Joe Kelly on Why "Poughkeepsie" Has to Be a Movie, Not a Comic


Joe Kelly, an acclaimed comic book writer and member of the writers' collective Man of Action Entertainment, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to support a short film he hopes to direct, titled Poughkeepsie.

In the film, a dying Alzheimer's patient -- someone who has lived a life full of regret -- believes he has the ability to travel back in time and tries to rewrite his past before time runs out.

"It's the story of an Alzheimer's patient who when it starts to zone out, he's having memories of his past but those memories are more than just memories: he can have an effect," Kelly told me in an interview today, the full text of which will run this week on

And, of course, whenever a successful comics writer makes the transition to another medium, the obvious choice is: why film? Why not make this as a comic book?

Or, as so many in Hollywood do, make it as a comic first, to help sell the concept of the film?

Well, Kelly said, he doesn't want to do it in part because it's such a common practice -- and it's not one he particularly wants to be involved in.

"We've never been in that game where we make something that you hope is a movie but you do it as a graphic novel," Kelly said. "Fans smell that a mile away. And [Man of Action Entertainment has] turned down countless jobs where somebody's like 'I have this idea and it's a screenplay and we can do it as a comic and then try to sell it as a movie.' We always say no because everybody knows what you're doing. To do this story, which to me is cinematic, makes more sense to try and do it myself."


"I have a few projects that I would really like to do as independent films but they're bigger and more expensive and I know that they could work as graphic novels but in my head they're films, and this is one of them," Kelly added. "And I wouldn't want to wait. Here's this little slice-of-life, weirdo, magical-realism graphic novel that maybe somebody will want to turn into a weirdo independent film? It's a double bet against yourself. So I'd rather go with trying to do something unique and trying to find an audience."

You can join that audience by backing Poughkeepsie on Kickstarter here.