10 Comic Books That Have Appeared in Movies


Curiosity seems to drive me ever-forward and lead me down paths I never thought I would travel.  But it’s these less traveled roads that make all the difference.  It’s where I learn a lot. With that in mind, I traveled down a road, out of curiosity, of movie props and comic books. After my last article about follow-through and after seeing the most recent Logan trailer and after having recently watch Ben Affleck’s The Accountant, my interest was piqued and my mission accepted: Find comic books that have been depicted in movies.

So here we go, a list of what I found. 10 comic books that have appeared in movies:

  1. The first one we will explore is The Accountant. Starring Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal and John Lithgow, The Accountant itself reads like an ode to comic book lore. Affleck’s Christian Wolff has an alter ego, a nom de guerre, a secret hideout, a mission against the bad guys and a lady he likes but can never truly have.  Solomon Grundy, a DC supervillian (derived from a British nursery rhyme in the mid-1800s) makes an appearance, albeit verbally. He even has his own version of Oracle. In his super secret hideout are all the things that are most prized to him, two of which are comic books. He shows a first Superman, Action Comics #1 and the first Alan Scott Green Lantern, All-American Comics #16. These are definitely movie props, as indicated but the trade dressing and the top row of the comic book covers.

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2.  Next is a movie that we have already discussed, although it’s not the movie but the trailer for the movie since that’s all we have to go on at this point. I am talking about, of course, the upcoming movie Logan.  Due to property rights and licensing agreements, Fox Studios was not allowed to use actual comic books for the film. So Hugh Jackman reached out Marvel Comics’ Chief Creative Officer, Joe Quesada with an idea to make comic book props just for the movie. Quesada apparently loved the idea and reached out to his long-time friend and peer Dan Panosian, who was also up to the task. When all was said and done they made a stack of comic books with a late 1980’s feel just for the movie.

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3.  M. Night Shyamalan recently announced that he would be making a sequel to his pulpy comic book movie Unbreakable. The story follows David Dunn and Elijah Price (Mr Glass) as opposite ends of the same spectrum. Price owns “Limited Edition” a curated comic book shop from which he carries on his schemes. There are two comic books for the movie: Active Comics and Sentryman.

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4. 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger found us in a origin story for Steve Rogers.  With that, we get to see a World War II era New York City, and a depiction of the youth of the city jovially reading Captain America # 1, complete with the famous cover of Captain America punching Adolf Hitler in the face.

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5. Guillermo Del Toro adapted Mike Mignola’s Hellboy to the screen in 2004. Del Toro tapped Mignola to create a movie prop comic book just for the movie. It has a very silver/bronze age Marvel Comics feel to the art, complete with the corner box.

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6.  In 2007 Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption) took Stephen King’s acclaimed novel “The Mist” and brought it to the big screen. Starring Thomas Jane (The Punisher), The Mist boasts one of the most gut – wrenching endings for a movie of all time. For much of the film the characters are trapped in a supermarket and one of the racks has – you guessed it – comic books.  As a side-note Comic book fan Stephen King’s story “The Dark Tower” has been an ongoing series of volumes published through Marvel Comics. In this scene in the film, we can actually see a title we just discussed – Hellboy. There is also Eric Powell’s The Goon. It is, in fact The Goon # 2 from August of 2003.  Eric Powell is a friend of Frank Darabont’s and was on set with the crew for the day this scene was shot, hence the inclusion of the book.

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7. Creepshow, from horror genre superstars Stephen King and George A. Romero, hit theaters at the end of 1982. Creepshow was directly influenced and inspired by the EC Comics horror comic books from the beginning of the silver age, namely Tales From The Crypt. The movie is done in the same anthological style that “Tales” was done in and they even had EC horror artist Jack Kamen create the comic book used for the movie.

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8. “Destroy All Vampires!” was the battle-cry emblazoned upon the cover of 1987’s classic “The Lost Boys” The book is so important to the story, in fact, that this is where they get all their tips and tricks on how to deal with vampires. There were a couple of comic book props used in the movie, Destroy All Vampires and Vampires Everywhere. The book is first given to Corey Haim’s character Sam in the comic book shop that his friends work in. It is a comic book but as they say in the movie “Think of it more like a survival manual”

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9.  Now comes the story of a comic book within a comic book set within a comic book movie. Tales of the Black Freighter is a story that reappears periodically throughout Alan Moore’s “The Watchmen”.  in an interview that Alan Moore did back in 2000 he tells us that this is a counterpoint to the story and also an analogy to Veldt’s plot in the story.  “If they’ve got superhero’s in real life, they probably wont be interested in super hero comic books” He says. So they chose pirates and – specifically The Black Freighter because Moore is a fan of Bertolt Brecht (Threepenny Opera’s Seerauberjenny/ Pirate Jenny). Naturally, this made it in to the movie adaptation.

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Catch Me If You Can, the 2002 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, saw Leo’s Frank Abagnale take on the persona of two comic book characters: Barry Allen and Doctor Connors.  It took the FBI some time to figure out that Barry Allen is indeed the Flash from DC Comics but they put it together eventually.  Apparently Barry Allen does not have any fingerprints in the NYPD database.



So there you have it, folks! 10 comic books that appeared in comic book movies. Some have deeper meaning, some are there just for fun but whatever the reason it is always fun to catch a clip with them if you can.

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Comments (2)

I really enjoyed The Accountant! The parallels to superheros are very strong although the connection is not directly made other than the comic books show in his drawer. I’m really curious what Unbreakable 2 will be about.

In a thread, I got some other movies that could continue with this list: The Departed, Coyote Ugly, FanBoys and KickAss

We shall see! I have some other fun subjects to do in this list style before I revisit this topic again

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