This year, in honor of Free Comic Book Day, I started thinking about comic book movies. I myself have only read a few full-length graphic novels, and even fewer long-running series, so my knowledge of the comic book world is mostly dependent on which comics wind up adapted as movies or TV series. My absolute hands-down favorite will always be The Crow, which laid the aesthetic groundwork for every urban gothic film from Blade to Underworld, but it’s not really the kind of movie I think of when I think “comic book movie.” With that in mind, here are just a few of my other favorite comic book movies.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is the most cartoonish live-action movie I’ve ever seen. This adaptation is not only astoundingly faithful to the original comics by Brian Lee O’Malley, it looks very much like a comic book come to life. Director Edgar Wright–a seasoned favorite of the nerd crowd–uses split screens, exaggerated computer graphics, and videogame sound effects to create a world where life is literally a game. Sometimes you even get a second life! This type of nostalgia-driven wish fullfilment fantasy is the sort of thing that will only appeal to an audience base that either lived through the era being lampooned onscreen, or the younger generation who wishes they had. It’s a fun, silly, energetic love letter to the 2-bit gaming culture of the late ’80s and early ’90s, and a great ride even if you don’t get all the reference jokes.