Entertainment

From Comics to the Big Screen: Comparing the Original Book Characters with Their Real-Life Adaptations

However much you consider yourself a comic book fan, it would be near impossible not to recognize the superheroes and villains of the big screen. But how much do you know about how they were originally meant to look? At Popular Everything, we’re comparing the ways in which our favorite comic book characters have changed from their initial design.

Which character got gender-swapped? Who did they completely rewrite? And which character was supposed to be blue? You’re sure to learn a few unexpected things about the biggest supers of the Marvel and DC universe. We’re bringing you side-by-side photos of today’s comic book heavyweights with their original character design.

The Secret Space Beast

Groot, the tree-like being from Guardians of the Galaxy, won us over as the lovable extra-terrestrial. His death in the first film, where he was voiced by Vin Diesel, left us with a heavy heart until we were introduced to baby Groot in Vol. 2, regrown from the remnants of the original. The film interpretation firmly places the character on the side of the good guys.

But Groot from the comics has an entirely different character. In the Marvel universe, he is an intergalactic monster who came to earth intending to kidnap human beings and study them. In stark contrast to the Groot we know from the big screen, the original was a murderous, self-proclaiming “monarch of Planet X” and “overlord of all the timber in the galaxy!”

Swordswoman Switch Up

Superheroine Valkyrie (AKA Brunnhilde) is introduced to us in Thor: Ragnarok as one of the elite Asgardian warriors. She is the only surviving member of the Valkyrie force and succumbs to alcoholism and a bleak outlook before refinding her strength and eventually joining forces with the Avengers. She is also the first openly LGBTQ hero of the Marvel universe.

But her distinct dark features are a far cry from her original look in the comics. Her raven locks were meant to be pretty blonde plaits, and her eyes a steely blue. In truth, she wouldn’t look out of place in a line up of Vikings. But the film did retain the athletic physique that would be expected of an elite warrior.

What Happens When You Cross Voldemort With Barney?

Supervillain Thanos is the ambitious space warlord who will stop at nothing to achieve his selfish goals. He’s an intimidating figure to behold, with his supernatural lavender hue and facial scarring he’s certainly a hard one to miss – or say no to for that matter.

His appearance for the Avengers franchise and Guardians of the Galaxy is not a big departure from his original state in the comics. The creative team retained his most distinctive features, such as his color, his large stature, and those characteristic lacerations on the face.

Gender-Swap

The Ancient One was played by renowned actress Tilda Swinton in the 2016 Marvel superhero film Doctor Strange and 2019s Avengers: Endgame. She plays a striking, Celtic version of the comic book character who mentors Doctor Strange. Through her teachings, Benedict Cumberbatch’s character better learns to understand and manipulate the mystic arts.

In the comics, the Ancient One takes on quite a different form. The character is far less androgynous than Swinton’s version, taking on the appearance of an elderly Himalayan man. The filmmakers didn’t especially desire a female “Sorcerer Supreme” as much as they wanted less gender identity. And Swinton was perfectly mysterious enough for the role.

The Original Aryan King of the Sea

Aquaman has made a resurgence in superhero films since Jason Momoa was cast as the character for Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeJustice League, and Aquaman. As the half-human, half-Atlantean born son of an
Atlantean demigod and queen, he has the supernatural ability to communicate with marine creatures.

Jason Momoa is of Hawaiian and Native American descent and has the long, dark locks to prove it. But Aquaman has been in the DC universe since 1941, and a few changes have been adopted by filmmakers. The most noticeable difference is that the comic character is blonde, blue-eyed, and clean-shaven as anyone could get. Clearly, higher-ups weren’t afraid to deviate from people’s expectations for this one.

The Emotional Android

Vision is an artificial being that is designed to resemble a human. Depicted by Paul Bettany in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he’s familiar to us from the films Avengers: Age of UltronCaptain America: Civil War, and Avengers: Infinity War, for which the actor donned heavy prosthetic makeup. In the comics, he is described as “every inch a human being – except that all of his bodily organs are constructed of synthetic materials.”

This is in keeping with his depiction on the big screen – we can see he is sentient and capable of human error. However, we are constantly aware of his inorganic origins not just because of his red skin color, but also his stiff body movements. But the filmmakers did add those watery blue eyes on the superhuman to encourage a stronger emotional connection between him and the audience.

Anti-Hero Ant-Man

It’s fair to say that Ant-Man can be a little underappreciate as a superhero. And after all, what’s not to love about the adorable anti-hero? Sure, he used to be a small-time criminal since he can reduce himself to the size of an insect due to his accidental discovery of shrinking technology.

Paul Rudd plays the on-screen superhero Scott Lang, who wears a special suit and helmut that can adapt to his transformation and crime-fighting needs. He looks more protected in his modern depiction, with his outdated spandex get-up bringing to mind early spiderman days.

Temptress of the Galaxy

Beginning with the first Guardians of the Galaxy film in 2014, Zoe Saldana acts as Gamora, daughter to supervillain Thanos. Despite her radioactive skin color, her beauty is indisputable. The same goes for the original character who was something of a seductress.

As we can see, she wasn’t as strong of a green as she is today in the films. And while some costume style has been carried over (such as the very plunging neckline detail) she is altogether dressed less provocatively than her comic book counterpart.

Loki the Snake

Once ranked the fourth greatest villain of all time, Loki is the Asgardian god of mischief and adopted brother of Thor. We know him today as the antihero in the Thor and Avengers film series’, but it wasn’t always so grey. The original Loki in the comics committed indisputably evil deeds to obtain power.

His comic book depiction leaves no room for doubt. He wears a ram’s horn headpiece and high collared cape – all key ingredients in classic villain depiction. Loki from the films is more noticeably scrawny than the muscular comic version, however. With his greasy long hair, clammy complexion, and green costume accents, we think the studio opted for a more serpent-like interpretation.

The Hot-Tempered Red-Head

Originally a supervillain, the Scarlet Witch (AKA Wanda Maximoff)is a powerful sorceress who originally came on to the scene with her brother, Quicksilver. She is portrayed by actress Elizabeth Olsen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; the red-haired lover and eventual wife of superhero and fellow Avenger, Vision.

The original Scarlet Witch was an angrier character, initially. She wore a typical female comic book costume of the time – a revealing, strapless bathing suit – in her signature scarlet color. But she was a raven-haired beauty unlike Olsen’s character, who the filmmakers chose to make up in red from head to toe.

Franken-Hulk

Mark Ruffalo is the face we recognize as today’s Dr. Bruce Banner, the emotionally withdrawn and sensitive physicist with a green, muscular humanoid alter-ego. The two personalities are usually at odds with each other, resenting one another due to their wildly contrasting characters.


Since Hulk’s first appearance in the Marvel comics in 1962, the superhero has gone through some changes. The color of him has varied; he has at times been various shades of grey, blue or green. Writer Stan Lee has stated that books Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were hugely influential to the creation of the character, and this can be seen in earlier comic publications. The Hulk had similar features to that of Frankenstein in many illustrations.

Aunt May Gets a Revamp

Marisa Tomei plays Spiderman’s Aunt May in today’s Marcel Cinematic Universe, appearing in the films Captain America: Civil WarSpider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far from Home. She is much younger than previous onscreen depictions and much less skittish and afraid than her comic counterpart.

Aunt May from the comics is much older than Tomei’s version, always depicted as having a full head of grey hair and a grandmother’s quality. Tomei’s Aunt May is also nurturing and supportive of Peter but coddles him less than the more elderly and frail aunt from the comic books.

The Progressive God

Actor Chris Hemsworth plays Thor, “God of Thunder,” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His depiction of the most powerful Asgardian and son of Odin, the former Kind of Asgard. While Hemsworth’s character is strong physically and mentally, he also has a child-like naivety about him. Tall, broad and blonde, on-screen Thor is a trustworthy and principled character with a Viking-like appearance.

Unlike his comic book character, movie Thor has no alter-ego. The 60’s version had a double-life back on earth, in which he would tend to the ill with nurse and lover Jane Foster. The filmmakers also implemented creative freedom when it came to the evolution of Thor’s appearance, in which he started as the traditional long-haired blonde Herculean character before various events led to his brief stints as overweight, short-haired or with an eye-patch.

A Superior Comic Book Counterpart

Scarlett Johansson has been portraying the Black Widow for almost a decade in the Marvel films, appearing in the Avengers and Captain America series as well as Iron Man 2 and Captain Marvel. Her real name is Natasha Romanova, and she is introduced to us as a steely Russian spy antagonist who is one of the founding superheroes of the Avengers team.

Comic book Black Widow has a different origin story to the of the film character. She was injected with “super-soldier serum” which maxed out her strength and healing potential. Her abilities exceed all other athletes and she is classified as “peak human.” But the cinematic Black Widow doesn’t appear to have these advantages.

An Underdog Young Readers Could Relate To

Peter Parker has gone through many actors, writers, and illustrators since Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created him in 1962. The superhero character is meant to be a smart, nerdy teenager with an aptitude for science. More or less, they kept within this framework in film depictions of Spider-Man.

While the recent marvel films starring Tom Holland have tried to retain Peter Parker’s outcast status, the modern interpretation is less defeated than the comic book version. The original Peter Parker cuts a more sorry figure who has “self-obsessions with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness.”

The Cloak of Immortality

Based on the Norse goddess Hel, comic book Hela is the child of Loki and frequently comes up against Thor. She is the Asgardian Goddess of Death and has a pact to claim the souls of Asgardians or worshippers of Asgardians. With the aid of her cloak, she possesses enhanced strength. Without it, she becomes weak and almost powerless, appearing dead and even decayed.

As we can see in 2017s Thor: Ragnarok, she doesn’t have the same dependency on her cloak to retain her looks or strength. But filmmakers did try to retain her icy exterior and stayed quite true to the comics with her appearance. Cate Blanchett dons a caged, high-neck bodysuit and horn-like headpiece similar to that of the original character.

Iron Man’s Glam Rock Phase

Who else could we imagine as Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, other than actor Robert Downey Jr? The wealthy business magnate, womanizer, and genius is one of the most popular characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, bringing in the biggest bucks. Downey Jr truly made the role his own.

That’s why we’re sure you’ll be surprised to hear that Tony Stark used to sport a permed mullet. We’re happy to report that it wasn’t reserved only for the ’70s, as even though he adapted to ’80s fashion, this distinctive hairstyle lingered.

The Black Panther Had Barely Left Puberty

The Black Panther film was a milestone in Marvel’s cinematic history. It brought the concept of Afrofuturism into the mainstream; where Afrocentric cultures are integrated with innovation or sci-fi in art, music, and literature. King T’Challa is represented as highly intelligent and forward-thinking while retaining his cultural identity and traditional values.

T’Challa from the comic books is equally as proud but far younger. Chadwick Boseman was 39-years-old when he was cast as the Wakandan King in Civil War;as opposed to the young T’Challa from the books who was a teenager when he ascended the throne. Originally, the character was far less experienced than the one we met on-screen.

If We’re Paying for It Lets See It

An elder of the Universe, the ageless Grandmaster revealed itself to be eccentric actor Jeff Goldblum in 2017s Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. He is a long-standing antagonist who takes heroes and villains from across the universe to fulfill his “Contest of Champions.”

In the film, they dropped his signature blue skin tone and instead opted for a blue stripe running down his chin and matching eyeliner. Director Taika Waititi admitted that they changed this feature so that the makeup would not detract from Goldblum’s acting or personality. He has also played a blue-toned character previously in the film Earth Girls Are Easy.

Why so Serious?

Joaquin Phoenix has been making headlines lately from his recent performance as the emotionally-broken Joker in the latest DC comics film. His performance has been receiving critical acclaim, as the actor and filmmakers chose to shift focus on to the tragedy behind such a complicated character.

The Joker from the comic books has an equally complicated past, but a more fearsome persona than Phoenix’s version. In the film, we are encouraged to feel the trauma experienced on behalf of the failed comedian, whereas the comics try and instill a more chaotic, unpredictable feeling to the villain.

Still Waters Run Deep

Walter Kovacs, AKA Rorschach from Alan Moore’s graphic novel Watchmen, was played by actor Jackie Earle Haley in the 2009 film. Director Zack Snyder tried his best to stay as true to the comics as possible and upon seeing Kovacs’ audition tape said, “awesomely acted. Clearly there was no other Rorschach.” For comic fans, it’s easy to see how just how faithful both the actor and director were to Moore’s story.

