Comics: Books Vs. Motion PictureSince the appearances of the first comic book, in 1895, people have tried to make them more lifelike. People in the comic industry are bombarded with overpowering demands from fans who wish for better and better books. Trying to comply with those demands the industry started to make motion picture of popular books. With the invention of motion pictures, fans could watch their favorite characters in live action instead of drawn on paper. Live action motion pictures brought problems; new superheros with colossal powers became increasingly harder to produce. The differences between comic books and comic book based motion pictures are staggering. The first comic books were produced as an entertainment for children and adult audiences. The book increased art and story to let the reader escape in to an alternate world of adventure and superheros. Among the first was “Superman” the book’s art was simple and fluid. The story lines extracted ideals of invincibility. The first motion picture made for comic books were “Superman,” a cartoon short that was extraordinarily accurate to the style of the comic book. Later come a live action television show with wonderful special effects, whose stories were vastly different from that of the comic books. The story of “Superman” has created many movies and television shows. The differences, of the comic book and the new television show “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” range from hairstyles to super villains. In the comic book the story line may stretch on for many years. Motion pictures cannot handle that kind of story without confusion of the audience. Comic books proved a virtual story board, and narrowed the thoughts and ideas towards the story. The fact that comic books are laid out in a series of panels increased speed in producing a motion picture. All motion pictures need to have a story board layout much like the style of comic books. (Allstetter, “Marvel Blasts into ‘96 With T. V. and film Deals.” 148)There are many comic books that have been converted to motion pictures: “Batman”, “Spiderman”, “X — Men”, “Wonder Woman”, “The Incredible Hulk”, “The Mask”, “The Crow”, “Judge Dread”. These were popular comic books before being made into motion pictures. The transition increased the popularity for many of these books. Also there are many potion pictures that have been make into comic books: “Star Trek”, “The Bionic Woman”, “The Six-Million Dollar Man”, “Star Wars”, “Beauty and the Beast”. These did not necessarily gain popularity from being made in to comic books, but it did not hurt their status. Movies like “Batman” soared in popularity because of an already established audience. The “Batman” motion pictures set a standard for other films to follow. With a gothic look, “Batman” brought comic book based motion pictures a dark outlook to the world of superheros. This dark outlook brought a new side to the superhero. It influenced how comic books were written and drawn. (Allstetter, “Marvel Blasts into ‘96 With T. V. and film Deals.” 148)The comic book “Generation — X” recently graduated into a live action motion picture. The differences in story and characters, are immense. The comic book offers monthly installments of an ongoing story. The characters in Marvel’s “Generation — X” were changed for the motion picture. The characters White Witch, Banshee, Mondo, and Skin all remained the same. Synch, Chamber, and Husk were bluntly left out. Jubilee and “M” were changed only slightly but mostly remained the same. Two new characters were added; Re-frax and Buff. The major story was changed to allow the viewer to follow the story without the background information on the characters. The comic book tells of the original story and characters (Humma, Generation — X. Issue 1 1-32). It also relates the basic principals before graduating to motion picture status. (Lee, “Generation — X”)
Unlike other comic book based motion pictures, “Generation — X” has surpassed many in special effects. Although the story and characters were changed, the special effects were a milestone that was not only crossed but broken. Comic book based motion pictures have had trouble in recreating the special powers of the characters. At best most recreations were poor and costly to produce, but with the computer revolution special effects have become greatly superior in the last ten to fifteen years. Marvel spent four million dollars in the production of “Generation — X.” Comic books are cheaper to produce and the special powers of the characters are drawn. Comic books allow for a more complex and interact story with wonderful art as well. (Allstetter, “Trailer Park.” 158)In an interview with a comic book store employee, James Goodnight, I learned of opinions toward the comic book industry attempts at making motion pictures. Mr. Goodnight expressed his opinion toward Marvel’s “Generation-X.” he was very impressed with the way the comic book was handled. He was displeased with the transition to the motion picture. he felt that Marvel should have kept the characters the same instead of altering them. “The overall handling of the production was wonderful, except for the change in characters.” (Goodnight, Comic Book Store Employee.)In production of motion pictures an Executive license is given to the producer to make production much easier. An Executive license “allows changes in story and characters by the producer to simplify the story for an audience that does not read the original comic book” (Allstetter, “Marvel Blasts into ‘96 With T. V. and film Deals.” 148). The changing of the original comic book to the motion picture allows a person who knows nothing about the comic book story to enjoy the motion picture. Of all the comic book based motion pictures some are better than others and others are not. Comic books allow for a more interact story. Motion pictures deviate from the original story and characters to tell a story in the allotted amount of time. Comic books are not better than comic book based motion pictures, but there are major differences. Nether one is better than the other, both have their flaws and there ornaments. Often people judge comic books as “kid stuff” not realizing that they themselves have enjoyed motion pictures based on comic books. When it is looked at it all comes down to what the audiences like and dislike. It is true, I guess, that it is all “…in the eyes of the beholder”(Unknown). Work CitedAllstetter, Rob. “Marvel Blasts into ‘96 with T. V. and Film Deals.” Wizard:Guide to the Comics Issue 56. Wizard Press, 1996. Allstetter, Rob. “Trailer Park.” Wizard: Guide to the Comics Issue 53. Wizard Press, 1996. Goodnight, James. Comic Book Store Employee. April 8, 1996. Humma, Larry. Generation — X Issue 1. Marvel Entertainment Group, 1993. Lee, Stan. Generation — X. February 20, 1996 Marvel Films, New world Entertainment, aired on Fox.