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.


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.