It seems like three months can’t pass without the latest comic book-sourced blockbuster dominating the box office and our collective consciousness. But what about when the pendulum swings in the other direction? Over the years, there have been countless comic book adaptations of feature films. This initially began in the days before home video, perhaps as a way for audiences to revisit popular feature films for less than it would cost them to go to the movies again. Comic book adaptations were also a great way for movie studios to make some simple merchandise in the era before Star Wars forever changed the way movies were marketed upon its release in 1977.
Because of the lead time needed to get these comics onto newsstands and into stores in conjunction with the release of the films they are based on, though, these adaptations were often based on early drafts of screenplays — resulting in cut or just plain unfilmed scenes making their way onto the comic page. As a result, these books outlived their initial purpose and have become fascinating pop-culture relics. But the best comic adaptations tend to also be the strangest, ones that are based on films that might not immediately seem like a natural choice to translate to print. Here’s a look at eight of these weird movie tie-ins with some insight as to why they are so unforgettable.
Available as three separate issues or collected into one so-called “Super Special,” Marvel’s comic adaptation of David Lynch’s movie adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel Dune (everybody got that?) is no more coherent than its source material but is equally as lovely to look at. Featuring stunning art by Bill Sienkiewicz that remains the high-water mark for comic adaptations, the book vividly pays tribute to Lynch’s film and Herbert’s original work. No small task, that.