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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SO EXCITED!!!

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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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.”

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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. 

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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.

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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.