sGood afternoon everyone! I am bringing you an extra special interview with writer Greg Wright of Source Point Press, author for the comic adaptation of the TV show, Holliston. I had been meaning to get to this book for some time now, and finally had the opportunity to do so. It was a fantastic read. Not having previous knowledge of Holliston, reading Adam Green's introduction was enlightening and heart breaking. He lays out the timeline of Holliston, dating back to 1999 when the show was originally titled, "Coffee and Donuts." He created a film on a $400 budget, it won best picture at a film festival and he was promised network television show. Adam goes through four years of hell, moving to Hollywood and trying to get C&D on a network. He succeeds and sells it to UPN in 2003. However, when he sold it- WB was merging with UPN to become the CW and the show was shelved once again by Touchstone for five years. Between 2004-2010, Adam continues film-making and went on to create cult classics including Hatchet, Spiral, Grace, Frozen, and Hatchet 2. Right around the time he was completing Hatchet 2, he won the rights back to C&D. This time he pitched it to G4, who were interested a TV show anchored around Adam Green, and Joe Lynch. Green also wanted to include Laura Oritz, Corri English, Dee Snider, and Dave Brockie. G4 accepted but the sale was never completed. G4 went under and became Esquire.
2011, enter Peter Block (producer on Green's, Frozen). Peter is named president of the network FEARnet. He decides to give Holliston a shot and licenses it for the network. Filming for season one takes places over the course of a year. In 2012, Holliston premiers on TV. Sadly, it didn't make it into nearly the amount of homes the network had originally projected. However, through hard work and promotion, they were able to get the numbers up high enough for the network to order a second season. Green and the crew are able to begin filming season two, and even premiere a Christmas special during 2012. During June of 2013, season two is released and is a huge success. Green begins writing season three, with renewed energy for the series only to be crushed by the death of his beloved friend and castmate Dave Brockie in early 2014. To make matters worse, Adam undergoes divorce, and then the unthinkable happens: Time Warner and Comcast merge, dissolving FEARnet and Holliston goes off the air permanently.
During 2014-2015, Green manages to hang on and create a largely successful podcast titled The Movie Crypt, recorded with Lynch as a Holliston spin-off. The show is hosted on GeekNation. Green pitches the idea of continuing Holliston on GeekNation. The cast and crew are supportive of the idea, and Adam goes on to write the first new material for Holliston in over three years. Throughout the course of 2016, Green continued to produce the weekly podcast as well as other weekly original series on ArieScope. He is still working on the scripts and details of season 3 of Holliston.
Adam goes on to tell the story of how Holliston became a comic. This was the part that really sold me on the book because he speaks about it in such a passionate way and you can tell he was beyond grateful with the final product. He talks about how he had been approached numerous times with pitches of a Holliston comic, but refused previous offers. Holliston is something that is very much a part of his heart and soul, the thought of letting anyone take that from him and possibly destroy it, was frightening. He had poured a large chunk of his life into the series, I can only imagine what that must feel like. Adam was always willing to listen to a pitch and read scripts, but he had turned down every previous offer... until now.
Enter Travis McIntire, manager and part-owner of the independent publishing company: Source Point Press. Green said that the pitch displayed a perfect understanding of what the show was about, and Greg Wright had captured the voices of the characters so perfectly in the script. Adam was impressed with Stephen Sharar's pencils and inks, and Josh Werner's colors and letters. The book came together in a beautiful fashion and Green stated:
"in a time I was so heartbroken and defeated, that I was doubting if I could ever write Holliston again or if I could possibly find the strength to get back on stage with my castmates again and stand on the bedroom set next to "Oderus" closed closet door... Source Point Press put what I had created back in front of my own face and taught me how to enjoy it again."
I think that's the highest compliment one could possibly receive, is turning something someone clearly loves so much, but also something that had broken their heart, and make it new again...this is what comics are about. At least I think it's what they should be about. Making people fall in love with stories again, reaching them on a level they haven't been touched in awhile. Clearly Greg, Josh, and Stephen hit the mark for Adam and the rest of the cast.
As for my opinion? I loved it. The story follows Adam, Joe, Corri, and Laura on Halloween. Adam so desperately wants to throw a nice Halloween party for his friends, but of course doesn't have the scratch. But oh wait, what is this? Adam comes to find a prepaid credit card under the entrails of a dead cat. With dollar signs in his eyes, he sets off to buy lavish gifts for his friends. Joe protests, warning Adam that nothing good could possibly come of a credit card found near a dead cat. Adam ignores him and blissfully runs off, coming across some crazy voodoo shop he hasn't previously seen in town. He enters to find some of the rarest items including a viewfinder John Carpenter used prior to becoming famous for Joe, a golden microphone used by Taylor Swift for Corri, and an artist's model used by Andy Warhol for Laura. Joe continues to protest saying the items are cursed, but eventually curiosity gets the better of him and he uses the viewfinder. All hell breaks loose as each person uses their item. My particular favorite was the paintings made from Laura's blood. This story is in your face the entire time and doesn't let up for a moment. It is filled with fun references from many horror classics, and is a riot a minute with it's slapstick humour. I had so much fun reading this story and soaking in all of the little background Easter eggs. It was truly a brilliant piece of work that Greg, Stephen, and Josh created. I don't believe the art could have been more perfect. Josh and Stephen have always been an excellent team up, but I believe what they did here with Holliston is the best (or at least my favorite) thing I have seen from them.
