It really is an amazing time to be a comic book fan. We are currently living in a time with more talk of comic books, their characters, and comic adaptations than at any other point in history. In just the past 16 years we have seen three separate iterations of Spider-Man, two iterations of Batman, and Chris Evans and Ryan Reynolds both hopping in and out of comic book universes like it was going out of style. As if all that wasn't spectacular enough, we then watched a gigantic California raisin—with the muscle definition of a young Lou Ferrigno—snap about half of it away, like the past 10 years never even happened. So let’s look back on some of the best comic adaptations over the past decade that had nothing to do with Thanos.
10. The Walking Dead (2010)
I know the bad man with the barbed wire wrapped around his baseball bat burst onto The Walking Dead, upping the show’s ratings like they were sitting on top of Glen’s shoulders, but it wasn’t always like that.
When The Walking Dead first came around, it was one of the most exciting shows to have come to television in a long time. Rick and the gang may have all but disappeared at this point, but for a long time, many of us were glued to our couches. We feared if we stepped away from our screen, we'd lose our favorite character. Not many shows can do that to so many people so quickly.
9. Wanted (2008)
When Wanted came out in June of 2008, the world was just barely starting to understand just how important Iron Man as a film was about to be. Marvel was placing some big bets on some of its more popular characters, and things were finally starting to take off.
Enter: Mark Millar (who we’ll be getting to again shortly).
Millar isn’t really trying to tell any sort of inspirational, over-the-top tale of the patriotic hero saving the day. No, this is the story of the Wesley Gibson. This is the movie that made James McAvoy becoming an action star a reality. Wesley didn’t need to compete with Tony Stark when all he really had to do was kill his way to the top.
8. Preacher (2016)
It really seems like AMC has been hitting it big with the comic book adaptations lately. Preacher is this crazy combination of comics, Seth Rogen, and vampires. On paper, it sounds like it should probably work about as well as Seth’s last venture into the world of comics, The Green Hornet. (We all know how that turned out.) But maybe it’s the fact that Preacher puts forth some exceptionally original characters; or maybe it’s that the lead actors‚—Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, and Joe Gilgun—are all brilliant and have reactive chemistry on screen. Either way, this is one comic book adaptation you won’t want to miss out on.
7. Blue Is The Warmest Color (2013)
Blue Is The Warmest Color is a striking and beautiful trip through a young woman’s life and her budding sexuality. Not many people would have guessed that the fil was actually adapted from a graphic novel by the French author Julie Maroh. In the film, we follow Adèle (Cleméntine in the graphic novel) as she navigates the complications brought about when she enters a new romantic relationship. The film highlights the ups and downs of this new and tumultuous relationship beautifully, all while tackling the complex issues of growing up, sexuality, and love. It's definitely a film worth looking into whether you’ve read the original graphic novel or not.
6. Snowpiercer (2013)
I mean, at this point you kind of just have to assume Chris Evans is probably one of the biggest geeks alive. It’s almost as if he exclusively takes work in the comic book realm. Anyway, here’s another adaption starring the man behind the shield, Captain America himself. This time Cap finds himself on a train fighting against the oppression of hardworking people and sparking up some good old-fashioned class warfare. Y’know, as Cap does. Snowpiercer actually follows Curtis (played by Chris Evans) as he fights his way to the front of a large train that’s endlessly circling the earth; it's humanity’s last bastion. This unique premise and the fight to upend the socio-economic structure that has been established on the trai—combined with its killer ending (see what I did there?)—really solidify Snowpiercer as one of the great adaptations of the past decade.
5. Kick-Ass (2010)
Well, here we are. Back at another one of Mark Millar’s works. Fresh off the lessons learned from releasing a comic book movie within a month of Iron Man, and still pretty early on in the comic book adaptation craze, is Millar’s next entry on our list: The (almost) superhero, Kick-Ass.
In 2010, Matthew Vaughn took Millar’s comic and brought it to reality with such stunning voice and vision that it was nearly impossible to ignore. It had all the hallmarks of a great superhero flick, some awesome fight scenes, and a dastardly villain. However, it then took a twist. Kick-Ass is every fanboy that’s ever wanted to don the cowl and conversely every reason they don’t.
4. The End Of The F---ing World (2017)
The first Netflix original on our list, The End Of The F---ing World, is something truly unexpected. I mean that literally. When the series dropped on Netflix, nearly no one had heard a thing about this darkly humorous adaptation about a young would-be sociopath on a journey to commit his first murder. James, a budding sociopath, finds himself entranced by the brash and forward Alyssa — a girl from his high school. As the two begin spending more and more time together, James decides that he’d very much like to take her as his first victim. Throughout the series, we get to know James and Alyssa through their connection to each other as the road trip across the country.
3. Happy! (2017)
Some of us might’ve raised an eyebrow or two when SYFY announced its plans to bring Grant Morrison’s story about a defunct police officer partnering up with his estranged daughter’s imaginary friend. Now that we’ve been patient, we’re finally able to see what the finished product looks like, and I gotta say, it looks pretty good. Christopher Meloni plays Nick Sax perfectly, and whoever was in charge of the casting for the series really knew what they were doing when they cast Patton Oswalt as the titular Happy. Season one recently dropped on Netflix, so now there’s no longer any excuse to avoid it.
2. Legion (2017)
Okay, so I know that this one is technically within Marvel’s universe, but from the very first episode you can tell the Legion isn’t going to be like anything you’ve seen from Marvel before. In fact, it’s probably not going to be like anything you’ve seen before, period. Legion takes an old and played-out section of the Marvel cinematic landscape and breathes new life into a franchise that really needed it. Dan Stevens and Aubrey Plaza deliver masterful performances for such complex roles. Noah Hawley takes you through a psychedelic and surreal version of what could possibly be the late '60s, but just as possibly be the future. If you’re looking for a dose of superheroes with a side of rampant mind games, then you’ve come to the right place.
1. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010)
What Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World did for Bryan Lee O'Malley's original comic is truly something to marvel at. It’s not just that this adaptation is probably panel for panel one of the most accurate transplants to film in comics history. It’s that when they made the film, they really got the feel of Scott Pilgrim’s world down. Everything from the hilarious voiceover work to the truly excellent soundtrack was just exactly what it should’ve been. As weird as it was to watch Michael Cera doing all those action scenes, and seeing Chris Evans pop up in yet another comic book universe, this film really ended up being a lot better than it had any right to be. Thankfully.