19 Weird and Wonderful Comic Book Adaptations Every Comic Fan Should Watch

By Spencer Hart on at

For every good comic-book adaptation, ten embarrassingly bad ones are created as well, leaving comic book fans with a plethora of B-movie-mediocrity to trawl through. I've selected 19 weird, wonderful and laughably appalling adaptations that any die-hard comic fan (or newbie looking for a place to start) simply must see.

1.) Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D (1998)

Did you think Samuel L. Jackson was the only actor to play super-spy Nick Fury? Wrong! Fury was played by none other than David Hasselhoff in the 1998 film Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. The plot sees retired CIA agent Fury take down the terrorist group HYDRA, who are threatening to destroy Manhattan. [Image Credit: Sell]

2.) Kick-Ass (2010)

Despite causing some controversy when it was first released, Kick-Ass was well received by critics and quickly gained a strong cult following. Mark Millar, creator of the comic, states the story is "very autobiographical". At the age of 15, Mark and his friends read comics and fantasised about becoming superheroes like Batman –something Millar said he should have stopped doing five years earlier. Thankfully for us, he didn't, and we've got this brutal and hilarious adaptation to show for it. Shame about the sequel though... [Image Credit: Comic Vine]

3.) Captain America (1979)

Are you used to the slick, muscular Chris Evans as Captain America? Well you may not want to taint your view of the patriotic superhero by watching Captain America, the 1979 television film starring Reb Brown. With his thin plastic shield and enormous helmet, Brown's Captain America is charming but still pretty poor. [Image Credit: B-Movie Detective]

4.) The Incredible Hulk: Married (1978)

Released as a two-hour TV special in the US and theatrically across Europe as The Bride of The Incredible Hulk, this is a TV adaptation which is actually good! With a touching and romantic storyline, The Incredible Hulk: Married is definitely one to watch – just get a box of tissues ready before you start. [Image Credit: Venganza Media]

5.) Barb Wire (1996)

Barb Wire, based on the comic book of the same name, is set in 2017 during the Second American Civil War. Wire, played by Pamela Anderson, is a nightclub owner-cum-bounty hunter who wants to escape war-torn America. I can only see two reasons you'd want to watch this film. [Image Credit: The Nerds Uncanny]

6.) Heavy Metal (1981)

Heavy Metal is one for fans of dark fantasy mixed with science fiction and erotica. Featuring plenty of violence and naked ladies, this certainly isn't a cartoon you'd let your kids watch. [Image Credit: Basement Rejects]

7.) The Fantastic Four (Unreleased)

Roger Corman's unreleased film about the Fantastic Four holds an almost mythical status among comic fans. With a budget of just £600,000 and a shooting schedule of 28 days, it's no surprise that it comes off a bit... low budget. The film was only ever circulated on bootleg VHS, but is now available online. There was even a documentary made about the film on its 20th Anniversary, titled Doomed: Untold Story of Roger Corman's Fantastic Four Film. [Image Credit: Spinoff]

8.) Howard the Duck (1986)

Howard the Duck was widely considered to be one of the worst films of all time when it was released in 1986. The film had a budget of £21 million and only grossed £22 million worldwide, which caused Universal to descend into chaos. Critics lambasted the acting, humour, puppetry and story. Maybe it's time for a reboot? [Image Credit: Following the Nerd]

9.) The Crow (1994)

The Crow is a dark comic written by James O'Barr as a means of dealing with the death of his girlfriend. The plot centres around a young man named Eric whose fiancee is savagely raped and killed. Eric seeks vengeance on her murderers by methodically stalking and killing them one by one. The film has gained a cult following, helped in part by the accidental death of the film's star, Brandon Lee on set. [Image Credit: SciFiNow]

10.) Arrow (2012)

Arrow is a critically acclaimed TV adaptation of the Green Arrow's story. Focusing on Arrow's humanity and back story, this DC series treats the original comics with respect and is well worth a watch, even if it's not getting the same attention lavished on it as Netflix's rival Marvel shows.  [Image Credit: Movie Pilot]

11.) It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Superman

What's better than a Superman film? A Superman musical of course! Staged on Broadway in 1966, the play actually received positive reviews from critics. Alas, the theatre-going public were not convinced and the play closed after just 129 performances.

Other Superman adaptations to look out for include Stamp Day for Superman and a crazy Tim Burton/Nicolas Cage feature film which never got made. [Image Credit: NY Times]

12.) Batman Dracula (1964)

Perhaps not part of the official Batman canon, Andy Warhol's Batman Dracula was screened at Warhol's art exhibitions without the permission of DC Comics. The film was thought to have been lost until some scenes were revealed in a 2006 documentary. [Image Credit: Art History X]

13.) Justice League (Smallville 2001)

Everybody's getting excited for a Justice League reboot, but there are several ways you can get your Justice fix right now. Smallville is a Superman origins story which received positive reviews from audiences and critics alike. In season six of the show, the Justice League is formed to capture Lex Luthor after his escape from the Phantom Zone. Smallville was developed with a strict, "no tights, no flights" rule, which helps set it apart from other (cheesier) adaptations.

You could also watch the 1997 Justice League of America TV film, in which the JLA attempt to bring down The Weatherman. Established JLA writer Mark Waid said the film was, "80 minutes of my life I'll never get back." So perhaps you might want to steer clear of this one, unless you're a masochist. [Image Credit: Injustice Gods Among Us]

14.) The Flash (1990 TV Series)

CW have been making a lot of fuss about their Flash reboot, but did you know it's been attempted before? In 1990 Flash featured in his own television show, which saw him battle a number of enemies on the small screen. Unfortunately the show was cancelled after its first season due to strong competition and lack of interest. But hey, that means you have 22 episodes to tide you over. [Image Credit: MTV]

15.) Dr. Strange (1978)

If you're hankering for a bit of '70s flair (and who isn't?), have a watch of Dr. Strange. This feature length film was originally created as a TV pilot, but failed to gain enough attention to be picked up by CBS.

Dr Strange is also due for a big screen outing in 2016, although not much is known about it (except that the film will star Benedict Cumberbatch and Chiwetel Ejiofor). So keep your eyes open, Strange fans. [Image Credit: IMCDB]

16.) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987 Animated TV Series)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been aired almost continuously since 1987. If you're feeling nostalgic, go back and watch the original animated series which was criticised for it's commercialism and violent content. TMNT was heavily edited in the UK to avoid the controversy surrounding ninjas, and lines like, "Let's kick some shell!" and "Bummer!", which were removed by the BBC for sounding too offensive. [Image Credit: MKALTY]

17.) Big Hero 6 (2014)

You may not realise it, but Big Hero 6 was based on a little-known Marvel comic. Now expected to be spun off into a TV series, it's one of the best family-friendly comic films of recent years, with some really funny, MIT-like concept tech thrown into its story, too. [Image Credit: Youtube]

18.) Aquaman (2006 TV Pilot)

Aquaman also fell foul of America's television pilot system when its 2006 pilot episode failed to be picked up by any networks. After CW passed on the series, the pilot was made available online via iTunes, where it quickly became the most downloaded television show on the store. [Image Credit: DC Comics]

19.) Killer Condom (1996)

Based on a German comic of the same name and with a tagline of: 'The rubber that rubs YOU out!' This one's definitely not for the squeamish. [Image Credit: North West Press]

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