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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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.