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.


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…


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. 


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 ’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?”


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).



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.


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


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

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.


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.


Forget Public Wifi

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



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.


Self Defense

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


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