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Adapting a Public Domain Comic Book

How About Public Domain Comic Books

 As we watch another summer where many of the massive budget films were adapted from popular Comic books. as a micro budget screenwriter there are not many direct ways for you to get in on the action. These adaptations are for those who have worked in the Hollywood system for a while. There are however ways for you to prove yourself capable of writing one of these types of screenplays. I have superheroe dreams like many of your. I would love to do a Green Hornet screenplay, but no one is going to offer me a shot unless I have a track record. 

 How do you build a track record in this genre? 

 You can write a great fan film based upon one of your favorite heroes. The best micro budget superhero film that I have ever seen (better than a few of the big budget versions as well) is a fan film titled Joker Rising. That movie’s script is a great calling card. You could do the same thing. The only problem with this is that you either need to be a film maker or network with film makers who are interested in shooting a fan film.


 Recently I was introduced to a new concept. Instead of adapting a famous comic book into a screenplay why not adapt a public Domain Comic Book. A little known fact is that there are thousands of comics that have fallen into the public domain due to the fact that the companies in the forties and fifties that released them went out of businesses and never renewed the copyrights. 

 “That was a long time ago. You can not be serious. Who wants to bring back a Character from the forties or fifties?”You say. 


Superman, Batman, Wonderwoman and my favorite Captain America began their careers around World War 2. Those characters have endured and changed with the times. You should take the time to investigate these lost characters. There are also characters that are based upon mythical heroes such as Thor or Isis. You can take these heroes and created a screenplay featuring them as long as they do not resemble their comic book counterparts. Sci-fi channel does things like this all the time. They did a Thor movie and it was pretty bad, but they did it and had no problem with the copyright. 

You can make the Frankenstein monster into a hero an antihero like Dracula which is done to perfection in the anime series Hellsing.


  If you chose to do this you must first find a subject that you love. Read the original material over and over until you know every single detail and then get to work on the story. If you do not love a character and comic book based films are usually character driven stories then you should not attempt the task of writing a screenplay based upon that character. 

 Good luck with your project and please take a moment to add me to your google plus. I may have some news soon about a screenplay I have been working on for sometime.

This post first appeared on Your No Budget Screenplay, please read the originial post: here

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Adapting a Public Domain Comic Book


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