In any discussion of film adaptations of comic books, there are other issues then who was the most impressive Dark Knight or Man of Steel. Liam Burke’s info-packed book, subtitled ‘Exploring Modern Hollywood’s Leading Genre’, is academic in tone but accessible as it addresses the way in which the re-jigged creations of Siegel & Shuster, Stan Lee & Jack Kirby and Bob Kane & Bill Finger (Superman, The Avengers and Batman, respectively) laid siege to the orthodoxy of modern cinema and comprehensively won the battle. Burke is adroit at examining the transformative process from page to screen, and manages to examine nuances of character (which do exist in the genre – one of the reasons it so successful, alongside the spectacular special effects) while also dealing with the statistics. Burke is also perceptive when talking about why some franchises (e.g. the Batman films) have been so successful, while others (e.g. Lee and Kirby’s Fantastic Four) have struggled. If there is a caveat concerning The Comic Book Film Adaptation, it is that there is some degree of repetition in the study, but it is nevertheless a fascinating read, both for aficionados of the comic book and students of modern film trends.
The Comic Book Film Adaptation by Liam Burke is published by University Press of Mississippi/Jackson