Before I get started, I’d like to thank a few people. This way, should you decide not to read all of Legendary, at least you’ll know all of the good people who supported me throughout this project.
I’d like to thank Dick Grunert for his editorial help, Nick Jennings for his brilliant work on the banners that will appear with each chapter, Emilia Rhodes for encouragement and editorial help on Legendary in it’s earliest drafts, my parents for allowing me to throw parties while they were out of town (and denying they knew anything about them), my siblings for tolerating me, my close friends from Northeast Ohio for providing the inspiration for the characters in this book, Jeff Giles for allowing me to publish Legendary in it’s entirety on Popdose over the course of the summer, and the many artists who contributed their time and creative talent to this project. Last but not least, I thank my extremely loving family for putting up with me while my mind wanders and I’m trying to work out scenes, dialogue or story problems when I should be focusing on my driving or making lunches in the morning. Julie, Sophie and Jacob, you are my world, and I would be nothing without you.
The story you’re about to read is not true. Although I did host a large house party in the summer of 1987, I did not have to decide between the affection of two girls, a plastic Santa Claus did not reside on the front stoop of the house for the duration of that party (that was a couple of years later), and I never buried a bottle of Jack Daniels, or any whiskey for that matter, in the Cleveland Metroparks. Furthermore, I never had adventures in a beat up station wagon, and I never romanced a girl in a Washington DC hotel room. Legendary is a work of fiction.
If this was the inside flap of a book jacket, or the back cover of a paperback book, you might read the following description:
After years of missed opportunities, high school seniors, Allison and Brian, have finally shared their first kiss. Unfortunately, this momentous event doesn’t meet with the approval of Kate, Brian’s long time girlfriend. As Allison struggles to emerge from the worst year of her life, Brian must determine when to fight for love – and when to walk away. Hearts will be broken and friendships tested, as Allison, Brian and Kate find themselves at the same party on a night that is sure to be legendary. Set in an Ohio suburb over the course of one summer day in 1987, Legendary is told through the distinct voices of the three protagonists. With humor and sincerity, this contemporary story will appeal to teenagers and anyone who recalls those confused, romantic, sometimes hilarious times from their youth.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? I thought so. And thus, after spending a two years writing Legendary, I approached my fearless leader, Jeff Giles, about posting the book in serial form on Popdose.
The serial novel has long fascinated me. It’s a forgotten art form that seems ripe for a comeback in the digital era. With attention spans and time to actually read shrinking, publishing a chapter every couple of days seems like a fresh way to tell stories. Back in the 19th Century, literary masters such as Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky published their works in serial form. After the turn of the 20th Century, though, the popularity of radio, movies and television all but did in the serial novel.
In no way am I trying to claim that Legendary should be mentioned in the same breath as Dickens or Dostoyevsky, although my protagonists carry a certain amount of angst that the Russian author could relate to. My reasons for publishing Legendary are simple: I think it’s an entertaining story, and I believe I found a unique way to tell it, which is why I approached Jeff in the first place about publishing Legendary on Popdose.
Jeff, to his credit, proposed I only post portions of the book and release it as an e-book. I thought about that for about a half hour. While an intriguing idea (after all who doesn’t want a few extra bucks) I had something else in mind for Legendary, something I felt I could only accomplish on Popdose.
Two of the lasting influences on Legendary are George Lucas’ classic, American Graffiti (1973), and Richard Linklater’s landmark film, Dazed and Confused (1993). Both of these great American movies expertly capture the essence of youth through the use of music and image. Because of the resources Popdose allows me, I knew that I would be able to not only post images along with each chapter, but also a song that fits into the background of the action. At the end of this project, readers should have a 36 song playlist of some excellent music from the 1980s.
More important, they’ll have been exposed to the work of 30 artists, all contributing unique and original pieces of work inspired directly from the text. I approached these men and women and sent them individual chapters. From there, they were free to paint, draw, photograph or digitally create a piece of art out of whatever jumped out at them from the text. For that reason alone, you should read each subsequent chapter of Legendary, as it will be unlike anything we’ve ever published on Popdose.
If I’ve done my job, though, you’ll return every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (save for the two holiday weeks) to find out what happens to Allison, Brian and Kate. You may see yourself in one of the main characters, or perhaps the ever present supporting cast, and say, “I remember when…” If you’re a millennial, it’s possible you’ll come away with an appreciation for your parents, realizing that they were once as young, confused and optimistic as you are.
Whatever the case, I do hope you’ll stick around, because I really love Legendary, even after years of living with these characters.
One final acknowledgment before I wrap this up. Thank YOU, dear reader, for continuing to give me a reason to write, and for helping make Popdose one of the finest pop culture sites on the web.
See you tomorrow.
Today’s artwork is by Nick Jennings. For Legendary, Nick created three separate banners to represent the main characters. These banners will run will each chapter, depending on who the narrator is for that day. Nick is an Art Director for film and television. His credits include two of the most successful animated series in the past decade: Spongebob Squarepants and Adventure Time.
Please leave comments below, or feel free to contact me at Malchus@popdose.com or my Twitter feed, @MrMalchus
Read Chapter 1 of Legendary