From Panel to Screen: The Graphic Novel as a Storyboard

A comics compilation.

A comics compilation.

When you’re making a movie based on a graphic novel – not a comic book movie where you take a character and build a story around them, but when you take an existing storyline and adapt it, like Captain America: Civil War versus, say, Spider-man: Homecoming, the former being taken from an arc of Marvel Comics, the latter being a new take on an oft-filmed character – you have a responsibility to stay true to the visual landscape of said graphic novel. Not only do fans expect it, but in part, like film, what makes the original story great in the first place is how it’s visually realized, the world that’s created by the look of its environment and characters.

Some directors working on films based on graphic novels select specific images or scenes to re-create, like the Russos’ did with Civil War, or Del Toro with Hellboy, and then some directors use the graphic novel as a literal storyboard, recreating what’s on every page on the screen, like Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller did with Sin City. Both sorts are represented in the following compilation from editor Alejandro Brun which sets panels from graphic novels next to the frames and scenes made of them in film. All the titles above (minus Spider-man) are here, as well as a handful of others including V for Vendetta, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, The Dark Knight Rises, Watchmen, A History of Violence, and The Adventures of Tintin.

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist