Gang! I’m crawling out of my cryo-chamber real quick to drop my first update in a minute! Where has Kevin Strange been? Where’s he going? When’s he releasing a new book?
All great questions. The short answer is: I’ve been staying the fuck off the internet, I’m going to continue to stay the fuck off the internet, and it might be a while before you see new content from the Strange One.
Why? That’s kind of a long story.
2018 has been a tough year, not gonna lie. It’s been a year of loss and a year of struggles. I lost a friend from high school, a teacher from college, and my dear friend Nick Head, the cinematographer from Hack Movies, all three suddenly and unexpectedly this year.
As if that wasn’t enough, my roommate’s dog sadly passed away this morning as I sat down to type out this end of the year update!
Compound those losses with several close-calls with family members and 2018 can seriously go fuck itself right into the faded memory of the history books where it belongs!
On the career front, it’s actually been an extremely productive year, even if my public output hasn’t been impressive. Yes I finished an entire 60 thousand word novel, SHE WAS ONLY A CLOWN, which I published weekly for free right here on KevinTheStrange.com.
And yes, I finished the novella collection THE STRANGE SAGA OF JORECK THE BARBARIAN and published one of those novellas JORECK AND THE SWAMP PHANTOMS OF IKK on Kindle and limited edition signed paperback at my Square Store, but 2018 will see no full-length official fiction release from me. The first year in as long as I can remember that I didn’t put out a full book.
Why did that happen?
When Nick died, I’d been chugging away at editing the official SHE WAS ONLY A CLOWN manuscript for release, and writing the final two novellas for the JORECK collection. I just stopped. I couldn’t stop thinking about how I’d never be able to make another movie with my blood brother in film.
I talked about this a lot in my post about Nick the week he died, but my brain didn’t shut off after I wrote that eulogy to my buddy. I kept thinking about our film universe and how I couldn’t bare to leave such a significant part of my life unfinished without a fitting tribute to Nick.
I’d always wanted to write a graphic novel. As early as 8 years old I wanted to draw comics but I’d never gotten good enough at art to do it. After I became a novelist, I looked into hiring an artist to draw comics like I hired them to draw covers for my books, but the comic book world is run by artists, plain and simple.
The artist makes the rules, sets the budget, dictates the schedule. There’s not really a place for the writer on an indie comic project to have any say beyond “what happens” in the story.
So I, being the control freak I am, let the dream of writing comics fall to the way side and focused on writing books. And I wrote books diligently for years. A LOT of books.
But now, here I was, obsessing over the Hack Movies universe, specifically the idea of doing a tribute meta-comic in Nick’s honor, letting Nixon and Hogan tussle with their arch nemisis Don Duepe (played by Nick in the movies) one last time so that I, the Hack Minions, and even the citizens of Strangeville themselves could tell Nick goodbye.
I dropped all of my fiction projects and started working on my very first graphic novel script DEAD SHIT 2: UNDEAD DAWN. I poured every emotion I felt after losing Nick, my heartbreak for his family, our mutual friends, my regret that I never made another movie with him, and the ugly truth that our era of Hack Movies was truly gone, never to be recovered. Not in the real world anyway.
I spent months writing the script for DEAD SHIT 2 and I even sketched out the panels for the comic before handing it off to an artist buddy who is still banging away at it in his free time between work and another comic project. I truly hope it sees the light of day one day.
But my brain wouldn’t slow down. After years dormant, the citizens of Strangeville were demanding I continue the storylines I abandoned when I walked away from Hack Movies all those years ago.
I wrote a comic script for the STIFF JOBS spin off CLETUS CHOAT CHOKES GHOSTS project. I wrote a comic book sequel to COCKHAMMER. And eventually I settled on the idea that would occupy all my time for the better half of 2018.
The reason I haven’t released any full fiction projects this year.
See how it says “written and illustrated” by Kevin Strange? Yeah. That’s months and months of hard work. That’s me dropping my fiction writing to practice drawing again for the first time since BEFORE I started Hack Movies way back in the early 00s.
Obviously I’m not very good. I probably never will be (but I’m dedicating myself to becoming the best artist I can be.) But I am bound and determined to resurrect the Strangeville universe in the form of comic books, even if I have to draw every frame of every issue myself.
Even if that means I don’t write another novel for a long, long time.
I wrote many novels. They’re all on Amazon. I love them. My favorites are Texas Chainsaw Mantis, Vampire Guts in Nuke Town, Beetle Brain and McHumans.
Just like I loved all of my movies before. But it’s time for a new era. It’s time for Kevin Strange to write and draw some crazy ass comics. Starting with DEAD SHIT: THE COMIC BOOK.
I’m splitting it into three issues. I’ve already finished the thumbnails and panels on the first issue. I’m currently in the process of doing the hard pencils, then on to inking, then coloring.
I’m about to buy a big, expensive tablet monitor to draw and color these things digitally. I’m all in, gang. Strangeville lives, just not in the way I ever imagined it. I won’t release anything in 2018 because 2019 will see my first ever comic book released.
Full circle. Back to the characters and world I cut my teeth with. The world I thought I’d been sealed off from forever due to Nick’s death. Don Duepe is in this book. He’s the main villain, of course. I get to draw my friend Nick every day. I get to write dialogue in his voice. I get to honor his memory and continue our journey together and I can’t think of a better way to do it.
That’s my year, gang. Awful loss, grueling work, brand new horizons.
Stay Strange. And listen, gang. Don’t take anyone in your life for granted. We’re never guaranteed a tomorrow.