It has been a while with little news on the progress of Eventy-7: ’79, the sequel/continuation/2nd series/whatever to Eventy-Seven. That does not mean I haven’t been working on it. I have! Part of it has been thinking, which is work if you do it hard enough. The smoke coming out of my ears and other places while thinking about this story can attest that I do think very hard. Here is everything you need to know so far about Eventy-Seven: ’79.
WHEN WILL IT APPEAR ONLINE? Late 2013.
DUDE, WHAT? WHY THE WAIT? I have written the first two chapters, which are 22 pages each this time around, rather than the 12 page chapters of Eventy-Seven. The first chapter is designed to be read all at once rather than in bits once a week, like Eventy-Seven was, so that’s why it may take awhile. The first chapter has also been thumbnailed and I am ready to start drawing!
Me, out of my cave after months of thinking
WILL IT BE THE SAME CHARACTERS? Yes, the ones still around at the end of Eventy-Seven. Also, there will be twice as many new characters and a host of bizarre and sad intertwining plots.
WILL IT STILL HAVE THAT EVENTY-SEVEN FEELING? If that was an actual thing, then yes. See above: Bizarre and sad intertwining plots. I know a lot of people can give you the special Eventy-Seven feeling but, being its creator, I can give it to you in spades.
He told me I had that Eventy-Seven feeling.
WHY ARE YOU DOING A SEQUEL? I really like the characters and I am excited by making more stories with them. I don’t have many readers and my various awards must be lost in the mail, but I couldn’t muster interest in any other project I was mulling over as I neared the completion of Eventy-Seven. If you aren’t going to be paid for something creative, you owe it to yourself to do something you absolutely love. While I would have liked a more rapturous response to Eventy-Seven, I don’t really need it for validation or anything (but I am not adverse to it).
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE THIS TIME OUT? Eventy-Seven was a smaller, personal story, about a family falling apart. Ryan’s Great Catastrophe is averted but the real catastrophe (spoiler) is Evie’s family. ’79 is the family-as-satellites, orbiting the Death Star of the weird mountain. Not really a family unit the same way they were before. Then other characters in orbit also start bouncing around. It’s like Eventy-Seven was renewed for a second season and the budget doubled. There are tweaked character designs also, along with a brand new- model for the main house (which will be the house I grew up in).
ARE YOU STILL DRAWING IT OR HAVE YOU HIRED A PERSON WHO CAN DRAW? Ha ha. I’m drawing it. I will be coloring direct from my pencils, though. I did that a few times in Eventy-Seven and though I like the idea of inking and study all my favorite inkers a lot, I’ve always preferred my pencils to the finished, inked, drawings. It looks warmer and closer to how I want it to look. Inking just isn’t my thing, I guess. Because the pencils will be much tighter, it doesn’t mean any one page will be a quicker draw than last time. It’s more for the look than any time-constraint issue. I am very excited by it.
WILL THE OBESE CHILEAN CARETAKER GHOST IN FISHNETS REAPPEAR? Uh… that’s not a character and it never will be.
WILL THE WEBSITE STILL LOOK LIKE IT DOES NOW? No. It will look like it does then. But it will reflect the new story, rather than the old. As I post new chapters, chapters of Eventy-Seven will then begin to disappear, just for tidy space-taking measures. But not until…
WILL THERE BE A DIGITAL OR PRINT VERSION OF EVENTY-SEVEN? Digital, yes. Definitely and hopefully by the time I start ’79. Print depends on $$$ which is why I will probably have to mount the world’s saddest kickstarter campaign for funds. I will eventually ask for the least amount I can do a print run on and hope for the best. I ain’t Veronica Mars or Rick the Stick, you know. In addition, much of the work needed to be done for these will be done on a new computer, which I do not have as yet. Any delays are because of that, not because I am inherently lazy (that’s a glandular problem, if you must know).
’79? DOES THAT MEAN IT’S A PREQUEL? Hahahahaha! No.
THEN WHY “’79”? Good question.
DO YOU BELIEVE IN GHOSTS? No. But I thought there was one in my room for many years as a kid, which later inspired Eventy-Seven. Don’t worry, the snobby guy who doesn’t believe in ghosts is always killed by one, so I will get my comeuppance at some point.
IS YOUR ORIGINAL ART FOR SALE? Yes. Demand is high for nonenty-none of the pages so get them while you can! I gave one page to my father-in-law so there are only 146 pages left!
