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10 Unusual Graphic Novels That Are Worthy of a Movie Adaptation

Robert loves reading and thinks that graphic novels blend together the best qualities of books and comics.

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10 Graphic Novels That Should Be Turned Into Films

The unusual graphic novels on this list would make great movies. With genres ranging from horror to noir to sci-fi, these books are well worth reading. As you turn the pages, imagine how the scenes would come to life on the big screen!

  1. Through the Woods (Emily Carroll)
  2. Harrow County (Cullen Bunn)
  3. Sentient (Jeff Lemire)
  4. Air (G. Willow Wilson)
  5. Fatale (Ed Brubaker)
  6. The Pro. (Garth Ennis)
  7. 5,000 km Per Second (Manuele Fior)
  8. The Invisibles (1997) (Grant Morrison)
  9. Essex County (Jeff Lemire)
  10. On a Sunbeam (Tillie Walden)
Excerpt from the graphic novel

Excerpt from the graphic novel

1. Through the Woods (Emily Carroll)

Five little stories are subtly linked together, each story is led by horror, a horror that we don't see but surrounds us, the horror that hides from us in every possible way. The forest is what binds the stories together, what is the conduit of horror and suspense. Different stories fill the narrative, three sisters who stay in a small cabin in the middle of the forest while their father is out hunting, a young woman who is forced into marriage, or the grim tale of some creepy beast. The main feature of these stories is scary things that happen suddenly when you don't expect them, and that's what scares them most.

The format of the different stories subtly connected would be perfect for a small TV series, each episode filled with its atmosphere, its own pace of narration, somewhere more mysterious and somewhere more sinister.

Cover of one of the novella chapters

Cover of one of the novella chapters

2. Harrow County (Cullen Bunn)

It's rare to find good horror movies these days. A Harrow County adaptation could fix that situation, and here's why.

The focus of this novel is a teenage girl, Emmy, who discovers a terrible truth about her home county of Harrow. At one point, the young girl's life changes dramatically, she is suddenly immersed in the horrors of her county, creepy places full of horrible monsters, like a Civil War cemetery filled with a pack of burning skeletons. Emmy constantly struggles with her horrible imagination and crazy reality, so it's common for her to stumble into an ordinary box in the dark, and to see an almost dead boy on the floor, an ordinary object can suddenly turn out to be something creepy and insane.

The whole work is made in the best traditions of Southern Gothic, in connection with that one can see the features of magical realism, where the line between good and evil is blurred, and what you just thought to be an ordinary thing is ready to kill you. Ordinary that turns into madness—that's how you could characterize this graphic novel.

Cover of a graphic novel

Cover of a graphic novel

3. Sentient (Jeff Lemire)

Earth has been destroyed by mankind, and a small group of survivors tries to find a new planet for their home, on their way to their goal they will have to figure out how to do it without dying because space is full of dangers and surprises. Fortunately, the humans have a ship filled with sophisticated technology and unique artificial intelligence that suddenly gained intelligence. The long voyage is also a great challenge to psychological health, complex moral experiences, and nervous breakdowns, perhaps that is what will be more dangerous than space.

This is a classic space science thriller, done in the best traditions of the genre, but has unique features, mainly its high level of realism when it comes to violence because this work sometimes feels like horror. This synergy could only really be revealed in a movie, something like Passengers, only in a darker style.

The main character on the cover

The main character on the cover

4. Air (G. Willow Wilson)

Blythe is an ordinary stewardess of a fictional airline, who is oddly afraid of heights. When she finds herself in the middle of a struggle to control the next Aztec technological innovation, she discovers that she is a "hyperpract," one of the rare people suited to use the new gadgets. With it, she can enter a reality where images matter more than real objects. In particular, she can move an airplane to another area without using fuel.

During the narrative, it may feel like an action movie, but after a few moments it already feels like a love story, and after a while more you start to think of it as a thriller.

A crazy piece of work that borders on insanity and ordinariness. This is exactly the kind of thing modern audiences need, who are tired of the banality of the plot and the stereotypical characters.

