From Student Blog to Graphic Adventure

Nica Tomasiello discusses her exciting new project to turn her blog about life as a University of Portsmouth student into an innovative graphic novel.

Some of you have already heard of J.A.S.I.P. at least a couple of times on Star & Crescent. For those who haven’t, follow the link to experience seven degrees of awesome. Like the deadly sins, but better. And without the “deadly” bit.

The story went pretty much as follows, although I must say I’m a very untrustworthy narrator.

It began with Tom Sykes, editor of Star & Crescent by day and university lecturer… still by day. I’m not entirely sure what happens at night, though I’d put my money on some sort of lycanthropy. Writanthropy. Okay, I’m getting sidetracked; I did tell you I’m unreliable.

Anyway, among other modules, he runs Professional Writing for first year students, like myself, and the assessments this year included a portfolio of blog posts. So, it turned out I had to write a blog and J.A.S.I.P. happened. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did and I came to realise I didn’t want it to finish with the end of the unit. At the same time, since the main topic of the blog is the University of Portsmouth, I knew I’d run out of material for my posts eventually. There’s only so much you can write about a city and its university life without being redundant. Therefore, I wrapped it up in April and moved on to a different project. I kept the name, though, because “J.A.S.I.P.” was too cool to change.

Right now, the blog is turning into the script for a graphic novel. Nearly every post is being adapted into a short episode, but there will also be new, special stories that have never been posted on the blog. I’m positive there’s a plot somewhere, too.

My aim is to raise enough money, through PayPal donations and a Kickstarter campaign later this year, in order to repay Derek L. Chase, the brilliant artist who decided to invest his time and talent in my dream, despite the risk of not being paid back and certainly not on the spot. At the moment, while I’m busy writing the fourth chapter, Derek is working on a two-page interlude that will be up for sale on the blog. The funds gathered through the Kickstarter, instead, will be devoted to the first “official” episode. Once that is ready, J.A.S.I.P. can be pitched to comic book publishers, since they usually want to see a few completed pages in addition to the script. If I’m lucky enough to get a publishing contract, then Derek and I will split the profit from the sales and J.A.S.I.P. will get a new papery look!

It’s a big plan that requires baby steps, but I’m stubborn and talk too much; chances are that someone will make me happy just to shut me up.

If you want to help or laugh at my hilarious efforts, you can give a “like” to J.A.S.I.P.’s Facebook page and follow the Twitter account. As a lazy alternative (you aren’t lazy, are you?), you could just admit that this preview of the interlude, Under The Bridge, looks incredible. And it isn’t even coloured yet! You’re missing the dialogue, too, because I’m that terrible kind of writer that enjoys building up the tension before the big revelation. Yes, I take myself too seriously.

Image by Derek L. Chase courtesy of JASIP.