In 2008 we had eight comicbook-based films, this time around three were based on Marvel characters (Iron Man, Punisher, and Hulk), one on a DC character (Batman), one from Dark Horse (Hellboy), and one from Image (Wanted), the seventh film was based on the classic Will Eisner character, The Spirit, and the eighth being a character created out of whole cloth (Hancock). Of the films that we got to see this year, three were sequels (Hulk, Batman, & Hellboy), two were new (Iron Man, & Spirit), Punisher: War Zone was something of (second) reboot, while Wanted was merely based on a comic, but ultimately spun in a very different direction than the comic itself. Also, both Hulk and Spirit received critical drubbings, while both Iron Man and The Dark Knight were massive critical successes.
Perhaps one of the most ingenious marketing ploys begun by Marvel, starting with Iron Man, is the Easter Egg “teasers” grafted onto the tail-end of their Avenger-franchise films heralding the next stage in the upcoming massive Avengers team-up. This tactic proved to continue to build hype, as well as a most amazing buzz in the fan community as each film was released.
Once again, the criteria that we are using throughout this series on comicbook movies, is films that either started off in comics, are clearly influenced by comicbooks and/or comicbook superheroes, or have an appreciable amount of their history connected to comicbooks. Films that we are not discussing include anything that appeared on TV (either live action or animated Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow, Batman: Gotham Knight, Justice League: The New Frontier), theatrically-released films that were strictly animated, or films that may have had been adapted in comics, but were best known from another medium (i.e.; Star Trek, Star Wars), nor are we considering films that were released direct to video or DVD.
Earlier articles in this series can be found via the links below:
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing comicbooks for some 30 years. During that time, his reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular comicbook articles and reviews.