Adapt This: “The New Brighton Archeological Society” by Mark Andrew Smith & Matthew Weldon

new brighton archeological society

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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 various comic creators about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.

This Week’s Book: The New Brighton Archeological Society by Mark Andrew Smith & Matthew Weldon

The Premise: After their parents disappear during a mysterious expedition in Antarctica, four children discover that their mothers and fathers were more than just great explorers — they were part of a secret society charged with protecting a library full of ancient magical artifacts. They decide to become the next generation of the New Brighton Archeological Society, and soon find themselves caught up in a terrible war over the library and its contents.

The Pitch: This one’s a no-brainer for the animated series treatment, as Mark Andrew Smith has created a strong cast of young characters and a world in which all sorts of fantastic adventures are possible. And much like the Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia series, New Brighton isn’t afraid to let kids save the world.

A good adaptation of the series would stretch the first volume of New Brighton into a season-long story arc, possibly with some additional material sprinkled throughout the season to provide more background on the society and the universe inhabited by the characters. Each episode could reveal a little more about the world’s secret history and their parents’ exploits, with other episodes focusing on the kids’ adventures as they attempt to stop the society’s arch enemy, Galomar, from controlling the library and all of the other magical artifacts scattered around the world.

Still, the most important part of a New Brighton Archeological Society cartoon should be the over-arching narrative that shows the children growing into the same roles their parents served as protectors of the world’s secrets. The popular Nickelodeon series “Avatar: the Last Airbender” did a great job with this type of long-form storytelling, and any network looking to adapt New Brighton would do well to draw inspiration from that formula.

As far as animation style and the visual elements of the story go, New Brighton artist Matthew Weldon did an excellent job of softening some of the darker, more serious elements of the book with an art style more suitable for young characters and readers. Any adaptation of the book should take cues from Weldon’s illustrations and give the series a bright palette, with big, expressive faces for the characters. One tweak that could be helpful for viewers, however, is to differentiate between the adult characters and children a little more clearly in the animated series, so the audience won’t be confused (especially during flashbacks).

The Closing Argument: Possibly the best argument in favor of adapting The New Brighton Archeological Society is that there’s never been an animated series quite like it. Equal parts magic, mystery, and globe-trotting, Indiana Jones-style adventure, New Brighton is a brilliantly imaginative, unique spin on the “kid hero” genre that gives us only the smallest peek at a much larger universe with heaps of potential.

Would “The New Brighton Archeological Society” make a good animated series? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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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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GIFS via Giphy

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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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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