A multi-blog look at lists of “Movies You Didn’t Know Were Based On Comics” to see how true they really are.
A History of Violence is the story of Tom McKenna, a small-town soda shop owner who becomes a local hero when he stops a violent attack by two men on his shop and repercussions.
Writer: John Wagner.
Artist: Vince Locke.
The graphic novel is divided roughly into thirds.
The first third is the story of the violent event, the aftermath and the escalating violence when Tom’s fame brings his past back to haunt him. A taunt psychological thriller, this part of the graphic novel is effective and interesting.
The second third is an extended flashback with Tom confessing his youth to his family and the events that have put him and them into the danger they are now in. It’s a mob story which feels like it is set decades earlier than it is as it doesn’t really do anything that many previous gangster stories have done before, however, it does have an honest feel about it that rescues it from feeling too worn out.
The final third is the lead-in to and the final showdown between Tom and those from his past that want him dead. This is the end of an action film/thriller, but there are part of it that are grotesque enough for it to verge on horror. Although this section is a bit mixed in genre and ends all too easily it is a visceral and satisfying conclusion.
A History of Violence is what exactly what DC Comic’s Paradox Press set out to produce – a comic without the superheroes of the DC main line of comics, or the myth/fantasy elements of DC’s Vertigo line. The graphic novel feels like it’s trying to bring movies into comics. The result is possibly too many movies in the one comic, but proves that comics are more than just capes and tights.