From Horror Movie To Horror Comic: Jennifer’s Body

Hello. Matt’s turned Rotten Ink over to me today. Who am I? Who are any of us really?  Ha! Just kidding. My name is Natalie Claude. I’m Matt’s friend and the writer behind the Blood Scream comic Goth. I’ve been reading comics for a long time. I don’t get into super hero books at all. Mostly I read horror and independent comics. When Matt asked me to write a blog about Jennifer’s Body as a horror movie to horror comic I was elated! I’ve been singing the praises of this movie for years. I’ve never felt like it got the recognition and attention it deserves. I didn’t know they even made a comic based on Jennifer’s Body until Matt pointed it out to me. I was excited to give it a read.

The main baddie in Jennifer’s Body is Jennifer Check. Jennifer is a self-centered, vain, egotistical teenage girl growing up in the small town of Devil’s Kettle. She only really seems to care about her popularity, boys and her best friend Needy Lesnicki. She leads a typical, small town life until she is used by a band from the city in a virgin sacrifice to Satan. The band wants to make it big in the music business and think getting in league with the devil is the only way to do it. The problem is Jennifer is not a virgin. Therefore, the ritual rather than killing Jennifer, results in a demonic transference. Her new demonic status affords her heightened strength, levitation, increased bite force, rapid regeneration and enhanced beauty. However, these demonic traits fade when she is hungry and needs to feed. (What does she feed on you ask? Human boys, of course!) This seems to be the only time she is vulnerable enough to be killed.

Here’s what IMDB says the movie is about.

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

“Nerdy, reserved bookworm Needy Lesnicki, and arrogant, conceited cheerleader Jennifer Check are best friends, though they share little in common. They share even less in common when Jennifer mysteriously gains an appetite for human blood after a disastrous fire at a local bar. As Needy’s male classmates are steadily killed in gruesome attacks, the young girl must uncover the truth behind her friend’s transformation and find a way to stop the bloodthirsty rampage before it reaches her own boyfriend Chip.” 

I love this movie. Jennifer’s Body is easily in my top 3 favorite movies of all time. Really?! Yes, really. Jennifer’s Body is a lot of complex social issues and metaphors disguised as a teen horror movie. It uses humor and great performances by Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried to mask what is essentially a movie about being the survivor of assault and what that can do to a person. Jenny, I’ve got your number and I see what you’ve been trying to say all along. If you haven’t seen it yet, please watch it. Check all your notions about it at the door and take the dive. I guarantee it is not the movie you presupposed it to be.

Now having said all these glowing things about the movie the same cannot be said about the comic.

Jennifer’s Body #1  *
Released in 2009     Cover Price $24.99     Boom     # 1 of

The Jennifer’s Body comic from Boom fails to hold to or grasped what made the movie so great. It is broken up into 4 stories centered around Jennifer’s male victims. It tries (a bit) to mimic Diablo Cody’s writing style but it falls flat. The art work is decent, but not outstanding. The stories are not engrossing or particularly complex. There’s a half-hearted attempt at saying “boys have problems too!” I feel like it’s the book version of “that guy”. You know the one I’m talking about. The one that has to chime in every time folks try to have an honest conversation about rape culture. “That guy” will always be there to cut in with “Boys get raped too!!!” I’m sure you know him. The comic seems completely tone deaf to the message the movie was sending. Honestly, it turned into a chore to read and had I not been writing this blog I wouldn’t have bothered to finish it.

However, to be entirely fair to the author Rick Spears, the graphic novel was released before the movie. The comic’s copyright is August 2009. The movie wasn’t released until mid-September. It’s possible he didn’t even see the actual movie before he wrote the graphic novel. He may have been just working from a screenplay. Either way, there’s no way this was a passion project. This was a job. I get it. He likely read through the screenplay a couple of times or possibly watched a rough screener copy of the movie and wrote this thing. My guess is he wasn’t digging for anything deeper. It’s easy to Monday morning quarterback something a decade later after watching and analyzing the movie dozens of times. In a perfect world the graphic novel would have been written by a woman that really grasped the true messages of the movie. In a perfect world this would have been a passion project that sought to enhance the movie. We don’t live in a perfect world. We live in this one. Therefore, taking into account all of these things, I give it 1 out of 4 stars.

The Jennifer’s Body movie is funny, witty, well written and has great acting. It’s socially relevant without being preachy and hits on subjects that are hard to face. You can buy a copy here.

