Thoughts From A Scot: Comics On The Screen

Nowadays almost everything in TV and film stems from a comic book with new adaptations springing up every week and every actor wanting to be part of one. This leads […]

Nowadays almost everything in TV and film stems from a comic book with new adaptations springing up every week and every actor wanting to be part of one.

This leads to two types of modern day comic book ‘geeks’: the movie geek who loves all the movies and will watch them over and over again on opening day but has no idea of the source material and the old school geek who picks apart the movies and meticulously compares it to the comic it’s based on. There can be a little tension between the two as old school geeks think the movie geeks should know the actual story before claiming to LOVE a franchise and movie geeks think old school geeks are losers because they read comics. I’m a little bit of both. I do get frustrated when changes are made from the source but also am oblivious to the fact that some are based on comics at all, however, I love when enjoying one type leads me to love the other, either after watching a film and finding out it was based on a comic so hunting down the comic like when I watched The Losers or reading a comic and then finding there is/was a film or TV series made from it like when I found the TV series Birds of Prey. Not everyone does this though and some either aren’t fussed about the comics or won’t watch the film in case it ruins the franchise for them.

Staying true to the source is really hit or miss and dependent on who is making the film/ who is involved as some get it absolutely perfect while others are similar in name only. The Losers are an example of getting it spot on with some of the scenes in the comics jumping straight out of the page and onto the screen and the characters are portrayed pretty faithfully as well. Marvel, on the other hand, tend to just use the comic title as a starting point for a film that is nothing at all like the source. It’s understandable though as the comics can be spread over 60+ years so its a lot of back story to try and squeeze into an hour and a half of film and has charactered that just aren’t at that stage yet like changing Ultron’s creator from Henry Pym to Tony Stark as in the MCU Pym isn’t that well developed yet.

TV series based on comics is the latest trend and I think it’s fantastic, I think the episodic nature of TV fits brilliantly with comics as its a format in which comics are already enjoyed. DC has really been ahead of the game with this with CW’s Arrow, Flash, Supergirl and Constantine all crossing over with each other just like they would in the comics. Marvel teaming up with Netflix has been exceptional too with Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Daredevil all being pretty damn good and look to be teaming up for The Defenders later on. I think being on TV and especially being on Netflix instead of being a film means they can be a lot more graphic with the content be it violence, humour or sexuality as with films the broader market has to be taken into account while TV can be a little more specialized.

You don’t get much more specialized than Preacher and with Seth Rogen bringing it to screen it was always going to be boundary pushing. Although it didn’t stay totally faithful to the comics story and let’s be honest how could they, some of the most iconic scenes will never be greenlit for screen time but they did capture the essence of the series and the characters were tremendous! Cassidy and Arseface were perfect and the series ended pretty much in tune with the comic.

You can’t talk about TV comics without mentioning The Walking Dead with Robert Kirkman at the helm for both you have to assume they would be carbon copies, I did, which is why it took so long for me to read it after watching. I was so wrong! Kirkman has the perfect blend of scenes straight from comic pages and totally new ideas that make the two mediums feel totally different but a perfect fit with each other. He changes enough so that you cant predict whats away to happen but keeps all the best iconic scenes in all their glory.

Comics are also used to fill in the blanks left by films and TV or just to carry on the franchise I have recently discovered a Bill and Ted comic run which starts straight from when they get offstage in Bogus Journey!! TV show Sons of Anarchy has a spin-off comic series filling in the gaps between the series as well as a more recent Redwood Original series telling the story of the history before the TV series kicks off with both being brilliant additions to the franchise.

If it was up to me more comics would be adapted to TV series than films as I don’t think films really do them justice, don’t get me wrong I LOVE a comic book film but just think TV is a better format for them but hey that’s just my opinion

About Martin Cameron

A 34 year old manchild from Scotland, bravely fighting the on going war between a love of comics and space to keep them. Boxes are filling and thanks to the digital age we live in so is the harddrive! I love finding a new comic to obsess over and rediscovering old comics to immerse myself in from the very first issue. A healthy mix of the seven dwarves of geekdom all wrapped up in one kilted bundle of amusement