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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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.