Exploring Nostalgia, Innocence, Supernature And Growing Up In Comics – Adamsville Book 1: The Unknowns

Michael Regina writes;

I’m a cartoonist and I am a hopeless, sentimental sap.  There, I said it.  I have always had a very strong connection to the things I experienced as a kid growing up in the late 80’s and the 90’s.   I hold on for dear life to the feelings and memories I had in almost every situation growing up.  My first crush, school dances,  friends, sleepovers, having a dream for a career and working hard for it, etc…  I often find myself living in those memories and drawing tons of ideas from them.  The truth is I think most of us do.

There’s something special about that time in your life.  Not necessarily good or bad, because it’s not always a rosy time for some people. It’s just a unique and powerful time because those things shaped the person we become, or who you are becoming.  It was with that in mind that I started writing my graphic novel, Adamsville.

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This book has been shifting in and out of production for years before now.  Once upon a time, I had a literary agent and we even pitched this book to publishers about 5 years ago… Sadly to no avail.  It never deterred me though because I really, strongly, believed in this story.  I learned a lot at the time about my efforts and ultimately what it would take to make a graphic novel.  So about 2 years ago I dusted it off and fully committed myself to seeing this book through to the end after I saw the 2011 movie Super 8 by J.J. Abrams.

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Now, at the risk of sounding far too redundant along with the myriad of posts I’ve done reflecting on this movie (not on this site though), I’ll just say it reminded me of what it was like to be a kid and why I tell stories in the first place.  The movie itself was an obvious homage to the great Amblin movies of the 80’s, but for that 1 hour and 45 minutes I was in that theater, I was transfixed.  I blew up my twitter feed and Facebook timeline with post after post about that movie.  At the time I was developing a script for another book and had decided to leave Adamsville for another day, thinking I wasn’t ready for such a big project.  Though I felt in my heart it was the best project idea I had to develop.

A saying has been circulating a bit lately in online creative circles which is basically, “why put off your best ideas for later when you can do them now?”  I had just watched a movie that was in all parts everything I wanted to see in a story.  It was suspenseful, funny, tragic and most of all heartfelt.  I knew at that moment that the book I needed to direct my attention to was Adamsville.  I knew it might be more than I could handle.  I knew that it meant stepping into a series project with my first major graphic novel outing.  But in the end, I didn’t care.  My heart and mind were made up and this was the project I was going after.

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So I plunged myself into that world of being a kid again.  I started off this article by saying that I am a sentimental sapp and I make no qualms about it.  Because being sentimental can be authentic and others can connect to that.  I wanted to explore what it was like for a kid to tell a girl for the first time in his life that he has a crush on her.  To write a book that doesn’t completely parody and exaggerate the school class system (jocks vs. geeks).  I wanted to write a book about kids who are friends, kids who don’t get along, or who have a history with each other that is deep and dividing.  In short I wanted to make something timeless over the course these three volumes.

In addition to the experience of growing up, I wanted to explore a time when most of us probably believed monsters and other paranormal things were real.  I used to live for Friday nights in elementary school when FOX would air the TV show “Sightings.”  It was the gateway that first introduced me to the idea of UFOs, aliens and conspiracy.  Whether those things are real or not wasn’t as much the point to me as the basic idea of them making my mind wander in all different directions.   I mean… What if there really was a UFO crash in Roswell 1947?  Just thinking on the possibility opens my mind up to the world being a much different place than what we all have been told it is.

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I wanted to tell a story about that.  I wanted to give kids their “X-Files”…  Their “Lost.”  I make no mistake about my ambitions for this book and series.  I want to create a powerful, seminal comic about adolescence and adventure.  I want this book to breathe the same life as the movies and books that inspired me when I was younger.  I want to give kids (and all ages really) something unique, personal, scary and endearing.

Adamsville ultimately is a book about growing up and doing so in a terrifying situation involving monsters, shadowy groups and conspiracy.  Those situations aren’t always going to be about monsters though… Life has enough curveballs to throw at a kid all by itself without putting vicious creatures into the mix (I mean could you imagine how horrifying that would make everything if you had to deal with a math test AND monsters?).

In the end I am glad I looked back at this book I started years ago and gave it my all.  Finishing the first book was an amazing and grueling experience.  I learned a lot about what it takes to make a book like this and I’m only more sharpened and focused for the upcoming sequel.  But it’s time to take this finished book out to the world and see if all the things I aspire to will ring true with my audience.   So I launched a webcomic and a Kickstarter for the first book in this trilogy of books.  If you’re a fan of stories about adventure, mystery, conspiracy and growing up I humbly submit this sentimental sap’s book to you for your support…