iFanboy Video Podcast

iFanboy #96 – The Comics Behind the Movies

Show Notes

We just experienced the summer of the action packed superhero movie, but making films from comics has been going on for a while now. What’s more, many people didn’t even know the movies were spawned from comics. In this episode, Josh, Ron, and Conor show you some of the comic book work behind the feature films.

Whiteout isn’t quite out yet, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t check out the excellent comic it was adapted from, by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber.

The Crow was a huge film based on a huge indie comic of the same name.

American Splendor was an amazing movie based on the collective work of the legendary Harvey Pekar, as well as artists like R. Crumb.

Ghost World is a cult film from a cult comic. While the tone is the same, there are completely different stories from the movie, so you can have more!

One big budget picture from a small budget graphic novel was Road to Perdition.

Finally, the movie A History of Violence started off like like the graphic novel, but the story ended up quite different.


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  1. Heh.  Buscemi DOES look like a Clowes drawing.

  2. ‘But this taco comes out of my salary! If I had a girlfriend she’d kill me.’ (Squeeky voice teen from The Simpsons, or an amazing simulation of Teenage Josh? You decide!)

    Great choices for this vid, I love most of the films and books you talked about. Road to Peridition and History of Violence was much better in film format. I can see why Tom Hanks in the former made the tone of the film much different from the book, but come on….It’s Woody! If I can say one thing negative though (like that’ll stop me) is that Ghost World: Most overrated indie book ever. I’m sorry I just dont see what the big hoopla over this was. Read it a good 3 times and I didnt see anything special….just about two annoying girls who may or may not be lesbians *yawn*

    But you guys missed so much for this topic! What about classic films like Barbwire, Alien vs Predator, Bulletproof Monk, From Hell, Monkeytown, Spawn, Tank Girl, and Virus?….I’m sorry did I say classic? I ment to say ‘films so bad I want to boil my eyesockets off’.

  3. @TheNextChampion

    I could watch Spawn and Tank Girl all day.

  4. @cman12: Spawn I can kinda understand….but Tank Girl?….We need an intervention to help with your ‘problem’ lol.

  5. There will be no Tank Girl bashing! Is it awful? Of course it is. Do I love it? You betcha. And it gave the world Naomi Watts!

    I’ve still yet to see History Of Violence. And I haven’t read Road To Perdition, but I love that film. I re-watched recently after the Sam Mendes/Preacher news and I’m still convinced he’d do a great job.

    @Conor & Ron – Those ‘awkward Josh’ impressions were just mean 😉

  6. I have heard the the History of Violence GN is much more violent than the movie.  Specifically, the brother of the lead character is brutally disfigured in the book.  Is that correct?  I would like to read it, but I am afraid I may be getting squeamish in my old age.

  7. Good show guys.  Not one of my favs, but a good show.  I also really enjoyed A History of Violence, might pick up the trade if I find it somewhere.


    @Ron and Conor-Whats with ragging on Josh so much?  You guys drank too much Haterade that day.  My mom would make fun of me when my voice was cracking, it was horrible.  I hope you bought him a cake afterwards to make him feel better 😛

  8. I’m not offended.  Don’t sweat it. 

    I just finished History of Violence, and I really liked it.  It’s violent, but not so bad.  I put up the worst page in the book on the show, so if you can handle that, I’m sure you’ll be fine.

  9. @josh – My wussy ass thanks you.

  10. If you liked ‘History of Violence’ you should try some ‘Judge Dredd’. John Wagner’s been writing that for more than 25 years (apart from odd interludes from the likes of Garth Ennis & Mark Millar) and the quality is consistently brilliant over the entire run. Difficult to believe, but true.

    People go on about Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Garth Ennis etc but John Wagner is the true UK comic genius. But because he turned his back on comics in the US he never gets mentioned.

    Er, sorry, that turned into a rant…


  11. What’s funny is that in reading History of Violence, I noticed some British parlance here and there.  It only happened a couple times, but if not for that, I wouldn’t have known it was a UK writer.  I think someone mentioned "ringing" someone, rather than "calling" them.

  12. "Ringing" someone is a good indication it’s a Brit. Now, if they "give them a tinkle" it’s a dead cert!

  13. I had lunch with Josh Olson the screenwriter of History of Violence.  I like to name drop that one as often as possible.  😀

    The ending of that comic is gruesome.  Like really, really fucked up.  I’m glad they chose to omit it from the film script. I would have had nightmares for years if I’d seen that in motion.  

  14. @Paul: Oh look at Mr. Hollywood. I would love to talk more but I’m sure your going out to dinner with Jeff Goldblum in tonight 🙂

  15. @TheNextChampion Is there a twelve-step program for crappy movies? If there is I totally need one.

  16. @Champ – Who goes out to dinner with Jeff Goldblum IN tonight? That sounds painful.

  17. @cman12: Well it’s more of a few steps:

    1) Rent or Buy film

    2) Get your friends together with food and drinks

    3) Put in film and watch it

    4) Rip on it MSTK3 style

    5) You will be a better person




    6) Pronouce your love to God

    That should cover it :)……Well except maybe part 6, that’s a typo.

