DID YOU READ

ADAPT THIS: “Guerillas” by Brahm Revel

ADAPT THIS: “Guerillas” by Brahm Revel (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: Guerillas by Brahm Revel

The Premise: Meek, gun-shy Private John Francis Clayton is on his first tour of duty in Vietnam when his platoon is ambushed by enemy forces. Surviving out of sheer cowardice, he discovers that he’s the only survivor of the massacre, left alone in the jungle with enemies all around him. All is not lost, however, as he soon encounters the simian soldiers of an experimental squad of military-trained chimpanzees. The bizarre unit takes him under their protection as they continue to wage war against the Viet Cong, but the U.S. military is also out to recover the apes – dead or alive.

The Pitch: Created by The Venture Bros. cartoonist and storyboard artist Brahm Revel, Guerillas is a gritty take on one of America’s most controversial wars that manages to be both thought-provoking and deadly serious despite its fantastic premise. Pvt. Clayton is far from the gun-toting hero we’ve come to expect in war films, and his frightened, fish-out-of-water observations of the way human and chimp soldiers handle the war experience make the story amount to so much more than the “apes with machine guns” premise.

Given the visual accomplishments of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” it’s easy to see the CG possibilities for something like Guerillas, in which the emotions and subtle actions of both the human and ape characters play a big role in the narrative. In order to stay safe from both the enemies and his fellow soldiers (human and chimp), Clayton needs to learn the ways of both the battlefield and the animal kingdom… or become just another one of their casualties.

Of course, that’s not to say there isn’t a hefty dose of action in the story, too. While reading Guerillas, it’s easy to envision the fast-moving, bloody battles involving the chimps and enemy soldiers unfolding on the big screen. While Revel is a talented artist, many sequences are practically begging to make the leap from page to screen, with chimps dashing, climbing, swinging, and jumping around the jungle while firing off rifles and tossing grenades, alternating between their hands and feet as they dispatch their enemies with ruthless efficiency.

Along with the tension of Clayton’s predicament and his interaction with the squad of chimps, Guerillas also features a pursuit subplot that only adds to the richness of the story. Developing parallel to Clayton’s narrative, the story also follows a group of soldiers tasked with recovering the experimental chimp unit. With each piece of information they discover on the trail of the chimps, the audience becomes more aware of the danger Clayton is in.

The Closing Argument: Guerillas could easily work as a serialized television project or a hybrid live-action/CG film. Its human and chimpanzee characters are equally compelling, and the story succeeds well beyond its simple premise. To its immense credit, Guerillas offers a brilliantly unique take on the “war is hell” story that combines the potential for impressive, jaw-dropping visuals with a fascinating story.


This Week’s Comic Creator Recommendation: Queen & Country (Oni Press)

“The book I would like to see adapted most out of my library is Greg Rucka’s excellent Queen & Country series. Already an ‘adaptation’ of a sort, based heavily on the world seen in UK series The Sandbaggers, this is a comic series that is more than the adventures of Tara Chase — this is a series where you believe in every character and feel loss when they die. Factual, moving, and filled with action, I demand a Queen & Country film or series right now.”

Tony Lee, best-selling author of the ongoing Doctor Who comic book series at IDW Publishing, as well as From The Pages Of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’: Harker, the graphic novel adaptation of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, and an upcoming MacGyver series for Image Comics.


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

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

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

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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