Tim Burton ‘s Batman was the swan song of a culminating trend in the ’70s and ’80s, when it was common for certain hit movies to have comic book adaptations.

In the following years, it would slowly but progressively disappear as the distribution windows between theatrical and domestic format were shortened. From his legacy, we review the best that this school of film adaptations to cartoons still had to give.

‘Batman’ by Dennis O’Neil and Jerry Ordway (DC Comics, 1989)
After DC Comics ‘ mistake of not publishing an adaptation of Richard Donner ‘s first Superman in 1978, the arrival of Batman, the publisher’s other emblem, by Tim Burton and with an unprecedented advertising campaign coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the character, made them decide to publish a film adaptation to coincide with its release on June 23, 1989.

Scripted by Dennis O’Neil – creator who would redefine the character together with cartoonist Neal Adams in the early 1970s and editor of the comics at the time of the film’s release – and with the detailed art of Jerry Ordway, who would impeccably represent the physiognomy and the faces of its leading actors –Jack Nicholson himself supervised its graphic representation, approving or suspending some of Ordway’s proposals–, the comic appeared in two editions. One in comic-book format and another more careful quality of printing paper, called prestige format.

It would become one of the publisher’s great successes in 1989, approaching the success of the Star Wars adaptation published by Marvel a decade earlier.

The result, seen with the eyes of the present, is that of an adaptation so faithful to the original script that it incurs the same defects as Burton’s film. In particular, that rushed tone, the result of a script written and rewritten on the fly during filming and that in this adaptation to the comic further demonstrates the scarce narrative unity of the story.

But among its strong points, in addition to its excellent representation of the real image protagonists, it stands out that having worked with the original script and not with the filming script, the comic introduces some differential elements with its film version. From the mythical “I am Batman” by Keaton, we move on to an “I am the night” from the original script.

There is also a much more talkative Batman than the laconic Dark Knight of Burton’s film, or sequences such as the discovery of Commissioner Gordon and the Gotham police, behind the bell tower scene, of an Alexander Knox – the reporter who investigates the Batman identity alongside Vicki Vale – hidden under the cloak of a Batman/Bruce Wayne fleeing a crime scene under the watchful eye of Vicki Vale.

‘Dick Tracy’ by John Moore, Len Wein and Kyle Baker (Walt Disney Publications, 1990)
The arrival of the adaptation of the 1930s comic-strip created by Chester Gould and directed, produced and performed by Warren Beatty, promised to mean for Disney what Tim Burton’s Batman had meant for Warner Bros in the summer of 1989: become the event film of 1990.

The participation of Madonna at her peak of popularity, a cast that included actors such as Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, James Caan, Dick Van Dyke and a long list of friends of Beatty himself, plus the photography of Vittorio Storaro, the production design of Richard Sylbert and an advertising campaign similar in its forms and imagery to that carried out by Warner with Batman, promised to break the box office records of the latter. But Dick Tracy went through the billboard, unfortunately, with more pain than glory.

And among all the merchandising elements associated with the film -in a strategy again identical to that of Batman- Walt Disney Publications, Disney ‘s publishing arm, would publish, in the summer of 1990, three comic-books in prestige format associated with the Warren Beatty movie.

The third of three volumes, written by Len Wein and drawn by Kyle Baker –a new author who had recently stood out for his reinterpretation of pulp heroes like La Sombra and Justice Inc. alongside screenwriter Andrew Helfer in the avant-garde DC Comics of the late the 1980s – faithfully reproduced, especially through Baker’s art, the tone and style of Beatty’s tape.

But the most interesting and risky were the two specimens that preceded him. Two stories that served as a prequel to the Beatty film and that developed characters and elements of this reinterpretation of Gould’s character, once again from Baker to pencil, but with screenwriter John Moore, instead of Len Wein. They end up coming together in the adaptation of the film and could even be considered, from the narrative and plot point of view, superior to the film itself and closer to the spirit of the original strip.

A work that was initially food for Baker himself, but which, in the words of the author himself, became torture, motivated because the particular and caricatured style of the author –close to Gould’s original work– met with the impositions of the very same Warren Beatty, upset by the graphic representation of his figure and face. The final solution: reuse the face of Beatty’s own graphic image used in promotional material and re-introduce it on top of Baker’s own finished artwork.

‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ by Roy Thomas and Mike Mignola (Topps Comics, 1992)
Published in a four-issue miniseries by the Topps label – a company specialized in trading cards that jumped on the bandwagon of the comic market, motivated by the speculative fever of the medium at the beginning of the 90s – the adaptation of the particular and fascinating adaptation of the Bram Stoker ‘s horror classic under the orders of Francis Ford Coppola is, on its own merits, among the best and most daring adaptations from cinema to comics, along with Jim Steranko ‘s Zero Atmosphere or Jack Kirby ‘s 2001 .

And the reason comes mainly from the choice of its graphic artist, Mike Mignola. If the script of the adaptation, the fruit of the veteran and literary screenwriter Roy Thomas, follows almost point by point the definitive script of the film released in theaters –except for some novel elements unrelated to the final cut such as the meeting of Mina Murray and Jonathan Harker with Dracula after his wedding in Transylvania, or some sequences of Jonathan with Dracula’s brides in the castle, cut from the final montage and later seen in the film’s multiple domestic re-releases– Mignola’s art conveys Coppola’s initial intentions more faithfully than the film released in theaters.

The reason, that Coppola’s initial proposal was to make a film with bare scenes and where the costumes designed by the artist Eiko Ishioka would conform the sets and the visual proposal of the film, making an expressive use of negative space. Mignola’s art in this adaptation and his propensity for contrasts between light and dark translate that initial idea of ​​the filmmaker, avoiding the more erotic and sexualized elements of the film version and delving into the gothic, Victorian and terrifying component.

Something that the author had already demonstrated to control reliably in Batman: Gaslight, together with the screenwriter Bryan Augustin three years earlier and that would explode in his first job as a complete author, just immediately after Dracula: Hellboy, from which this comic it would be his formal testing ground.

‘The Fountain’ by Darren Aronofsky and Kent Williams (Vertigo/DC Comics, 2006)
Of all the comics chosen in this selection of movie adaptations, perhaps The Fountain by Darren Aronofsk and illustrator Kent Williams is the strangest or most different of all. In the first place, because it is not an adaptation per se of the film released in 2006 and starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz.

In fact, it is an autonomous and perpendicular work to the cinematographic work that would be made in the space of time between the first project of the film, which was going to have a large budget and was going to star Brad Pitt, was canceled in 2002 and Aronofsky decided to try again in 2005 with a reduced budget and other performers.

So this sort of spin-off or alternate version of Aronofsky’s third film would really be a graphic adaptation – a medium Aronofsky has always loved – of the original idea that would eventually become The Fountain. And in its pages, illustrated by a Kent Williams who oscillates between Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, readers are witness to a more ambitious proposal (if possible) on a formal level.

Especially in two segments (out of three) that make up the helical structure of the work: the one set in the Spain of Isabella the Catholic and the conquest of America and the segment with Kubrickian reminiscences set in that 2463 set in the plane of the unconscious of her protagonist.

Therefore, the adaptation published by DC Comics’ Vertigo label , months before the film version hit theaters, is an excellent complement that serves to experience one of the most emblematic works in a different and at the same time complementary way. and also more misunderstood –along with Mother!– by Darren Aronofksy.

‘Death to Hell’ by Mark Verheiden and John Bolton (Dark Horse Comics, 2008)
To finish this selection of the best or most relevant adaptations to movie comics, nothing better than highlighting one of its most original exponents: Infernal Possession by Mark Verheiden and John Bolton.

A work whose first peculiarity is that it would be published 25 years after the premiere of Sam Raimi ‘s debut and that Diábolo Ediciones has just published here, based on the material reissued by the Dark Horse publishing house in 2021, taking advantage of the 40th anniversary of the original film.

Hellbound (the comic), rather than a faithful adaptation of the original film, is a reinterpretation or some kind of redux, broadening, deepening and rewriting not only Raimi’s original work, but also the 80s horror genre.

And it is that, from the original material and the pictorial art of Bolton –which provides an almost fotonovela quality of the original work– Verheiden delivers an exercise to which by giving a first-person narrator –specifically the immortal Ash starring Bruce Campbell– ends up investigating the subtext of the work and the motivations of its characters, especially its archetypal protagonist, of a mostly sexual nature, managing to three-dimensionalize and enrich them internally.

It thus delivers a completely different experience than the one achieved by the film, while honoring it in the process. In addition to, through a final twist, connecting the original work in an organic way with its sequel / reboot so far.

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