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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.


Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.


Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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GIFs via Giphy

Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:


The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.


They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!


Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.


Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.