Commenting on his exciting announcement, Joe said, “I’m so grateful to be given the chance to continue this series. This time I’ve evolved the storyline and delved further into the characters and I’m excited to see what everyone thinks of it. I hope everyone enjoys it and it encourages more people to read!”
Joe will be working with the same Sugg Squad as the first book; artist Amrit Birdi, colourist Joaquin Pereyra, letterist Mindy Lopkin and writer Matt Whyman. On putting the Sugg Squad together Joe explains, “There was a bit of a Sir Alan Sugar moment where we sat in an office with people coming in and showing me their artwork. Because if I’d drawn it myself I would still be four or five pages in and the drawing would look nowhere never as good as what Amrit’s done. There was something about his work that was perfect for what I wanted and I realised he understood what I wanted them to look like and we went back and forth a few times making little changes. Amrit worked closely with the colourist and the letterist so he brought them along and that’s how it was all formed.”
Joe’s decision to create a graphic novel first stemmed from a love of comic books such as The Beano and The Dandy when he was younger, but it was when his media studies teacher lent him a graphic novel to help with a project that Joe’s interest in graphic novels was ignited. “She lent me a graphic novel called Watchmen. I read through that and I was like ‘this is amazing’ I really liked it. It’s a lot easier to read because it’s not text-heavy.” And so when Joe was offered a book deal, he knew he wanted to do something different. “A lot of YouTubers were doing books at the time that I got offered a book so I went into the meeting thinking ‘I don’t really want to do a book about my life because I’m only 24, compared to my friends I’m one of the old ones, but I haven’t got anything really to say about myself.’” A graphic novel seemed the obvious choice for Joe, and when he shared the idea with the team they loved it.
So it was down to Joe to work on the story and the themes for his book. “I’ve always been a fan of the contrast between a real world and a virtual world. I really like the fact that my videos are kind of like an escapism for our viewers at home who want to escape the real world, so I wanted that theme in the book.” When it came to characters, Joe started out with the basics. Joe explains, “At the beginning they were all named after colours, so I think Evie was originally named Blue, Jaspar was Green, Mallory was Red and I think Unity’s always been Unity. […] My initial plot for the book was so long, we had to get a professional in to tighten it up and make sure it had a start, middle and end. So, we did that and I fiddled with the characters a bit more and gave them names, which I did with my viewers by putting an online poll out and they chose the name ‘Evie’, and the I chose the rest of the characters’ names and gave them all back-stories.”
Evie comes out of her shell over the course of Username: Evie, and so we’re excited to see what book two has in store for her. In his announcement video, Joe says, “Well firstly, you can expect a lot more depth into the characters. We’ve found out a lot more about the characters, you get to know them a lot better, and we may even learn about some new characters – well we definitely learn about some new characters. And secondly, the storyline for this one, I’d say is a little bit longer, a little bit darker maybe. I think personally a lot better than the first one. Am I allowed to say that? I don’t know if I am, but I’m going to say it.”
The blurb for Username: Regenerated describes Evie as desperate to return to e.scape, but unable to because the app has been corrupted in the great reboot. Lionel steps in to help, but things don’t go to plan and he opens a series of revelations that questions everything Evie treasures. With discoveries to be made in the virtual realm and an e.scape fugitive on the loose in reality, Evie now has two worlds at stake.
Username: Regenerated is out on the 22nd September 2016, and so we have a whole three months to wait to find out more about what happens next for Evie. But if, like us, you can’t wait until September to see what Joe and the Sugg Squad have been working on, check out this sneak preview from Username: Regenerated today and let us know what you think in the comments box below.