Rorschach is emotionally shut off in many ways, having mastered control over painful feelings or memories from his past. He has moments of emotional outbursts, however, but its a rare sighting. If pushed, one could say that the on-screen Rorschach appears less in control of his feelings and comes across more easily provoked.

It’s Clobberin’ Time

Michael Chiklis played the part of the Thing, one of the founding members of the Fantastic Four. His trademark rock-like appearance came about from the high exposure he had to a cosmic cloud, which changed his genetic makeup. As he was the most exposed out of the Fantastic Four, he endured the most severe physical mutations.


Chiklis’s version of the character is more human-like than the comic book version, who often takes on a more monstrous appearance. In part, it helps the audience better connect with the character – the makeup team made sure not to hide Chiklis’s big blue eyes too much in all the prosthetic dressing.

Magneto the Gym Buff

Shakespearean actor Sir Ian McKellen truly made Magneto his own for the X-Men movies, so much so that it’s hard to imagine the character any other way. He plays an intelligent mutant with the ability to manipulate magnetic fields, and strongly opposes Professor X’s pacifist attitude.

The comic book character has the same origin story as portrayed in the films, but himself has quite a different appearance. He is younger than McKellen’s version and physically stronger. For the films, Magneto’s powerful image lay in his mutant talents and strength of character.

Nick Fury’s Change in Genetic Makeup

As the founder of the Avengers, former director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and spy, the role of Nick Fury had to go to an esteemed actor. The filmmakers opted for Samuel L. Jackson who portrays the character as somewhat of an antihero.

The most noticeable change from the books to the films is the ethnicity of the character. Nick Fury had previously been portrayed as Caucasian in the comics and on-screen. Once Jackson assumed the role, the books changed the ethnicity of the character to parallel the character in the movies.

Wonder Woman’s Upgrade

We all fell for Gal Gadot when she swooped in as the DC Comic superheroine, Wonder Woman, AKA Prince Diana. In the movie, Wonder Woman had a slightly altered back story. This time she wasn’t made out of clay and given her superpowers by ancient Greek Gods. Instead, she was trained to become a super warrior by her aunt.

The fictional superheroine first appeared in comics in 1941 was much more fantastical. In the comics, Diana also competed in a series of warrior tests with her giant kanga, her pet fighting companion. While both characters shared similar feminist traits, the movie character was more grounded and multi-dimensional to appeal to modern audiences.

The Leader of The Pack

In the iconic Marvel movie franchise, Wolverine or Logan’s character was portrayed as a leader and a great fighter by Hugh Jackman. As he jacked up for the role, he is also more invincible, and less complex. He had superhuman healing powers and the ability to recover from wounds in a matter of seconds. He also had a half-brother, named Sabertooth.

In the Marvel comic franchise, however, Wolverine wasn’t characterized as a true leader. He was more of a lone fighter, with a dark and complicated character. Wolverine didn’t interact too well with the others either. He was also less invincible, as it took hours to heal from wounds rather than seconds. In the comics, Sabertooth was also not even related to him.

The Green Lantern’s “Swag”

When Ryan Reynolds transformed into The Green Lantern or Hal Jordan, the movie received raved reviews. Still, some fans felt it was a streamlined adaptation of the comic character. For starters, the movie costume looks less fearsome than his comic counterpart. His green domino mask also looks slightly altered.

The movie character shares a similar persona, assuming the role of a cocky jet pilot and ladies man with the swagger to back it up. There were some differences in his character development, as Ryan Reynolds doesn’t have to learn to overcome his fears. He is more willing to take on his responsibility and master being the Green Lantern, complete with his trademark “swag.”

Beneath The Catwoman Guise

DC Comics Catwoman, or Selina Kyle, has had many feline guises over the years, but Michelle Pfeiffer’s adaptation was the Batman anti-hero that we always needed. In the iconic movie Batman Returns, she’s one step ahead of the other characters, including Batman himself, and willing to break out her whip and defeat the local villains.

The comic supervillain was traditionally an anti-heroine, who often did wrong for the right reasons. She also had a complicated love-hate relationship with Batman over the years. In this movie, we were introduced to her backstory, which gave her more depth and helped us identify with her villainous side.

