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In the late 1980s, Sean E. DeMott was a teenager running around Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley.
He was ignorant to the world of drugs but occasionally would find himself at parties that felt like they were straight out of a movie. Ferraris in the driveway, hair metal musicians inside — and an alarming amount of hard drugs.
It was through these circles that he met a woman who decades later would become the subject of Hot Valley Days and Cocaine Nights, a comic that tells the true story of a 15-year-old girl who hitchhikes from Ohio to Los Angeles, where over the next ten years she becomes an important figure in the city’s cocaine scene thanks to connections with Columbia. Eventually, she’s selling to rockstars, music execs and Hollywood elites, all while trying to stay one step ahead from law enforcement.
DeMott, now a producer, kept in touch with the woman, named Janie in the comic. Eventually, he got the rights to her story after she left her life of crime.
“It’s the fact that she has such a good heart — and had a change of heart — that was a big part of wanting to get the rights,” says DeMott.
DeMott teamed up with comic book writer Matthew Spradlin after meeting with him on another project they didn’t quite click on. As DeMott was waiting for the elevator to take him downstairs, he shared his idea for Hot Valley Days and Cocaine Nights, and Spradlin immediately took to it.
“I love superhero comics, but I really like comics that are true stories,” says Spradlin.
Now the Antarctic Press comic is preparing to unveil its third and final issue in March, and the duo is hoping to adapt it for film or TV down the road. They are already dreaming about songs from the era they could use.
Says Spradlin: “We want to make it feel like it’s from the ’80s and not about the ’80s.”
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