From page to screen: Graphic novels, comics and comic strips


While often thought of as a modern Hollywood phenomenon, the adaptation of graphic novels, comics and comic strips to screen has roots buried further back in history.

Among the earliest adaptations to screen was the British comic strip ‘Ally Sloper’ (above) — a tale by Charles H. Ross about a lazy lad who expended his energies avoiding debt collectors in the alleyways of London — adapted to film of the same name in 1898 by George Albert Smith.

In France, Rodolphe Topffer’s lovelorn Monsieur Vieux Bois (above) was brought to life through the animated adaptation Histoire de M. Vieux Bois 1922.

In North America Windsor McCay adapted his own newspaper comic strips to animations of which Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend: The Flying House 1921 (above) is featured in the ‘Drawn to Screen’ program.

From 6 January until 4 March 2012, the Gallery’s Australian Cinémathèque presents ‘Drawn To Screen: Graphic Novels, Comics and Serials‘ exploring the crossover between the drawn narrative and its adaptation to animation and live—action films. From classic comic serials to graphic novels, the program brings together over 60 films from around the world that chart the shift from the printed page to screen and the way comic genres and themes challenge personal and cultural expectations. From morally complex superheros through to satirical reflections of the mundane, these films capture our imagination, engage our empathy and prick our social consciousness.