We can all agree that comic book superhero movies are pretty great. I mean, if you’re reading this then you’re most likely here because you’re, at the very least, interested in superheroes and comic books. Over the past decade there have been TONS of superhero movies, and there’s no sign of the trend slowing down. As I write this Marvel has about 5 confirmed films releasing within the next 3 years, and DC has about 3 lined up (depending on how they ultimately decide to approach their Justice League plans). And the thing about all these films is that the stories (with the exception a few… abstract… interpretations) are all taken directly from the comic books of those characters.
If you are someone who is only a casual fan of comic books, you may be curious where you can find out more about some of the characters in the films. Well never fear friends! I’ve compiled a list of some great story arcs (A story arc is just a collection of issues that cover one complete story) where you can learn more about certain story lines and characters from a few of the great comic book movies coming out.
(This isn’t a complete list by any means, but expect to see this become a series of articles as more and more great comic book superhero movies are announced.)
Thor: The Dark World
That face right there that will be haunting your dreams for the next few weeks belongs to Malekith the Accursed. He’s the leader of the Dark Elves and the main protagonist (the bad guy) in the upcoming Thor sequel.
You should read: The current story arc of Thor: God of Thunder.
In issue 13 they just re-introduced Malekith in all his methodical, maniacal madness. You literally don’t NEED to know anything that happened in any of the previous issues. I highly recommend that you go pick up the first 2 books in the arc (#13 and #14) and pick up the next few books as they come out so that you can be better acquainted with Malekith when you see Thor 2.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
I mentioned in a previous article that what we know about Cap 2 right now is that (obviously) it features The Winter Soldier, but it also will see the big screen arrival of villains Crossbones and Batroc the Leaper. As well as, new heroic characters Falcon and SHEILD Agent 13: Sharon Carter. The filmmakers have said that the film will be more of a “political thriller” than a straight-forward superhero action film.
You should read: Captain America, Vol. 1: Winter Soldier Ultimate Collection
All those characters I mentioned that will be in the new Cap A movie? Yeah, they’re all in here too. Not that the film will be a complete copy of this story, but it has clearly been heavily influenced by it. You’ll get the Winter Soldier back-story, and you might even see some clues as to where they could go with a future 3rd Cap film.
X-Men: Days of Future Past
In one of my earlier articles I touched briefly (and mockingly) on the plot of this film. It’s loosely taken from an Uncanny X-Men story arc in the 80’s. We’ll get to time-traveling X-Men that jump back to interact with characters from First Class, and we’ll get future X-Men that we’ve never seen on the big screen before (BISHOP!) All that and Sentinels too!
You should read: X-Men: Days of Future Past
This is the collection of Uncanny X-Men (#138-143) that finds a time-travelling Kitty Pride trying to change the past in order to save the mutants (and humans) from a very bleak future.
Guardians of the Galaxy
I get it. You literally know NOTHING about the Guardians except maybe that there’s a gun-toting raccoon named Rocket. But I promise you that Marvel set up all the right dominoes to make this thing an epic piece of movie-making. James Gunn, the director, does crazy plots better than anybody else out there. And what’s crazier that a talking raccoon and giant, personified Tree…
You should read: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1: Cosmic Avengers
and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1: Legacy
The first collection here is a part of Marvels current MarvelNOW series of books, and it does a great job of introducing you to the characters and giving you some incite into who they are, deep down.
The second collection there is from a run that was published several years ago, but is probably the best take on how the team functions and interacts together. I highly recommend this one.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
ULTRON!!!!!! (OK, I got that out of my system.) Ultron is by-far one of the most cruel and complex villains in the history of the Avengers. It’s all but been officially confirmed that they’ll be changing his back-story but still, with the magnificent James Spader taking on the role of the devious A.I., I’m very confident he’ll do the character justice and bring a new level of sinister that will prove more that challenging for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. PLUS… we’re also going to get to see Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch join the team (in some capacity) which makes this movies already a big, deliciously smelling pot of stew for Fanboys and Fangirls.
You should read: Mighty Avengers, Vol. 1: The Ultron Initiative
and Age of Ultron
Both (co)written by Brian Michael Bendis. Both shinning examples of Ultron’s relentless wrath and mercilessness. The Age of Ultron collection IS NOT what the film is based on. That’s merely a coincidence that the film shares that subtitle. If you’re curious about Ultron, these are both great reads.
Ah. The Divisive Ant-Man. Friendships have been fractured and blood has been spilled over the nature of this superhero. Again, if you are familiar with our website, It’s no surprise that I am a fan of Ant-Man.
(With all these links to my own past articles, this is starting to seem very egotistical…)
Edgar Wright (who can be an equally as divisive filmmaker) has said eluded that his take on Ant-Man will not focus on the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym. We may SEE Pym in this flick, but most likely we’ll see Scott Lang or Eric O’Grady donning the Ant-Man helmet.
You should read: The Irredeemable Ant-Man
and Marvel Premiere – The Astonishing Ant-Man #47
The Irredeemable Ant-Man was written by the infinitely brilliant Robert Kirkman (you might know him from a little book called “The Walking Dead”, that I promise you will catch on one day). This the Eric O’Grady Ant-Man run. Eric O’Grady is a mega-hilarious-douchebag. His misadventures will certainly entertain you.
The plot of the Ant-Man film is said to be derived from the “To Steal an Ant-Man” story, which originates in this book, Astonishing Ant-Man #47. It’s where we get to see Scott Lang stealing the Ant-Man suit in order to partake in some illegal activities, but there’s certainly more to it than that…
If you aren’t able to get a hold of this book, you can pull up Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on Netflix and watch episode 5 of the 2nd season. Same Story.
Batman vs. Superman
I wish there were more DC films on this list but for now you’ll just have to be happy with this.
This film is already notorious. The Batfleck situation may have added a ton of unnecessary stigma but I think Zack Snyder and David S. Goyer are focused on making a really good movie so I’m staying excited about it.
Very little is known about the direction this film is gonna take, and rumor has it they start some lite filming as early as this coming weekend.
You should read: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
An aged Batman comes out of retirement to clean up the mean streets of Gotham with a girl-Robin as his sidekick. He makes the rounds through Joker and Two-Face, only to find himself at odds with Superman in the end. Will the Batman vs. Superman film be based on this? Doubtful. I’m sure there’ll be some influences but it’s highly unlikely that they’re gonna just adapt this book to film. Still, this a great story that’ll give you an intersting look at what happens when The Dark Knight and the Last Son of Krypton face-off against one another. Only one of them can walk away alive, right…?