When we talk about films based on comics, more often than not, the first thought in anyone’s mind is that of superheroes. Whether you like it or not, we have been bombarded by one superhero film after another for the past decade, with the trend still continuing strong. In fact, it seems to have spilt over into the television and streaming world, with producers investing heavily in shows that feature all kinds of caped crusaders, from Daredevil and the Arrow to Jessica Jones and the Flash.
There is, though, a lot more to comics than just superheroes. A variety of graphic novels in the past have enthralled readers with their excellent illustrations, intricate plots, and fascinating characters. For this reason, they have often found space on the silver screen, receiving both critical and box-office success. Unknown to many, films like Oldboy, the Palme d’Or winning Blue is the Warmest Colour, A History of Violence, American Splendour, and From Hell are either based or inspired from graphic novels. So, if you are looking for a change, away from a superhero film, but still want to remain in the comic book realm, here are a few movies and TV series worth your time.
Juvenile to its very core, the Netflix adaptation of Richie Rich is somewhat of a hit and a miss. The story of the “richest kid in the world,” takes a more modern view wherein Richie is now a self-made millionaire who goes about spending his money on good deeds while experiencing supposedly funny adventures with his family and friends. Unlike, Macaulay Culkin’s 1994 film, the production value of the series is a bit off and lacks the lavishness one would expect from it. The acting is a bit choppy as well, while the humour could do with a booster shot. Still, if you have kids in your house, Richie Rich can make for a good few hours of wholesome family entertainment.
Amongst the most underrated comic book movies ever, Ghost World stars Thora Birch and a young Scarlett Johansson as two high school graduates coming to terms with the world around them, while trying to keep a grasp of their fading friendship. Packed with teenage angst, confusing relationships, Ghost World is about a journey we all have taken at some point in our lives. And that is why it resonates so well with all ages, making it an essential watch, even though the film is close to two decades old.
Unlike earlier, it is now reasonably simple for comic book movies or series of any genre to market themselves. The growing popularity of comic conventions around the globe has presented the entertainment industry with an ideal spot to advertise their shows directly to their target audiences. Riverdale, the darker, more sensual adaptation of Archie comics, is a prime example where their beautiful cast has been participating in panel discussions over at the SDCC, keeping viewers excited about upcoming seasons. As for the series itself, it magnificently combines mystery, murder, romance, and high-school shenanigans in a tight package, although unfortunately humour, an integral part of the comics, has taken a backseat in this sinister, small-town drama.
My Friend Dahmer
A rather unconventional film, My Friend Dahmer, is the story of serial killer Jeffery Dahmer before he took to murdering 17 people. Based on John Backderf’s graphic novel of the same name, the book is Derf’s memoir, from the time he was Dahmer’s friend in high-school. The film adaptation stars Ross Lynch and Alex Wolff in the primary roles. As for the story, Derf’s haunting tale tries to present Dahmer as a somewhat ordinary kid who could never fit appropriately in society and was overlooked even when he showed unnatural tendencies towards death and gore.
Those are my favorites. What are some of your picks for the best non-superhero comic book adaptations to film or television? Sound off in the comments below!