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Top Comic Book Spin-Offs

April 2nd, 2020 by Irwin Fletcher Comments

Comic books have generated a host of successful spin-offs and adaptations over the years, although the quality of these superhero-inspired creations can vary.

If you are looking for the best conversions of your favourite comic book franchises into other media, here is a rundown of the most compelling options out there today, broken down into distinct categories.

Videogames

Comic books arguably make more sense as the foundation for videogames than any other form of fiction, and this has been proven time and again with some seriously impressive interactive spin-offs appearing on PCs and consoles in the past few years.

From the high budget, story-driven titles of the much-lauded Arkham series produced by developers Rocksteady, to the simple yet effective superhero slots games found on casino sites, there is something for everyone out there.

Arguably the most impressive and enduring videogame spin-off of a comic book franchise is Marvel’s Spider-Man, originally released in 2018. It received rave reviews and garnered praise for its clever combination of authentic-feeling gameplay with a story that actually had emotional heft.

Of course realism and narrative believability are not everyone’s idea of fun, which is why another series worth mentioning here is Injustice: Gods Among Us. Emerging from the same origins as the Mortal Kombat franchise, this beat-em-up provides some very surprising face-offs between heroes and villains from the DC Comics back catalogue. The second in the series, sensibly titled Injustice 2, is even more enjoyably bananas than the 2013 original, bringing branching storylines and insane special moves to a whole new level.

Movies

Superheroes have taken over the box office in the past decade, with the dominance of films from the MCU proving that there is a vast appetite for comic book content on the big screen.

Avengers: End Game was a fitting conclusion to the carefully orchestrated first act, but in spite of all the money it made and the acclaim it achieved, it is arguably not the best spin-off in recent memory. That title is held by another Spider-Man adaptation, in this case Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

The reason that this boundary-pushing animated movie is the pinnacle of the cinematic superhero genre is that it not only manages to translate the look and feel of a comic book to the screen more effectively than any of its contemporaries, but also strikes a better balance between comedy and drama. The knock-about breeziness of the early MCU movies got chipped away at with time, but Into the Spider-Verse preserves a youthful exuberance and humour that is refreshing, and millions will be looking forward to its upcoming sequel.

Graphic Novels

The evolution of graphic novels as a distinct art form from traditional comic books has helped elevate the reputation of this entire genre in the past half-century, and there are a host of famous spin-offs which have helped translate kid-friendly characters into adult-oriented narratives.

The master of this often tricky process is of course Alan Moore, a man who seems to have an unlimited talent for bringing the darkness out of comic book tales while also adding the all-important element of empathy. Batman: The Killing Joke is perhaps the best starting point for the uninitiated, especially in wake of all the critical acclaim and controversy of 2019’s Joker.

There are a ton of other intriguing, game-changing graphic novel spin-offs of established comic book franchises that are also worth considering. For those who prefer Marvel’s stable of characters, the works of Mark Millar and Steve McNiven are especially sensible to seek out, especially given how much they have influenced MCU movies as well.

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I'm an LA journalist who really lives for his profession. I have also published work as Jane Doe in various mags and newspapers across the globe. I normally write articles that can cause trouble but now I write for FTN because Nerds are never angry, so I feel safe.