As Christopher Nolan's Batman films and releases from the Marvel Cinematic Universe have regularly topped the box office charts, fans and critics alike might assume that the "comic book movie" is a distinctly twenty-first-century form. Yet adaptations of comics have been an integral part of American cinema from its very inception, with comics characters regularly leaping from the page to the screen and cinematic icons spawning comics of their own.
Movie Comics is the first book to study the long history of both comics-to-film and film-to-comics adaptations, covering everything from silent films starring Happy Hooligan to sound films and serials featuring Dick Tracy and Superman to comic books starring John Wayne, Gene Autry, Bob Hope, Abbott & Costello, Alan Ladd, and Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. With a special focus on the Classical Hollywood era, Blair Davis investigates the factors that spurred this media convergence, as the film and comics industries joined forces to expand the reach of their various brands. While analyzing this production history, he also tracks the artistic coevolution of films and comics, considering the many formal elements that each medium adopted and adapted from the other.
As it explores our abiding desire to experience the same characters and stories in multiple forms, Movie Comics gives readers a new appreciation for the unique qualities of the illustrated page and the cinematic moving image.