DID YOU READ

Alan Robert’s “Killogy” comic casts famous faces from stage and screen in dark horror story

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So a superhero, a Goodfella, and one of the Ramones go to jail…

Sure, it sounds like the beginning of a weird joke, but it’s actually the unique concept behind Killogy, an upcoming comic book by Life Of Agony’s Alan Robert. But it isn’t Robert’s pedigree in music or comics that makes Killogy a fascinating project. It’s his unique approach to casting the four-issue miniseries, which features the likenesses of three well-known faces as the story’s lead characters.

Chronicling the story of three murderers crammed into a jail cell together, Killogy “stars” (for lack of a better term) “Goodfellas” actor Frank Vincent, former Ramones drummer Marky Ramone, and “Heroes” actress Brea Grant, who have not only given the project their approval, but have taken an active role in promoting it. And Robert isn’t your average celebrity creator either, having already made a name for himself in the comics world as the creator of Wire Hangers and Crawl To Me, a pair of terrifying miniseries he wrote and illustrated.

IFC spoke to Robert about the unique concept behind Killogy, as well as the films based on Wire Hangers and Crawl To Me that are in the works.

IFC: So, first things first — where did the idea for casting Killogy with real people come from?

Alan Robert: It started out without the likeness angle to it, and after we put the publishing deal in place with IDW Publishing, I knew I really wanted to capture a type of “Twilight Zone” feel with it. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. One of the cool things about “The Twilight Zone” was that you had all these guest stars you’re already familiar with in these new roles, and you got a feel for their characters from their previous acting jobs. You felt like you already knew the characters before the episode even started. So I was thinking about that, and when I was drawing up the characters, they ended up looking a lot like the people we ended up talking to about it. I’m not sure if it’s been done before, but I’ve never seen it done in an original comic like this, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I knew some of the people through mutual friends and we approached them — and one by one it all fell into place.

IFC: Usually when you see this, it’s celebrities putting themselves into comics in order to set up future films or television projects — but this seems like a different situation altogether. How does this type of scenario change the way you made the comics?

Robert: It’s interesting to write, because their dialogue comes kind of naturally. You already know what they sound like, because their voices are in your head. It’s very cool. I’m learning new things every day I work on this, because I don’t usually work with a hard script — I create the art first. I have plot points and timelines of when things should happen, but I don’t work with an actual dialogue script. I do the art first and create the dialogue after that.

IFC: When you first hit the scene with Wire Hangers, I remember being surprised by the series — and then being surprised again when I learned that you studied cartooning in college. You have a bona fide degree in illustration. So it’s not really fair to call you a celebrity comic creator, is it?

Robert: Well, comics is what I wanted to do first. I planned to be an illustrator. I always aspired to be a penciler for Marvel or something like that, but right when I graduated, we got a record deal and the album came out, and I figured this wasn’t going to happen again, so I had to see where it went. Now, 20 years later, here I am. I still have a passion for comics, and I figured this would be a great time to do it.

IFC: For anyone familiar with Wire Hangers and Crawl To Me, how is Killogy different from those two series stylistically?

Robert: It’s actually completely different, because I’m drawing everything digitally now. That’s one of the biggest changes. Stylistically, I wanted it to look different. I’m not really using the atmospheric type of textures I was using in Crawl To Me. The closest thing I can compare it to is Frank Miller meets Mike Mignola — it’s very flat colors and a limited palette, with lots of heavy blacks. It’s distinctly different, look- and feel-wise. And just conceptually it’s a lot different, too.

IFC: This is one of those projects that’s hard to ask too many questions about, because I can tell there are some twists in the story that shouldn’t be spoiled. How do you describe the plot of Killogy to people?

Robert: What’s interesting is that each the stories sort of happen separately, and then I tie them all together. I was talking to a producing partner of mine — we’re doing some film and TV projects and stuff — and we were pitching this voodoo-related project to a network. That’s where the idea for Brea Grant’s story started out. The same goes for the gangster story which Frank Vincent’s character embodies. They all started as separate things, and I worked it out so that it comes full circle, and they’re all connected.

IFC: I can’t help wondering about the Marky Ramone character. He seems like the oddball in that mix, even with Brea Grant and Frank Vincent…

Robert: I wanted to just stick everybody in there who wouldn’t get along. It starts out that they share a tiny prison cell together, so they’re arguing right off the bat about everything. Marky Ramone plays a recovering gambler who’s involved in some kind of heist, and everything goes wrong.

IFC: How much does Marky know about the comic?

Robert: I actually met with him about it, since he’s based in NY. He loved the idea. He loves comics, and he was thrilled that his character got a baseball bat as a weapon. [Laughs]

IFC: With something like this, it’s hard not to see it as a movie in the making. Is that the idea here? Is this a pitch for a film?

Robert: Sure, this one lends itself to it because it has screen stars involved in it, and it would be great to see it that way, but right now I just want to focus on the comic. It’s always a matter of just getting it out of my system, and then we’ll see what happens.

IFC: Well, what about those movie projects you mentioned? How are things developing with the “Crawl To Me” movie?

Robert: We’ve picked up a team of screenwriters after receiving about a dozen treatments from writers who wanted to give it a crack. We chose these two screenwriters and they really have their head around it. We loved their treatment. So we’re in script mode now and should have the first draft by mid-July.

IFC: What about the “Wire Hangers” movie?

Robert: That’s taken a different path because we wanted to do it mostly in CGI, so it’s taking longer to get the visual effects in place. They’re doing a pre-vis, where they composite the backgrounds before any actors are added to it. They compile everything in the computer, with all the scenes, and you see how it’s going to look before the actors step in. So we’re at that stage now.

IFC: So I’m curious about what you’re reading these days…

Robert: You know what? I just picked up Scott McCloud’s Making Comics. I found a great tutorial of his online on how to do comic lettering in a certain way digitally, and I thought it was a great tip. So once I saw that, I wanted to check out his book.

Alan Robert’s “Killogy” will hit shelves in October (around Halloween). You can find more information about it at www.killogycomic.com. His comics “Wire Hangers” and “Crawl To Me” are available now from IDW Publishing.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

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

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
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Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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