DID YOU READ

Adapt This: “27” by Charles Soule and Renzo Podesta

27

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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 and other industry experts about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.


This Week’s Book: “27” by Charles Soule and Renzo Podesta

The Premise: A popular rock star suffering from a medical condition that could end his career meets a mysterious scientist who offers him a cure. When things go wrong with the experiment, the musician suddenly finds himself saddled with a mysterious device that grants him unpredictable powers and the attention of supernatural forces connected to the “27 Club” — that famous group of artists (Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, etc.) who all died at age 27.

The Pitch: It’s easy to see the appeal of a story that would feature a lead actor who can pass for a rock star and a cast of actors playing some of music’s most famous gone-too-soon artists. Just imagine the buzz that will precede (and follow) every casting decision, with the media debating who should play Jim Morrison or Janis Joplin or any of the other members of the infamous “27 Club,” and an adaptation of this 2010 series seems silly not to make.

In the series, guitarist and songwriter Will Garland agrees to a strange procedure administered by an even stranger “doctor” after trying every other possibly way to heal his crippled hand. Things don’t go as planned, though, and Will ends up with a strange machine embedded in his chest that gives him superhuman abilities. He also finds himself caught up in a struggle between supernatural entities looking to add him to the long list of brilliant, 27-year-old artists who died at their creative peaks.

The first volume of 27 is an origin story of sorts, introducing the main character and setting up both the situation that gives him his weird powers and the constraints of those abilities. It’s a story that would work well as a standalone film, but could also be easily set up as a potential two- or three-part franchise.

The role of Will Garland offers a nice opportunity to bring in a talented young actor capable of wrangling the young, female audience, while the right choices for some of the famous musicians that make cameos in the book — to offer Will advice or help him with his newfound powers — should make the film more than just the typical young-adult fare.

Of course, it’s worth noting that with some clever handling of the narrative, 27 could also work out well as a television series, with certain members of the “27 Club” becoming recurring characters. This would definitely require some tweaking of the original story and its pacing, but it’s not too far of a leap.

There’s also a unique opportunity to make music an active ingredient in a 27 adaptation and feature songs “written” by Will, as well as songs connected to his real-world and supernatural social circles.

The Closing Argument: Handsome rock star as a lead character? Check. Actors portraying famous celebrities idolized by millions? Check. A healthy dose of ghosts and supernatural mystery? Check.

When it comes down to it, there’s very little about 27 that doesn’t scream seat-filling movie (or couch-crowding television series, for that matter). As with all adaptations, proper handling of the source material and script will probably be the deciding factor on the project’s success, but there’s a lot of potential here for a cool, genre-crossing adventure with a lot of material that will catch the public’s attention and keep them intrigued right up until it arrives on the big (or small) screen.


Would “27” make a good movie or television series? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Danzig-Portlandia-604-web

Face Melting Cameos

The 10 Most Metal Pop Culture Cameos

Glenn Danzig drops by Portlandia tonight at 10P on IFC.

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Glenn Danzig rocks harder than granite. In his 60 years, he’s mastered punk with The Misfits, slayed metal with the eponymous Danzig, and generally melted faces with the force of his voice. And thanks to Fred and Carrie, he’s now stopping by tonight’s brand new Portlandia so we can finally get to see what “Evil Elvis” is like when he hits the beach. To celebrate his appearance, we put together our favorite metal moments from pop culture, from the sublime to the absurd.

10. Cannibal Corpse meets Ace Ventura

Back in the ’90s,  Cannibal Corpse was just a small time band from Upstate New York, plying their death metal wares wherever they could find a crowd, when a call from Jim Carry transformed their lives. Turns out the actor was a fan, and wanted them for a cameo in his new movie, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. The band had a European tour coming up, and were wary of being made fun of, so they turned it down. Thankfully, the rubber-faced In Living Color vet wouldn’t take no for an answer, proving that you don’t need to have a lot of fans, just the right ones.


9. AC/DC in Private Parts

Howard Stern’s autobiographical film, based on his book of the same name, followed his rise in the world of radio and pop culture. For a man surrounded by naked ladies and adoring fans, it’s hard to track the exact moment he made it. But rocking out with AC/DC in the middle of Central Park, as throngs of fans clamor to get a piece of you, seems like it comes pretty close. You can actually see Stern go from hit host to radio god in this clip, as “You Shook Me All Night Long” blasts in the background.


8. Judas Priest meets The Simpsons

When you want to blast a bunch of peace-loving hippies out on their asses, you’re going to need some death metal. At least, that’s what the folks at The Simpsons thought when they set up this cameo from the metal gods. Unfortunately, thanks to a hearty online backlash, the writers of the classic series were soon informed that Judas Priest, while many things, are not in fact “death metal.” This led to the most Simpson-esque apology ever. Rock on, Bartman. Rock on.


7. Anthrax on Married…With Children

What do you get when Married…with Children spoofs My Dinner With Andre, substituting the erudite playwrights for a band so metal they piss rust? Well, for starters, a lot of headbanging, property destruction and blown eardrums. And much like everything else in life, Al seems to have missed the fun.