  18. You guys should do something about drawn and quarterly.

  19. Also reading TheNextChampion’s last response in a Mitch Hedberg adds to the fun.

  20. I’m late to this party… just watched the video.  But… c’mon the History of Violence movie sucked.  The book was pretty damned good and the flick just bastardized it.  The Crow is probably, IMO, the best comic book made…

    I’d wager you guys saw the History of Violence movie before you read the graphic novel?  That might explain it… although, it’s not very explainable to me.  That movie ruined a good comic, ruined a good comic. 


    …and you don’t know who Vince Locke is??


  21. Movies don’t ruin good comics.  Weak convictions do.  

  22. @JD – I saw the movie before the book, yes.  But the movie was excellent, one of the best of the year.  The book was good.

  23. @PaulMontgomery: well, in a manner of speaking the movie took a good comic and turned it into what I thought was a poor movie.  In essence, it ruined a good comic.  Doesn’t mean the comic itself is any less of a good read.  Nothing weak about my convictions and I tend to resent that you’d try to twist my words that way.

    @conor: thanks for the answer, kinda what I expected.  I read the book first and I think that shaped the expectation I had for the movie… which ultimately led to a let down for me.  I also remember reading an interview with the director where he seemed to have little regard for the comic itself.

  24. Didn’t say you had weak convictions.  But someone who allowed a bad adaptation to "ruin a good comic" would be guilty of weak conviction.  I take issue with that phrasing. It suggests that an adaptation retroactively tarnishes the source material.  Which is not possible.  

    It’s a polarizing film.  I’ve seen it a few times and I’ve also read the book. I don’t love either of them, but I do agree with the changes made for the film.  That’s fine if you disagree.  The beauty is that you still have the book.  Dislike the film, but saying that it ruined the book is doing yourself a disservice.  Gives a movie you don’t like more power than you think it deserves.  May sound like nitpicking, but it’s an important distinction.  Just say it’s a poor film.  

  25. @PaulMontgomery:  You’re quote was a direct reaction to a statement I said.  If you’d like to deny that, fine… but, you were definitely implying something there and now you’re backtracking.

    I stated that the movie ruined a good comic.  I still think it did and my convictions are very strong…. strong enough to stand by something I said and not be a troll.

  26. Does the movie actually make you like the comic less?  Your words suggest that. If it’s true, that’s sad.  If it’s not, your words don’t make sense.  

    Read my previous response.  It’s not unfair. 

  27. I think a bad adaptation can *spoil* good source material (ie, takes the punch out of the reveals).  But I don’t see how it could make it worse on re-reading. 

  28. One of the worst comic book-to-film adaptations: LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN

    One of my favorite comic books: LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN

    The movie didn’t harm the book, it’s still there on my shelf and it still reads great. I think.  I haven’t picked it up in a while, so I guess it’s possible that the production company sent someone over to rip all the pages out while I was out running errands.  That would pretty much be the only way the movie would ruin a comic book.

  29. @Conor:  I think you picked up a keyword, "adaptation."  Are these films adaptation or inspired by, or based on comic/book.  I think there’s some difference between those terms. 

    I really never got into The League of Extraoridnary Gentlmen (the comic), I got the first couple of trades – but it just didn’t click.  Wasn’t my thing.  Saw the film, and saw that they took something that, while it wasn’t my cup o’ tea had some merit and worth and shallowed it out and basically made a bad film out of it.

     I do think most folks here are taking one simple statement like "ruin a comic" and twisting way beyond what was meant by it.  Sadly, now even Conor’s playing this game.  A poor movie adapation cannot ruin the source material in it’s original form.  It ruins it in the sense that it take an adapation of the book and doesn’t do it justice… it changes the plot/characters/etc. and doesn’t give the good source material what it deserves.  Rather than give us a good, true adaptation they give us something that was not needed and perhaps could’ve been much better with a different film maker.  …and yes, we will always have the original, let’s beat that dead horse and say someone has "weak convictions."

    Now, that all being said… changes are needed and mandated by any transition to different media (mediums?).  As I stated earlier, I think the Crow is best comic book film… but, it’s world’s different from the book.  I think those changes worked well and most were needed and stayed very true to the core elements of the story and characters.  History of Violence didn’t work for me for the same reason – and I think they missed some great oppurtunities – especially since they had a young actor that looked so much like young Viggo.

    …and I’m avoiding the troll.

  30. I think you made a poor choice in using the phrase "ruined the comic" because there’s really no other way to take it.  "Not doing the comic justice" is an entirely different thing.

  31. You think it’s semantics, but it’s actually an important distinction to make.  There are people who allow bad adaptations to affect their enjoyment of the source material.  Those are the people with weak convictions.  All I was implying was that, by using that phrase, you made yourself sound like one of those people.  I didn’t believe you really were (in all honesty), but you were talking like someone with that belief.  I was being hyperbolic to show how crazy that phrase was.  You should be furious to have someone suggest that "it ruined the book." I apologize if you thought it was a direct attack.  I can see why you might think that, but I was trying to make a point.  That’s not me back-tracking.  I’m just clarifying a point which was perhaps too complex for print.   

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