DID YOU READ

ADAPT THIS: “DMZ” by Brian Wood & Riccardo Burchielli

ADAPT THIS: “DMZ” by Brian Wood & Riccardo Burchielli (photo)

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With Hollywood turning more of its attention to the world of graphic novels for inspiration, I’ll cast the spotlight on a new comic book each week that has the potential to pack a theater or keep you glued to your television screens. At the end of each “Adapt This” column, you’ll also find some thoughts from the industry’s top comic creators about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.


This Week’s Book: DMZ by Brian Wood and  Riccardo Burchielli 

The Premise: After a second Civil War turns the island of Manhattan into a demilitarized zone, photojournalist Matthew Roth finds himself alone and abandoned when the news crew he accompanied to the island is killed in a firefight. As one of the few journalists on the ground in the DMZ, he begins reporting on the daily struggles for the 400,000 remaining inhabitants of the island, who are cut off from family, friends, and the rest of the nation. As he gets pulled deeper and deeper into the war between the United States of America and the secessionist “Free States,” he’s forced to find the balance between reporting the news and making the news.

The Pitch: When Brian Wood recently informed his fans that DMZ had almost been set up at a television network, it didn’t come as much of a surprise. What was surprising — and a little disappointing — was that whatever network made a play for the project couldn’t make it happen.

For anyone who’s read DMZ, the notion of bringing Wood’s tale to life on the screen is pretty much a no-brainer. Packed with compelling story arcs, fascinating characters, and a unique forum for addressing hot-button issues in the real world, DMZ practically begs to make the leap from comic book page to gritty, live-action series.

For those who aren’t familiar with the series, DMZ is a blend of “Escape From New York”-style survival story, post-disaster documentary, and gonzo-journalism narrative, all rolled into one ongoing saga that stretches from one end of Manhattan to the other. And like many good stories set in Manhattan, the ravaged, barely recognizable urban landscape is as much a character in the tale as Matty Roth and his neighbors — something the story shares with many of the best New York City-based films and television.

Given the current obsession with post-apocalyptic settings — “The Walking Dead” and “Falling Skies” television series, to name a few — a series like DMZ would seem to be a natural fit for today’s television audiences. And in this case, the absence of zombies, aliens, or other supernatural elements not only sets it apart from the competition, but could also make it more appealing to viewers who shy away from genre projects. (It might allow for a lower budget, too.)

However, even without all of these other elements, the story of DMZ makes a strong case for itself as exactly the sort of thing networks should be looking to for the next generation of programming. Whether it’s photojournalist Matty Roth, former med student Zee Hernandez, or charismatic local leader Parco Delgado, every character in DMZ has a compelling story, and it becomes clear early on that seeing the island of Manhattan through their eyes is not just a plot point, it’s the foundation of the story.

The Closing Argument: While DMZ unfolds in an alternate timeline, it’s easy to identify the points in recent history that, if a different decision or two were made, would’ve set the real world on a path echoing that of DMZ. A network that treats the world of DMZ as a period piece instead of a fantasy could very well find themselves with the rare project that spans the divide between real-world drama and escapist adventure. Given all of those attributes, it’s easy to believe we’ll be getting another update from Wood soon enough — but this time, he’ll be telling us about the network that did pick it up.


This Week’s Comic Creator Recommendation: Bone by Jeff Smith (Cartoon Books)

“More than anything, I’d love to see Bone adapted as an animated feature. And in a perfect world, it would be lush, hand-drawn animation rather than computer-generated graphics. It’s such a classic story, it deserves a classic treatment.” 

Ron Marz, the writer of numerous company- and creator-owned titles including Green Lantern (in which he co-created the Kyle Rayner character), Silver Surfer, Witchblade (which he currently writes), Shinku, and a long list of other titles from Top Cow, Marvel, DC, and other publishers.


Would “DMZ” make a good movie? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.