6. Motorhead rocks out on The Young Ones

The Young Ones didn’t just premiere on BBC2 in 1982 — it kicked the doors down to a new way of doing comedy. A full-on assault on the staid state of sitcoms, the show brought a punk rock vibe to the tired format, and in the process helped jumpstart a comedy revolution. For instance, where an old sitcom would just cut from one scene to the next, The Young Ones choose to have Lemmy and his crew deliver a raw version of “Ace of Spades.” The general attitude seemed to be, you don’t like this? Well, then F— you!


5. Red and Kitty Meet Kiss on That ’70s Show

Carsey-Werner Productions

Carsey-Werner Productions

Long before they were banished to playing arena football games, Kiss was the hottest ticket in rock. The gang from That ’70s Show got to live out every ’70s teen’s dream when they were set loose backstage at a Kiss concert, taking full advantage of groupies, ganja and hard rock.


4. Ronnie James Dio in Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny (NSFW, people!)

What does a young boy do when he was born to rock, and the world won’t let him? What tight compadre does he pray to for guidance and some sweet licks? If you’re a young Jables, half of “the world’s most awesome band,” you bow your head to Ronnie James Dio, aka the guy who freaking taught the world how to do the “Metal Horns.” Never before has a rock god been so literal than in this clip that turns it up to eleven.


3. Ozzy Osbourne in Trick or Treat

It’s hard to tell if Ozzy was trying his hardest here, or just didn’t give a flying f–k. What is clear is that, either way, it doesn’t really matter. Ozzy’s approach to acting seems to lean more heavily on Jack Daniels than sense memory, and yet seeing the slurry English rocker play a sex-obsessed televangelist is so ridiculous, he gets a free pass. Taking part in the cult horror Trick or Treat, Ozzy proves that he makes things better just by showing up. Because that’s exactly what he did here. Showed up. And it rocks.


2. Glenn Danzig on Portlandia

Danzig seems to be coming out of a self imposed exile these days. He just signed with a record company, and his appearance on Portlandia is reminding everyone how kick ass he truly is. Who else but “The Other Man in Black” could help Portland’s resident goths figure out what to wear to the beach? Carrie Brownstein called Danzig “amazing,” and he called Fred “a genius,” so this was a rare love fest for the progenitor of horror punk.


1. Alice Cooper in Wayne’s World

It’s surprising, sure, but for a scene that contains no music whatsoever, it’s probably the most famous metal moment in the history of film. When Alice Cooper informed Wayne and Garth that Milwaukee is actually pronounced “Milly-way-kay” back in 1992, he created one of the most famous scenes in comedy history. What’s more metal than that? Much like Wayne and Garth, we truly are not worthy.

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.

Adapt This: “Echoes” by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Rahsan Ekedal

echoes

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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: Echoes by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Rahsan Ekedal

The Premise: A schizophrenic man begins to believe his father was a serial killer after the dying man makes a deathbed confession. As he tries to uncover the truth, his father’s past comes back to haunt him, and he begins to wonder whether he’s destined to go down the same terrible path.

The Pitch: Widely regarded as one of the best miniseries of 2011, Echoes is an easy sell for adaptation. It’s a standalone story that’s absolutely terrifying, and doesn’t require many (if any) expensive effects.

Tonally, Echoes fits right in among the modern psychological thrillers that leave you guessing right up until the very end about what’s real and what is simply the product of the protagonist’s damaged psyche. Main character Brian Cohn is a medicated schizophrenic struggling to maintain a normal life, and his acute awareness of the disease that shapes his perception keeps both him — and the story’s audience — uncertain of the truth.

On top of everything else, the suburban setting for Echoes makes the events that unfold even more unsettling.

While a good adaptation of Echoes would certainly demand an R-rated feature, there’s also ample room for a screenwriter to expand the story a bit and fill out some of the characters — something that should appeal to any studio that picks up the project. Originally published as a five-issue miniseries, the bulk of Echoes focuses entirely on Brian and unfolds through his narrative, leaving plenty of room to build up some of the story’s supporting characters on the screen.

Finally, at a time when “twist” endings are all the rage, Echoes offers a disturbing, dark spin on that well-used trope that will keep audiences thinking about the story’s final moments long after the credits roll.

The Closing Argument: A psychological thriller with a unique narrative angle (the uncertainty caused by Brian’s schizophrenia) and ample amounts of horror and shock value, Echoes is the sort of project that should have an easy time jumping from page to screen. If the adaptation can capture even half the creepy tone of its source material, an “Echoes” movie will be right up there among the scariest films made in recent years.


This Week’s Comic Creator Recommendation: The Strange Talent of Luther Strode by Justin Jordan, Tradd Moore and Felipe Sobreiro (Image Comics)

“With an origin story matching that of Spider-Man, that’s where the similarities end in this blood soaked coming of age/powers story. I’d love to see this series broken down into a 6-episode mini series on Starz or HBO, with special effects resembling that of ‘300’ or ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand.’ While the violence serves as a distraction, the real meat here is a tale about a teen from a broken home struggling to feel safe, to feel powerful.”

Ryan Sohmer, author of the insanely popular webcomics Least I Could Do and Looking for Group, as well as the comics industry parody series The Gutters.


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

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