Top 5: Comic Book Movie Posters

Here’s the scenario: You arrive at your local cineplex to catch a flick on a Saturday afternoon. You go to the concession stand to get your Dr. Pepper, Sour Patch Kids and popcorn. You glance at your ticket seeing that your film is being screened in Theater 12 down the hall. As you walk, a one sheet catches your eye. It stops you in your tracks. You observe its beauty there, mounted behind the glass, and say to yourself “I’ve got to see that movie.”

These are those posters.

5. Spider-Man

I love the perspective in this. It can really tap into one’s fear of heights. Also, the reflection in the glass is a wonderful touch.


4. The Mask

This poster always sticks out in memory. It has an iconic look to it and is recognizable from across the room. It gives you a taste of what the character looks like and leaves you curious for more.

3. The Dark Knight

I find this poster terrifying.

2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Many of us saw this poster and started hyperventilating. We didn’t even know a live action movie was going to exist until we saw this. Remember that time, before the internet, when your first knowledge of a movie was it’s poster or trailer? Good times.


1. Batman

How could this not be number one? The shine off the logo! I also love how it bulges and can’t be contained in the frame of the poster.


  1. I like the Spider-man 2 posters. There’s on that’s half peter/half spidey, a great visual from the comic.

  2. I thought that the various posters from “The Spirit” campaign were pretty damned amazing..especially the ones that paid tribute to Will Eisner’s unique illustrative lettering style….and then with that, the Sin City campaign as well.

    There was a Punisher (war zone i believe) where it was just the skull logo created entirely out of bullet holes in metal.

    The Dark Knight campaign was pretty killer as well….the guerilla marketing and site specific installations (building wraps, murals etc) were some of the coolest things i’d ever seen done for a movie)

  3. I think that The Dark Knight poster is the best out of this bunch.

  4. I had forgotten all about that Turtles poster. Absolutely wonderful.

    I’d have to add the original Transformers movie poster to my list (the animated one, not the recent gibberish.) The poster is an obvious Star Wars rip-off, but damn did it get my heart beating when I was 7 years old. Here’s a link:

    • The description for the Turtles poster was right on. I still own the LP and have it in my house, and for no other reason than looking at the cover makes me happy.

      You know what else makes me happy? This movie poster. It was the most amazing experience that I had and the animation was mind blowing, and still holds up over 25 years later. The gestalt of that is a post for a different time

  5. All excellent choices, but I’d have to say one of my favorites is the Sin City poster featuring Jessica Alba.

  6. Road To Perdition was pretty sweet.

  7. The Art Deco inspired Rocketeer “teaser” poster is one of my all time favorites. It can hold its own with AM Cassandre and all the great European poster artists’ work.

  8. I am amazed that the Superman: The Movie was left off this list. Great movie poster “You’ll believe a man can fly”

  9. Good choices, and a great choice for #1. I’ll give some honorable mention to:

    Superman: The Movie: “You’ll believe a man can fly” is a triumph of simple marketing, and those painted covers of the logo and of Superman against the clouded sky are just gorgeous.

    Heavy Metal: The poster alone fulfills the movie’s title. A warrior woman with a sword riding a pterodactyl? Sold.

    Danger: Diabolik: Italian movie posters are just better.

  10. My faves are the previously mentioned art deco Rocketeer poster, the Dark Knight poster w/ Joker behind frosted glass drawing a smiley on it, the b&w Spider-Man 3 poster of him sitting on the gargoyle in the rain, the painted propaganda V for Vendetta poster, and this The Spirit poster:

    With at least 2 of those, the poster was better than the movie.

  11. The DVD for the Burton Batman movie doesn’t even have the title or actors’ names on it. Just the logo. Brilliance.

  12. The Spider-Man 3 poster with the red costume on one side with the black costume reflected on the other.

  13. “Batman Returns” also had a pretty stunning minimalist poster:

  14. Why just a top 5? 🙁

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, that poster was epic!

  15. Superman has a great poster it would be number 6 on my list.

    Also, the rocketeer, sin city, the crow and Swamp Thing all almost made the cut. Great posters.

  16. I’m not saying it should be on the Top 5 but I remember finding The Crow movie poster to be so somber yet arresting.

    • Good call. I’d actually say it should displace something on this list… but I also don’t think Burton’s Batman poster should be on the list at all.

