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.


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…


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. 


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 ’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?”


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).



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.


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


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

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.


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.


Forget Public Wifi

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



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.


Self Defense

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


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