The Pin-Up Girl of Comics

Watchmen superheroine Silk Spectre was the alias given to Sally Jupiter first before her daughter Laurie assumed the title. She was a former waitress and Burlesque performer before taking a title to advance her modeling career. She is portrayed as an image-conscious, attention-loving woman who loved her public image as a pin-up.

Silk Spectre in Zack Snyder’s 2009 movie Watchmen was played by Carla Gugino, both in her younger years and older (with the aid of prosthetic makeup.) The on-screen version of the superheroine retained the big hair of her comic counterpart but updated slightly to appeal to a modern audience. Instead of giving her the tightly coiled perm that graphic novel Sally sported, they gave Gugino a bouffant updo with her signature red hair.

Deadpool’s Good Intentions

When the cult character, Deadpool, or Wade Wilson was adapted for the silver screen, there were a few differences. In the movie, Deadpool was portrayed by Ryan Reynolds as a chaotic and destructive character who does evil actions, but with good intentions. His love interest Vanessa was also portrayed as an adult, instead of a shape-shifting mutant teenager.

In the comics, Deadpool was much more of a villainous and dark character, with sociopathic tendencies, which appeared after he was experimented on. He didn’t really have good intentions or meaning behind the chaos. Instead, Ryan Reynolds was nutty from the start but much more endearing, witty, deeper and complicated, which made him more appealing.

The Alien We Accept

For almost 80 years, Superman has carved his way as an iconic part of pop culture. In his latest DC incarnation, Henry Cavill’s character is noticeably less strong than his comic version, but is incredibly versatile and can throw some fierce punches in the kinetic fight scenes.

In the comics, we were introduced to his human alias, Clark Kent, but over time his back story has been altered. In the latest movie, Clark Kent is an outcast in his youth until he learns about his alien heritage. This movie focuses more on his Kryptonian identity Kal-El, the last son of Krypton.

The Same but Not the Same

Spider-Man’s main love interest throughout all the years has been Mary Jane Watson, his next-door neighbor turned wife in later years. It not just Peter Parker who had a soft spot for her, as she won over the hearts of the readers as the most popular “non-powered” characters in the marvel universe.

She was described as an extremely attractive red-headed woman with green eyes, first making an appearance in 1966 (above). Today, actress Zendaya has taken on the role of Michelle Jones AKA MJ, an updated Mary-Jane of sorts. For whatever reason, the filmmakers decided to make a new character that pays homage to the older version. Still, many facts about both characters stay the same.

The Punisher Reboot

When Jon Bernthal took over the mantle of The Punisher or Frank Castle, he mastered his fearsome persona. He donned black clothes, a white skull top, leather trench. He then topped off his look with some pretty scary arsenal. However, his character and back story received a noticeable reboot from his comic persona.

In the original ’70s comics, Frank’s castle turns into his Punisher alter ego after his family is wiped out by a crime mob. In the latest version, he discovered the morally repugnant government was behind it all. So his character is revamped as he exacts his revenge on the institutions that turned him into a public menace.

Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

We’re all too familiar with Gweneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts in the Iron Man film franchise, Tony Stark’s secretary turned romantic love interest in both the films and the comics. She is the put-upon personal assistant as well as the on-again-off-again girlfriend to the serial womanizer.

They adjusted Pepper Potts’ stand out ginger locks in the comic books for a blonder hair color to better suit Paltrow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the actress’s character does lean a little strawberry blonde, it’s still a departure from the auburn-haired supporting character. Especially considering that early renderings portrayed her as having a problem with blonde women due to Tony Stark’s favoritism for them!

Blonde Hair, Don’t Care

Hippolyta plays the queen of the Amazons and mother to Wonder Woman. She was first introduced to us in 1941 during the Golden Age of Comic Books and has been an iconic supporting character ever since. She’s depicted as having black goddess-like hair, bringing to mind the Greek mythology that her character was based upon.

Filmmakers decided to break away from convention, going against Hippolyta’s typical representation as a raven-haired goddess-like in the comics and animation film, opting for the blonde-haired blue-eyed actress Connie Nielsen for the 2017 film. It’s quite a drastic change from the dark-featured goddess we’ve come to expect!

