DID YOU READ

ADAPT THIS: “Superman: Red Son” by Mark Millar, Dave Johnson, and Kilian Plunkett

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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: Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar (w), Dave Johnson (a), and Kilian Plunkett (a)

The Premise: What if, instead of landing in Smallville, Superman landed in the Soviet Union? How would the DC Universe change if the Man of Steel grew up on a collective instead of a farm in Kansas? This tale from DC’s popular “Elseworlds” line explores how Batman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, and the rest of Superman’s fellow heroes and villains would’ve changed in a world where the most powerful being on the planet was a champion of Socialism instead of a force for “truth, justice, and the American way.”

The Pitch: With DC’s entire line of superheroes and villains receiving a reboot this week, it seems appropriate to put the spotlight on some of the publisher’s past alternate-universe success stories.

Published in 2003, Superman: Red Son was scripted by Kick-Ass and Wanted writer Mark Millar, and presents a very different — and fascinating — take on the Superman mythos. Not only does Superman’s story chart a dramatically different course, but Millar also offers up alternate versions of Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Lex Luthor, Brainiac, and more characters whose histories are inextricably tied to that of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s bullet-proof Man of Steel.

However, given the high profile of Superman these days in Zack Snyder’s upcoming “Man of Steel” movie, it’s unlikely that Red Son would — or should — get the live-action treatment. What the story could benefit from, though, is a feature-length animated film like the recent “All Star Superman,” which was also based on a Superman adventure (his final adventure, in fact) falling outside the character’s regular continuity.

Widely regarded as one of the best of DC’s popular “Elseworlds” tales, Red Son is not only a compelling story with a strong narrative arc and powerful conclusion, but it also serves as a reminder of all the reasons why Superman has become one of the world’s most iconic characters — simply by showing how different he could have been.

Like All-Star Superman and Justice League: The New Frontier before it, Superman: Red Son also offers a nice opportunity to experiment with different artistic representations of some of the DC’s most popular characters. From the Soviet version of Batman to America’s ultra-militarized Green Lantern Corps, Red Son is packed with new twists on old favorites that have become some of the most popular alternate versions of the characters introduced over the years.

The Closing Argument: While it’s certainly not viable for live-action adaptation at this point, Superman: Red Son is an easy choice for animated feature treatment. By combining a thought-provoking story that appeals to adults with colorful, fascinating twists on well-known characters, Red Son is one of those rare projects that bridges the gap between generations and illustrates why comics — and the movies based on the them — are still fresh and full of surprises for new and old fans alike.


This Week’s Comic Creator Recommendation: Bad Machinery by John Allison

“I would love to see Bad Machinery by John Allison adapted into a television series. It’s a positively charming British take on children solving mysteries. The humor is fresh, the kids are whip smart, and the plots are kooky and inventive. It gives a hilarious peek at the peculiarities of growing up in modern day England and the fun of solving mysteries like ‘Is the stray dog roaming town actually a baby wendigo?'”

Chris Hastings, author of the award-winning webcomic The Adventures of Dr. McNinja and the recent three-issue Marvel Comics miniseries Fear Itself: Deadpool.


Would “Superman: Red Son” make a good animated movie? Would “Bad Machinery” make a good television series? 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.
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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.
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Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
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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.
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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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