DID YOU READ

10 graphic novels and comics that should be movies

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The following are Ron’s picks for comics that should get the cinematic treatment. For our weekly column on other books we think should be adapted, the aptly titled “Adapt This,” click here.

We are in the midst of a graphic novel renaissance. Anticipation for the upcoming Batman movie is at record high levels. The Walking Dead is a huge hit. Aya of Yop City, another favorite, is coming to the big screen in 2D soon. And so, connected to that, a question arises: What other popular graphic novels are particularly well-suited for the big screen. Here are 10 that this writer would, quite frankly, gladly by a ticket.


10. Starman

The character development of DC’s Jack Knight, aka Starman, spans the entire length of this graphic novel. One could even go so far as to posit that the narrative right down to the paneling (storyboarding) is the blueprint for a great superhero movie. But as superheroes go, Starman, like Batman, possesses no actual superpowers. Instead, Jack Knight uses his “Cosmic Rod” — a device invented by his father, the saintly scientist Ted Knight — to punish criminals menacing his home, Star City. Jack Knight, a fully-fleshed character if there ever was one, loves all things retro. He doesn’t wear a costume but is a legitimate tough guy that reluctantly inherits his family’s Starman mantle after his brother is assassinated by the murderous Mist family.


9. “Y: The Last Man”

A mysterious virus — or what appears to be a mysterious virus — wipes out all the men on the planet. Yorick Brown, an “escape artist,” and his pet Capuchin monkey, Ampersand are the only male survivors on a planet full of women. It sounds like male fantasy wish fulfillment but it isn’t. This Vertigo graphic novel takes Yorick on a quest across a world full of recently unattached women to find — get this — his true love, Beth, who may or may not be in Australia. This is a guy movie that a date wouldn’t mind (wink wink) either.

What complicates things are an Amazonian cult hell-bent on killing the last man on earth as well as the literally millions of women that would like to possess that last man (and, seriously, how awesome is that?). Ultimately –spoiler alert– it is Yorick’s handling of Ampersand’s feces that gives him resistance to the plague (blech). There has been online speculation that Zachary Levi would be an excellent Yorick. I will not poo-poo, no pun intended, on that speculation. A winner of three Eisner awards and written by Brian K. Vaughn I have only four things to say on this in closing: Make. This. Film. Now.


8. “The Zen of Steve Jobs”

Published in, of all places, Forbes, the Zen of Steve Jobs is one of the most brilliantly imaginative graphic novels in recent memory. It is also quite viral. Written by Caleb Melby, this graphic novel tells a fictional and very sweet story of Steve Jobs in his “Wilderness Years” — after he was aced out of the company, Apple, that he had founded. Steve at the time actually enlisted Zen priest Kobun Chino Otogawa to teach him about how Buddhism could enhance his famously acute design sense. The rest, of course, is history.

Although a heady topic, to be sure (at the intersection of Buddhism and design), it works — and is quite beautiful — as a graphic novel about a person who changed the world. After the best-selling Walter Issacson biography and the creepy action figure culturally we are still not quite over Steve Jobs. This, more than any Jobs biography, would make for a wonderful full length film.


7. “Maus”

Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” was a game changer for graphic novels. In depicting a subject as serious as the Holocaust, “Maus,” an anthropomorphic graphic novel depicting Jews as mice and Germans as cats, expanded the parameters of the subject matter of all graphic novels that came afterwards. There is Before Maus and now we live in After Maus — a space in which the graphic novel can now be properly construed as a legitimate art form.

It is astonishing that no one (Steven Spielberg? Francis Ford?) has turned this into a CGI film yet with Tom Hanks doing the voice. Fingers crossed.


6. “Swamp Thing”

It is about time to apply some bio-restorative formula to this wonderfully eerie story by Alan Moore about our favorite plant elemental and his nemesis, the relentless black magician Arcane. This story has it all: love, loss, an inquiry into the nature of power, dark magic and even a low level, unintrusive environmentalism.

The swamp thing is more than just a vegetable mass that thinks itself Alec Holland (although that’s partly true) — it, no pun intended, has legs. There have already been two movies and a TV show that have spun out of the successful DC comic. Imagine what a filmmaker like Tim Burton could do in reimagining the unforgiving Louisiana Bayou.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
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Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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