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DID YOU READ

Adapt This: “Memorial” by Chris Roberson and Rich Ellis

memorial

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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 cool 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: Memorial by Chris Roberson and Rich Ellis

The Premise: After staggering into a hospital a year ago with no memory of her past, Em (the name she takes from the single letter “M” on a necklace she was wearing) has rebuilt her life and has a nice job at a small bookstore. Things take a turn for the fantastic — and dangerous — when she wanders into a strange antique store and finds that all is not as it seems with her life and the world she inhabits. She soon finds herself caught up in a war raging on various planes of reality, forced to travel through strange lands on a quest for the truth.

The Pitch: Combine the fantastic coming-of-age tales of the Harry Potter series and “Labyrinth” with the sort of strong female character and magical worlds parallel to our own that authors like Neil Gaiman handle so masterfully, and you’ll understand the appeal of Chris Roberson’s Memorial. The recent miniseries offers a darker spin on the traditional, fantasy-fueled quest stories, and though its lead character is older than those of the Harry Potter books or “Labyrinth,” the blank slate of Em’s mind allows for a similar sort of growth and evolution of her character.

Over the course of the series, Em’s adventure has her crossing path with a long list of weird characters — human and otherwise — and visiting strange worlds that often share some similarities with our own. Nevertheless, an adaptation of Memorial wouldn’t need to bust its budget on digital effects, as many of the characters, creatures, and settings she encounters are simply skewed versions of their real-world counterparts. Much like the big-screen adaptations of the Harry Potter franchise, the real focus of the story is on the human characters, with Em’s quest driving the narrative forward throughout all six issues of the series.

While Hollywood has a history of shying away from action movies with female leads, the fantasy genre hasn’t had nearly the same trouble accepting women — and girls, for that matter — in lead roles. Although the tone of Memorial is far lighter than something like Guillermo Del Toro’s scary fantasy “Pan’s Labyrinth,” it’s also a bit more adult-oriented than Jim Henson’s playful, puppet-filled 1986 film “Labyrinth” and features a slightly older main character than both of the aforementioned films. These factors benefit a potential adaptation, because it means a “Memorial” movie could not only draw from the pool of popular young-adult actresses for its lead, but it also fits nicely in the PG-13 movie landscape.

Given the sort of demographic-spanning appeal Memorial already has in the comics world, it’s also easy to see why a movie based on the series could be a nice vehicle for a young actress to raise her profile. Chris Roberson has crafted an impressive, original story that manages to be both magical for readers and deadly serious for its main character — a formula that works just as well on the page as it does on the screen.

The Closing Argument: Now that the “Harry Potter” movies are in the rearview mirror, Hollywood would do well to look to the comics world for tentpole-movie source material, and Memorial is exactly the sort of story that could make an easy leap from page to screen. Given the series’ strong narrative thread and under-the-radar profile, there’s little need to pour the sort of budget-busting money into a “Memorial” movie that’s usually necessary to keep a well-known project’s fanbase appeased. The film’s director will be able to concentrate on bringing the story to life, while also having the freedom to be clever with the visual side of the film — something that Roberson and Ellis have had great success with in the comic itself.

In the end, it’s hard to argue with the potential of a project like this, as Memorial manages to combine all the best elements of some of the most popular examples of the genre, while also retaining its own, very unique identity. If Hollywood is looking for a ready-made adventure set within the fantasy genre with a dark, young-adult flavor, a “Memorial” movie offers all of that… and much, much more.


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

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.