The comic, unfortunately, is pretty freaking terrible and doesn’t even begin to live up to the source material. You can be the judge though and pick it up here.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my two cents on this brilliant movie that got a raw deal in the comic world. Maybe the renewed interest in the movie will mean it can have a new chance in the pages of a comic. I highly doubt it though.

Matt, back here: I want to send a big thank you to Natalie for stepping in and doing this “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update as she is not only one of my favorite people in the world but is also the biggest fan of Jennifer’s Body I know! For my next update, we will be leaving comics behind and will once more enter the world of Horror Hosts as we will travel to England and talk about Dr. Terror! So until next time, read a Horror Comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host.

Alien Invasion: Alien Nation

Imagine if tomorrow we found out that there is life on other planets.  Now imagine them coming to Earth and working everyday jobs alongside us; how would your mind handle this? Would you fear them because they were different and not born on Earth? Would you embrace them as fellow living beings? What kind of languages, religions and cultures would they share with us? I for one would be very interested to learn about and from them and would embrace them as fellow living beings….that is unless they are like the aliens from Mars Attacks or Independence Day.  Then I would say we as the world would need to come together and drive them from our planet! Today’s update is an Alien Invasion update that brings aliens to Earth who want to become productive members of our very own society and want to be treated with respect.  These aliens are The Tenctonese aka the Newcomers and are from the film Alien Nation that spawned a TV show, comic books and novels, and we will be digging into the DC Comic adaptation of the film as well as explore the world of the film that was released by 20th Century Fox in 1988! So sit back look to the skies and think about alien friendship, as I am proud to bring you Alien Invasion: Alien Nation.

So let’s start this invasion off right and take a look at the film that this comic is based on, as without this film Alien Nation would not be a cult classic film that many Sci-Fi fans enjoy and love still to this day. The movies write up will be taken from our good friends at IMDB, and after that, I will write a little about my first time seeing Alien Nation as well a few more memories of its legacy.

Alien Nation (1988)

“A few years from now, Earth will have the first contact with an alien civilisation. These aliens, known as Newcomers, slowly begin to be integrated into human society after years of quarantine but are victims of a new type of discrimination. When the first Newcomer police officer, San Francisco is assigned his new partner, he is given Matthew Sykes, a mildly racist veteran, the animosity between them soon gives way to respect as they investigate the Newcomer underworld, and especially Newcomer leader William Harcourt.”

I can remember the ads on TV and in the newspaper for the release of Alien Nation. It really piqued my interest as growing up in the 80’s, just like Horror and Fantasy films, for me Science Fiction was a big genre as films like Star Trek, Star Wars, Aliens, Enemy Mine, Blade Runner, Back To The Future, Planet Of The Apes and Last Starfighter were all popular with fans and my generation as a whole. But sadly, I was not able to go to the theater and see Alien Nation as my parents did not want to go to see it, plus it was rated R so could not see it on my own as I was only around 9 years old when it was out. It would be some years later when I first got to see it thanks to a VHS rental from a local video store on a weekend. I can remember the whole family watching it and all of us enjoying it as it felt like it was a film that had a deeper meaning behind it and yet felt like a true modern style science fiction film. After the first time watching it, we saw it a few other times as it would later go on to be shown on paid cable stations we had, and at some point I ended up buying it on VHS. The film had an amazing cast that included James Caan, Terence Stamp and Mandy Patinkin, all of whom were fantastic in their roles with Stamp and Patinkin being unrecognizable in their roles as aliens. After seeing the film I can also remember watching the TV Show Alien Nation that started in 1989, and I remember finding some of the comics from Adventure Comics years down the line at The Bookie Parlor and can remember going crazy when I got to read the cross over mini series they did with Planet Of The Apes called Ape Nation in 1991. But by the mid 90’s sadly Alien Nation had lost its footing in the world of pop culture as the TV Show was cancelled after only 22 episodes and the comic series from Adventure Comics ended in 1992. But while Alien Nation never got a movie sequel or even a more modern comic series, it still remains a classic 80’s Science Fiction film that I think everyone should check out.

