10 Famous Movies You Didn’t Know Were Based on Comic Books

6. From Hell


From Hell was based on the comic serial of the same name by Alan Moore with art by Eddie Campbell for Top Shelf Productions between 1989 and 1996. The compilation volume was published in 1999 totaling 572 pages.

Alan Moore hated the film version, which was not entirely faithful to the original work. He was particularly displeased with the character of Frederick Abberline, played by Johnny Depp. When asked about the portrayal he said, “Johnny Depp saw fit to play this character as an absinthe-swilling, opium-den-frequenting dandy with a haircut that, in the Metropolitan Police force in 1888, would have gotten him beaten up by the other officers.”

The comic was better received than the film adaptation and dealt with the conspiracy that the Jack the Ripper murders were in fact a plot to conceal the birth of an illegitimate royal baby. This theory has been discussed for several years and involves Prince Albert Victor, who was the Duke of Clarence at the time. The story is of course fictional, but details the actual crimes committed at the time.

The title “From Hell” is taken from the only correspondence purportedly given to the police by the man called Jack. The letter was written in blood and opens with the titular phrase and came packaged with a kidney.


7. Timecop

Time Cop

Timecop may not have been the all-time greatest movie ever made, but it was pretty cool from a geeky standpoint. It was actually Jean-Claude Van Damme’s highest grossing film and it is definitely fun to watch. What you may not know is that it was based off of a story from Dark Horse Comics from 1992.

There are some significant differences between the comics and the movie, but they did a 2-issue movie tie-in that connects the stories together. In the original comic books, the main character, Max Walker, goes back in time to the 1930s to stop an illegal time-traveler who is stealing diamonds… stole diamonds… Not sure which tense to use… anyways, this guy goes back in time to steal diamonds from a South African diamond mine and Walker goes back to stop him.

Unfortunately, Walker later finds out that the rogue left his personal robotic bodyguard in the past who is/was mucking things up in his absence so Walker must go back once again and take care of business.

The comics are fun and so is the movie. The whole mess is just a paradox about paradoxes and how time travel really isn’t the best way to get anything done.


8. The Rocketeer


The Rocketeer made his first appearance in Starslayer #1 published by Pacific Comics in 1982. The character was created by Dave Stevens as an homage to similar film characters from the 1930s through 1950s. The Disney film of the same name was released in 1991 and follows a similar storyline and premise as the comics.

Cliff Secord was a stunt pilot who finds a mysterious jetpack in 1938 and uses it on his various adventures set in both Los Angeles and New York. The film follows the same character in a similar circumstance who discovers a jetpack abandoned by gangsters fleeing from the police. The film’s jetpack was designed by none other than Howard Hughes and is somewhat of a macguffin through the story about the Nazi plan to create an army of rocketmen.

Cliff from the comics was more involved in fighting crime than stopping the worldwide threat of Nazi jetpack proliferation, which made the character much more like those depicted in the film serials from the 1930s-1950s.


9. Weird Science

Weird Science (1985)

The 1985 film Weird Science was adapted from the EC Comics title of the same name and from a story in the fifth issue titled, “Made of the Future.” The film involves a couple of nerds who create a magical woman played by Kelly Le Brock who gets them in all sorts of trouble while helping them to become the independent, cool men she knew they could be. It’s a great flick, but differs very much from the comic.

The comic story takes place in 1951 where the main character, Alvin Blank, travels to the future to procure an artificial wife. Think Stepford Wives, but not as creepy or homicidal. Blank finds himself dumped by his fiancé and walking through the streets feeling depressed when he happens upon a tourist group from the future. He tags along into their bus/time ship and arrives in the year 2150!

Blank takes in the future sights and stumbles upon an advertisement to “Construct-A-Wife” and he visits the establishment. He procures the deluxe version and returns to the ‘Time Tour’ to get back to the 1950s where he eagerly rushes home to create his new artificial wife. Things go well at first, but like most comics published by EC, it never really works out well for the protagonist(s).

You can read the entire original story online here.

Clearly, the film version took only small bits and pieces from the original story. The title of the comic “Weird Science” as well as the idea of creating an artificial woman are about the only things that tie these two stories together.


10. The Mask

The Mask (1994)

The Mask made his first appearance in Dark Horse Presents #10 in September, 1987. The character and events of the comic are very different than those depicted in the film released in 1994 starring Jim Carrey. The characters look very much the same, but their demeanor is significantly different between both forms of media.

The comics depict one Stanley Ipkiss who, like the film version, is a neurotic and meek man who finds the mask in an antique shop. The mask begins to speak to Stanley who eventually puts it on and becomes the titular character. As the Mask, he is able to exact revenge on those who wronged him… and that’s exactly what he does.

He takes the moniker ‘Big Head’ and goes on a rampage. In an escape from the police, he kills nearly a dozen cops only to return and take a bullet in the back from his beloved Kathy.

Now dead, Kathy warns police Lieutenant Kellaway not to try on the mask, but you guessed it, he does and becomes Big Head himself. Kellaway goes on to hunt the city’s drug lords and crime bosses only to come to a point where he nearly kills his partner and then vows to never wear the mask again.

All of that came from a five-issue miniseries called ‘Mayhem,’ but the character has been reimagined and retold as various people through the course of nearly 30 years of publication.

The comics are much more violent than the film and tell a different story. They are a fun read and should certainly be picked up by any fan of Dark Horse comics, but avid The Mask fans might want to stay away and continue to enjoy the wacky performance of Jim Carrey.

Author Bio: Jonathan is an illustrator and game designer through his game company, TalkingBull Games. He is an Active Duty Soldier and enjoys writing about history, science, theology, movies, television, music, and many other subjects. You can find him on Facebook, Fiverr, and The Game Crafter.