Funk’s Top 10: Comic Characters on Film

Comic books, like any form of story-telling, relies on strong characters to connect with the reader. When dealing with such fantastic and otherwordly characters, this becomes a greater challenge for comic book writers, especially when they make the leap to the silver screen. This turned out to be a remarkably tough list to narrow down to only 10 – with Harvey Pekar, Spider-Man, Nick Fury and even Superman getting trimmed out in subsequent edits.

10. The Crow

Played by Brandon Lee

It’s difficult not to feel the addition emotional weight of the young actors tragic death when viewing this character. Eric Draven is far from the typical avenging angel of the comic world. In direct opposition to the tight wearing, atomicly enhanced champions of justice, Eric is brought back from the dead to wreck vengence over those who wronged him on a mission that can only return him to his grave. Dark and gothic, the Alex Proyas film is a brilliant recreation of a uniquely powerful book.

9. Marv

Played by Mickey Rourke

Frank Miller deals with larger than life characters, none more than the cast of monsters in the guise of men who populate Sin City. Marv is a beast of a character defined as much by his size and ugly visage as his rock solid code of honour. The cinematic version of Marv is almost startling in how much he resembles the towering thug of the comics.

8. Hellboy

Played by Ron Perlman

The Hellboy movies are far from perfect – messy narratives and a padded cast weigh them down slightly. If there’s one thing that sells the film, it’s the character. With Ron Perlman donning the thick rubber mask, we see a remarkably human character under the red skin of the demonic Hellboy. His at times youthful angst and hobby’s could’ve easily been annoying, yet they make him more likable.

7. Hit Girl

Played by Chloe Moretz

Kick-Ass himself was my first pick for this countdown, but the character went under a few subtle changes to the character and Hit-Girl is more difficult to get right. Young actress Chloe Moretz stunned viewers with her fast, furious and vulgar performance and critics supported the talent on show. Morentz is at the same time a cold-blooded killer and child out of her depth – just like her printed counter-part.

6. V

Played by Hugo Weaving

Never seen without his trademark Guy Fawkes mask, Weaving was stripped of one of the actors most important tools – his facial expressions. Relying on his impressive voice and a spirited physical performance, he creates a perfect revolutionary. A unique character on both page and screen.

5. Doctor Manhattan

A scientist is involved in a lab experiment and is bestowed amazing powers – the definitive comic book cliche. Under Alan Moore’s pen, the character takes a different turn. Granted the godlike ability to manipulate anything on a molecular level, John (later Dr. Manhattan) becomes further and further removed from reality as he sees all time at once. The distant, deadpan yet emotionally driven performance by Crudup, completed by a haunting Phillip Glass score, brought the distinctive figure to live more successful as anyone could imagine. More than Joel Schumacher at least, who wanted Arnie painted blue.

4. Magneto

Played by Michael Fassbender

Giving a nod to Sir Ian McKellen for laying the ground work in the original two X-Men films (what third one?). The character is one of the great villians, not for his world domination ambition, but for his tramuatic past that lead him to his twisted ideology. When given his side of the story, it’s hard not to feel his pain. Fassbender brought this side to the fore, giving the character greater depth and gets the viewer on his side as much as the quote heroes unquote of the story.

3. Iron Man

Played by Robert Downey, Jr.

Seem people are born to play a part, and there’s no doubting that Downey, Jr. was put on this green Earth to play Tony Stark. Hard drinking, hard partying technological genius who grows a heart of gold (plus an awesome robot suit) and turns his attention to protecting the people. Is stark (boom tish) contrast to most other heroes making movies at the time, Stark is not an introverted loner but an ego-centric spotlight hog, outright telling the world his secret identity at a press conference. When Iron Man was announced, the internet buzzed with doubt, but the first trailer silenced all.

2. Scott Pilgrim

Played by Michael Cera

Possibly the most typecast actor working today, Cera was a great hit for the hipster hero. One of the most original stories to appear in years, Scott Pilgrim was more that just a celebration of modern video-game/slacker culture but the tale of Gen-Y trying to find their place in the adult world. Blending the coming-of-age tale with high fury, fast paced kung-fu battles splashed across the page. Cera and director Edgar Wright were the perfect match for bringing the skinny champion to our screens.

1. Batman


Played by Adam West, Michael Keaton and Christian Bale

The guy with the Batman avatar put Batman at the top of the list? Shock! Now just try and deny that he belongs here. There’s plenty of people ready to argue that the most ‘accurate’ depiction of Batman on the big screen is either the campy ’60s version, the gothic fantasy of Tim Burton or Nolan’s gritty and realistic take. The reality, and the reason he’s #1, is that Batman has changed with the times, ensuring a great legacy while keeping in touch with new readers. Every new appearance of Batman on the big screen is a perfect adaptation of the comics for that era.

Ignoring the Joel Schumacher versions, obviously.


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