DID YOU READ

Adapt This: “Absolution” by Christos Gage and Roberto Viacava

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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: Absolution by Christos Gage and Roberto Viacava

The Premise: In a world where superheroes are part of a sanctioned law-enforcement unit, John Dusk is a veteran good guy with amazing powers.

After years of putting down society’s most heinous criminals, Dusk encounters one too many repeat offenders and kills a murderer during an encounter. Instead of feeling remorse about it, he feels good — so good that he begins taking down more of the city’s most sadistic perps… permanently. As his new “hobby” finds its way into the headlines, he’s forced to keep his extracurricular activities a secret from his fellow policemen, his super-powered partners, and his detective girlfriend.

But how far is too far when it comes to ridding the world of evil?

The Pitch: Absolution writer Christos Gage has already made a name for himself scripting episodes of the hit crime drama “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” as well as celebrated runs on “G.I. Joe: Cobra,” “Stormwatch: Post-Human Division,” and “Avengers: The Initiative” — so it’s no surprise that his work lends itself well to the screen. A procedural fan who knows his way around real-world law enforcement and investigation, Gage has crafted an excellent story in Absolution that manages to balance both superhero elements and crime drama masterfully.

In many ways, Absolution is exactly what one might expect to see if super-powered characters were introduced to the world of “Law & Order.” John Dusk is what “S.V.U.” mainstay Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) could indeed become if he was given similar abilities and finally reached that ever-present breaking point that he often nears, but never crosses.

With the exception of a few characters, Absolution also manages to keep many of the powers wielded by the world’s superheroes and superhuman villains fairly manageable (from an effects perspective), though the most difficult one to bring to the screen could be Dusk’s ability. In the series, he’s able to manifest a field of blue energy that he can manipulate however he wants — forming a shield, a weapon, or a form of transportation if he so desires. Dusk’s power is similar to that of DC superhero Green Lantern, though it operates on a much smaller scale in the world Gage has created for Absolution.

And while Absolution is stocked with graphic, violent action sequences, it remains a drama at heart, and a study of the criminal justice system and the people who work within its structures. When I spoke to Gage about the book several years ago, he indicated that the concept for the series came from a conversation he had with a real-world police officer who worked in a department not unlike “S.V.U.” and dealt with the sort of terrible crimes perpetrated by the worst criminals society has to offer. Faced with one atrocity after another, some law-enforcement personnel lose their ability to separate themselves from their professional life — and Absolution explores one of the many potential outcomes of their traumatic day-to-day routines.

Absolution would probably work best as a movie or television miniseries, as the narrative has a well-defined set of acts that explore the story’s theme and offer some — if not many — conclusions about the consequences of John Dusk’s actions. To extend it beyond the narrative of the original comic would likely dilute the powerful message it conveys, though the right writer could certainly find new avenues to explore.

The Closing Argument: Much like Brian Michael Bendis’ Powers comic book series — which follows a branch of law enforcement charged with investigating superpower-related crimes — Absolution manages to have that rare hit potential for both procedural drama audiences and fans of science-fiction or other, more fantastic fare. Gage’s work in television clearly factored into the story’s structure and pacing, so it’s not difficult to look at the collected edition of Absolution as a storyboard for a potential film or television project.

In the end, it really comes down to one question: Do we want to see a superhero version of “Law & Order: SVU”? If the answer is yes, then look no further than Absolution.


Would “Absolution” make a good movie or television project? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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