5. Sin City
Sin City is a collection of neo-noir stories set in the fictional, crime-ridden underworld of Basin City.
In 2005 Director Robert Rodriguez took a brave step in completely embracing the over-stylistic black and white look of the original comics and transitioning them to screen.
Some of the actors, such as Mickey Rourke who portrays violent ex-convict Marv, were even given prosthetics to enhance their features so they could fully resemble the original hand drawn character designs. Performing in a world that was created mostly via digital effects, Sin City is a movie that simply couldn’t exist as early as ten years prior.
Having the comic’s creator Frank Miller as co-director also helped the film become a game changer, not just in just terms of respecting the source material, but to fully channel it creating a beautiful yet gritty world that at the time was both original and breath taking.
Since debuting way back in 1977 Judge Dredd went on to become one of comics most popular characters. Many fans were eager to see the 1995 adaptation directed by Danny Cannon and Starring Sylvester Stallone as the titular hero. It appeared to be a faithful reconstruction of the characters and settings seen in the pages of the 2000AD comic book series.
Unfortunately within twenty minutes of the movies run time Dredd was stripped of both his job and his iconic costume, sending the narrative into a generic sci-fi action adventure.
The 2012 reboot directed by Pete Travis pleased fans by not only having the law enforcer keep his helmet for the entirety of the film but also his sense of character.
Played brilliantly by Karl Urban the story is simple; Dredd has to fight from the bottom to the top of locked down tower block that was in control by villainous Ma-ma and her evil goons. This simple story premise provided a showcase for Dredd’s no nonsense attitude and a host of action scenes that truly emulated what the fans had waited so long to see.
This is a case were staying authentic may have also been damaging to the franchise, as an R rating was needed to capture the super violent world of the post apocalyptic megalopolis that is Mega City One. Despite pleasing the core fan base the box office return was not great, but home release sales and popular demand may see a return in the form of a Netflix series.
3. Ghost World
Ghost World was created by Dan Clowes and originally ran between issues 11–18 of Clowes comic book series Eightball. It follows Enid and Rebecca, teenage best friends who wander around their small town with a cynical outlook of the world around them. It is a funny, dark and sometimes sombre look at the transition from adolescence to adulthood.
Thora Birch and Scarlet Johansson star in the 2001 movie capturing the camaraderie and the eventual drift in the friendship perfectly. It’s their natural chemistry that keeps this exaggerated universe feel grounded and real, an essence that truly projects the hopelessness of teenage life which was the driving force behind the original stories.
Cowles co-wrote the screenplay with Director Terry Zwigoff, giving him some creative control over the reimagining of his work, but It was the job of cinematographer Affonso Beato to try and capture the comic books visual tone. He achieved this by slightly oversaturating the colour to try and make everything stand out, “The way the modern world looks, with everything trying to get your attention at once. “
There are parts of Zack Snyder’s 300 where you can literally pause the film, hold up the Frank Miller graphic novel and compare the two from shot to the panel. It is quite possibly the most painstakingly accurate portrayal of a comic book in live-action cinema history.
Released a year after Sin City, another Miller creation, it uses the same technique of amplifying live action with digital enhancements and backdrops. A sepia tone runs throughout providing a mythological grandeur. This film is not a re-telling of the true historic events it is based on, nor was that ever the intention. This is a retelling of the legend and the fantasy. It’s pure entertainment, just like the book.
One of the luxuries comics have over movies is the ability to freeze a moment in time into a panel and filling it with as much detail as the writer and artists see fit. The 300 hundred movie even tried to capture this with the use of slow-motion, giving viewers time to take in the chaos and carnage taking place before their eyes.
1. Batman 1967
The sixties Batman TV series and its subsequent movie are both comedic and camp, which is exactly what the comics were in that era. The costumes, the set and vehicle designs are as close as you could get for the time, and the famous inclusion of the action texts, such as the
POWS and BANGS showed that the series creators were trying there hardest to represent the funny books, not reinvent them.
The lack of back-story and origins for both the heroes and villains mean there is nothing there to truly dispute. They could have literally taken the screenplay, edited it into an ongoing story for Detective Comics and it would not seem out of synch in the slightest.
This incarnation of Batman lives on to this day thanks to animated movies and comic books, outliving not only most of the cast and crew but also subsequent retellings of the Batman mythos. A true testament to what happens if you stick close to the source material that made the character an enduring piece of pop-culture history in the first place.
Author Bio: Tim Buckler is a writer and performer who spends far too much time rambling on about pop-culture than any grown man should. For show info and other rants follow him on twitter @Blockbusterman.