Academy Student Mike Garrett Balances Roles as an Artist and Author
Students at Academy of Art University consistently produce amazing
work inside and outside of the classroom. Illustration student Michael Garrett has taken on the
ambitious project of writing a book. Already with two published comic books under his belt, the
graduate student is on his way to being a simultaneously successful in two fields.
Michael sought out a program that offered comic book design at a graduate level. His program
at California State University, Humboldt didn’t teach comic book art so Michael had to learn the
technique and craft on his own. The fact that the Academy not only offers a graduate concentration
in comic book design, but is also a fully accredited university, greatly appealed to him.
“[The Academy was] just what the doctor ordered for my drawing skills, which had run their
course learning primarily on my own,” Michael said. I needed a serious upgrade, and here I’m
getting just that – constantly.”
Michael’s book, EVIL AGAINST EVIL: THE PREQUELS TO THE EXORCIST,
studies the histories and controversies that went into the development of two different versions of
a prequel to the 1973 film The Exorcist. In 2002 Paul Schrader was chosen to direct it, but when
the studio had “buyer’s remorse,” he was fired and another director was chosen. The studio wanted a
“rock ‘em sock ‘em” scary film rather than Schrader’s version of the story. Schrader’s film was
eventually finished on a tight budget and given limited theatrical release and a DVD.
A lifelong fan of horror movies, he was a writer for a now defunct site called BloodyNews.com
which was picked to be the main Internet hub for news about the prequel to The Exorcist. Schrader
gave an exclusive interview to the site exposing the controversy of his firing.
This interview inspired Michael to write a definitive history of the production of the two
films. Michael is hoping to release the book in 2008. Though he currently has one interested
publisher, he’s holding out for other offers so he can make the most informed decision as the book
“Fans of film, literature, controversy and commerce versus art, good stories in general will
want to read this book,” he said.
Michael hopes to put the skills he’s acquired at Academy of Art University to use on his
book. He wants to design a cover as well as do the interior graphic design to keep his skills
sharp. He encourages his Academy peers to use their talents to pursue any passion they might have.
“Don’t doubt yourself. If you have any shred of confidence with what you want to do and are
doing with art, acknowledge it and don’t be ashamed of it. Take it completely seriously, daily, and
let your critics’ words only help you.”