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DID YOU READ

ADAPT THIS: “I Kill Giants” by Joe Kelly and J. M. Ken Niimura

i-kill-giants

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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 some “Adapt This” 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: I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly and J. M. Ken Niimura

The Premise: A young girl’s fantasy world filled with pixies and elves becomes intertwined with her real-life struggles as she copes with problems at home, difficulties at school, and the ever-present threat of giants. Fortunately, she’s got a magic hammer with the power to smite even the biggest creatures — but what about her other problems?

The Pitch: Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura’s 2008 series found itself on quite a few “Best Of” lists after it was published in collected form the following year, and it’s easy to see how the connection it found with readers could translate to the screen.

The story follows Barbara Thorson, a clever fifth grader who sees faeries and goblins around every corner, and claims to have made a career out of hunting giants. To her, this fantasy world is not just real — it’s her burden to shoulder as the only person capable of seeing the magical things happening around her, her family, and her friends.

And while it’s easy to dismiss her visions as the stuff of an overactive imagination, Kelly and Niimura leave some question as to which is more real: the homework and bullies, or the gnomes and dragons.

In many ways, I Kill Giants manages to blend the fantastic elements of a Guillermo Del Toro or Peter Jackson tale with a more grounded, emotional, coming-of-age story. The scale of the fantasy elements is impressive, with everything from tiny pixies to massive, world-shaking titans wandering in and out of Barbara’s daily life.

However, it’s these fantastic elements, while entertaining in themselves, that often serve to soften the more personal, tragic elements of the narrative.

Through it all, Barbara remains a character readers can identify with despite her battles with fantastic creatures, and it’s not too hard to see the potential for a great performance out of some young actress playing the giant-killing hero. Ample opportunities for effects-driven set pieces and intense emotional moments make this a wide-ranging opportunity for studios, actors, and audiences alike to produce a family-friendly blockbuster.

Great stories are often built around a character’s journey, whether physical or emotional, and the path Barbara follows in I Kill Giants is the sort that hooks you early on and carries you along until the very end, eager to discover the next obstacle she encounters and how she’ll overcome it. And like many great stories, it leaves much to the imagination regarding what’s real and what is simply a product of its character’s perspective, constantly seeding the narrative with hints and misdirection until the time is right for the big reveal.

In the hands of the right filmmaker, I Kill Giants is a project that could mesh the best elements of fantasy with a compelling, grounded drama, and tell a story that everyone of all ages can connect with in some way.

The Closing Argument: Probably the best way to conceive of an “I Kill Giants” movie is to imagine something thematically similar to the 2009 adaptation of “Where the Wild Things Are,” except in this case, much of the narrative unfolds in the real world. Rather than interpreting real-world issues through fantasy (as was done in “Where the Wild Things Are”), an adaptation of I Kill Giants would show the audience its fantasy elements through a real-world lens.

What’s important, however, is that any adaptation of I Kill Giants prioritizes Barbara’s emotional journey over the eye-catching fantastic elements of her life. With the right person behind the camera, there’s a great opportunity here to tell a touching story that both tugs at the heart and offers quite a bit of eye candy.


Would “I Kill Giants” make a good movie? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Final Countdown

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 IFC.com

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Rev Up

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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Give Back

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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…