Adapt This: “Netherworld” takes Parker to Purgatory


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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: Netherworld by Bryan Edward Hill (w), Rob Levin (w), and Tony Shasteen (a) – Top Cow & Heroes and Villains Entertainment

The Premise: Ray Parker is a former cop turned junkie turned bounty hunter, prowling the streets of a city that lies somewhere between heaven and hell. When he’s asked to locate a beautiful young girl, he finds himself thrust into the middle of a war for the city’s souls, pressed into service by his own personal code and a quest for redemption he won’t admit he’s on.

The Pitch: This may be the second “Adapt This” column in a row to suggest a comic that blends a Richard Stark-style “Parker” crime story with a supernatural adventure steeped in blood and bullets, though it couldn’t be more different than its predecessor, Awakening. Published in 2011, Netherworld feels like a fast-paced action movie set in a dark, demon-infested version of Los Angeles. The story’s hero is a stubborn brute of an ex-cop named Ray Parker, and the similarities between the character and the iconic antihero of novels like The Hunter doesn’t end with the name. Rip the various big-screen versions of Parker out of films like “Payback” and “Point Blank” and put them up against an army of demons in a grimy, neon-filled city where the sun never seems to rise and you’ve got the gist of Netherworld.

What’s interesting about Netherworld as potential source material for a big-screen movie (or even a television series, for that matter) is that the adaptation could take many different forms — much like the “Parker” novels, in fact. It’s easy to see the potential for a big-budget, flashy, effects-driven adventure with a superhero-like protagonist battling his way through a gauntlet of demons a la the “Underworld” or “Blade” movies, but it’s just as easy to envision an adaptation that takes a low-fi, grittier approach to the story that prioritizes the crime-noir elements over the supernatural. Netherworld is a comic that offers a studio some options, and that can be a very good thing on both sides of the comic-movie divide.

While a solo movie with the hope for a franchise would certainly make the most sense for a Netherworld adaptation, there’s also some potential for a dark, moody television series that combines gothic horror, crime stories, and intense action sequences in episodic adventures. The first arc of the series might cover the first volume of the comic, and subsequent episodes could each follow a new “client” Parker takes on in a “Burn Notice”-style mission of the week format.

Casting Suggestions: In the collected first volume of Netherworld, the series’ writers indicate that Ray Parker is inspired by “Gladiator”-era Russell Crowe or Gerard Butler, and those seem like good options, though there are a few other actors that come to mind for the main character. Karl Urban could easily handle the mix of action, grit, and resolve necessary for Ray Parker in any version of a Netherworld adaptation, and the same goes for stern-faced leading men like Jeremy Renner and Mark Wahlberg, who could both offer a nice spin on the character. Thomas Jane could also make a great Ray Parker, and like some of the aforementioned actors, he’d certainly do a fine job grounding the character amid all of the supernatural elements in the story.

If an adaptation opts to go full-on action, someone like Dwayne Johnson or — to a lesser degree – Dominic Purcell could be a nice fit for the role. And at the risk of revealing my bias for a certain biker-themed television series, “Sons of Anarchy” actor Ryan Hurst combines the muscle and the pathos necessary for Ray Parker if a studio’s willing to gamble on a relatively untested actor.

Would “Netherworld” make a good movie or television series? If you think so, which type of adaptation would you like to see? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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