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March 2002, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 11 Mar 2002 16:19:57 -0600
TEXT/PLAIN (63 lines)
zoughi requests:

> I am looking for any academic papers on the topic of the comic book
> aesthetic.  I am interested on seeing how the comic book medium has
> influenced the content and form of film.  If you know of any movies that
> were originally comic books (besides the superhero movies) I would really
> appreciate it.

You probably know this one already, but Scott McCloud's UNDERSTANDING
COMICS is a must--and his REINVENTING COMICS ought to be looked at.
Not "academic" as such, but indispensible.  The books actually go a
long way toward showing how the two media are really quite different.

There has been quite a bit of commentary from academic and pop
reviewers on the recent surge of influence by Japanese manga and anime
on contemporary American film, especially in animation but not
necessarily confined to that.  Check the Film Literature Index and
online search engines for more.

As to films adapted from comic books, you'll probably want to
categorize genres further.  Aside from superheroes, there is a lot of
more-or-less commercial dreck derived from non-super-hero comics, eg.
RICHIE RICH, DENNIS THE MENACE, etc.  And, of course, there are
numerous Disney take-offs from the comics which were adapted from the
movies which were . . .

There have also been quite a few adaptations, with wildly varying
degrees of success, from non-mainstream comic books and graphic novels:
FRITZ THE CAT may be the most notorious, but the list includes things
that range from THE CROW to TANK GIRL to THE MASK to the recent FROM
HELL. One of the better and most recent such films is GHOST WORLD.

Harvey Pekar's AMERICAN SLENDOR, originally illustrated by R. Crumb, is
supposed to be aired on TV sometime this year.  A film version of
Gilbert Shelton's Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers has been rumored for
some time, but there is no sign of it yet.  Ditto the "Elfquest" movie,
which was supposed to come out last year.

Given that the movies pre-date "comic books" by a good three decades,
the influences between film and comics are less likely to move from the
latter to the former than vice-versa.  Recent developments suggest that
the movements go both ways!

There's a nice discussion of "post-modern" graphic novels at:

Also see the Pantheon website at:

Don Larsson

Donald F. Larsson, English Department, AH 230
Minnesota State University
Mankato, MN  56001

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