If you’re not going to get proper adaptations of comics that are cultural icons I shouldn’t be surprised when a webcomic turned movie gets things wrong. For example:
I finally stumbled on the trailer for Marry Me and while it might end up being a good movie, it has flaws adaptation wise. You didn’t know it was a comic? I did. I used to have the digital issues via WOWIO until they shut the site down while I was otherwise occupied with my first recovery and starting this site. I think I have some issues around here on some form of storage but I haven’t had the chance to look.
Marry Me is…well, was, a webcomic from maybe 2007? All I can find is info on the digital and physical collections and a hard to use page at Keenspot that I think goes through the whole comic but I didn’t have time to find out. This wouldn’t qualify it for Scanning My Collection anyway since while digital comics are allowed I have to either have them in a library on the site or my computer. I technically own that copy so it’s technically part of my collection. Since I don’t have the WOWIO comics on this computer and I’m not sure I have them on CD or floppy either (maybe as part of that clutter organizing project I’ll stumble on them) I do at least have access to the first issue thanks to comiXology, who has the whole series up for 99¢ an issue or $4.99 for a trade collection, and the first issue for free. All I had gotten from WOWIO was the first two or three issues so at least I recovered one of them. So let’s compare what’s in the actual comic to the trailer and see what the movie unnecessarily adds just from what we see there.
Marry Me #1
Blatant Comics/Keenspot I guess (2007ish, posted to comiXology October, 2010)
WRITER/CREATOR: Bobby Crosby, whose credit I don’t see in the trailer, Universal Pictures!
ARTIST: Remy “Eisu” Moktar
Now if comiXology can let me read the comic without constantly coming up with errors so I have to backtrack maybe I can review this thing. What’s with this site lately? Get your act together, Amazon!
The story opens on big time pop idol Stasia (we do learn that her real name is Ana) as she gets ready for the last concert of this tour. Her assistant (and this comic is kind of bad at giving us names early…except for Gary, who runs the flying rig for one of Stasia’s songs) thinks it’s funny that three of Stasia’s ex-boyfriends have gone on to be successful but she’s as done with dating as she is this tour and these outfits. She’s starting to consider just getting married and getting it over with instead of dating losers who go on to be successful.
Meanwhile in the stands we’re introduced to our other main characters. Parker (because last names are not coming easy to us) and her best friend…Guy. Just…guy, not to be confused with Just Some Guy. Parker is huge into Stasia, even knowing who Gary is. And when I mean huge into her I mean she’s the one who brought the “marry me” sign and she’s a lesbian. I assume you can make the connection. Guy is just there to hang out with Parker. The comic at least does setup why everyone is here but I think us not really getting to know these characters early plays into the story, as Stasia and Guy don’t know each other either. In fact they’ve never met.
Backstage we finally learn the assistant’s name is Janny and she’s Ana/Stasia’s…all these years and I just got it…sister. We also learned earlier that she’s eight months pregnant though I’m trying to remember if we ever learn about the father. Apparently during the first set Stasia forgot some of her lyrics. Clearly something is bothering her and Stasia has her “I’m gonna do something crazy” look, though she insists nothing of the sort is going to happen. Then she does something crazy.
Back with our other characters, Parker realizes that in her excitement about the concert she forgot to pee. Since Thursday. I really hope this is a Friday night concert. Take it from someone with bathroom issues thanks to all the water I have to drink to stay hydrated, this is not a good idea. She runs off to use the bathroom, needing to use a bush because apparently this outdoor venue lacks port-a-potties though Janny is in the bathroom when stuff goes down so…????????. If she isn’t back in time Parker wants Guy to hold up her “marry me” sign because Stasia signs all the…signs in the front row at the end of her concerts. As Parker finds her bush…shut up…she sees Stasia on the big screen calling Guy up, and she freaks out…and forgets to stop peeing. Thankfully this is not the level of comedy the book usually drops to. I’m also betting Sarah Silverman isn’t going to recreate this scene, but given some of the jokes she’s done in productions don’t hold me to that. I have no money to give to a sucker bet.
Apparently there is also a priest that just happens to be there. Why? I don’t know. He doesn’t even look like a pop idol fan. We also see this on the big screen as Guy and Stasia get married. This I think could have benefitted from slowing down a bit. The comic really runs through everything, stopping to only make a few gags about Stasia’s life, like alluding to some incident with monkeys leading to her not supporting their charity anymore and the bit earlier about her exes. That last one plays into the story at least, and I think this needed a bit more time to really show how Stasia was affected by how much she hated where her life was at that point. Again, I think Crosby is trying to highlight just how frantic and out of the blue this all is but on this it might be a bit too rushed to really get into it.
