Word on the Street
Cast members of hit T.V. show promote novel series
Stars of the hit T.V. show Degrassi: The Next Generation will be part of a panel introducing fans to Degrassi: Extra Credit, a new series of graphic novels, at The Word On The Street festival this Sunday.
Cassie Steeles (Manny), Jake Goldsbie (Toby), Stefan Brogren (Snake) and Linda Schuyler (co-creator of the series) will be joined by J. Torres, the author of the graphic novels and Ramon Perez, the illustrator of the second book in the series at the Ideaspace Young Adult Marquee at 1:30 p.m.
“Our fan base and the Degrassi community is so rabid for more,” says Chris Jackson, who handles special projects for Epitome Pictures. “We are not trying to rehash what fans have seen on television. With the graphic novel we can fill in some of the gaps in the characters’ storylines.”
The first two Degrassi graphic novels, scheduled for release Oct. 25, are stories about summer vacation — something that is never seen on the television show.
At the festival, fans will be receiving a four-page preview sampler with an excerpt from the first graphic novel, Turning Japanese, that features Degrassi character Ellie Nash.
“It has everything to do with Ellie and her summer job and dealing with something that may or may not be sexual harassment in the workplace,” says Jackson.
Torres, the author of the graphic novels, consults with the show’s creative team to make the content consistent with the television series.
“What appears in the graphic novel will now become a part of the characters’ histories,” says Jackson.
It’s lucky for the producers of the show that Torres, this year’s Joe Shuster Award winner for outstanding Canadian writer, has been a Degrassi fan for years.
“He’s a bona fide Degrassi freak,” says Jackson. “We didn’t have to school him on that.”
Jackson says Degrassi fans have already been discussing the graphic novels on websites and fan sites and there have been sneak peeks of the book covers.
“The buzz from Degrassi fans has been incredible,” says Jackson. “We’re exposing Degrassi to a whole different demographic, people who don’t watch the show, but have been drawn to it because they are fans of graphic novels or comic books.”