DID YOU READ

Five Kickstarter-funded comic book documentaries to look out for

Five Kickstarter-funded comic book documentaries to look out for (photo)

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If you need $100 million to make a CGI-heavy action film, the project-funding website Kickstarter should definitely not be the first place you look. However, Kickstarter is becoming a hot spot to hunt down dollars for more modest indie projects, and comics-related documentary pitches in particular are becoming more and more common.

Five such comics documentaries have met their funding needs, and the dollar amounts they’ve been able to raise are impressive. Their topics range from historical investigations into censorship to massive interview compilations looking at what current creators grew up reading and what goes on behind the industry’s closed doors.



“Stripped: The Comics Documentary”

Status: Funded!

Creators Dave Kellett and Fred Schroeder set out to make a feature-length documentary about where comics come from and where they are headed. With at least 60 interviews from around the industry, it looks like they’re already off to a great start.

They initially sought $58,000 for “Stripped,” but funding has since eclipsed the $100,000 mark. If their scope and Kickstarter success translate into a story that’s as fascinating as their trailer suggests, Kellett and Schroeder could set a new standard for future producers and directors to look at.



“Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts”

Status: Funded!

If you spend any time at all on the Internet or reading comic books, you should already be at least casually familiar with writer Warren Ellis. The filmmakers, Patrick Meaney and Jordan Rennert already have one comic-creator doc under their belt with “Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods” (2010), and their ambitious follow-up aims to dissect one of the medium’s most beloved (and foul-mouthed) visionaries.

You may have to keep the little ones away from this film, but it’s sure to be an interesting watch.



“Untold Tales of the Comic Book Industry”

Status: Funded!

Spearheaded by comic book writer Brandon Jerwa, “Untold Tales” lays out a few of the same premises as “Stripped,” but seems to focus more on the rising and falling of the superhero market. The interviews in the trailer capture a behind-the-scenes feel from the periphery of the convention scene, and Jerwa is pooling the insights from publishers, as well as big-name creators such as Erik Larsen and Ben Templesmith.

It’s a documentary being made with love, and we look forward to seeing what emerges from Jerwa’s efforts, especially now that it has eclipsed the $19,000 mark on Kickstarter.



“Diagram for Delinquents”

Status: Funded!

If you thought that video games were the biggest over-blown threat ever to attract government attention, you may need to track down a copy of director Robert A. Emmons, Jr.’s film about the greatest real-life villain ever to attack comic books. “Diagram for Delinquents” looks at the life and work of psychiatrist and Seduction of the Innocent author Fredric Wertham.

Wertham’s efforts triggered book burnings and even congressional hearings that pushed comics publishers into a new era. The trailer has character, and the topics Emmons addresses will be of interest to comics readers from any decade.



“Cartoon College”

Status: Initial goal reached, but have since asked for $6000 more

Have you ever wanted to go to school to become a cartoonist? Filmmakers Tara Wray and Josh Melrod set out to see what goes on in the lives of students at Vermont’s Center for Cartoon Studies. They traveled around the U.S. and Canada interviewing professors and creators and seeing where students traveled to get their work out into the wild.

Judging from their description, “Cartoon College” may have the best diversity of sources of any of these documentaries. Moreover, they are also analyzing how the nature of the industry impacts the lives of aspiring artists.

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Which one of these comic book documentaries makes you want to check it out? Let us know in the comments 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.