Backstage again our happily wedded couple finally meet. In any other story that would sound silly but in this case it’s kind of the point. Stasia doesn’t even remember Alabama was in the last concert and now she’s in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Meanwhile Parker is trying to get past the security guard. Guy mentioned to let her in, though we do learn she’s so active on fan forums Jannie even knows her real name before her screenname, based on one of Stasia’s songs. We also get a brief intro to the security guard, named in later comics as Denny. They’re fun together and it doesn’t happen enough in the series. Also, she needs pants. I refer you to two paragraphs ago. I question whoever designed the pants she ends up with, but I still don’t understand pre-ripped jeans. Fashion is not my passion. You’ve seen what my characters dress like.
Meanwhile we learn Guy is straight and it’s part of the reason he agreed to the marriage. Basically if he said no to the third hottest girl in pop music in front of that large crowd and people learned his best friend was a lesbian they’d assume he is gay. Oddly I can’t fault that logic, but that’s mostly because I have read later issues and have a better idea about Guy’s personality than he we see here. I’m also pretty sure he’s named Guy to show how average he really is. Meanwhile we finally get to see the moment when Stasia accepted the not really a proposal as Janny and Parker watch the footage…just before learning some doofus with a cell phone already posted it and CNN found it. We also learn later that this is bringing Stasia’s dad from Japan. The good news is that he won’t be there for 17 hours, but the bad news appears to be he’ll be taking over the situation once he does. I assume this doesn’t involve the consummation.
Things go bad for Guy. Stasia is mad when she learns it wasn’t his sign, Parker is mad for I guess marrying the pop star she’s hot for. His potential murder is derailed as a commentator basically kills off any avenue of Stasia getting out of this without looking like the reason Brittney Spears spent way too long under conservatorship. This leads to one of the greatest comic panels that hasn’t made orbit around the internet but darn well should…
If that scene isn’t in the movie then I don’t know what comic the screenwriters were reading when making the screenplay. They will also prove themselves to be hacks! HACKS! THIS SCENE MUST HAPPEN! This is also where the comic ends.
I could go through the whole series but again that wouldn’t be within Scanning My Collection rules. However, do you get a sense of how this comic works. Frantic is the easiest way to explain this series comedy stylings, something I don’t get in the trailer. That’s not the only change. Ana, stage named Stasia, will now be called Kat Valdez and there’s no sign of her sister being in the movie, so Janny is gone altogether. Guy is now Charlie Gilbert, which I think misses the point of calling him “Guy”, the most average name you can give a male. (We also learn later he’s a high school guidance counselor. Not exactly the most exciting job in the world.) Parker, the only character who keeps her name, will not get to be best buds with Denny in the end (I wanted to see it, even if the comic never got that far) because he’s missing. We don’t even get Gary. How can you not have Gary? Who else has the talent to make Jennifer Lopez fly? Sure he’s not in the rest of the story but…Gary!
And yet the movie has added a cheating fiance instead of just letting her be done with the bad dating life she’s had, which I’m not sure was necessary. Also not necessary is giving non-Guy a daughter he didn’t have in the comic. It’s like they had to hit the Hallmark romance tick box and added in “single parent”. If I follow the trailer right Charlie is the one with the bad love life or lacking any social life and it feels like the movie is at best loosely based on the comic…clearly thanks to screenwriters and directors who “know better” than the writer of the comic that was popular and interesting enough to be made into a movie. It’s all unnecessary and a bit pointless.
The thing is due to the frantic nature of what’s happening, and this was meant to be a webcomic later published in multiple issues (which is how it was released online as well) we don’t really get to know these characters. We learn a bit about Ana’s past failed romances and not much else. Janny is pregnant somehow…you know what I mean…and Parker is a huge fangirl with a lesbian crush on Stasia. We really don’t get brought in by the characters. However, we do get brought in by the situation and the potential of where this story can go, as Ana and Guy get to know each other while circumstances have brought them together thanks to an impulsive official wedding. That works better for a webcomic or possibly trade than it does for the opening issue.
At best the first issue shows potential for the series but I can see people not picking up the second issue if they didn’t find the characters interesting enough. Characters need interesting situations and situations need interesting characters. It’s a symbiotic relationship and while one factor can dominate over the other you still need good characters in a plot driven story like this and good situations in a character driven story like this will at times be. It is worth checking out the full series either by messing around with Keenspot’s navigation, getting the comic in print, or in digital issues through comiXology. Somehow I don’t see the movie living up to the style of this comic though. Could it be good? Possibly but it doesn’t feel like the same production to me.