Let's get down to business with Greg on writing this awesome story...
How did you land this project?
For me, writing the script for Holliston: Friendship Is Tragic was a very happy, very lucky accident. Travis McIntire of Source Point Press had been in talks with Adam Green about developing a bunch of Ariescope properties into comic books. Source Point Press pitched lots of stuff, something for everything there! Once Adam Green figured that Holliston might work well in the comic book format--based on an idea from Gary Sobek and Josh Sobek--I wrote an outline, page breakdown, and initial draft of the script.
It was pretty intimidating to write! Adam Green is the only person who has ever written for the show, and he directs many of the episodes, too. His character is "Adam Green," based on his time growing up in Holliston, Massachusetts. And my job was to write something new and fresh and funny that would decide whether or not to make this project happen. No pressure, right?
I figured that there were so many things that could go wrong at each step in the process that I didn't get my hopes up. While I haven't been written comics for too awful long, I've still seen a lot of projects fall through. It happens. So I kept quiet and hopeful. Things worked out perfectly, and I couldn't be prouder of the final result. Adam Green writes glowing things in the introduction, and I think Steve Sharar and Josh Werner turned in stellar work. I don't know how to communicate that I'm not just butt-kissing here, but I honestly mean it!
What is Holliston about?
Holliston is a sitcom by horror nerds for horror nerds, like if The Big Bang Theory decided to name-check 80's slasher movies. The show follows Adam and Joe, who are aspiring horror filmmakers with dead-end jobs at the cable company. Laura is a weird, outsider artist who is in a weird, yet loving relationship with Joe, and Corri is a nurse who has a history of on-again, off-again romance with Adam. They deal with all the big issues, like paying the rent, fighting evil, and figuring out how to get rid of celebrity guests who overstay their welcome on the couch.
You packed a lot of great references in this book. Was it as fun for you to write as it is for it to be read?
Oh, absolutely! There are tons of little hidden treasures for fans to find. I put as many as I could in the script, and then Steve and Josh each add their own. We all had lots of fun, and that fun really comes across on the page. The fan response was terrific, and it's great to see so many people enjoying this weird, wild world.
Will this be a continuing series?
The first standalone graphic novel was such a huge success that we have announced a follow-up! It's going to be called Holliston: Carnival of Carnage. Beyond the second story, though, I can't make any promises. I will say this, though: It's pretty hard to argue with money. So if everybody everywhere buys copies, we would all love that and be delighted to keep throwing more stories out there!
Was this script based off previous shows, or was it newly written by you?
The initial idea for the story came from Josh Sobek and Gary Sobek. When I wrote it, I threw in as many character references, in-jokes, and running gags as I could from the show. It was all fresh, new writing, though. Writing jokes in all of the characters' distinctive voices was a real thrill, and I'm wicked grateful for the opportunity. (It has changed me, making me saying Massachusetts-type stuff like "wicked grateful.")
This book clearly had some amazing effort from all of its contributors. What was it like behind the scenes?
This project has really brought out my A-game, as well as (in my humble opinion) exceptionally high-quality work from Steve Sharar and Josh Werner. These guys are always hard working, but I think they've never been better.
It was so cool getting to seeing the pages throughout the process. Every time I got to see new art was like opening a birthday present. It's such a delight. Plus, watching the like sight gags develop is a real treat. Also, Adam Green is a personal hero of mine, so his tremendously positive and helpful feedback throughout has been wonderful. I know it sounds like I'm gushing, but that's pretty much my default setting when talking about the Holliston comic...
What is your dream project in writing?
Aside from this? I have a couple of projects in the works that I'm hoping will continue on to become fully realized, actual things that exist in reality.
If I had to pick something from the future that is not already an iron in the fire, I'd say a dream project would be to take an existing comic character and get to make a completely new and different take on that character. For instance, I'd love to write Hulk as a version of his Mr. Fixit character, a gray-skinned mobster type ascending the criminal hierarchy, Breaking Bad-style. I don't know that anybody out there really wants to hand over the keys to an established property knowing that I'd plan to leave behind only charred earth, but I'll just sit waiting by the phone anyway...
What is your 2017 schedule for signings and conventions so far?
I am going to an insane number of shows throughout 2017, so I hope people stop by and see me! I'll be at every Michigan show I can get to, as well as C2E2, the Great Philadelphia Comic Con, Motor City Comic Con, Indiana Comic Con, etc. I always try to let people know where I'll be via social media, too.
So come stop by the Source Point Press table, and I will give each and every visitor a free awkward fist bump!
Where can people purchase a copy of this book?
Grab a copy of Holliston: Friendship Is Tragic at your local comic book shop. If they don't have it, make them feel really, really guilty and have them order it from Source Point Press.
Or, if you don't like leaving the house, you can order it through the Source Point Press website, the Ariescope website, or buy it digitally through ComiXology or Drive Thru Comics.
Where can we follow you on social media?
I have a Twitter account @GregHenchman
Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/gregwrightcomicbooks
Through social media, you can also learn about my other comics Monstrous and Wild Bullets. They're pretty nifty, and there are new issues on the way from them, too. There's plenty to check out from me in the near future, so it's very important that, whatever you're doing, you manage to survive at least long enough to buy my comics!