Comic Book Films People Don’t Know Are Comic Book Films
TIMECOP – 1994
Original Source Material: Timecop from Dark Horse Comics
Dark Horse Comics isn’t a company the general population knows very much about. Yet in 1994, there were two No. 1 movies based on Dark Horse material. The Mask was the first, and it was bumped off the No. 1 spot by the Van Damme classic, Timecop.
THE COMIC: Originally published as a 3-issue run from August to October 1992, Time Cop was the story of a Time Travel Enforcement Agent who catches an illegal time traveler robbing a South African mine in the 1930s, and then once the man is brought back to his own time, it’s found that his robotic bodyguard is still in the past, and probably up to no good.
It was written by Mark Verheiden with the art done by Ron Randall.
There was also a 2 issue adaptation of the film done in September 1994, to coincide with the release of the film.
THE FILM: Released on my birthday, September 16, 1994, Timecop is the story of a Time Enforcement Commission Agent who catches on to a current day politician who is using time travel for his own benefit so he can became rich and powerful in the future. The agent’s wife was killed earlier in his life, and he soon realizes that all of this ties together.
It stars Jean-Claude Van Damme as Walker, the hero. His wife is played by the once girlfriend to Ferris Bueller, Mia Sara.
The movie was written by the founder and publisher of Dark Horse Comics, Mark Richardson, and writer of the Time Cop comic book, Mark Verheiden.
The film did pretty well, bringing in more than $100,000,000, making it Van Damme’s most successful film to date, as well as Dark Horse’s second blockbuster in a month’s time. Not too shabby.
There was also a Timecop TV series that ran for 9 episodes in 1997 on the ABC Network.
In 2010, Universal announced there is going to be a reboot of the film. I’d like for Van Damme to star in the reboot, but I doubt that’ll happen.
WEIRD SCIENCE – 1985
Original Source Material: EC Comic’s Weird Science #5 – Made of the Future
John Hughes, the guy who wrote almost every movie ever, then you find out he wrote another movie you didn’t know he wrote and realize that he’s in fact written every movie ever, brought us in 1985 what up until now, I thought was an original idea of his.
THE COMIC: In 1954, thanks to Fredric Wertham’s book, Seduction of the Innocent, the publishers of comic books got together and formed their own censorship group, The Comic Code Authority. Murder, drugs, sex, the occult; all things rockin’ were no longer allowed. OK news for publishers like Marvel and DC Comics, they could run issues without all that till the cows came home. But EC Comics, home to books such as Tales of Suspense and Tales From The Crypt were basically fucked. Before all this BS about comics turning kids into killers, EC comics was the underground hip. They had awesome tales that you couldn’t get anywhere, and many different books. One of those was the 22-issue run of a book entitled Weird Science.
In issue #5, a tale called “Made From The Future,” featured a man who’s just been dumped by his fiancee. Walking home, disillusioned, he ends up in a tour group from 2150 who were on a trip back to the past [to play the shitty games that suck ass]. Well, our guy realizes what’s up, and decides to go with it. Once in the future, he finds a place that will make you a wife. You can either get a standard, or a deluxe. What’s the deluxe offer? Well, according to the sales girl the deluxe wife;
“Never nags, never argues, doesn’t object to your staying out late with the boys, always smiles, cooks divinely, sews, adores you completely, obeys your every command! In other words, the perfect wife!” See, women have sucked since the beginning of time basically.
Joel Silver, a producer in Hollywood, acquired the rights to the story, and that leads us to..
THE FILM: Released on August 2, 1985, Weird Science is the story about two teenagers in high school who decide to flex their computer skills to create the perfect woman. Now, since they have an early 80s computer, they’re easily able to do this. The fruit of their labor is Lisa, a super-hot British genie who would later go on to marry Steven Seagal. She teaches them about all things women, is a catalyst in them becoming popular, and also happens to grant wishes. Of course, the products of those wishes don’t last for long.
It stars the staple of 80s teen films, Anthony Micheal Hall, along with IIan Micheal Smith and Kelly LeBrock as Lisa.
