Nick Pope, a diary written by me and illustrated by Christopher Darling, is now available! I'm so proud of this extremely special project. You can buy the book from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. If you're a librarian, I'd be honored if you considered adding Nick to your collection! It's available on Ingram.
"A finely executed, wonderfully evocative tale of teen discovery." - Kirkus Reviews
"NICK POPE with illustrations by Christopher Darling is not only one of the best graphic novels I've ever read but one of the best books I've ever read. It made me smile. It made me laugh. Hell, it even made me cry. Please read and teach this book. It gives real meaning to the concept that everyone you know is fighting a battle. Five huge stars." - MC, Amazon Reader
Sixteen-year-old Nick Pope was born with prominent birthmarks around both of his eyes and faces teasing and bullying from both classmates and strangers. He also struggles with depression and confusion about his sexual orientation.
Nick finds refuge and release in drawing, and begins to gain confidence that his artistic abilities are worth nurturing and developing. His family moves across the city and he starts his sophomore year at a brand-new high school. On the advice of his ex-therapist, he begins writing and illustrating a diary that tracks his day-to-day adventures at school, at home with his family, and his burgeoning friendships with fellow outsider classmates, Sharita and Preston.
Beginning in late August 1987, this diary tracks three months of Nick's life, including his euphoric ups and painful downs. "Fatal Attraction," arcade games Crystal Castles and Circus Charlie, and Dolly Parton's new variety TV show all find their way onto the page as Nick reaches a dramatic turning point.
Back in 2009, I collaborated with the artist Christopher Darling to create a graphic novel called Nick Pope. I wrote the text of the diary, from the perspective of a troubled high school sophomore in 1987. Christopher illustrated the manuscript for his thesis project at the School of Visual Arts.
We published a limited run first edition in 2012, which is 7.5" by 9" and 160 pages. You can see photos of it here, as well as sample pages as it came together. The first few photos below are from the new paperback edition.
Sadly, Christopher died in 2018, leaving behind an incredible legacy of boundless compassion and incredible art. Check out his work at: www.christopherdarling.com.
Additionally, I adapted the graphic novel into a feature film script. That screenplay made the quarterfinal round of the 2018 Big Break Contest, an honor earned by only a small percentage of scripts submitted. Please message me if you're interested in reading it.
Finally, I've written two more diaries, which track periods of Nick's life in the summer of 1988, as well as the following fall. Chris was unable to illustrate these before he left us, but they're waiting for a new collaborator to continue on his legacy.
Special thanks to Dianne and Elaine!