One of the variants of the main cover

One of the variants of the main cover

5. Fatale (Ed Brubaker)

A noir-style story that revolves around Josephine, a model femme fatale. Men lose their minds around her. Horrible sectarians think she should be given over to their huge divine beings. One of the protagonist's biggest problems is also amnesia, a thing that constantly interferes with her life and creates a frantic forgetfulness and creates a bunch of unnecessary problems for her. The graphic novel spans many years, but the main plot takes place in the present day. Jo's life is full of men interested in her, but later they all pay the price for getting involved with her.

The amazing blend of horror and crime is rarely seen in current movies, so an adaptation of this graphic novel would do a great job of correcting that misunderstanding.

The main cover shows the protagonist in her superhero costume

The main cover shows the protagonist in her superhero costume

6. The Pro. (Garth Ennis)

It centers on a woman of easy virtue who suddenly gains superpowers and joins the local superhero team. This lady kicks bad guys' asses in the morning, picks up her son from daycare at night, and sells herself at night. The local superheroes are not good guys, they will certainly save you if something happens, but if you hurt them they will destroy you, they don't care about morality, they have superpowers.

Lots of profanity, violence, lust, and gray morality, a crazy parody of the superhero genre. Kind of like The Boys, only a little weirder and a lot more depraved.

The main cover of this graphic novel

The main cover of this graphic novel

7. 5,000 km Per Second (Manuele Fior)

Piero and Nicola are best friends, and both guys are fixated on the mysterious girl Lucia, who lives in the same apartment complex. A love triangle is the starting point that binds these characters, they are all in love with each other, but it is not fraught with terrible consequences. In the aftermath, the thousands of miles that separate them only put oil on the fire.

Admiration and disappointment, love and hate—things that permeate this story from beginning to end in a chaotic order, shattering love stereotypes along the way. An unconventional look at love and romantic attitudes is something we are lacking in cinema right now because love in real life is often just that.

One of the heroines on the cover of one of the chapters

One of the heroines on the cover of one of the chapters

8. The Invisibles (1997) (Grant Morrison)

The Invisibles are an anarchic group of people who fight against creatures from other universes who have taken over half the world. Jack Frost is the new reincarnation of Buddha, Lord Fanny is a transgender girl, King Mob is the most important guy on the team and a few other extraordinary personalities and these guys have to figure out a way to kick everyone's asses. On the way to their goal, they will have to travel through time, learn magic, kill and be sure to smoke pot.

Anarchy and freedom or order and slavery? Such questions will have to be answered by each character, but will they be able to choose the right answer, only time will tell.

Absurd satire on society seasoned with extravagant characters and crazy scenarios, such plots would fit perfectly into the modern realities of the media industry.

All the characters on the main cover

All the characters on the main cover

9. Essex County (Jeff Lemire)

This novel tells three related stories set in a small Canadian town. The first story focuses on a boy who now lives with his uncle due to the death of his mother. The second story is about two brothers playing hockey and the difficult relationship between them, and the third story is about a perpetually disgruntled nurse who takes care of sick people.

The main feature of this graphic novel is the image of ordinary life covered by the heaviness of life and oppressive feelings of depression. Trapped in this town as if in a cage, the characters are deeply unhappy, trying to change their lives, they look for meaning in hockey, in God, in comic books, but every time something terrible happens, forcing them to sink into a new wave of apathy.

This work would make a great strong psychological thriller. You don't see this kind of genre very often nowadays, I think it's worth fixing.

The main heroines on the cover of the novel

The main heroines on the cover of the novel

10. On a Sunbeam (Tillie Walden)

This graphic novel tells the story of the girl Mia, the story is introduced in parallel in two-time lines, the past and the present. In the present, Mia only becomes part of the crew of the spaceship "Aktis," her job is to find in the deep parts of space ruined architectural objects and restore them. She is aided in this uncomplicated task by Jules, a chatty and obsessive girl.

Because of the great distances between objects in outer space, the characters get very close to each other and this risks growing into something more than a friendship. Parallel to this, the narration of the events of the past is introduced, Mia attends an elite school, where she learns everything she needs to in life. The first love, mean classmates, local sports competitions, all in the best traditions of the school, only with its cosmic specificity.

An unobtrusive space adventure with a bit of an unconventional love story. Race, gender, and religion are unimportant things in space, only whether you're a good person matters. Such topics are now more relevant than ever, and it is better to talk about them, to talk about them in the form of art.

© 2022 Robert Jessen