I’ve been a long time comics fan since I could read, faithfully visiting the local corner store to peruse the ‘Hey kids! Comics!’ spinner racks. Some of you old folks may remember those. Back then, it was the only way to get them and you were subject to whatever the store had in stock.
Later, I would find others that had shared interests and that would change the game. It became a true sharing culture. My school buddies would trade comics between ourselves and it was here that I began to learn and appreciate writers, artists and great storylines. My friend would lend me his collection of Flash issues and I would lend him my Green Lantern issues (my personal favorite). We would spend countless hours reading them on the basement floor.
I remember being at my grade 4 school desk and taking in Elektra’s shocking fate in Daredevil #181 — a raw, emotional moment that I could scarcely believe. It was incredibly upsetting and stuck with me for days.
I remember exactly where I was when I read my first X-men comic book (what was the X for? Who’s this Wolverine??) and Chris Claremont’s stories took the book in exciting directions at every turn. The Dark Phoenix saga was dramatic and involving, in a grand setting.
Superman the Movie would be the biggest shift in the film landscape, creating a cornerstone film that would be unrivaled for many years. It spoke to kids and adults and brought to life an earnest Superman that so many of us know and revere to this day.
The direct comic book market opened up a whole new world for me. It also allowed the market to flourish and created a broader spectrum of work. It brought indie books into my library and taught me about collecting as a hobby.
As I matured, so did the storylines. It brought us more serious work, like Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, Ronin, and Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and Watchmen.
In the film world, Superman II builds on the solid work of the first film, while upping the ante considerably. Other films at this time are just beginning to see the potential but are still built on the same studio model that brought us simplistic, childish material. Superman III takes a turn for the worse and we won’t even talk about IV (until our review is released, anyway).
Batman comes out and, driven by Tim Burton’s vision, proves us wrong about Michael Keaton being a poor choice. The film has its flaws but still manages to rope in Jack Nicholson as the Joker; huge star power. The studio still sees this series as mostly a kid’s vehicle and keeps it light and without much substance with the exception of Batman Returns which Burton takes more control over. After those films, we take a nose dive to Batman & Robin and Batman Forever — which is the one film I almost walked out of.
A change is imminent. The same fans of the original works are beginning to pervade the film market as professionals, and they understand the material and what’s needed to do this right. It begins slowly with a few tests in the market, like the Crow, and Spiderman. Blade also features prominently on taking a B-list character and making a slick, stylish movie from it, and X-men soon follows.
It was during this time that I began to think about the ever-increasing list of comic book inspired movies and began a simple list, graded 1–10 as they came out. It was the genesis of the work you see here. The idea was to not only have a definitive comic book movie list but also celebrate their creators and trace the lineage back to the storylines, creator and artists that started it all. I brought this idea to my great artist friend, Tym Stevens and he put together some original artwork for every title on the list. It’s an incredible body of work and we can’t wait to unveil it here as we add more reviews. I also sought out my friend Ciaran, because who better to evaluate the work than someone who managed a comic book store for decades. My friend Kirk came on board to manage the site build and create a smart, modular system.
You may not agree with our grading, and that’s fine, everyone has an opinion, but it’s more important to us to act as a touchstone and guide to the great content that lies beneath each work.