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Comic Book Day: The 5 Best and Worst Adaptations To Comic Books

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by on August 21, 2013

This summer, more than ever, we’ve seen a deluge of films based on comic books flooding the cinemas. From Kick-Ass 2 to 2 Guns to Iron Man 3 to The Wolverine to Man of Steel to… you get the picture. But what about the other side of the coin? Adaptations of films, television, and video games are widely considered to be the scum of the comic book universe. Here, we sifted through all the garbage to find the most notably horrendous ones, and the diamonds in the rough.

The Best: 

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Comic Book – Evan Dorkin

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Our two favorite grungetastic airheads seamlessly transition from the screen to the comics in this 12 issue series penned and inked by Evan Dorkin. You can practically hear Keanu and Alex’s gnarly voices utter phrases like “Ted! We’re totally gonna die! Hurry! Jeez!” and “We wouldn’t leave dead dudes in your house! We’re your friends! We fully traveled the celestial planes, played truly awesome games of chance for our lives — ” as they travel through space and time with their old pal Death battling various intergalactic baddies and defending the Princess’ honor. This adaptation is most excellent.

28 Days Later – Michael Alan Nelson, Declan Shalvey

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BOOM! Studios put this series out to bridge the gap between 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later and satiate franchise fans’ questions of what became of the initial story’s characters. One of the few comics here that can stand alone as a story without the help of its fan base, the 28 Days Later comic is ripe with frightening tension, great dialogue, and plenty of gore.

True Blood – Alan Ball, David Tischman, Mariah Huehner

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We wanted to hate this comic, we really did. It would be easy to try with the current oversaturation of vampire fandom and the massive fan base HBO’s True Blood currently commands; however, despite our best efforts, this is one of the more superbly written and drawn adaptations out there. The characters are true to the series with the same plot twists, clever dialogue, and steamy scenes that you’d expect from the show. Fans will rejoice, and new Fangbangers will be happily introduced into the world. Bonus: dreamboat actor Michael McMillian, who plays the evil Reverend Steve Newlin, co-wrote the second book!

The New Ghostbusters – Erik Burnham, Dan Schoening

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IDW’s reboot of the comic series based on the cartoon offshoot of The Real Ghostbusters, The New Ghostbusters delivers all the same lighthearted antics and hilarious characters as before, but now with Dan Schoening’s expressive and colorful art to back it up. It’s a fun reinvigoration of the old series that doesn’t lack any of the film’s special brand of comedy or creativity. Plus it doesn’t have the BK Kids Club vibe that Extreme Ghostbusters did, so dyed-in-the-wool film fans won’t have much to complain about.

The Toxic Avenger – Doug Moench, Rodney Ramos

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Kudos to Marvel for picking up Troma’s cult classic and beautifully turning it into an 11 issue series. The story of mega-nerd Melvin Junko’s transformation into the Toxic Avenger is a no-brainer for comics, and Ramos’ display of the hero’s mutant physique and toxic powers is well paired with Moench’s punchy ’90s dialogue. Though it might not be the most highbrow comic on our list, fans of cult, violence, sci-fi, and humor should pick it up and revel in the toxic nostalgia.

The Worst:

Superman and Batman vs. Alien and Predator - Mark Schultz

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If the title didn’t immediately tip you off that this is one giant clusterfrak of a crossover, be warned that the story inside will only bring a dull throbbing pain to your head that will last hours after the disappointment has subsided. How they managed to make the action scenes boring is beyond us, but the ridiculous, tired banter between Batman and Superman (we get it! They’re foils of each other!) is enough to make us want to slap some facehuggers on, lest we ever catch another atrocity like this again.

World of Warcraft – Walter Simonson

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A major issue with basing any kind of spinoff on a role-playing game is that there are no actual characters to build a foundation upon; some might see this as an opportunity to break away from normal conventions of a game and expand into more creative territory. Sadly, the route taken in this uninspired, cliched mess is the opposite; the characters are so flatly stereotypical and the stories are, frankly, shameful, considering Simonson’s repertoire as a writer. Still, the comic features some incredible art, and if you’re a tween fan of the Warcraft universe, you’re probably into it already.

 Resident Evil: Code Veronica – Lee Chung Hing

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A companion series to the games we loved, this storyline expanded on events occurring among the characters we loved in Resident Evil 2, only instead of the typical twisted story lines with interesting characters and gotcha jump-scare moments to keep you on the edge of your seat that we’ve come to love, it featured laughably bad plot lines paired with art that sucked all the nostalgic horror out of the once great video game. If it weren’t so cheesy and sad, it might be useful for our so-bad-it’s-funny pile. Unfortunately, this series messes up characters and story lines that are too close to our hearts to find amusing.

24: One Shot – Renato Guedes

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Though many diehard fans of the show were satisfied simply to have more Jack Bauer content in their hands – as with most comic book runoffs that capitalize on fandom - 24 was just not very good. Lazy storytelling and cringe inducing photo-realistic art make this one adaptation that we can just try to forget happened altogether.

Transformers: Movie Adaptation – Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman, John Rodgers

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Possibly the most doomed to fail on this list, Transfomers: Movie Adaptation only ran for four miserable issues, during which time it gave a vague attempt to continue the adventures of Even Stevens and the Autobots. Ugh, we get the whole money, profit, Energon-cubes-for-gold thing, but this comic didn’t even stand a chance. Guess what? When you remove the actual breasts and explosions from a movie that people will only see for breasts and explosions, all you have left is a very transparent attempt to squeeze profit out of a franchise.

Did we miss any comic adaptations that were either eye-gougingly bad or shockingly good? Let us know in the comments below!