DID YOU READ

Adapt This: “WinterWorld” by Chuck Dixon and Jorge Zaffino

winterworld

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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: Winterworld by Chuck Dixon and Jorge Zaffino

The Premise: The world has frozen over from pole to pole, leaving what remains of the human race to forage in the snow and ice for the means to survive. Scully is a trader who travels between outposts, trading what he can scavenge from buried malls and other long-abandoned hubs of civilization. Everything changes when he crosses paths with Wynn, a young girl he rescues from a pair of savage settlers, and Scully and his pet badger Rahrah suddenly find themselves caught between two warring tribes in a battle for resources.

The Pitch: Think “Water World,” but with snow and ice instead of water, and a far better story, too.

WinterWorld actually predates the much-maligned Kevin Costner film by nearly a decade, and after reading this classic 1980s miniseries, there’s reason to believe Dixon and Zaffino could be owed some money from the “Water World” team — though it’s understandable if they opt not to draw any comparisons between their celebrated series and the soggy, 1995 box-office flop.

In WinterWorld, Dixon has crafted a great, post-apocalyptic adventure that manages to be compelling without any of the flashy, sci-fi gimmicks often used to hide lackluster character or story development. There’s very little going on in WinterWorld that doesn’t have roots here in the present-day, sunny world we know, and there’s little need for mutants or monsters to make the story’s setting any more frightening than it already is.

Tonally, WinterWorld is more similar to “The Walking Dead” than “Water World,” with its characters pushed from one seemingly safe place to another in their constant struggle to survive, and forced to deal with a variety of colorful (and dangerous) personalities in order to make it to the next day. There’s very little thought toward the bigger picture here or some world-changing element that could bring the world back to what it used to be — there’s simply the need to live and stay warm.

While Dixon’s original series topped out at a robust 80 pages, there’s still room to expand on the characters of Scully and Wynn in a big-screen adaptation, though the danger would be to shoe-horn in some element of romance where there shouldn’t be any — whether between Scully and an aged-up Wynn or an additional character that wasn’t present in the comic. The pair works as reluctant friends, and more of an uncle-niece dynamic than a father-daughter situation.

As far as other characters go, WinterWorld is a cornucopia of fun villains and other colorful roles for talented actors to chew on, from the burly Big-Bite, chief of the Bear People, to Bossman and his henchmen, who run a massive farm built out of an enclosed sports stadium.

That brings up one of the other appealing elements of a “WinterWorld” movie: the amazing set pieces that such a project would require.

From underground, frozen-over malls to the aforementioned “Tiers” — a farm that fills the field and rows of a covered baseball stadium — there’s ample material for production designers to flex their creative muscles and come up with memorable shots that have never been seen before on the screen.

The Closing Argument: One of the things many critics of “Water World” kept repeating in their reviews is that the film had a lot of potential that was never realized. With an adaptation of WinterWorld, there’s a chance to correct that mistake and give audiences a post-apocalyptic adventure with interesting, realistic characters and a grounded story with real stakes for everyone involved.

Oh, and don’t forget about Scully’s badger pal, either. Badgers are the new wolves.

Seriously, though — if you find a director who can think big without letting the characters be overshadowed by the world they inhabit, there’s a good chance this critically praised comic could find a warm reception on the big screen, too.


This Week’s Comic Creator Recommendation: Knights of the Living Dead by Ron Wolfe and Dusty Higgins (SLG Publishing)

“There is a palm-to-forehead-worthy obviousness to the idea of knights battling zombies. After all, the two hottest shows on TV right now feature the undead (The Walking Dead) and swords and sorcery (Game of Thrones). A story that jams these two genres together is sweet ambrosia for studio execs. What I love about Knights of the Living Dead—written by former Hellraiser scribe Ron Wolfe and illustrated by my Pinocchio collaborator Dusty Higgins—is that, instead of simply resting on the clever premise, it offers one of the most thoughtful meditations on the King Arthur mythos that I’ve yet seen. It could’ve been straight fanboy porn. Instead it is a literary show of force. A literary show of force that features copious amounts of knights slicing through hordes of zombies.”

Van Jensen, author of Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater. The third volume, Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer: Of Wood and Blood, will be released in two volumes in July and August. His new series, Snow White: Through a Glass, Darkly, is serializing digitally.


Would “WinterWorld” make a good movie? 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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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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