I get it all the time.
“Do you have the comic that ______ was based on?”
My usual response is, “No, I’m sorry. That movie was not based on a comic,” or “Nah, that flick’s based on an original screenplay,” or something to the effect of “I am Legend is not based on a comic, here’s Richard Matheson’s NOVEL.”
Nine times out of ten the customer’s response is, “Um, I’m pretty sure it was based on a comic book.”
Such are the perils of working for a geek culture store located across the street from a movie theater, and/or the perils of being involved in the business of selling funny books these days.
I really can’t blame such a customer for these misconceptions.
It’s never been hipper to be a comics fan, and 21st Century media marketing knows it. They either scoop up the rights to nearly every comic released, mining (to say the least) the industry for its creative properties as fodder for the voracious Hollywood beast, or they bombard every outlet possible to associate their product with the medium.
Hell, even intellectual properties that have NOTHING to do with us somehow get associated with or promoted to comic fandom. For instance, two years ago I attended an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia panel early one morning at San Diego Comic-Con. Great show. Smart, funny (though sometimes too crass), and my favorite comedy on television save for The Simpsons. The hall was packed with fans and the cast/creators had the crowd rolling in the aisles. But can you please tell me what the hell that show has to do with comics other than sharing a target audience?! You can’t, because there is no other connection.
The comic industry’s not entirely without fault here, either. Whereas low-selling yet cheaply produced and moderately profitable comic adaptations used to be the predominant means for the comic industry to make a buck off mass media, the prequel tie-in has replaced them as a means of cross promotion under the guise of fleshing out the story. Gobs of science fiction/fantasy films are given the prequel comic treatment. There’s a hanging line spoken by Adrian Brody’s character in the recent Predators that alludes to him having been thrown out of an airplane just prior to the opening scene. It’s never addressed again, nor does it add to the plot. Are we supposed to hear that line and wonder just what the heck happened to that character, go down to Forbidden Planet and pick up the prequel comic? Or is it supposed to be some sort of reward for those who’ve already read the prequel comic?
Either way it’s usually bunk. Just another advertisement. The PR machine working its magic. Squandered resources of comic creators who could possibly be doing something more worthwhile and most definitely more original.
That being said, here’s a link to the ONLINE ONLY prequel comic for this weekend’s huge box office draw Inception. I’ve not seen the movie yet, but I’m sure it’s a safe bet there’s an allusion or two thrown into it regarding the titular “Cobol Job.” Of course, there was much call at the shop the last few days for non-existent physical copies of this. “Do you have the comic that Inception‘s based on?”