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ADAPT THIS: “Four Eyes” by Joe Kelly & Max Fiumara


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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 new comic book each week that has the potential to pack a theater or keep you glued to your television screens. At the end of each column, you’ll also find some thoughts from the industry’s top comic creators about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.

This Week’s Book: Four Eyes by Joe Kelly (writer) and Mike Fiumara (illustrator), published by Image Comics

The Premise: In New York City during the Great Depression, ten-year-old Enrico will do anything to support his mother — even wrangling dragons for the local crime syndicate’s brutal arena. When he adopts a dragon of his own, Enrico could finally have the means to avenge his father’s death and turn his family’s fortunes around, but can he turn a deformed, abandoned dragon into a killer?

The Pitch: Originally published in late 2008, Four Eyes is the sort of story that feels like it’s based in a slightly tweaked version of our own world — or in this case, our own world’s history.

The story’s main character, Enrico, is a child of the Great Depression, but the economic and cultural troubles of that time present far more danger to him and his family than the winged, fire-breathing creatures that also inhabit this alternate-world version of New York City. And like any good story rooted in reality with a touch of the fantastic, Four Eyes builds its foundation in the experiences we can all relate to before the first dragon rears its snout.

While the comic book series itself remains unfinished (only four issues have been published so far, with more promised this year), there’s already enough there to see the book’s potential as a big-screen adventure with a boy, his dragon, and their desire for revenge.

One thing Four Eyes isn’t, though, is a children’s story.

Sure, there’s a coming-of-age theme wrapped within Enrico’s tale, but there’s also — and possibly more importantly — a dramatic period piece. The depths to which Enrico and the rest of the city’s inhabitants were willing to sink during the Great Depression play as much of a role in establishing the story’s tone as the dragons themselves, and the way Kelly and Fiumara blend the two aspects of this alternate history is what makes Four Eyes so compelling.

Of course, that’s not to say there aren’t ample amounts of fire-spewing, fang-gnashing dragon brawls, too. From Enrico’s first, tragic encounter with a dragon to the dark, violent adventure that introduces him to the four-eyed runt the story is named for, the story is filled with opportunities for a digital effects team to work their magic. And that’s not even counting the massive dragon fights that serve as a backdrop for Enrico’s story.

Imagine a giant, feathered, serpent-like lizard sinking its teeth into a scaly, winged behemoth belching blue flame as they twist and roar across a theater screen and you’ll begin to understand the visual potential of Four Eyes.

The Closing Argument: Even though we only have four issues of Four Eyes to go on, its strong dramatic narrative, well-developed characters, fantastic eye candy, and fantastic premise make it exactly the sort of thing that could hit the sweet spot with mainstream audiences and cinephiles alike.

This Week’s Comic Creator Recommendation: Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer (SLG)

“Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins put a unique spin on both the vampire genre and Collodi’s original fairy tale. Their story of the infamous wooden puppet with an ever-growing nose – providing him with an endless supply of stakes with which to combat the vampires invading his idyllic town – is at once action-packed, witty, and heartfelt.”

Robert Venditti, co-creator of The Surrogates (the inspiration for the 2009 film starring Bruce Willis) and the recently released graphic novel The Homeland Directive from Top Shelf Comix.

Does “Four Eyes” sound like it’d make a worthwhile film? Let us know below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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