DC Media Adaptations Better Than The Originals

It’s a well-known rule among comic fans that adaptations to other media rarely stand up to the original. But sometimes, on very rare occasions, a new medium brings life to a story that transcends paper and ink, or improves on rough concepts with an expert second draft. What are those occasions to you?

For me, a few immediately come to mind: the animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood cuts out much of the cruft from the original comic book story by Winick. The author himself has said he prefers the film version. The other is “Mogo Doesn’t Socialize,” a vignette featured about 49 minutes into the anthology film Green Lantern: Emerald Knights. It’s a nearly impossible task to live up to Alan Moore’s source material, but here, they succeeded with flying colors.

But maybe the best example is Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, loosely based on the often forgotten “Batman: Year Two” storyline, elevated to what may be the greatest Batman story ever told.


A few more: the “Robin’s Reckoning” two-parter from Batman: The Animated Series is a vast improvement on Robin’s origin from DETECTIVE COMICS #38, and the Shazam! live action movie is a much-upgraded retelling of Geoff Johns’ New 52-era Shazam! feature in the back pages of JUSTICE LEAGUE.


The TAS version of the Mad Hatter is a vast improvement over the comics version. There are only about a dozen Hatter comics that I think are half decent, and only about 5 that stand up to TAS. Plus, Roddy McDowell had one of the greatest voices in Hollywood. Period. R.I.P.


Far and away an improvement over the comics it was based on.


I have spent many works days thinking about this.

As stated above- Robin’s reckoning. The comic is more interesting than good. When I read Shazam (two days ago. I have not returned it to the library yet) I rooted for the villains the whole time, The Death and Return of Superman (plus Superman Doomsday).

Very controversial here- The Dark Knight Returns Part 2.

Superman vs. The Elite

Justice League War- The movie is so bad its good making it ironically more entertaining than its superior in every way source material.

Stargirl season 1 is a more polished version of Stars and STRIPE mostly due to better visuals.

The Flashpoint Paradox


It’s not a movie, but I’d argue that the Arrowverse’s version of Crisis on Infinite Earths is overwhelmingly better. The comic does some things better (like actually bringing the heroes together, rather than just one-off cameos, or having the individual comics tie in to the main story), but is basically six rounds where the heroes kill the Anti-Monitor in splash-page assaults. That’s a good excuse for George Pérez to draw a hundred tiny bodies on a page, but not great storytelling.

The adaptation also gets rid of the goofy idea of having a bunch of characters survive the crisis, wonder how they’re going to settle into the new world when their histories don’t make sense, and…then just get eliminated, so that writers don’t need to think about the questions they just raised. There was a nod to it in the dumb idea that counterparts can’t survive on the same Earth, but that’s still better than a bunch of heroes randomly sacrificing their lives or moving to cosmic solitary confinement.


“Heart of Ice,” effectively creating the definitive version/origin of Mr. Freeze.