The Tenctonese are from the planet of Tencton and are human like in appearance besides their heads, which have no hair on them and are slightly bigger with reddish spots on them that also run down their spines. They are stronger than a normal man as well as smarter as they were born and bred in order to be slaves. They eat food raw and that includes meat and veggies and in order to get drunk, they gulp down soured milk! They can be poisoned and die by such things as chocolate, tobacco and fluoride with salt almost being like acid to them as it can burn their skin. Their nerves and organs are different than ours as is the way they make love and things that can harm humans seem to have no effect on them including many types of poisons. They also look at sex as something special and not taboo and find adult movies childish. So what I am trying to say is that while they can be killed, they are definitely smarty and stronger than us and if they were real and here on Earth we would be smart to work with them and not against them as they could very much be our downfall!

So we have talked about the film as well as the Tenctonese, and I think it’s time to take a look at the DC Comic adaptation of the film and get this invasion going! I also just want to say that one other reason I think I have always enjoyed Alien Nation is the fact besides being a good science fiction film it also is a good buddy cop film! But if you look in the sky, a message has just been written in the stars and it says, “I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story”! So let’s get to it and see if the comic holds up as good as the movie.

Alien Nation # 1  ***
Released in 1988       Cover Price $2.50       DC Comics       # 1 of 1

It’s been three years since the Newcomers came down from space on their ship and became part of the populace in America.  This anniversary is all over the news and is causing people to remember where they were when the aliens landed. While on duty, cops Matthew Sykes and Bill Tuggle are involved in a shootout with some robber newcomers who leave Bill dead and Sykes very bitter toward Newcomers. He decides to team up with promoted Newcomer officer Sam “George” Francisco as he thinks he might be able to help him find who killed his partner as a rash of fake robbery murders have been taken place targeting the aliens. Sykes and Francisco follow the leads and find out one of the gunmen from the robbery worked at a gas plant and that’s the connection between the cop killing and the Newcomer killings. The pair of cops go around and uncover clues and even along the way start to build a friendship as they both see that their job and family is what matters in both of their lives. And soon George opens up to Sykes and lets him in on a Newcomer secret that there is a powerful drug that was made that all Newcomers took when they arrived and some got addicted to it.  The drug has side effects, and he thinks that this drug is the reason for all the killings. They finally are able to figure out that Newcomer William Harcourt is the man behind the killings as well as the man behind making the drugs, and when George and Sykes go to arrest him, he overdoses on the drug and turns into a raging hulking alien monster who stalks Sykes down trying to kill him.  This fight leads them to the ocean, and Sykes is only able to beat Harcourt when he pushes the supped up alien into the salt water that acts as acid and burns him up. George is able to pull Sykes out of the water and into a helicopter and they solve the case, destroy all the drug, take down the super powered alien bad guy and still make it to Sykes daughter’s wedding.

This DC Comic adaptation of the film Alien Nation is a great read and holds the magic of the film and even quickens the pace slightly and delivers a great buddy cop science fiction comic. The film’s plot has a cop whose partner is killed by an alien and his next partner is from the same alien race that murdered his last.  He must learn to put aside his hatred in order to solve the case and become a more tolerate person. This comic does a fantastic job of blending all the elements that made the film special together to make for a quick pace comic. Matthew Sykes is a cop who is good at his job but fails in life at being a good person as he has a rough and hateful attitude, but as he goes long on one of his most important cases he learns to try and be a better person and not hate those who are different from him. Officer Sam “George” Francisco is a Newcomer and the first of his race to be on the force and climb the ranks, he is a good cop who is by the book and he as well learns by the end of this case to lighten up and finds friendship and understands its value in life. Our main bad guy is William Harcourt who is as well a Newcomer and is a rich alien who is very slimy and is involved with drug making, selling and the murders of his fellow race! And once he is discovered to be a scumbag he overdoses on his own drug and causes himself to become a hulking mutant alien and does his best to murder our two main characters! This comic is filled with action, drama and even a little dark humor and this helped add to the enjoyment of the read, and proves that many comic adaptations of films can be well done. The cover to this comic is well done and is eye catching for fans of the film, and the interior artwork is pretty good and is done by Jerry Bingham. Over all this is an entertaining and good comic based on a cult classic film and is worth a read for those who enjoy Aliens and Buddy Cop stories. Check out some artwork below and see what this comic has in store for you.

Alien Nation is a great science fiction film about an alien invasion that allows them to live among us and not try and take us over like say Independence Day or hunt us for sport like Predator that I have covered here at Rotten Ink in the past. But I think it’s time to leave this Alien Invasion behind and crank open another Undead File for our next update as we will take a look at the Original Walking Dead series! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch an Alien film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a zombie gut munching of a good time!