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Exclusive: John Romita Jr. reveals his “Kick-Ass 2” costumed appearance with Mark Millar

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IFC: I know you directed an animated sequence in the first “Kick-Ass” movie. Did you do anything like that for the second one, or were you involved behind the scenes in any way?

JRJR: No, they didn’t go through with anything to the effect of animation. The one move they made towards me to do some work was to do a large portray of Chris Plasse in costume. They asked me with I think like a week to do it and then they chuckled about it being late when they had another painter do it. Some guy did an enormously amazing just gigantic painting of Chris in his costume, near life-size, and he got it done in a week. The painting is full paints. It’s amazing. Talked to Tarquin, one of the producers, and he said, “Bet you couldn’t have gotten that done on time, could you Romita?” [laughs] I couldn’t have! No way I could have gotten it done. So they asked me to do the portrait and then they just had somebody else do it who was out in London.

IFC: You and Mark were working on “Kick-Ass 2” the comic not long after “Kick-Ass” the movie came out, so did you two have a collaborative process with Matthew Vaughn and Jeff Wadlow as they moved forward with the second movie?

JRJR: Yes. There was some with Mark and Jeff and Matthew with script, but it was not so much telling Mark what to do. They would ask what Mark had in mind and go from there. It was very respectful in that way. They didn’t want to influence Mark in any way. The same thing with me. They just let it flow, and then asked for a brush of what was going on. Both of them — Matthew and Jeff, the director — both were respectful that way. They didn’t influence Mark in any way.

Mind you, they did give show us what they had in mind when they were filming as opposed to just following mlockstep with what we did. But there are so many moments where you can see exactly what we did in the books that could come out on screen. It’s fantastic.

IFC: This is a dark property, both the comic and the movie, so what do you think makes them both resonate with audiences the way they have?

JRJR: The same thing that the first one did and, I’ve always said this, that’s the same reason why Spider-Man was popular, because it gives people a base to identify with. There’s nothing about this — the first one and particularly the second one — there’s nothing about this that stretches the boundaries. Nobody does anything supernatural, so there’s still a basis of reality. In the first one, the only thing that was furthest from the truth was the jetpack and that was the only thing that stretched the imagination a little bit, and even that’s conceivable. But I think that what Mark and I wanted most of all as it proceeded was to keep it within its strengths, and that’s to keep the kids what they are and make a natural progression.

The natural progression is that this “craze,” it expands, and the bad guy wants to be a worse guy, he wants more. That’s not too much of a stretch. We identified what the strength was, and then we went further with it, and Mark followed through beautifully on it. I think the justification for the bad guy is he got a little twisted. He was a little twisted to begin with and got a little bit more twisted. It’s suggested that you stick with your strengths and you don’t veer from it. Much like “Spider-Man,” what it’s strength is is that this kid becomes a superhero and it never veered from it. Now, with “Kick-Ass,” it’s the same thing, and the reader or the viewers can identify with what it is, and it’s so strong in that light.

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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

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