Even though he created The End of the F***ing World's James and Alyssa, author Charles Forsman says he's in the same boat as fans of Netflix TV adaptation of his successful graphic novel. He has no idea how they will fare in Season 2 of the show. In August, Netflix announced via the show's official Twitter account that the series had been renewed for a second season, but did not mention a release date or how the story of two disturbed teenagers road-tripping to the end of the line would proceed.
Since the comic, penned by Forsman in 2011, and the TV show, which gained popularity after debuting on Netflix in January, end in the same fashion, the possibilities are endless for Season 2. Forsman told SYFY WIRE that he's excited to see what will happen when Season 2 returns to UK's Channel 4. Fans who watch the show on Netflix will have to wait an entire year after the UK debut before it's released on the streaming platform — thought spoilers will likely run rampant online before that happens.
Forsman also shared his favorite part of the show, discussed making it as an independent artist, and talked about his first foray into sci-fi, Automa.
You sold the TV rights to The End of the F***ing World prior to finishing it. How did that go down?
I don't quite remember the exact timeline, but yes, I was in talks about adapting it before I finished the comic. The creator of the show, Jonathan Entwistle, bought some of the mini comics from Gosh! comics in London. He then contacted me about adapting it into something. I watched his short films and saw he knew what he was doing and he really seemed to understand the story so it felt like a good fit.
Did selling the rights ahead of publishing end up affecting the ending of your book?
If I remember correctly there was a little bit of pressure to finish the story so they could try and sell the idea and raise the money. But I think it actually helped me in a positive way. I usually don't respond well to outside pressure, which is kind of what spurred me to make this comic in the way that I made it. But that's another story.
I think talking with Jonathan helped me shape the ending but it was still very much an improvisational creation on my part. I like to keep things open. It's much more interesting to work that way. Something that comics afford me is being able to change my mind at the last minute.
What kind of role did you play in the TV show? Were you a paid consultant or just there giving notes?
I wasn't officially involved. It was very much Jon's baby. And Charlie Covell of course, who wrote the scripts, did such a good job. I'm very envious of everything she brought to the story. But I stayed close with Jon and we talked a lot before production. They flew me and my girlfriend out to watch the filming, which was a pretty life-altering experience. To hear the actors say lines that I wrote and to see this whole huge crew of people working on this thing brought tears to my eyes.
Which changes from the TV version stuck out to you?
I think the two things that stick out for me are how the series showed Alyssa's family and gave her more of a motivation to leave home. And also the detective characters are so f***ing good. That is all Charlie.
What is it like seeing something you produced alone be reinterpreted and then given out to the public via TV?
It's a very weird thing. This book was so intimately made by just myself in my studio. And to see it expanded out and adapted into TV was something I never thought about or even sought out.
A lot of people put a lot of sweat into the show and it came out way better than I imagined it could. So it's both this thing that I am very close to but also kind of disconnected from. It's been an overall positive experience. It's very hard to make a living doing the type of comics I do so this show has really given my books a boost, which I am exceedingly grateful for.
What has your experience been with fans of the show?
All good. One thing I didn't expect was the reaction from teenagers from all over the world. It was very gratifying and validating to see kids on the internet connect so deeply with James and Alyssa. That is probably the best reward coming from this whole thing.
What does it say about teens right now that this show would be so popular?
I don't think it's tapping into anything new. Teenagers have always [had] and always will have these feelings and passions about life that I present in the book. And adults remember what a confusing time in their lives those years were. I think most people can relate to James and Alyssa. I think they are displaying very human experiences.
Netflix recently ordered a new season of The End of the F***ing World. Since the first season ends where the book does, where do they go from here?
That I can't say but I'm looking forward to it as much as anyone. [I don't] have an official role on the second series but I have faith they will do a bang-up job.
Tell us about your newest work, Automa?
Automa is probably my first sci-fi story. It's not hard sci-fi but more in the Terminator 2 vein. I'm working on chapter six right now and it'll probably be about 18 chapters, I think. I don't want to say too much about it because it is still very much a work in progress but readers can follow along as I make each chapter on my Patreon account.
What about Slasher?
Slasher is my female serial killer story. It's inspired a bit from a real-life story in the news that some folks may pick up on and I also tried to give it a feeling of an early '80s Brian de Palma movie — like Dressed to Kill or Body Double.
Advice for anyone who would like to do what you do?
I think the main two things that helped me are these:
First, you don't need anyone's permission. There is no editor or agent or person with a sack of money that will magically come down and give you motivation to make your thing. Unless money is your thing, that that is a different story. But you have to just make your thing. It'll suck of course. But if [you] really want to do this, keep going. And that feeds into the second lesson I learned. And that is to not dwell on perfection. You can sit fixing and redoing a page over and over for eternity. But it'll never be how you want it to be. Find the confidence in whatever way you can to just keep moving onto the next page. The only way you will finish projects and get better is to keep moving forward.
The next page will be better than the last.