There are rules in this world that we’re all supposed to live by, and one of those rules is that you don’t talk about “Fight Club.”
How about “Fight Club 2”?
According to author Chuck Palahniuk, the first rule of “Fight Club 2” is: “Readers who’ve read the single issues must not reveal the ending to those who’ve waited for the compiled book. Amen.”
The original “Fight Club” came out as a novel 20 years ago, and became a cult-favorite film in 1999. Palahniuk returned to the property last year with a 10-issue comic book series he wrote with artist Cameron Stewart and David Mack doing the cover.
“Fight Club 2” continues the story of the unnamed narrator — here called Sebastian — and his destructive split personality, Tyler Durden.
The series is now collected in a hardcover graphic novel which Palahniuk will be signing on July 15 at the Strand.
amNewYork chatted with Palahniuk about the book.
What made you decide to return to this story?
My publisher Doubleday sent me to comic cons to promote my novels, and I fell in love with the sincere, nerdy world of graphic novels, their readers, writers and artists. “Fight Club 2” seemed like an established world filled with action that would lend itself to my first comic foray. Here was my chance to be Neil Gaiman and build a mythology that would give my earlier characters a history and a future.
The world has changed a lot in the 20 years since the first book was published. How did that affect/inform the story?
True, we’ve gone from a world that bemoaned the lack of conflict to one that’s filled with conflict. The constant is that humans still illicitly crave conflict, and that both men and women seek more challenges and ways to prove themselves.
Why did you choose to release this as a graphic novel?
The original novel and film have such a cult following. The only way a sequel could establish itself without direct comparison was through a third medium. It’s part-movie, part-novel. The next generation.
How did you take to the creative process of making a comic book rather than a book?
An entire team of people taught me this new — to me — form of storytelling. They include my editor, Scott Allie, as well as some big-name mentors like Matt Fraction and Brian Michael Bendis, all of whom live in Portland. They taught me how to imply motion with still images, and how to create tension just before the page is turned so the next page pays it off.
How has the response been to the sequel?
My book signings for the sequel are lasting an average of 10 to 11 hours. That’s per store. That’s a lot of people wanting copies.
How was it working with Cameron Stewart and David Mack?
Cameron is a patient genius for crafting my rough script into something that works. No matter how ludicrous or distasteful my ideas were he found a way to depict them. Likewise, the cover artist, David Mack, found amazing ways to make my grim ideas into something beautiful.
What brought on the decision to bring yourself into the story?
In the film, the director David Fincher used the mechanics of moviemaking to add an extra “meta” dimension to the story. Plus having Brad Pitt say lines like “I look the way you want to look” blurred the border between reality and make-believe. In this same spirit, I brought myself and my writing group in, including best-selling writers Chelsea Cain, Lidia Yuknavitch and Monica Drake.
What’s going on with “Fight Club 3”?
The script is started, but I’ve given it some time to rest. I want to pile up some truly bold ideas before I write another. The next installment must be bigger than anything preceding it.
What else are you working on?
In October look for my first adult coloring book, “Bait: Off-Color Stories for You to Color.” Now that I have access to some of the bravest artists in the comic world, I wanted to enlist eight of my favorites to illustrate a collection of original stories. These are very adult tales presented in a child’s idiom. The final collaborators will be the readers who color everything perfectly, or not. It will be a beautifully bound hardcover from Dark Horse Books, on sale Oct. 25.