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DID YOU READ

ADAPT THIS: “Creature Tech” by Doug TenNapel

creature-tech

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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” columns, you’ll also find 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: Creature Tech by Doug TenNapel

The Premise: After brilliant scientist and former preacher Michael Ong is named head researcher at a strange government facility, his life takes a turn for the weird when an alien being attaches itself to his body in a symbiotic relationship that gives him strange new powers. Ong barely has time to register his condition before he finds himself battling slug monsters, demonic cat-beasts, and a mad scientist intent on conquering the world with the help of a giant space eel.

Luckily, Ong has help from the local rednecks, the alien attached to his body, and a human-sized, CIA-trained mantis. (And those are the good guys!)

The Pitch: It’s worth pointing out right from the start that the adaptation rights to TenNapel’s Creature Tech were bought up by 20th Century Fox way back in 2002, almost half a year before the the book hit shelves and only after an intense bidding war. However, there’s been little word on the project since then, other than to announce that “Eureka” television series writer Andrew Cosby was working on the film’s screenplay.

The creator of the “Earthworm Jim” franchise of games, television series, and toys, TenNapel channeled a similarly zany tone for Creature Tech, and it’s easy to see how the tale of bizarre science and supernatural dangers run amuck could make for a fun big-screen adventure. When the book initially arrived on shelves, its story earned favorable comparisons to those of “Shrek” and the “Toy Story” movies, which also cast a quirky eye on their characters’ worlds.

Even so, the element that makes Creature Tech seem most apt for adaptation has nothing to do with the story’s eclectic cast of characters or the crazy things they get up to. What makes Creature Tech so appealing is that, at its core, it’s actually a wonderful little love story.

Much like “Shrek” or countless other offbeat films set within a universe where real-world rules don’t seem to apply, the one constant in Creature Tech is its main character’s desire to protect the love of his life and reveal his true feelings to her. It’s the sort of anchor that keeps a story grounded no matter how insane the environment becomes – which is good, because in Creature Tech, things get very, very insane.

Along with Michael Ong, there’s a long list of fun, quirky characters to be found in Creature Tech, whether human, alien, ghost, or insect. In fact, if the source material is translated well, there’s a good chance that supporting character Blue (a human-sized mantis trained by the CIA to be Ong’s bodyguard) could earn more than a few cheers from audiences.

Creature Tech also features a great matchup of hero and villain, with the evil Dr. Jameson and his diabolical machinations matching up nicely with the film’s unlikely hero. Like in all good stories of this sort, Ong is forced to face up to demons both within himself and in the world around him before he’s finally able to save the day (and the girl).

The Closing Argument: If it’s a standard studio pitch you’re looking for, a good “Creature Tech” movie would blend the weird-science tone of “Eureka” and the offbeat heroism of “Monsters vs. Aliens” with a nice dose of “Men In Black”-style creature effects. The entertainment should come as much from the characters themselves as from the world they inhabit — a world filled with unbelievably strange elements around every corner.

Whether an adaptation of Creature Tech takes form as a live-action film with digital effects or an animated film, there’s a great adventure just waiting to be mined in TenNapel’s story of faith, love, and science-fiction. Here’s hoping the studio sees it that way as well, and finally gets around to giving the adaptation the nudge it deserves.


Would “Creature Tech” make a good movie? Chime in 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 IFC.com

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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

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…