In a world of ever-shifting media trends, graphic novels have found a sweet spot. Showcasing both prose and visual imagery, their capacity for creative storytelling is unsurpassed. It isn’t surprising that so many of them have been adapted successfully into films: In many ways, they’re already like movies, telling their stories frame-by-frame.
To identify the 20 best movies based on graphic novels, 24/7 Tempo searched films designated as being adapted from graphic novels on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, then ranked them according to an index using average IMDb ratings and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator. Information on directors, cast, and plot came from IMDb.
The line between graphic novels and comic books is blurry. Many graphic novels began life as serial comics, published by DC Comics or other periodical publishers, and were then collected into books. Many other ones, though, were conceived and executed like conventional prose novels, telling a complete story. (Graphic novels aside, here are 35 books becoming movies in 2022.)
Like any other novels, graphic novels – whether born out of comics or not – cover a whole world of subject matter. Some are superhero sagas. Others are science fiction stories or gritty crime thrillers. Some are satirical or sweetly funny. They cover a whole world, and inspire a universe of cinematic triumphs. (If superheroes are your thing, here’s a ranking of every Marvel movie from worst to best.)