ADAPT THIS: “The Nobody” by Jeff Lemire, plus a guest contribution from Brad Meltzer


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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: The Nobody by Jeff Lemire

The Premise: A modern retelling of the H.G. Wells classic The Invisible Man, award-winning comic creator Jeff Lemire’s graphic novel The Nobody imagines bandaged stranger John Griffen as a drifter who wanders into a small fishing village one day. After taking up residence at the local inn, the mystery surrounding this new visitor makes the locals suspicious, and eventually leads to a series of encounters that not only reveal Griffen’s darkest secrets, but also those of his new neighbors.

The Pitch: We’ve seen the story of The Invisible Man told in film countless times, but Lemire’s take on the classic tale is uniquely different from the rest. In , we get a look at the see-through scientist in the early stages of the madness that would eventually turn him from scientific genius to soulless villain.

Known for his careful, heartfelt exploration of the stories that make small-town life compelling, Lemire applied a similar approach to The Nobody, developing a very real, very flawed world around his bandaged protagonist. While the main narrative follows John Griffen’s experiences in the quiet fishing village, his story also serves as the common thread that brings together the lives of several residents, including a young girl who occasionally serves as narrator. Given the wealth of character arcs that develop around the story’s titular character, it’s the sort of premise that could easily lend itself to a single film or quite possibly an ongoing series, following Griffen from place to place as he wanders the world.

In the character of John Griffen, Lemire has put his own spin on the classic “Invisible Man” that makes him an even more tragic figure than usual — this time, casting him as a lonely soul battling with both the physical dilemma beneath his bandages and his own vanishing sanity. In many ways, John Griffen’s story is a lot like that of Marvel Comics’ own scientist-turned-monster, Bruce Banner. Like that character, Griffen has a secret monster that he’s growing unable to contain, and he’s forced to move from place to place in order to keep his secret.

The Closing Argument: In many ways, Lemire’s tale feels like a mix of the classic television series “The Incredible Hulk,” with Bill Bixby playing the wandering David “Bruce” Banner as he drifts from town to town trying to be left alone, and the 1996 Coen Bros. film “Fargo,” a dark tale of murder and mayhem that unfolds around Minnesota and North Dakota. While it lacks the flashy, overt chaos of “The Incredible Hulk” and its raging green behemoth, Griffen’s arrival in town results in a similar sort of upheaval, and it’s clear that he’s accustomed to things turning sour not long after he settles in. And much like “Fargo,” the setting of Lemire’s story also plays a crucial role in the tone of the tale, with the small, isolated community incestuously amplifying every suspicion, secret, and uncertainty.

While The Nobody would do well as a feature film, it’s easy to see its potential as a television series, too — with Griffen traveling from place to place, fighting his own inner demons, running from the past, and finding more trouble in every sleepy new village he visits.

This Week’s Comic Creator Recommendation: Replay by Ken Grimwood

“The premise is so simple. Man is at his desk. And dies. And wakes up in his freshman dorm room. He gets to replay his life, knowing everything he knows so he makes himself rich. But, when he reaches that same age, he again dies. And when he wakes up, he’s a junior in college. The space is shrinking. And money didn’t make him happy, so he still has no idea how he’s supposed to live his life. It’s so easy, and so much makes you think of your own life. When I graduated college, I tried to buy the rights even though I had no money. (And yes, I know Ben Affleck is now making it now. But not my version).”

Brad Meltzer, the New York Times bestselling author of The Inner Circle, The Tenth Justice, Book of Lies and countless other novels, as well as the Eisner Award-winning writer of the DC Comics series The Justice League and Green Arrow, and the host of “Brad Meltzer’s Decoded” on the History Channel.

Would “The Nobody” make a good movie? 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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