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DID YOU READ

John Carpenter explains why his “Asylum” comic book is an “irresistible” project

John Carpenter explains why his “Asylum” comic book is an “irresistible” project (photo)

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When it comes to the Halloween season, there are few directors whose films get more mileage than John Carpenter.

So, how is the filmmaker responsible for horror classics like “Halloween,” “Christine,” and “The Thing” celebrating the holiday this year? By attending this weekend’s Long Beach Comic and Horror Con and showing off his latest tale of terror, apparently.

IFC caught up with the director ahead of his appearance at this weekend’s show to get more info on John Carpenter’s Asylum, the upcoming comic book series he helped create with his wife, Sandy King, and actor Thomas Ian Griffith. (You can check out a teaser for the book at digital publishing site Graphicly.)

“It’s essentially a horror comic about a conflict that involves the most powerful evil of all, and a plan to open a portal in Los Angeles that would be the beginning of the end for mankind,” said Carpenter of the series. “The stakes are big, but I love shit like that. I’ve loved that type of stuff since I was a kid. It’s irresistible to me.”

Announced earlier this year, Asylum will be scripted by veteran comics writer Bruce Jones, with interior art by Jason Craig. Carpenter will be in attendance at Long Beach Comic and Horror Con this Saturday (October 29) to sign a special preview issue of the book alongside King and Griffith.

And even though the book is making its debut at a comic convention, Carpenter warns that the project isn’t your typical capes-and-tights story.

“The characters are conflicted. They’re certainly not superheroes,” he explained.

Carpenter also made it clear that this isn’t just some project he lends his name to, either. While he’s well aware that the comics industry is relatively new ground for him, he’s confident that he’s learning from some of the best — and enjoying the fact that he’s a student of the medium.

“I’m definitely involved in this, but I’ve never ever done [a comic] before, and I’m not writing the script,” he told IFC. “Bruce Jones is writing the script, because he’s a comic book writer. I’m learning a lot about it, though. Some of the techniques are similar to screenwriting, but some of them aren’t — some of them are very new to me. But I’m following it from script to finished page.”

“I’m kind of being carried through this,” he continued. “And I’m putting that in the best possible terms. My wife is acting as the editor of this comic book, and I’m still learning. I know about directing, but I don’t know anything about comics. I’m kind of a babe in the woods here.”

However, Carpenter considers this foray into the comics world a return to a medium he grew up with, and one that helped shape his future career.

“Of course I read comics,” he laughed. “I read the first issue of MAD Magazine ever. I was a big fan of EC Comics, maybe more so than any other comics. I loved those things. I went through the Marvel period and their coming of age and growth, too. I stopped for a while, but I appreciate Sin City and a lot of the new comics, like The Dark Knight and such. I’ve been a comic fan since before you were born.”

So, why is he only getting into the comics scene now? The time was just right, the filmmaker explained, and there’s nothing more to it.

“It just seemed like a good time,” he said, simply. “I know that the world of comic books is changing a great deal. I know that a lot of the comic book stores have been closing, and these are hard times, but there have been hard times in the past, too.”

In fact, in speaking about the project, Carpenter’s enthusiasm seemed to call back to those aforementioned younger days reading EC Comics.

“What can I say?” he laughed. “There’s just a lot of great shit that goes on in this book and I’m really excited about it!”

Carpenter and his Asylum co-creators will be signing preview copies of the book this Saturday (October 29) at the Storm King Productions booth (#913) inside Long Beach Comic and Horror Con. You can find out more information about his appearance at LBCC at the show’s official website: www.longbeachcomiccon.com.

What do you think of Carpenter’s take on comics and “Asylum” plans? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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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.