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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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar


IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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