DC's Jim Lee argues comic-to-film adaptations 'shouldn't' be literal translations

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Jul 26, 2014, 6:42 PM EDT (Updated)

As comic-book movies continue to dominate the big screen, DC’s co-publisher has chimed in on why he thinks literal comic-to-film adaptations are a bad idea.

During a wide-ranging interview with Variety, DC Entertainment co-publisher Jim Lee talked about the inherent challenges in translating a story arc from page to screen, and touched on how literally writers and directors should take the comic canon during the process.

Basically, according to Lee, filmmakers should avoid an extremely literal translation because the film medium has a beginning, middle and end — while comics keep going and going forever (well, most of the time).

Here’s the choice excerpt:

“I know a lot of filmmakers will look at the source material and what we capture on paper and translate that entirely onto film, but it shouldn’t be a literal translation of the comic books themselves. We work in a medium that has no end. A film should have a beginning, middle and end and resolution until the next one comes out. We’re telling a story every single month. They’re different sensibilities.”

Lee makes a good point, and though it doesn’t really apply to something self-contained, a la Watchmen, it could definitely come into play when adapting arcs from long-running series as they dive deeper into the Justice League canon to build an expanded universe. But it takes a delicate balance, because being true to the spirit of a comic and literal to it are two different things — but they go hand in hand.

What do you think? Does Lee make a good point about the nuance needed to bring a comic to the big screen?

(Via Variety)

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