12 Movies Based On Nonfiction Comic Books

By  · Published on August 5th, 2015

New Line Productions

The summer movie season is still in full force, with a new superhero blockbuster (Fantastic Four) due in theaters on Friday. It’s also the first week of school for many kids in my neck of the woods, so while I’m looking forward to the release of the latest Marvel Comics adaptation, I thought I’d seek out some more educational comic books and any movies based on them and then share what I find with readers.

While there are plenty of nonfiction comics, whether strips or graphic novels, very few have been adapted for the screen. And what has been turned into a movie is strictly the memoir type of nonfiction comic books rather than the historical, biographical and otherwise informational variety. Also, none of them are documentaries, but contrary to how we look, Nonfics is not strictly devoted to docs, but any nonfiction.

Here are six that I’m aware of followed by five that are supposed to be made in the future. Please let me know of any I’ve missed.

American Splendor (2003)

Based on both Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor (1976–2008) comic book series and Joyce Brabner’s graphic novel Our Cancer Year (1994), the married couple’s autobiographical works naturally blend together given that their lives were obviously intertwined. Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini play with the form and concepts of adaptation in clever ways, making this one of the best comic book movies of all time, regardless of genre or classification.


Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.