13 Popular Mainstream Movies That Were Actually Based on Comic Books

The world of comic book movies includes a lot more than just superheroes. We bet you didn’t realize these popular mainstream movies were based on comics!

We often recommend media and products we like. If you buy anything through links on our site, we may earn a commission.

When you think of comic books coming to the big screen, you probably think of superheroes. But the world of comic book movies runs much deeper than Thor, Captain America, and Wolverine.

Here are some notable movies that might surprise you… because they were all based on comic books! It just goes to show that comic book movies can be pretty darn good—even if they don’t involve the usual superheroes.

1. Men in Black (1997)

Comic Released: 1990

While Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones did a fantastic job of bringing the alien hunting franchise to the big screen, there was a comic book series long before.

The movies and other adaptations veer off heavily from the comics, but the inspiration is clearly there.

2. V For Vendetta (2005)

Comic Released: 1982

In the case of V For Vendetta, it’s really easy to forget that the comic came first because there were so many years between the two.

The movie differs substantially from its source material, which makes sense as the world was a very different place in 1982 than it was in 2005.

3. Sin City (2005)

Comic Released: 1991

Sin City is one of the few on the list that actually has the comic book movie feel, but unlike your more traditional superhero movie, the plot of this is much darker and grittier, making it easier to forget where it comes from.

The movie remains relatively faithful to the graphic novel, which is quite the change from most of the films on the list.

4. The Crow (1994)

Comic Released: 1989

The Crow is remembered as a badass action movie that ultimately ended up being the final role of Brandon Lee, as he was tragically killed during the filming of the movie.

Five years before the movie released, a comic featuring the same name was made available, and it was great.

5. The Mask (1994)

Comic Released: 1987

I’ve seen The Mask at least a dozen times as a child, and I had no idea it was based on a comic book until I started researching films for this article.

The comic is much darker than the movie, but it definitely has a similar look and feel to the film. The premise of the supernatural mask that gives its wearer superpowers remains unchanged, which is key.

6. From Hell (2001)

Comic Released: 1989

From Hell is loosely based on the comics of the same name. Technically, the film is an adaptation of the books, but it’s so incredibly different from the source material.

Still, we bet you had no idea while watching Johnny Depp that the film you were viewing was inspired by a comic book!

7. Road to Perdition (2002)

Comic Released: 1998

It didn’t take too long from the release of the comic for writer David Self to start working on the screenplay.

You don’t watch a movie about a mobster in the great depression and think about comics, but it just goes to show how many different types of comic books are out there.

8. Wanted (2008)

Comic Released: 2003

If there’s one thing you probably remember about Wanted, it’s the ability to curve bullets.

Seeing that might have triggered your comic senses, and you’d be correct, because five years before the movie, a series of graphic novels with the same name came out. Shockingly, curving bullets isn’t even part of the comic, though.

9. Constantine (2005)

Comic Released: 1988

The comic book that Constantine is based on ended up being called Hellblazer, but the plot between the two is very similar.

The name was changed due to possible confusion with the horror franchise Hellraiser. Still, the film is a fairly faithful adaptation and it’s quite entertaining.

10. Timecop (1994)

Comic Released: 1992

The Timecop comic didn’t have a very long run, but it most definitely was the inspiration for the Jean-Claude Van Damme action classic.

The comic’s full name is Time Cop: A Man Out of Time, and the plot is different from the movie, but the roots are definitely there.

11. Alien Vs. Predator (2004)

Comic Released: 1989

The idea of having the creatures from Alien fight it out against Predator first came about in 1989.

It took Hollywood a long time to realize that the crossover made perfect sense, and while it wasn’t exactly beloved by critics, it made a lot of money at the box office, further reminding us that comic books are silver screen gold.

12. A History of Violence (2005)

Comic Released: 1997

This is one of those comic-to-film adaptations that completely catches you off guard. It’s a crime drama, which is not exactly one for which comic books are known.

The beginning of the film is very faithful to the source material, but it does veer off track in the back half. Still, it’s a great film from a great bit of source material.

13. The Addams Family (1991)

Comic Released: 1938

The Addams Family is a weird one since it didn’t originate from a comic book, but rather from a single-panel comic in The New Yorker. Also, its first adaptation wasn’t a movie, but rather a TV show.

Still, one way or the other, the comic eventually found its way to the big screen. While most people think the characters came from the TV show, the comic long predated it.

comiXology Unlimited offers unlimited reading access to a massive library of digital comics, manga, and graphic novels. Try it out for FREE for 30 days!

30 Days of Modern Geeky Movies

Are you bored and in need of movies to watch? Here at whatNerd, we’ve seen a lot of geeky movies—sci-fi movies, fantasy movies, thriller movies, you name it!

And while a lot of them were pretty forgettable, a few of them stand out as classic geeky movies that everyone should definitely watch. Check out our 30 favorite modern geeky movies.

All of these movies are from 2000 or later, and there are NO superhero movies on our list! Download the printable PDF below and see how many you can watch in the next 30 days:

Similar & Trending

The 15 Best Free Sci-Fi Movies You Can Stream Online Right Now

The 11 Best Superhero Movies on Netflix Worth Checking Out

The 10 Best Movies That Explore Father-Son Relationships

The 20 Best Time Travel Movies of All Time

16 Fascinating Comic Book Documentaries for Deep Fans

How to Watch Indiana Jones in Chronological Order (And Why)

The 8 Best Action Movies From the 90s, Ranked

The 10 Best War Movies Based on True Stories and Events

All the Spider-Man Actors, Ranked: Who Is the Best Spider-Man?