So, theatre performances are a little challenged right now. Be More Chill is a musical with original music and lyrics by Joe Iconis, and a book by Joe Tracz, based on the 2004 novel of the same name by the late Ned Vizzini. It had a Broadway run last year, before transferring to London in February this year. That was cut short by COVID, which also curtailed the Chicago production planned for July. The scheduled movie adaptation is also on hold as a result.
So you can stop the music – but you can't stop the comics. David Levithan and Nick Bertozzi are adapting the musical into a graphic novel. Published by Disney-Hyperion for January 2021, we have a little peek inside.
Jeremy Heere is your average high school dork. Day after day, he stares at beautiful Christine, the girl he can never have, and dryly notes the small humiliations that come his way. Until the day he learns about the "squip." A pill-sized supercomputer that you swallow, the squip is guaranteed to bring you whatever you most desire in life. By instructing him on everything from what to wear, to how to talk and walk, the squip transforms Jeremy from geek to the coolest guy in class. Soon he is friends with his former tormentors and has the attention of the hottest girls in school. But Jeremy discovers that there is a dark side to handing over control of your life–and it can have disastrous consequences.
Ned Vizzini began writing for The New York Press in 1996 at the age of fifteen. At nineteen, he had his first book published, Teen Angst? Naaah…. He was also the author of three other books for young adults including The Other Normals and Be More Chill, the first young adult novel chosen as a Today Show Book Club pick, and which is the
basis of the musical – and now graphic novel. This was followed by It's Kind of a Funny Story, which NPR named #56 of the "100 Best-Ever Teen Novels" of all time and which is the basis of the film of the same name. The last novel published before he committed suicide in 2013 was House of Secrets, a middle-grade fantasy novel co-written with filmmaker Chris Columbus.
David Levithan is the author, or co-author of many novels about teen life, including Boy Meets Boy, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, Every Day, Two Boys Kissing, 19 Love Songs, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson. This is his first graphic novel adaptation, out of his love for Ned Vizzini and his admiration for both the novel's and the musical's many enthusiastic fans.
Nick Bertozzi is an award-winning cartoonist. Some of his most notable works include The Salon, Lewis & Clark, Persimmon Cup, Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey, Jerusalem: A Family Portrait (written by Boaz Yakin), and Becoming Andy Warhol. He has received the Ignatz Award, multiple Harvey Awards, and teaches cartooning at the School of Visual Arts.