Adventure Movies

Marvel Comics Perfect For Adventure Film Adaptations

September 4, 20236 Mins Read

Marvel Comics dominates the comic book industry through countless beloved titles and characters. Names like Doctor Doom, Captain America, Iron Man, and Thanos have come to dominate pop culture thanks to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One of the central themes of Marvel, as with all comic book publishers, is a strong emphasis on adventure—something that produced many excellent stories.

Marvel toys with a variety of superhero genres, such as fantasy, action, cosmic science fiction, and horror. However, adventure can be found to some extent in all of these stories. Some comics under Marvel play into adventure far better than others and could make for some great new entries within the MCU or as standalone films.

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10 Fantastic Four: Full Circle

The Thing standing beside Human Torch with Sue Storm in the background

One of the biggest Marvel properties that’s yet to make its debut in the MCU, The Fantastic Four have enjoyed many adventures over the years. However, Alex Ross’ recent Full Circle series took the team back to one of their classic adventures, taking them deep into the Negative Zone after an attack by monsters.

Fantastic Four: Full Circle is as high concept as science fiction adventure gets, and the exploration of the Negative Zone—an anti-matter universe—could make for an interesting story setting. It wouldn’t work as the team’s debut movie, but it could be an epic tale all the same.

9 Tomb Of Dracula

Tomb of Dracula combined classic Universal Monsters with Marvel adventure, beginning with a man, Frank Drake, mistakenly unleashing Dracula onto the world. It was here where Blade made his debut, saving a group of ship passengers from Dracula’s attack. The overall series alternated between Dracula’s new life and the humans hunting him.

Tomb of Dracula could work brilliantly as a way to both introduce Blade and further explore the monster’s side of the MCU, taking viewers around the world. A movie dedicated to the series could not only be a great villain-led film with a classic, well-known character; it could also mark the MCU’s shift into new genres.

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8 Captain America: The Bloodstone Hunt

“The Bloodstone Hunt” was one of the best stories from Mark Gruenwald’s iconic run on Captain America. The story followed Cap and Diamondback as they teamed up to head out and stop Baron Zemo from acquiring the Bloodstone, an ancient gem sent to Earth by powerful gods.

“The Bloodstone Hunt” was basically a full-blown classic adventure tale, evocative of He-Man and Conan the Barbarian. It saw Cap and Diamondback struggle through jungles and face the elements, as well as the threat of Mummies and Batroc, intent on keeping the Star-Spangled hero from victory.

7 Maestro

Maestro Hulk Comes for the Audience

The Maestro saga could be a genuinely unique story in the MCU for the simple fact that fans would follow a villainous incarnation of Hulk they can still root for. Set in a post-apocalyptic future, the story follows Maestro as he breaks free of a mental prison and ventures out into the great unknown.

Though the character has been around since the ’90s, his recent trilogy saw him travel to Atlantis, face Doom in Latveria, and “liberate” a city from Hercules. The Maestro trilogy acts as a tour of Hulk history while taking the antihero on an adventure of conquest, claiming rule over the wastelands.

6 Avengers: War Across Time

Avengers: War Across Time #3

Avengers: War Across Time was written as a great modern callback to classic Avengers stories, and pitted the team against one of their greatest foes, Kang the Conqueror. As the name suggests, the villain fought the Avengers across time, throwing threats like Lava Men at them.

Avengers: War Across Time could work in the MCU as a saga for the next line-up of the Avengers, especially since Kang is slated to be the universe’s next big bad. A time-traveling saga that borrows from ideas in Endgame, while also building up Kang as the menace he is.

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5 Man-Thing

The story of Man-Thing is one of Marvel’s most tragic tales, even more so than that of Swamp Thing at DC. Beginning his life as the scientist Ted Sallis, the hero was created when his human self was betrayed, driven into the swamp with his experimental serum, and emerged a monster.

Man-Thing’s adventure stories combined dark fantasy and horror, taking him on a journey through the Nexus of Realities, where he encountered vikings, demons, and sorcerers. He made an excellent appearance in Werewolf By Night, which hinted at a greater adventure to come.

4 Phantom: The Ghost Who Walks

Phantom points guns in the snow

Lee Falk’s Phantom is one of the most transformative heroes in comics and saw something of a renaissance in comics thanks partly to Marvel. His miniseries, The Ghost Who Walks, followed Kit Walker as he made his way back home to Africa to prevent a corporate takeover of the natural resources. This story was perfectly on brand for the Phantom and what he stands for.

Phantom had an enjoyable adventure movie in the 1990s starring Billy Zane, but the hero has struggled to find relevance in the modern age. A new movie, produced in association with Marvel and based on the miniseries, could reintroduce a vital hero to a new generation.

3 Beta Ray Bill

Beta Ray Bill Argent Star

Daniel Warren Johnson’s Beta Ray Bill miniseries was perhaps the greatest Marvel miniseries so far in the 2020s. It followed the titular hero as he set out on a quest to find independence from Thor, get a new weapon, and become a hero in his own right.

Beta Ray Bill would certainly be a darker spin on the adventure genre, and served as much as a tale of self-discovery as a superhero epic. Movie fans have yet to meet Beta Ray Bill, so the 2021 series might work better as a movie made in the aftermath of the hero’s MCU debut, rather than as his introduction.

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2 Conan the Barbarian

Conan the Barbarian was one of the original pulp fiction heroes, after his creation by Robert E. Howard in his short story “People of the Dark” in 1931. Since the 1970s, the hero has been a recurring fixture of Marvel Comics, with classic creators like Barry Windsor-Smith, Roy Thomas, and Sal Buscema.

Conan the Barbarian had his best run in his 1970 series, which was a faithful—albeit toned down—adaptation of the hero’s adventures. Conan is no stranger to film, courtesy of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, and following the more fantastical nature of Marvel’s series would be the perfect way to reintroduce him.

1 Ka-Zar The Savage

There’s little in Marvel Comics so unambiguously adventurous as Ka-Zar. This is partially because the hero was essentially created to be the 616 answer to Tarzan. Based in the Savage Lands, Ka-Zar befriended a saber-tooth tiger, Zabu, who accompanies the hero on his many adventures.

Ka-Zar, much like Tarzan, is an orphan who often finds himself traveling between the Savage Lands and the civilized world for his heroic missions. His brilliant run Ka-Zar the Savage could make for a brilliant, somewhat more mature spin on Tarzan—one that could incorporate MCU heroes into it and uses more fantastical creatures.

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