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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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

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