DID YOU READ

ADAPT THIS: “The Homeland Directive” by Robert Venditti & Mike Huddleston

ADAPT THIS: “The Homeland Directive” by Robert Venditti & Mike Huddleston (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: The Homeland Directive by Robert Venditti & Mike Huddleston

The Premise: When a leading researcher at the Center for Disease Control is framed for the murder of her partner, she finds herself on the run with a trio of rogue federal agents out to expose a vast government conspiracy. With the combined forces of the U.S. government and a team of computer-information experts on their tail, the group must race against time to find the origin of — and cure for — a deadly virus poised to kill millions of people.

The Pitch: With “Contagion” hitting theaters this weekend, it’s not hard to envision a thriller featuring a cast of government agents racing against time to prevent the spread of a terrible disease. Add an “Enemy of the State”-style conspiracy to the mix, and you’ve got a good handle on the appeal of The Homeland Directive.

Robert Venditti showed a knack for exploring complicated philosophical issues using fast-paced adventure in his previous graphic novel, The Surrogates, which was adapted into a 2009 science-fiction film starring Bruce Willis. In The Homeland Directive, Venditti offers up a more grounded story set in what he refers to as “the Orwellian present” — our modern era of digital transactions, cameras on every phone, and near-omnipresent surveillance.

The question posed in the story goes something like this: Can anyone really hide from the government at a time when face- and voice-recognition software has become an off-the-shelf purchase?

Along with tackling the balance between personal privacy and national security, Venditti’s tale carries readers along for a hectic ride as its characters try to out-maneuver the government forces on their trail. Knowing that it’s only a matter of time before they’re cornered, there’s a genuine sense of uncertainty as to whether the ragtag group will survive long enough to reveal the truth and clear their names.

The Closing Argument: The Homeland Directive mixes the conspiracy theory of “Enemy of the State” with the tense, against-the-clock action of “24,” then throws in a dash of “Contagion” for terrifying, ripped-from-headlines danger.

In many ways, The Homeland Directive is actually superior to The Surrogates in that he was clearly able to pay more attention paid to pacing and character development this time around, and it’s as easy to see the story playing out on a movie screen as it is to see it unfold on the page.


This Week’s Comic Creator Recommendation: Hellblazer

“If I was an entertainment magician for DC/Vertigo, I’d team with BBC America for a ‘Hellblazer’ series immediately. There’s a wealth of great source material, and BBCA is producing some really amazing shows right now. If you do the series right, it could put lightweight stuff like ‘Supernatural’ out to pasture without even blinking. The casting is key, and the list of lead actor prospects could probably be debated for days. Personally, I’d like to propose a dark horse candidate: Rupert Penry-Jones. He plays Adam Carter on ‘Spooks’ (or ‘MI-5’ as we know it here in the U.S.), and could easily take on the love-to-hate-him role of John Constantine. “

Brandon Jerwa, author of several tremendously popular arcs of the Battlestar Galactica and G.I. Joe comic book series, as well as a co-writer for DC Comics’ The Shield miniseries. Jerwa is currently developing a documentary titled “Untold Tales of the Comic Book Industry,” which fans can support via a Kickstarter fundraising campaign.


Would “The Homeland Directive” make a good movie? How about a “Hellblazer” television series? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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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.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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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.

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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.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

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.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.