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ADAPT THIS: “Four Eyes” by Joe Kelly & Max Fiumara


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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 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: Four Eyes by Joe Kelly (writer) and Mike Fiumara (illustrator), published by Image Comics

The Premise: In New York City during the Great Depression, ten-year-old Enrico will do anything to support his mother — even wrangling dragons for the local crime syndicate’s brutal arena. When he adopts a dragon of his own, Enrico could finally have the means to avenge his father’s death and turn his family’s fortunes around, but can he turn a deformed, abandoned dragon into a killer?

The Pitch: Originally published in late 2008, Four Eyes is the sort of story that feels like it’s based in a slightly tweaked version of our own world — or in this case, our own world’s history.

The story’s main character, Enrico, is a child of the Great Depression, but the economic and cultural troubles of that time present far more danger to him and his family than the winged, fire-breathing creatures that also inhabit this alternate-world version of New York City. And like any good story rooted in reality with a touch of the fantastic, Four Eyes builds its foundation in the experiences we can all relate to before the first dragon rears its snout.

While the comic book series itself remains unfinished (only four issues have been published so far, with more promised this year), there’s already enough there to see the book’s potential as a big-screen adventure with a boy, his dragon, and their desire for revenge.

One thing Four Eyes isn’t, though, is a children’s story.

Sure, there’s a coming-of-age theme wrapped within Enrico’s tale, but there’s also — and possibly more importantly — a dramatic period piece. The depths to which Enrico and the rest of the city’s inhabitants were willing to sink during the Great Depression play as much of a role in establishing the story’s tone as the dragons themselves, and the way Kelly and Fiumara blend the two aspects of this alternate history is what makes Four Eyes so compelling.

Of course, that’s not to say there aren’t ample amounts of fire-spewing, fang-gnashing dragon brawls, too. From Enrico’s first, tragic encounter with a dragon to the dark, violent adventure that introduces him to the four-eyed runt the story is named for, the story is filled with opportunities for a digital effects team to work their magic. And that’s not even counting the massive dragon fights that serve as a backdrop for Enrico’s story.

Imagine a giant, feathered, serpent-like lizard sinking its teeth into a scaly, winged behemoth belching blue flame as they twist and roar across a theater screen and you’ll begin to understand the visual potential of Four Eyes.

The Closing Argument: Even though we only have four issues of Four Eyes to go on, its strong dramatic narrative, well-developed characters, fantastic eye candy, and fantastic premise make it exactly the sort of thing that could hit the sweet spot with mainstream audiences and cinephiles alike.

This Week’s Comic Creator Recommendation: Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer (SLG)

“Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins put a unique spin on both the vampire genre and Collodi’s original fairy tale. Their story of the infamous wooden puppet with an ever-growing nose – providing him with an endless supply of stakes with which to combat the vampires invading his idyllic town – is at once action-packed, witty, and heartfelt.”

Robert Venditti, co-creator of The Surrogates (the inspiration for the 2009 film starring Bruce Willis) and the recently released graphic novel The Homeland Directive from Top Shelf Comix.

Does “Four Eyes” sound like it’d make a worthwhile film? Let us know 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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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.