The Darker Flash

Ever since Grant Gustin morphed into the Flash or Barry Allen, fans have praised him as “one of the most intriguing villains on TV”. He’s “sincere, sweet and likable.” Still, comic fans have been quick to point out the differences. In the comics, he has a pure motivation to help people, but his TV counterpart is darker and more complex.

Fans have also alluded to how Grant Gustin looks very different than the comic version. He wears a darker and more fearsome-looking costume and has darker hair. His back story was also modified, as there was no particle accelerator on the TV version. The latest TV series also introduced more characters, like Harrison Wells, Joe West, and Eddie Thawne.

Comic Book Characters for the Teen Demographic

Harley Quinn, also known as Dr. Harleen Quinzel, first made an appearance in DC comics in 1993 as the psychologist intern assigned to the Joker during his time as a patient in Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum. She is portrayed as an initially naive young woman, who gets recruited by the Joker and turns into a villain.

Harley as a comic book character is a serious follower of the Joker and while she does don a traditional pantomime suit, she covers her hair. The on-screen version, as played by actress Margot Robbie, sees her appealing to the more mainstream audience, opting for dip-dyed ends over peroxide blonde hair, a raglan T-shirt, and denim hotpants that look straight out of a Forever 21 sale.

Toning Down Hellboy

When David Harbour was unleased on our screens as Hellboy in the movie franchise, many were impressed by the make-up effects, monsters and adrenaline-fuelled plot. However, fans felt that David Harbour portrayed a much “sillier” Hellboy persona, which was less complex and more streamlined for modern audiences.

His comic counterpart was more stoic, gritty, with a sense of deep inner conflict. He also had a deadpan sense of humor. In the comics, Hellboy also looked more like a disfigured demon with goat legs, which we suppose would have made him far less endearing on the silver screen.

The Other Woman

Watch out Mary Jane – Gwen Stacey’s got her eyes on Peter Parker. A supporting character to Spider-Man, Gwen is a fellow college student who also plays a romantic interest to young Peter. She is always depicted as blonde-haired and blue-eyed and is attracted to young Peter’s intellect.

Actress Emma Stone portrayed Gwen in the 2012 reboot film The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2. In the films, she is working as a lab assistant at Dr. Curt Connors’s Oscorp Industries and plays a vital role in defeating the Lizard, supervillain and nemesis to Spider-Man.

The Morally Relative Comedian

Yes, he knows he’s a selfish brute and no, he doesn’t care. Watchmen’s Edward Blake plays the Comedian, a morally ambiguous (by some standards) superhero. He is disillusioned with society and authority alike, resenting his status as a Captain America-like patriotic hero.

He proves himself to be violent and altogether not above inflicting pain on others for his own selfish desires, stemming from his bitter world view. “Once you realize what a joke everything is, being the Comedian is the only thing that makes sense,” he admits. Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays an equally defeated character in the 2012 movie.

Departing From the Comics

Avengers member Clint Barton (AKA Hawkeye) is played by actor Jeremy Renner in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His movie character has many differences to its comic counterpart, of which Marvel appears to have written off. Firstly, he originally dressed in medieval-style bright purple and blue, with a wolf-like eye mask. For the film, they simplified his costume to resemble that of an assassin.

Design changes aside, Hawkeye was also an outspoken, sarcastic character in the comics – a big contrast to the quiet introvert we know on screen. The comic book counterpart also started off as a costumed criminal at first and came from a family of traveling circus and carnival people.

Movie Doctor Is More Gifted

Appearance-wise, Dr. Strange looks relatively alike in the eponymous film to the character in the comic books. The fledgling sorcerer as portrayed by actor Benedict Cumberbatch has very similar facial features, clothes and even sports the same goatee. One thing that is different between them is the time it took to train.

In the comics, Dr. Strange spends years in training to take up the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme. In the movie, he seems to be able to crack it in a year and a half. The film also gave Dr. Strange’s cloak a personality of its own – something which the comic never did.

The Daughter and Protégé

Like her mother, Laurie Jupiter went by the title of Silk Spectre when she took up the latex. Having trained all her formative years, she was a competent superheroine and member of the Watchmen. She became romantically involved with Dr. Manhattan at a young age, before acknowledging their differences and moving on with the Night Owl.