DO YOU DO COMMISSIONS? I have no idea what that is. But, sure! Why not?
WILL YOU UPDATE MORE FREQUENTLY ON YOUR PROGRESS? I suppose that is expected.
This is a third version of a script for the Eventy-Seven prologue. The three things I wanted to accomplish by adding this are 1) To better establish Tim, Evie’s dad, living apart from his family in Oregon before buying the house (along with early signs of a rift between the parents) - something I feel I failed at in re-reading the first chapter. 2) To have a better drawn first few pages than the entry point the way it is now. 3) To have a least one big drawing of the house. In 147 pages I never had the space or the the confidence to do it right. As with most of my Eventy-Seven scripts, a lot of the dialogue will be changed after I draw the pages. I think it’s more important at this stage to get what they are saying down rather than how they are saying it.
Page 1 EIGHT PANELS
Panel 1 Tree tops, gently swaying. Mountaintops in the background.
BALLOON (very small) …check before we drive out there? Thanks.
Panel 2 From inside a car, we see a partial of the rear view mirror, a photo is being held up (we’re in Tim’s POV). The photo is of the McCandles family. Behind the photo are the trees from the first panel.
Panel 3 Long shot of a quiet country road. A shuttered country store or gas station with a phone booth near the road. A boxy 1970s Mercedes is parked near it (idling with black smoke out the exhaust), one person inside, TIM. Another is inside the phone booth, GARY (although we can’t see them).
Caption Cinder Valley, Oregon. November, 1979
GARY (from phone booth) We’re the first ones? Great!
Panel 4 Inside the car. Gary, boxy like his car, dressed in five-year-old male fashion, getting in the driver’s seat. Tim in shotgun, looking at the photo.
GARY Fantastic news! New listing out here, just opened like, not kidding, minutes ago! Got time for one more?
TIM May as well.
Panel 5 The car tooting away from us on the country road, trees closing in.
GARY (from car) Running out of houses to show you, Tim. Passed up on some high quality, you ask me.
TIM It needs to be perfect, Gary. For my family.
Panel 6 Inside the car. A two shot, Gary exasperated. Tim dreamy.
TIM They’re still in California, counting on me to take them out of that amoral wasteland. The home I buy can’t let them down.
GARY Your job at Staton, must be pretty good they move you up here from California, put you up in a motel until you find the perfect place…
Panel 7 Close on Tim, hard to read his emotions.
GARY What is you do there again?
TIM Maintenance manager.
Panel 8 Another long shot of the car driving in the woods, passing the Eventy-7 mail box.
TIM (from car) I fix things.
Page 2 SPLASH
Tim and Gary in front of the Lusser house, which looms before them like a dark looming loomer of a thing. Gary’s dialogue gets smaller and smaller until it fades away.
GARY Single owner. Guy who built it - owned the whole side of the mountain - built the other two houses down the road - this was his third and last. The old guy croaked and the family is eager to turn these out quick. (break) Four bedrooms. 3100 square feet… government land behind you so you’ll never worry about new developments. Oil furnace, exterior basement, outbuildings for chickens, livestock…
Page 3 EIGHT PANELS
Panel 1 Florence on the phone, nervously twirling the cord in her hand.
FLORENCE But you don’t sound happy at work. You keep saying they don’t like you because you were an outside hire. A new computer firm just opened here in Palo Alto. Maybe you could move b-
Panel 2 Tim on the phone, dingy motel room environs. Maybe in t-shirt tucked into underwear?
TIM Oregon is our home now! I’m staying, I’m buying this amazing house, you guys will finally be up here, and we’ll be together. That’s all that matters. Got that?
Panel 3 Split panel of the two talking. Florence on the left.
FLORENCE But they don’t have the schools or the swimming facilities or- I checked, Tim. The kids won’t-
TIM There are lakes and rivers and and - and spiritual fulfillment. You can’t get that in the spiritual abattoir of the bay area! We’re being boiled like frogs down there!
Panel 4 Florence sagging, giving up on this old argument.
FLORENCE I know. You’re right. We’ll be happy when we’re a family again. It’s just, all our friends are here.
Panel 5 Tim, head in hand.
TIM It’s an amazing house, Florence. Once you see it I just know… everything will be great. The air here… so pure.
Panel 6 Florence. On the phone, silent.
Panel 7 Split panel of the two in bed. Florence crying. Tim peaceful.
