Bad sportsmanship?
Sure.
Chainsaws?
Why not!
Nothing can
possibly go wrong.


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First Second
Prudence Shen
Faith Erin Hicks


Faith Erin Hicks

Page 175

Hey guys, Faith here.  Remember a while back I blogged about how I ended up adapting and drawing Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong? Prudence and I thought it would be great fun to hear that story from the publishing end of things, so without further ado, here is our wonderful editor Calista with the story of how Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong went from novel to comic to … uh, eventually, a physical book object that you will hopefully buy in a few months! Enjoy. ;)

Hi everyone! It’s Calista Brill, the editor of NCPGW, reporting for guest blogger duty!

Prudence and Faith invited me to blog about how Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong came to be—a story I’m well-placed to tell, as I’m the editor of the project.

This is an exciting story with a cast of thousands! Well, a cast of five.

Calista = editor (works for First Second)
Faith = cartoonist
Bernadette = agent (works for Faith)
Prudence = writer
Diana = agent (works for Prudence)

You may or may not know that NCPGW started life as a prose (all-text) novel for young readers called “Voted Most Likely.” Prudence wrote it, revised it, gave it to her agent, and had her agent shop it around, as a conventional novel.

Well, I edit graphic novels, not text novels. But Pru’s agent knew I was a big fan of hers, and she let me take a peek at the book. I fell in love with it, and selfishly decided that it must obviously have a life as a graphic novel — so I could work on it! That’s not the only reason, obviously. I was also convinced that the goofy humor and subtle friendship at the book’s core would be very well-served in comics form. And I had an idea about who the ideal cartoonist would be…

I talked to Diana, Pru’s agent, and she talked to Pru, and they agreed with me! We decided to do an unusual deal: I bought the publication rights for the book, but with the explicit intent of having the text adapted into graphic novel form. And then I got on the horn with Faith’s agent, Bernadette, and asked her if she thought Faith would be interested in being involved. We were just finishing up work on Friends With Boys at that point, I think, and I already knew I wanted to work with Faith again as soon as possible, and again after that, and as long as she’d have me as her editor, basically.

Faith read the book, loved it, and said yes — and we were off! The first step was for Faith, with input from me and Pru, to adapt the manuscript into a graphic novel script. This meant cutting out a few plot lines and trimming some other elements of the original novel significantly. (There was a lot more basketball in the novel, for instance.) And even after all that trimming, NCPGW is about 300 pages! That is a lot of drawing to take on. It’s a good thing Faith is an indestructible comics-making superhero, is all I’m saying.

So Faith made it through those 300 pages without actually exploding, and Pru moved about eight times while the project was underway, and Diana got flooded out in Hurricane Sandy, and Bernadette got flooded out in Hurricane Irene, and I started writing fanfic sequels in my head where Nate and Holly become the world’s scariest high school power couple, and somewhere in there the book was finished, and started serializing online, and we sent the files to the printer, and now it’s coming out in the spring as a Real Book, you guys!

…And that is the story of how five grown-ass ladies came together to make a comic book about a couple of dumb-ass boys.

(Secret insider fun fact: for about one day NCPGW was titled “Nothing Even Caught on Fire!” until our head of sales nixed it. Probably for the best, but it still makes me smile.

10 Comments

“Nothing Even Caught on Fire” is an awesome title (says the girl who likes the tagline involving chainsaws….). And wowza, this is going to be one thick book if it’s 300 pages (I’m used to manga books at 180 pages), is it really going to be just one book?


Love hearing the behind the scenes stuff! I think it changes the way the reader sees the work. and it always makes me want to be part of a graphic novel team!


I love that just yesterday we thought that the cheerleaders would be the scary reason for the phone call. One of the interesting parts of the webcomic delivery style of story telling is the tension that comes from waiting for the next page.

Also, great insights Calista. Thanks for sharing your experience. I definitely share many of your tastes considering that First Second books are starting to take over my wishlist for 2013!


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