She was played by Swedish-American actress Malin Akerman in Zack Snyder’s 2009 film. The kept elements of the comic book characters costume, adding some alterations like latex instead of billowy chiffon material. Ultimately, both versions were of a beautiful woman, young and naive to the world. For those who remember, she has quite a revelation about herself in both the graphic novel and film.

The Self-Proclaimed “Necessary Evil”

Brutally strong and exceeding smart, Bane makes up a worthy opponent to Batman. We are introduced to Tom Hardy’s version of the character in The Dark Knight Rises. The character ranks as #35 on IGN’s list of the “Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time,” and remains the only villain to have succeeded in “breaking the bat.”

For the film, they gave Bane a backstory to explain why he wears a mask. It’s a special, albeit scary, breathing mask for him after he suffers from lung injuries. In the comics, Bane needs no such article – he chooses to wear a Luchador-inspired mask to intimidate his enemies. He is also supernaturally large and strong in the books, which they translated into a “prison body” for Hardy’s character.

More to the Butler Than Meets the Eye

Depicted as Batman’s ever-faithful butler and housekeeper, Alfred Pennyworth is firmly in Bruce Wayne’s circle of trust. He often even acts as Batman’s father-figure, especially as he served both of his parents before their death. Most famously, he was played by British actor Michael Caine in the Batman film franchise.

Comical, and a useful sounding board for Batman, Alfred actually has an interesting origin story in the comics. He was in the military in his younger years before leaving behind that life to become an actor! He then took to teaching stagecraft techniques to spies at MI5, before taking another position at MI7… one thing’s for sure; there’s a lot more to Alfred than meets the eye.

Into the Wide Blue Yonder

Dr. Manhattan is the iconic “post-human god” that makes up one of the main characters in Watchmen. Created by the acclaimed writer Alan Moore and illustrator Dave Gibbons, his unique appearance and powers set him apart in the DC Comics universe. After a research lab mishap sees him accidentally locked in a generator room and disintegrated into particles, they reform over the course of months. He reappears one day, blue-skinned, with a “flare of ultraviolet.”

Partly based on the character of Captain Atom, Dr. Manhattan gradually becomes less able to relate to humanity, largely due to his unique perception of time. Actor Billy Crudup maintained the character’s indifferent voice and mannerisms, alongside the design team who kept the film’s version as similar to the graphic novel as possible.

More Straight Laced Than Batman Himself

Commissioner James Gordon is the police commissioner of Gotham City and resident good guy, also striving to keep the city free from crime. He is fully trusting of Batman in both the comics and the films, where he is portrayed by actor Gary Oldman. His moral center has been carried over from the comics to his onscreen adaptation.

One difference we can see clearly from the images is their hair color. Where the comic book commissioner is a redhead, they opted for a mousy brown and grey to better suit Oldman. They kept that distinctive handlebar mustache, however, along with the rectangular glasses.

He Turned Iron Man 3 Into a Buddy Comedy

We’re probably familiar with the character War Machine from actor Dom Cheadle’s performance as the character in the Iron Man and Avengers films. He is a trained aircraft pilot and aviation engineer who wears a physically bigger iron suit than Tony Stark. Still, he comes in second place to Tony’s speed and technology.

His real name is James “Rhodey” Rhodes and he is a close friend and confidant to the inventor and industrialist Tony Stark. We were almost even treated to a film dedicated to War Machine, but it got pushed to the side when Iron Man 3 started to come together. Cheadle’s character deviated from the comics as he acted to a large degree like Iron Man’s sidekick, providing comedic relief to Downey Jr.’s character.

Mantis Is All or Nothing

Member of the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, Mantis is an empath in Marvel’s universe. Portrayed by Pom Klementieff on screen, she is able to sense other people’s feelings and alter them. And while her depiction in film is a beautiful one, it’s still strikingly different from the comic books.

As you can see, Mantis on-screen is dressed rather differently than her comic book counterpart. She is more covered-up, which complements her more timid character. In the comics, however, she was often depicted wearing more revealing clothing. It speaks of her character in the books, who is more assertive, direct, and confident.