  17. These are all classic.

    As much as I love that Dark Knight poster, I would’ve replaced it with the Joker writing “Why so serious?” on the glass. When I saw that, I knew we were in for something special.

    *sigh* The Mask and TMNT. A simpler time.

  18. I remember seeing this Batman Begins poster in my local theater and thinking, oh wow, this is actually happening. If I’m not mistaken, my eyes welled up a bit.

    • i really want to like that poster, except my brain keeps ruining it by going “hey! that looks like the crow: city of angels!”

      stupid brain.

  19. my list would have included raiders of the lost ark and at least 1 star wars poster.

  20. When I saw Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade at the age of 8 (at the State Theater in Auburn California) I had no idea what that Batman poster was all about. It only had the logo on it, and in my mind it looked like a giant gold mouth with two teeth on top and bottom. Few months later my dad took me to see it and not only did I realize it was a batman, but I also realized it was awesome and my life changed.

  21. I liked this poster form SM1 before it was pulled. I bought one off ebay and had it backboarded. Its in my office now:

  22. Love the Dark Knight one!

    I forgot the Mask existed lol.

    The TMNT one made me a very, very happy kid back in the day.

  23. #1 is justified. That logo was EVERYWHERE that summer!!! the deep black let us fanboys know, “this is not Adam West Batman!!!”

  24. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really think most comic book posters are good. I’m not saying this list is invalid or the wrong choices.

    It’s just that when I see a movie poster based on a comic, 9/10 times I am not feeling it. Especially today when it’s just photoshopped madness and it angers me more then anything. I mean the X-Men: First Class and Avengers trailer is a great example of lazy design.

    If I had to choose, I think ‘The Dark Knight’ posters were good. Because the entire marketing campaign was pretty damn good so they went along with everything else. But still, you can’t beat something incredible like Saul Bass’s work.

  25. I think the poster for Superman: The Movie is better than all of these. First, painted posters are better than Photoshopped posters. Second, “You’ll believe a man can fly” matched with the red, blue and yellow streak of Superman in the clouds just fills me with wonder. It’s truly a masterpiece.

  26. Superman Returns poster was good,the one where he is hovering in space.

  27. Oh, another good one is the Dark Knight poster w/ Batman standing on rubble and the bat-symbol made out of fire behind him on the trashed building.

  28. The top comic movie posters have always been the ones with iconic characters using minimalist styles. People know these heroes since childhood. Just a tease or taste of them in a big poster is all they needed to get excited. Four great examples (my faves):

    Superman the Movie – no one had ever dreamed this movie could be done back then. The anticipation, even among non comic fans, was palpable. The flash of blue, red and yellow through the clouds with the S symbol told everyone… The world’s greatest, ‘original’ superhero was coming to the big screen.

    Batman -Again, Marketing didn’t need to show you anything about the movie besides the logo – Batman is coming! The logo-only teaser in black, and metallic looking, was so in-your-face, like Batman should be. People screamed when they saw this poster. I did every time I entered my room when I had it up. Freaked out the room mates every time.

    Spider-man – The original poster was an extreme close-up of Spidey’s head and a hand clinging to a building, with all of New York in the background. Unfortunately the World Trade Center was reflected in his eyes and it had to go. The next version, the one above, was a great back-up. You didn’t need to question anything about how great this movie would be, just seeing him there clinging to a building dozens of stories up.

    Batman Begins – Almost any BB or Dark Knight poster is great, but the first movie’s poster of him with his head bowed, surrounded by bats, told the story perfectly.

    As said above, the photo montage of characters ruins a comic book movie poster completely. THey’re just standing there, looking goofy. The Iron Man movie posters were horrible. Captain America “Avenge” poster with just Cap – good. Captain America with the cast – bad. Not even going to touch the Green Lantern movie issue.

  29. I miss posters that were just insignia’s or symbols. Now they’re cluttered with actors faces because it’s in their contract and it makes it so disappointing. Nolan’s Batman movies have been the best at producing some great posters, while a lot of the Marvel ones look like bad photoshop jobs. I love that Ninja Turtles poster. Just looking at it makes me wanna watch it.

  30. Not sure I agree with this list. Turtles is the most iconic out of the bunch. Here is my quick list…

    1. Dark Knight Joker why so serious? poster
    2. Spider-man 2 –
    3. Ironman –
    4. Dark Knight Batman poster –
    5. Hulk –