DID YOU READ

ADAPT THIS: “Creature Tech” by Doug TenNapel

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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 some “Adapt This” columns, you’ll also find 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: Creature Tech by Doug TenNapel

The Premise: After brilliant scientist and former preacher Michael Ong is named head researcher at a strange government facility, his life takes a turn for the weird when an alien being attaches itself to his body in a symbiotic relationship that gives him strange new powers. Ong barely has time to register his condition before he finds himself battling slug monsters, demonic cat-beasts, and a mad scientist intent on conquering the world with the help of a giant space eel.

Luckily, Ong has help from the local rednecks, the alien attached to his body, and a human-sized, CIA-trained mantis. (And those are the good guys!)

The Pitch: It’s worth pointing out right from the start that the adaptation rights to TenNapel’s Creature Tech were bought up by 20th Century Fox way back in 2002, almost half a year before the the book hit shelves and only after an intense bidding war. However, there’s been little word on the project since then, other than to announce that “Eureka” television series writer Andrew Cosby was working on the film’s screenplay.

The creator of the “Earthworm Jim” franchise of games, television series, and toys, TenNapel channeled a similarly zany tone for Creature Tech, and it’s easy to see how the tale of bizarre science and supernatural dangers run amuck could make for a fun big-screen adventure. When the book initially arrived on shelves, its story earned favorable comparisons to those of “Shrek” and the “Toy Story” movies, which also cast a quirky eye on their characters’ worlds.

Even so, the element that makes Creature Tech seem most apt for adaptation has nothing to do with the story’s eclectic cast of characters or the crazy things they get up to. What makes Creature Tech so appealing is that, at its core, it’s actually a wonderful little love story.

Much like “Shrek” or countless other offbeat films set within a universe where real-world rules don’t seem to apply, the one constant in Creature Tech is its main character’s desire to protect the love of his life and reveal his true feelings to her. It’s the sort of anchor that keeps a story grounded no matter how insane the environment becomes – which is good, because in Creature Tech, things get very, very insane.

Along with Michael Ong, there’s a long list of fun, quirky characters to be found in Creature Tech, whether human, alien, ghost, or insect. In fact, if the source material is translated well, there’s a good chance that supporting character Blue (a human-sized mantis trained by the CIA to be Ong’s bodyguard) could earn more than a few cheers from audiences.

Creature Tech also features a great matchup of hero and villain, with the evil Dr. Jameson and his diabolical machinations matching up nicely with the film’s unlikely hero. Like in all good stories of this sort, Ong is forced to face up to demons both within himself and in the world around him before he’s finally able to save the day (and the girl).

The Closing Argument: If it’s a standard studio pitch you’re looking for, a good “Creature Tech” movie would blend the weird-science tone of “Eureka” and the offbeat heroism of “Monsters vs. Aliens” with a nice dose of “Men In Black”-style creature effects. The entertainment should come as much from the characters themselves as from the world they inhabit — a world filled with unbelievably strange elements around every corner.

Whether an adaptation of Creature Tech takes form as a live-action film with digital effects or an animated film, there’s a great adventure just waiting to be mined in TenNapel’s story of faith, love, and science-fiction. Here’s hoping the studio sees it that way as well, and finally gets around to giving the adaptation the nudge it deserves.


Would “Creature Tech” make a good movie? 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.