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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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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.


IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.



IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on and the IFC app.

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