Panel 8 The trees from the first panel. Swaying and silhouetted in the night sky.
Barry Deutsch (@BarryDeutsch), creator of the Hereville books is doing a writing question & answer blog hop about current projects and asked if I’d like to participate. A bunch of writers and cartoonists answering a simple group of questions about their projects, which in turn may lead to some convoluted answers (*heh*). It’s a great way to hear from other writers about the genesis of their projects. It also helps for creators who are notoriously cotton-mouthed and jelly-brained when it comes to describing their stories (*cough-cough*) to try once again. Barry’s can be read HERE and there are links to other creators participating as well.
WHAT IS THE WORKING TITLE OF YOUR BOOK?
“Eventy-Seven”, a graphic novel.
WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM FOR THE BOOK?
I was thinking about mining stories from when I was a kid and the thread of a boy from the future warning a girl in 1980 about a Great Catastrophe popped up one day out of the blue (alternatively: I’ve seen Terminator too many times and it seeped into my subconscious). The rest came along quickly after that.
WHAT GENRE DOES YOUR BOOK FALL UNDER?
Cartoony horror, sci-fi or family drama.
WHICH ACTORS WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO PLAY YOUR CHARACTERS IN A MOVIE RENDITION?
A serious Will Ferrell or John C. Reilly as Tim, the main character’s dad, with a huge mustache. Rachel Weisz or Kate Winslet as her mom. Werner Herzog as the German ghost, fighting an interdimensional war. Toby Jones as the oily, smug cult leader Carroll Washington. Then I’d have whoever cast the Harry Potter movies cast all the kid roles with fantastic, quirky, unknowns who, after the huge success of Eventy-Seven, are ten years later sad burnt-out cases against making children celebrities.
WHAT IS THE ONE SENTENCE SYNOPSIS OF YOUR BOOK?
Evie and her family move to the country in 1980 where they discover ghosts, underground houses, cults, discord and a boy from the future who swears Evie’s dad causes the end of the world.
WILL YOUR BOOK BE SELF-PUBLISHED OR REPRESENTED BY AN AGENCY?
I have posted the entirety online at kenkoral.com and will self-publish in 2013.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO FINISH THE FIRST DRAFT OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT?
As I would complete the drawing of a chapter I would write the next one from a synopsis. That way I was always writing and always drawing during the process, which gave it more chances to evolve. I began writing and drawing it in July, 2010 and have just finished coloring the last page in October, 2012. It’s the longest I’ve ever worked on any project by far. It’s 147 pages and will be 150 when I get around to adding a three page prologue.
WHAT OTHER BOOKS WOULD YOU COMPARE THIS STORY TO WITHIN YOUR GENRE
Anya’s Ghost. The Shining. Little Lulu. Horrifying childhood memoirs that you suspect are actually mostly made up.
(For instance, this never happened to me:)
(But this did)
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS STORY?
I’d been bouncing around doing different types of writing for years and felt like whatever personal voice I’d had had been ground down by various outside interests. I also wanted to get back to drawing, which I hadn’t really done since I was a teen. I wanted to make a story that had all the elements I love: sad, funny, weird, quirky and disturbing. I’d also been thinking about things that happened when I was a kid and felt the time was right to use them in some sort of bizarre mashup of real life and genre fiction.
WHAT ELSE ABOUT YOUR BOOK MIGHT PIQUE A READER’S INTEREST?
I have always wanted to make a TV show. Eventy-Seven is structured like a 12 episode season of a TV show on a network no one watches at the end of the dial, where you stumble upon this weird show at 3am that was made decades ago that you’ve never heard of but you can’t stop watching. You keep looking at the backgrounds wondering where it was made. The South? Canada? Eastern Europe? Is the dialogue dubbed? Was that a David Cronenberg cameo? You can’t tell because of the static. You aren’t sure how far some stories will go and you worry about the kids in some of these plots – “No, they won’t do that, will they?” Then, when it’s over, you keep the lights on and can’t sleep because you aren’t sure what it was you just watched. But it was definitely something.
Two Ryans! The one on the left drawn in 2010, the one on the right drawn two years later! He put on some serious pounds in that time. His generally positive demeanor stayed put, though. Nothing could get that kid down.
Evie’s mom, on the left drawn in 2010, on the right drawn a few months ago. She probably changed more than any character. It took four chapters or so for her to start looking like the same person, right around the time I gave her a perm (pro tip: give all your characters a perm).