The people involved with production studios, whether they concentrate on movies or TV shows, are running out of ideas. They’re finding it easier to adapt comic books, cartoons and video games than to come up with original concepts for stories that’ll draw an audience. They’ve been adapting novels for almost as long as there’s been movies with sound, but their concentration on taking advantage of the other sources only starting happening recently, in relative terms.
I don’t know who to blame for the huge increase in production values and the corresponding budgets, the studios or the consumers. It seems like the only movies that draw audiences these days are produced as potential blockbusters to begin with. In the same vein, TV shows designed to last multiple seasons also seem to need higher production values than ever before.
Comic Books in the Movies and on TV
It can be argued which movie or TV show proved that comic book characters could be used to produce commercially successful box office hits. It doesn’t really matter because there isn’t a shortage of comic book movies or TV shows being produced, with many still in production.
You can find the titles to all the movies and TV shows by going to IMDB and using the search function. Here’s a list of all the characters I know about who’ve been the subject of a movie, a TV show or both. You can use these to search with:
- Captain America
- Captain Marvel (Shazam!)
- Fantastic Four
- Green Arrow (or just Arrow)
- Green Lantern
- Howard the Duck
- Iron Man
- The Punisher
- Red Sonja
- Swamp Thing
- Wonder Woman
If I’ve left any out, please let me know. Here are some movies (not including sequels) and TV shows that don’t fit in with the characters on the above list:
- Agents of SHIELD
- The Avengers
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Heavy Metal
- Sin City
- V for Vendetta
- The Walking Dead
Cartoons in the Movies and on TV
I’m not talking about the cartoons themselves, but live-action movies or TV shows based on them:
- Dudley Do-Right
- Fat Albert
- The Flintstones
- George of the Jungle
- G.I. Joe
- He-Man (Masters of the Universe)
- Inspector Gadget
- Mr. Peabody and Sherman
- Rocky and Bullwinkle, Boris and Natasha
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Yogi Bear
Again, if I’ve left any out, please let me know.
Video Games in the Movies and on TV
This is one area I’m totally unfamiliar with. I’m not a gamer, so I wouldn’t recognize something based on a game — I’d have to be told it was based on a game or I’d have to inadvertently spot it in movie review or something. On the flip side, I’m aware of a lot of games based on movies, going way back to the eighties. Anyway, here’s my list:
- Final Fantasy
- House of the Dead
- Mortal Kombat
- Prince of Persia
- Resident Evil
- Silent Hill
- Street Fighter
- Tomb Raider
What I Left Out
I purposely left out anything to do with comic strips. Some were turned into cartoons and then turned into movies (like Garfield) and some skipped that step (Dennis the Menace).
There’s just too many categories for me to wrap my head around. All of these lists, as I presented them, are probably incomplete. I blame my middle-aged years and a foggy memory for that. I simply refuse to do a web search to see what I missed.
Not all the Adaptations are Good
Honestly, the made-for-TV movies of Wonder Woman and Captain America were pretty bad. The Wonder Woman TV series started out pretty good and then sunk. The Spider-Man TV series was horrible while the Hulk TV series was pretty good, even though it strayed far from the source. The Superman TV series, well, I guess it was pretty good in its time. The Batman TV series was campy and a lot of fun to watch. They even made a movie based on the series (I thought there was another, but my memory must be playing tricks on me).
The screenwriters confuse me. When “Spider-Man” was rebooted as “The Amazing Spider-Man”, they retold the origin story, albeit a little differently. When “The Hulk” was rebooted as “The Incredible Hulk”, the origin story was shoved into the opening sequence and the story focused on what happened after he got away.
If you never noticed, Stan Lee (who used to run Marvel Comics) is in almost every movie put out by the Marvel Entertainment Group (now owned by Disney). That guy has to be really old — I used to read his editorial pages in the comic books back in the 1970s.