Friday, December 10, 2010
from Afterschool Special
This concludes Afterschool Special. The title of this book stems from both the CBS Schoolbreak Specials and ABC Afterschool Special series I watched as a kid that aired from the late 70's through the 90's. Many of these teenage dilemma programs were based on children's or young adult novels. In the 80's, The Degrassi Series adapted this issue-oriented storytelling into an ongoing show with repetitive characters. Many other teen shows would follow in it's path such as My So Called Life and Beverly Hills 90210. For example, this scene provided indirect inspiration.
Growing Pains was another important "teenage issues" show that worked as a sitcom comedy rather than a drama and I loved it because it supposedly took place on Long Island. I had a crush on Tracey Gold and always thought of her as a neighbor. Kirk Cameron, from that same show, is pictures here as Lisa's fantasy. My older sister had a fold out poster of him from TeenBeat magazine hanging in her closet for a long time. Kirk's photo used in the comic is from this book: Also, for those counting, this is my second reference to Soleil Moon-Frye in this book.
I am not claiming that this comic resembles an actual Afterschool Special. Instead, I wanted to make a fictional story that reflected upon my own experiences as a teenager in order to put into words and pictures some of these emotions. My comics work tends to be emotional driven, rather than story driven. I hope there is something that you, the reader, can relate to here. This work has been the culmination of years of experimentation, trying to get it just right. For example, here is a similar sequence that I did more than ten years prior when I was still a teenager.
Another popular TV show I grew up watching was The Wonder Years. The writers of the show originally intended to have it set in Huntington, NY although it was actually filmed in Burbank, CA. And even though mountains and palm trees could be seen in the distance, the show is imbued with the sentiments and nostalgia of a Long Island that I imagine existed before I was born. I attribute this show's setting in the early 1970's to my ongoing love of material (YA novels and films) from this decade. There is just something about both the fashion and style that is an endless source of love and fascination for me. I love you Winnie Cooper!
Afterschool Special, Dirtbags and Neverland all take place in a fictionalized version of "Plainview", the actual town on Long Island where I grew up. But through the years, this town has evolved in my mind and become a deeper place attributed to my imagination. Like with The Wonder Years, there are mountains there now too and possibly even some palm trees. Plainview will be explored in more depth in my forthcoming book.
My next project will be titled House Party Massacre and it will be my most complex work to date. It will also be a novel, rather than a comic. This is something I've been wanting to work on for years. Unlike this graphic novella, I will not be posting House Party Massacre online. At least not until it's complete, which shouldn't be until the summer of 2012. I suppose the eventual goal would be to find a publisher for that. But right now, I'm just concerned with the challenge of writing.
Until then, thanks for reading!
My other books are:
Dirtbags, Mallchicks and Motorbikes (sample)
A Last Cry For Help
*Afterschool Special was intended to be a printed publication, but I have yet to find anyone interested in helping me put it to print. HELP! (ha, ha)
You may also download a free digital copy of the book from MagCloud.
Also, be sure to check out my TEEN PULP page on facebook.
and for more Afterschool Special nostalgia check out my MUSEUM