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Adapt This: “The New Brighton Archeological Society” by Mark Andrew Smith & Matthew Weldon

new brighton archeological society

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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 various comic creators about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.

This Week’s Book: The New Brighton Archeological Society by Mark Andrew Smith & Matthew Weldon

The Premise: After their parents disappear during a mysterious expedition in Antarctica, four children discover that their mothers and fathers were more than just great explorers — they were part of a secret society charged with protecting a library full of ancient magical artifacts. They decide to become the next generation of the New Brighton Archeological Society, and soon find themselves caught up in a terrible war over the library and its contents.

The Pitch: This one’s a no-brainer for the animated series treatment, as Mark Andrew Smith has created a strong cast of young characters and a world in which all sorts of fantastic adventures are possible. And much like the Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia series, New Brighton isn’t afraid to let kids save the world.

A good adaptation of the series would stretch the first volume of New Brighton into a season-long story arc, possibly with some additional material sprinkled throughout the season to provide more background on the society and the universe inhabited by the characters. Each episode could reveal a little more about the world’s secret history and their parents’ exploits, with other episodes focusing on the kids’ adventures as they attempt to stop the society’s arch enemy, Galomar, from controlling the library and all of the other magical artifacts scattered around the world.

Still, the most important part of a New Brighton Archeological Society cartoon should be the over-arching narrative that shows the children growing into the same roles their parents served as protectors of the world’s secrets. The popular Nickelodeon series “Avatar: the Last Airbender” did a great job with this type of long-form storytelling, and any network looking to adapt New Brighton would do well to draw inspiration from that formula.

As far as animation style and the visual elements of the story go, New Brighton artist Matthew Weldon did an excellent job of softening some of the darker, more serious elements of the book with an art style more suitable for young characters and readers. Any adaptation of the book should take cues from Weldon’s illustrations and give the series a bright palette, with big, expressive faces for the characters. One tweak that could be helpful for viewers, however, is to differentiate between the adult characters and children a little more clearly in the animated series, so the audience won’t be confused (especially during flashbacks).

The Closing Argument: Possibly the best argument in favor of adapting The New Brighton Archeological Society is that there’s never been an animated series quite like it. Equal parts magic, mystery, and globe-trotting, Indiana Jones-style adventure, New Brighton is a brilliantly imaginative, unique spin on the “kid hero” genre that gives us only the smallest peek at a much larger universe with heaps of potential.

Would “The New Brighton Archeological Society” make a good animated series? 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

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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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