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From Comic To Cinema: 10 Best Graphic Novel Adaptations Of All Time

Hollywood has found a goldmine of interesting plots and characters from the graphic novel universe. Here's a list of those who got it right (and got the geeks raving)!
by Anton D. Umali | Jan 22, 2014
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I, Frankenstein comes pummeling into theaters this week and fans are hoping that the supernatural action caper doesn’t artistically murder another beloved graphic novel hero.

Set in a dystopic reality, the central figure of the story is Adam Frankenstein (yes, the same reanimated monster from the 1818 Mary Shelley novel). And as a war between a clan of gargoyles and demons brews into fatal outcomes, Mr. Frankenstein becomes caught in the middle, risking life and rotted limb in the process.

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Hollywood has found a goldmine of interesting plots and characters from the graphic novel universe. In the last decade or so, comic book/graphic novel aficionados have seen some of their most favorite illustrated reads translated for the silver screen. Many of them have been downright awesome sauce (“Tonight we dine in hell!”), while others have been rather disappointing (we’re looking at you The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen).

For both your viewing (and reading) pleasure, here’s a list of some of the best graphic novel movie adaptations. Should we have missed any of your favorites, make sure to chime in on the comments section below!


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This deadpan and quite sarcastic graphic novel from master of the mundane, Daniel Clowes, stars Thora Birch and a pre-sultry Scarlett Johansson as Enid and Rebecca respectively, two bored-out-of-their-brains teenagers who wander around an unnamed American town. Their friendship is tested when their interests start to diverge; Enid preys on the emotions of a lonely local while Rebecca starts a new job and begins to notice her attraction to boys. It’s a dryly funny, simultaneously heartwarming and sad suburban tale of youth in revolt.


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Tom Stall aka Joey Cusack (LOTR’s Viggo Mortensen) resides in a sleepy town, manning a diner and living a quiet life with his family. When two serial killers disrupt his business, he manages to kill them, setting off a string of events that exposes his criminal past. What happens when captain of weird, director David Cronenberg, gets his hands on a graphic novel about a former mobster turned good guy? This explosion of thriller-cum-drama that permeates the screen!


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Comic god Frank Miller and action auteur Robert Rodriguez collaborate to form a groundbreaking piece of cinema. Using only green screens and an interesting selective color technique, the Sin City movie literally looks like a comic book come to life. With a potent ensemble cast that includes Clive Owen, Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, and a slew of character actors both deadly and sexy to the bone, this gritty portrayal of a city with festering morals is a visual treat. Want to get more excited: the sequel is coming out soon!


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This 2013 Cannes Film Festival Palm d’Or (one of the most prestigious awards at Cannes) winner is based on the French graphic novel of the same name. And it takes graphic to a whole another level, depicting elaborate lesbian sex scenes (oh yeah!) between its two underage protagonists, Adele and Emma. An exercise on sexuality and the trappings of young love, Blue is the kind of movie that can be appreciated by anyone who has ever fancied strange love. Please, sit through it and don’t just fast-forward to the nudie parts.


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Count on the Wachowski Brothers to give justice to one of comic book overlord Alan Moore’s masterpieces. Set in a fucked up version of London where fascism is at its peak, citizens live in fear of the government. But one masked man, the poetic and poetically dangerous V, leads an anarchic revolution together with the rebellious Evey (a very hot and hairless Natalie Portman). Chant it: “Remember, remember, the fifth of November!”

NEXT: Hit Girl, Hell Boy, and Watchmen

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