A History of Graphic Novels: Films you didn’t know were based on graphic novels

Vijay’s Leo was shrouded with many exciting rumours and speculations ever since it was announced. And on the day of its release, as the hype reached its peak, the most popular rumour about the film was confirmed through its opening title card. The makers acknowledged that the film was inspired by David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence (2005). Until discussions around Leo’s inspiration started heating up, many didn’t know that the widely successful Viggo Mortensen-starrer was based on the 1997 graphic novel of the same name

It has been a glorious period for comic book and graphic novel nerds. While it is all too impossible to not be aware of comic book film adaptations, with money-printing franchises like MCU and DCEU, the format has also given us non-superhero films. Let us go through a list of films that you probably didn’t know were based on graphic novels and comic books.

Road to perdition (2002):

Starring Tom Hanks in the lead, Road to Perdition is directed by Skyfall-fame Sean Mendes. The film follows a hitman on the run after his son witnesses a murder. It is based on a graphic novel of the same name by Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner, originally published in 1998.

Oldboy (2003):

This gripping Korean action-thriller by Park Chan-wook was the gateway to Korean films for a lot of the global audience. Oldboy follows a man who is released after being held in captivity for 15 years for no apparent reason. He must now go on a rampage to seek revenge against his captors. The film is loosely based on a Japanese manga of the same name by Garon Tsuchiya (writer) and  Nobuaki Minegishi (Illustrator), which was originally published between 1996 and 1998.

Oblivion (2013):
This post-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure film stars Tom Cruise as one of the last inhabitants of planet Earth. The film is directed by Joseph Kosinski, who later went on to direct Top Gun: Maverick with Tom Cruise. The film is based on a graphic novel by the director, which was unpublished during the making of the film.  

V for Vendetta (2006):

This is one of the most well-known graphic novels to be adapted into a feature film. Directed by James McTeigue, the film stars Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman in prominent roles. The dystopian action film is layered with strong liberal political ideologies. It is based on a 1988 comic book series of the same name by Alan Moore, David Lloyd, and Tony Weare. The comic book was later adapted into a screenplay by the Matrix directing duo, The Wachowskis.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003):
This is yet another film adaptation of an Alan Moore comic book. The 1999 steampunk/superhero graphic novel was adapted into a film starring Sean Connery, Naseeruddin Shah, Peta Wilson, Tony Curran, and Stuart Townsend. While this might look out of place in this list, considering how it is technically a superhero film, the story itself is unconventional for the way it uses super-powered legacy characters.

Red (2013):
This action film starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, and Karl Urban, is based on a comic book series of the same name by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner, originally published in 2003.

Snowpiercer (2013):
The post-apocalyptic film takes place almost entirely in a train, where humans are sperated into carriages based on a twisted class system. Directed by Bong Joon-ho, the film stars Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, and Ed Harris. It is based on a French graphic novel titled Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob.

Edge of Tomorrow (2014):
The sci-fi adventure starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt revolves around an alien invasion where the aliens have the ability to loop time. The film is based on the Japanese manga series titled All You Need Is Kill. Written by  Hiroshi Sakurazaka and illustrated by Yoshitoshi Abe, it was published in 2004.

Atomic Blonde (2017):
This spy-thriller revolves around a spy who goes on a daring mission against Russian agents, set in the nail-biting backdrop of the fall of the Berlin Wall. With Charlize Theron playing the lead, the David Leitch directorial also stars James McAvoy and John Goodman, among others. The film is based on the 2012 graphic novel titled The Coldest City by Antony Johnston and Sam Hart.

Wanted (2008):
This intense action film revolves around a group of extraordinary individuals with the ability to curve a fired bullets mid-air. Directed by Timur Bekmambetov, the film stars Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy, and Morgan Freeman in the lead roles. Wanted is based on the comic book series of the same name by Mark Millar and JG Jones

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