It was another box office success for Hughes, as the film brought in almost $39 million total. It also helped spawn a TV show of the same name, but with different leads. The series ran for 4 years, with a total of 88 episodes, and to be honest, I consider it the superior product.
ROAD TO PERDITION – 2002
Original Source Material: DC Comics imprint, Paradox Press’ 1998 graphic novel, Road to Perdition
THE COMIC: Written by Max Allan Collins, with artwork by Richard Piers Rayner, it’s based on the Japanese Magna series Lone Wolf & Cub. Road To Perdition is about a mob enforcer who’s betrayed by his boss and flees town with his young son, set out for revenge.
THE FILM: The movie was released on June 12th, 2002, starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman. Although he died 6 years later, this was actually Newman’s final on-screen performance. He was also the only actor they wanted for the role of the mob boss John Rooney. Sam Mendes, director of American Beauty, was actually looking to do a film without much dialogue, that instead conveyed most things with it’s imagery. It was a success with $181 million in box office receipts.
HISTORY OF VIOLENCE – 2005
Original Source Material: DC Comics imprint, Paradox Press’ 1997 graphic novel, A History of Violence
THE COMIC: Written by John Wagner, it’s the tale of a cafe owner who becomes a local hero after stopping a robbery. Mobsters soon come to town, believing this is the same man who robbed them years prior.
THE FILM: Wide released on September 30th, 2005, the film stars Viggo Mortensen, and was directed by David Cronenberg. This was the last major Hollywood film to be released on VHS. It brought in a cool $60 million dollars at the box office. This was also the first film to be adapted from John Wagner’s work since 1995’s Judge Dredd.
FROM HELL – 2001
Original Source Material: Eddie Campbell Comics’ From Hell, which ran 1991 to 1996
THE COMIC: The title comes from what police believe to be an authentic letter form Jack The Ripper that opens with the words “From Hell”. The series is about the murders of Mr. Ripper, as it speculates on the motives and possible identity of the killer. It was written by Alan Moore, who also wrote The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and the widely successful Watchmen.
The story’s premise is based on a man named Stephen Knight’s theory that the Ripper murders were all part of an elaborate conspiracy to conceal the birth of an illegitimate royal baby fathered by Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence. Moore didn’t actually believe Knight’s ideas, but thought they’d make a good starting point for his own views on them.
THE FILM: Directed by the Hughes Brothers, From Hell was released October 19th, 2001, starring Johnny Depp and Heather Graham. Jack the Ripper proved to be a bankable commodity as the film brought in $74 million at the box office.
MEN IN BLACK – 1997
Original Source Material: Aircel Comics’ The Men In Black, with an original printing of 3 issues in 1991.
THE COMIC: Written by Lowell Cunningham, The MiB are a secret organization that keeps an eye on all paranormal activity, including aliens, demons and mutants. They are out to reshape the world how they want it, but keeping all of this from the public eye. Oh, and there’s no cutesy mind-erasing. If you’re caught knowing some shit, the last thing going through your mind is a bullet. They were out to direct the World, and pretty much do what they saw fit. Also, aliens weren’t the only game, as they saw over all forms of paranormal going-ons. Sounds like a pretty awesome job. I know at one point after a mission in Hollywood I’d have a conversation that went something like;
Agent C: I’m TELLING YOU, she saw EVERYTHING. She knows about everything, and is gonna tell the entire World. Plus she’s gonna add that your dick is small.
Agent X: She claims to not know anything. She has no idea what or who we are. She thought we were from Gucci.
Agent C: Nope. Can’t trust her. I’m telling you, she’s gonna ruin this whole thing. And we’re suppose to go to Cuba next week and deal with some zombie bitches. I hear zombie bitches got big ol’ zombie titties. C’mon, I’m telling you. I mean, do you really think I’d want to kill an innocent? Speaking of which, we better get them all, you never know…
Agent X: Alright….Miss Kardashian, would you and your family please step over here…
THE FILM: Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, 1997’s Men in Black kept the basic premise of the MiB comic book, but went in a more light hearted direction. It’s almost needless to say, but the film was a fucking MONSTER, and brought in almost $600 million dollars at the box office. Man, does everyone remember that God-awful song that went with it?