Fight Club does not readily appear to be the sort of story that calls for a sequel. Many fans accepted the fact that the tale of Tyler Durden an Project Mayhem was over, but author Chuck Palahniuk had different plans. We spoke to Palahniuk about the graphic novel sequel, Kickstarting movies, and his new adult coloring book.
The first thing we and many others wanted to know was, why a graphic novel? Why do Fight Club 2 as a comic book? Why not another novel? “First, a plain old novel or film would get crucified by people who loved the original,” Palahniuk told us. “Only something in a new medium would have a rat’s chance of generating its own authority without direct comparison to a previous version. Books and long-form prose have their storytelling strengths, as do films, but I wanted to explore the advantages that only comics offer. For example, visual images, but not fully realistic ones. My child soldiers wouldn’t work in either prose or film. Cameron [Stewart] makes them work beautifully in comics.”
As it turns out, we have some of comic’s royalty to thank for Palahniuk deciding to do Fight Club 2 as a comic book. It was at a party for Chelsea Cain that Matt Fraction, Kelly Sue DeConnick, and Brian Michael Bendis convinced Palahniuk to do a comic book. “It was an ambush,” Palahniuk recalled. “They offered to teach me comic writing, and Scott Allie at Dark Horse was the first person in publishing to respond to my eventual script. This project would’ve never happened if I were working long distance with an editor or teacher, but Scott lives just a few blocks away and he was always available to give advice or clarify any writing question.”
It’s fortunate that Palahniuk attended that particular party because Fight Club 2 is a damn fine comic book. It takes the humor and mayhem of the original story and ramps them up to eleven. It goes places that you would not expect; big, bizarre, cartoonish places. Much of this is thanks to artist Cameron Stewart, who brings the world of Tyler Durden to life with a brilliant eye and stunning storytelling. When we asked Palahniuk how Stewart came on board the project, he took the time to gush about STewart’s skills as a storyteller and artist. “Scott [Allie], the editor, pitched me dozens of artists, and only Cameron had the perfect blend of realism and cartoonishness. In many ways, I learned to write better comic scripts by seeing how Cameron fixed my flaws in earlier scripts. He has such an instinct for showing only what’s really needed in a panel, be it just an eye or a mouth, and conveying all the needed emotion. He went so far as to create a 3D computer model of the Project Mayhem house so he could easily and consistently show any detail of it from any angle. He insisted Sebastian heal quickly because it’s impossible to depict a full range of emotions on a bruised, swollen face. Cameron saved the book in so many ways.”
The merger of art and story scratched and itch in Palahniuk’s soul. Now, as announced earlier today, Palahniuk is prepping the release of a hardcover adult coloring book. Now, this isn’t some flimsy, throw-away rag filled with black and white doodles. This is a pairing of Palahniuk stories with amazing artist from the comic book industry. “Our book, called Bait: Off-Color Stories for You to Color, will be a beautifully bound hardcover containing eight of the best new stories I’ve written, some sweet, some as edgy as my infamous Guts story. Among the team of artists are Joelle Jones, Duncan Fegredo, and Lee Bermejo, and their illustrations are more daring and inventive than anything I could ask for. The ultimate collaborator will be the person who receives the book and adds the colors. It will become an heirloom worth keeping.”
A kick ass comic series that is a sequel to a beloved novel and a new, hardcover coloring book filled with art from some of the industry’s best isn’t all Chuck Palahniuk has cooking. There’s also a Kickstarter raising funds to adapt his novel Lullaby into a film. “The Lullaby project is actually spearheaded by a friend of mine, Andy Mingo, who co-wrote the script and plans to direct the film,” Palahniuk told us. “He made the short film from my story Romance and created the three book trailers used to launch Fight Club 2 this spring. Andy has a track record of producing great results from scant resources. I trust he can do so with Lullaby.”
Fans of Chuck Palahniuk’s work have a lot to be excited about. If you have yet to get out Fight Club 2, then you are in luck because we have the full first issue available for your reading pleasure in the gallery below. Trust us when we say the entire series is fantastic and worth picking up when the collected edition drops later this month. It’s entirely unexpected in all the best ways. Plus, more time with Tyler Durden is always time well spent. Palahniuk understands the appeal of the character and knows why people love him.
“Tyler being modeled so beautifully by Brad Pitt didn’t hurt. That, and Tyler is merely an updated classic archetype. He’s the modern trickster character cast in the same mold as Loki or Coyote. People respond to the ancient.”
Images: Dark Horse Comics