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ADAPT THIS: “Cyclops” by Matz and Luc Jacamon

ADAPT THIS: “Cyclops” by Matz and Luc Jacamon (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: Cyclops by Matz and Luc Jacamon

The Premise: In 2054, the U.N. has decided to outsource its peacekeeping missions to private security firms. Down on his luck and needing some steady income, Doug Pistoia joins up for the paycheck, but soon finds himself wearing one of the signature, camera-equipped “Cyclops” helmets that feed the public craving for entertainment with each mission he and his unit take on. As he struggles to walk the line between celebrity and soldier, Pistoia must also contend with growing doubts about his role in society. Is he really keeping the peace, or just keeping the ratings high?

The Pitch: It’s not hard to see the relevance of a story like Cyclops in today’s culture of reality television and privatized military forces, but it’s the additional science-fiction element that really makes Matz and Jocamon’s story a unique subject for adaptation. While the book was optioned back in 2008 by Warner Bros. with “The Wolverine” director James Mangold attached to direct, there’s been little movement on the project in recent years — so now seems like as good as time as any to explain why they should move forward with a Cyclops movie.

Like many of the best commentaries on modern society and culture, Cyclops‘ message is delivered via strong characters operating in a world with just enough tweaks to make it different — but not entirely unlike — our own world. Along with the camera-equipped “Cyclops” helmets, the soldiers of the story’s not-too-distant future sport uniforms with “active camo” that turns them invisible and self-healing systems that treat minor wounds. The sleek, high-tech drop-ships they pilot and the weaponry they wield only serve as added reminders that this, in fact, a story about the future.

While Matz could easily resort to hitting readers over the head with the philosophical implications of a world where the lines between entertainment, news, and war have been irreparably blurred, he keeps the story focused on his main character, Doug Pistoia, who’s neither a super-soldier nor a ready-made celebrity. He’s a regular guy, in fact, and it’s the sort of role an actor could shine in — mixing explosive action with tense dramatic moments and clever dialogue.

As Mangold stated in the initial announcement of the book being optioned, the story has all the makings of the best summer blockbusters, appealing to both a mainstream audience interested in the action and sci-fi elements as well as theater-goers intrigued by the story’s thought-provoking look at an alternate but not completely inconceivable future.

The Closing Argument: In his introduction to the most recent collection of Cyclops, Matz mentions that his inspiration for the story came from Paul Verhoeven’s storytelling style in the “Starship Troopers” movie and the dystopian future of “Blade Runner.” Both projects are a great reference point for anyone pondering the appeal of Cyclops, as it manages to offer the best parts of both films in comic book form, and could very easily do the same as a live-action film.

At a time when news channels fight amongst themselves to show footage from a missile-mounted camera homing in its target, the world of Cyclops seems closer than ever — and a story like this offers an exciting way to explore the implications of such a world.


This Week’s Comic Creator Recommendation: Queen & Country by Greg Rucka and various artists

“This is a teensy bit of a cheat, since people have long wanted to make Rucka’s gritty, glorious British spy series into a movie. In fact, Blue Beetle and Dungeons and Dragons writer (and Leverage showrunner) John Rogers was hired to write a script, way back when. But I think the ongoing missions of Tara Chace and her fellow MI-5 ‘Minders’ would make for an even better TV show — especially since, as Rucka has admitted, it was inspired by a similarly gritty and glorious TV show called ‘The Sandbaggers.’ Each week, we’d watch as the wonderfully damaged Chace and her cronies while the time away in a shoddy office, drinking hard, sexing harder, play-acting at life, only to get sent off to foreign lands for people that need killing. For Queen and Country. Dear BBC America: Duh.”

Marc Bernardin, staff writer on the current SyFy series “Alphas,” and author of multiple comic book projects for Marvel, DC, Top Cow and other publishers, including The Highwaymen, Genius, The Authority, and JLA.


Would “Cyclops” or “Queen & Country” 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.