Today, the trend seems to be to base movies on well known comic book characters. Has it ever worked the other way? If so, which Sci-Fi movie character was the first Sci-Fi comic book character to have appeared on the silver screen before it was featured in its own successful comic book series?

  • Probably not the first, the Star Wars was first a movie, with book and comic book adaptations after the movies. Others I can think of... Tarzan, Zorro... were initially based on books, not a movie. Sep 29, 2012 at 22:05
  • actually it's pretty rare that a movie isn't based on anything (especially these days) Sep 29, 2012 at 22:32
  • Does it have to be a hero? Just pick any old movie and a comic was likely made about them. Take Donald Duck for example, he was animated in 1934 and became a comic book character in 1937. Sep 29, 2012 at 22:58
  • @GorchestopherH Nice suggestion. I edited the title accordingly. Sep 29, 2012 at 23:31

3 Answers 3


I'd like to throw good ol' Mickey Mouse into the mix. Having his movie debut back in 1928 and his comic book series starting in various places around 1937. Donald Duck seemed to be a more popular comic character and even made it into news paper comic strips around the same time, although his animated appearance was far later than Mickey, around 1934.

If Mickey doesn't count as a popular enough comic book character, certainly Donald Duck, who had roughly the same comic book debut, is one of the most popular comic book characters of all time (just ask Italy and Germany).

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    +1 | This is certainly the case with Donald Duck. It is hard to believe how famous and popular the character is in Italy and Germany. Sep 30, 2012 at 3:38
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    What surprises me more is how good those comics actually are. Still one of the best ways to learn German. Sep 30, 2012 at 17:48
  • I'm not sure that Mickey and Donald count as sci-fi. They had the occasional sci-fi adventure, and some very good ones, like the Duckmite story and "Lost in the Andes", but by and large they were mundane stories.
    – user14111
    Apr 14, 2015 at 0:50
  • @GorchestopherH: Are the good German Duck stories all translations of the stories of Carl Barks et al., or do they have good original stories in German?
    – user14111
    Apr 14, 2015 at 1:39
  • @user14111 Erica Fuchs translated a lot of these from Carl Barks etc up till 2005, but these are not word-for-word translations. The dialogue was bumped up a notch to be more political/philosophical. More like Calvin and Hobbes. I'm not sure whom else was involved. Apr 14, 2015 at 12:02

I've got an earlier one. Gertie the Dinosaur, one of the very first cartoons EVER. Well… During he was making the film, Winsor McCay worked also on a comic serie, Little Nemo in Slumberland. And his upcoming character appeared on September 21, 1913 as a background character in an episode of Little Nemo in Slumberland. Of course, you could argue that it's more a cameo or a nod of the author than really an adaptation, but still, one of the earliest connections.

Also, according to Wikipedia, Winsor McCay's son Robert tried to revive the character of Gertie in comics, during the 1950's, but I don't know if it counts (the original movie was one of the firsts, but between the movie and the comic adaptation, other movies were adapted in other comics… quite debatable).

here's a panel of Gertie the Dinosaur in McCay's comics.

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    It would help a lot if you could provide dates. The answer is rather irrelevant without the correct time frame, given the nature of the question. Apr 12, 2015 at 13:43
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    You are absolutely right. So, I did it. Apr 13, 2015 at 14:53
  • Nice, the answer is much improved! Apr 13, 2015 at 18:05

The earliest example I can think of is James Bond, who jumped from book to movie in 1962 and then from movie to comic series decades later.

  • I know Marvel adapted For Your Eyes Only in the 1970s; however, I don't think there was an on-going James Bond comic until this century. I also have to note that a Dr. No adaptation was planned when that movie came out, at least - I want to say it wound up being tweaked and released as a non-James Bond story, possibly in DC's Showcase series.
    – RDFozz
    Aug 15, 2018 at 17:20

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