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Southland Tales: The Prequel Saga

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Publisher  Graphitti Designs
Artists  Brett Weldele
Author  Richard Kelly
ISBN  0936211806
3.4/5 Goodreads

Writers  Richard Kelly
Originally published  15 October 2007
Date  15 October 2007
Illustrator  Brett Weldele
Southland Tales: The Prequel Saga t1gstaticcomimagesqtbnANd9GcRgozU93XtEZ4OmB
Main characters  Boxer Santaros Roland Taverner Krysta Now
Series  Southland Tales: The Prequel Saga
Similar  Two Roads Diverge, Fingerprints, Practical knowledge engineering, The Donnie Darko Bo, Southland Tales: The mechanic

Southland Tales: The Prequel Saga is a collection of graphic novels written in conjunction with the film Southland Tales. The graphic novels featured are the first half of the Southland Tales story, of which the film tells the final part. The novels were written by Richard Kelly, who also wrote and directed the film, and illustrated by Brett Weldele. The collection was published by Graphitti Designs.


Southland Tales was initially planned to be a nine-part "interactive experience", with the first six parts published in six 100-page graphic novels that would be released in a six-month period up to the film's release in 2007. The feature film comprises the final three parts of the experience. A website was also developed to intertwine with the graphic novels and the film itself. The idea of six graphic novels was later narrowed down to three. The novels were written by Kelly and illustrated by Brett Weldele.

Part One – Two Roads Diverge

June 30, 2008: Boxer Santaros (Dwayne Johnson) wakes up alone in the Nevada desert, he takes out a red syringe and injects himself in the neck. He begins walking through the desert.

Fortunio Balducci (Will Sasso) is on a houseboat with Tab Taverner-Former Mayor of Hermosa, his son Ronald Taverner (Seann William Scott) nephew, Jimmy Hermosa and friend, Krysta Now (Sarah Michelle Gellar). Fortunio is currently in an online-poker game with several American soldiers in Syria and loses, but the connection is lost because the soldiers were attacked—which means Fortunio is still going to lose his money.

Fortunio owes some bookies in Las Vegas $100,000 so Tab suggests that Fortunio get out of Nevada before the holiday weekend begins; this should buy him some time. Fortunio can’t get across the border because he has no interstate visa to get across and will take some time for him to get one.

Krysta Now tells Fortunio that she can get him a visa and to meet her at a bar called Buffalo Bill’s situated at the border.

Fortunio leaves the boat and drives towards the border. On his way, he finds Boxer passed out on the road. He pulls over and approaches him. Boxer stirs and says:

‘I am a pragmatic prevaricator, with a propensity for oratorical sonority, which is too pleonastical to be expeditiously assimilated by any of your unequivocal veracities.’

Fortunio puts him inside the car and they begin to drive off again. Fortunio asks Boxer how and what he was doing out in the middle of the desert. Boxer doesn’t know and asks the date. He seems to suffer from amnesia.

At the same time, a Nevada park ranger is tipped off about the whereabouts of an abandoned SUV with a burned-up dead body inside. The SUV is a prototype vehicle belonging to Treer which is powered by ‘Fluid Karma’. The vehicle and corpse is taken away to a facility nearby. The facility is broken into by armed-men, killing everyone inside and taking the SUV and corpse.

Fortunio asks Boxer if he can remember anything. The only thing he seems to remember is a maze made of sand. Fortunio says that he is a big fan of Boxer’s. Boxer is confused and doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Fortunio tells him that he is Boxer Santaros-a very famous action star and ex-pro-football player. He then tells him of the incidents that occurred on July 4, 2005.

The two make it to Buffalo Bill’s where Krysta Now is performing on stage but instead of stripping, she begins to sing poetry. Fortunio explains the situation to Krysta, that he found Boxer lying in the desert, picked him up and that he has amnesia, so now he needs two visas.

Krysta will get the visas on one condition-play along a game she has created. Using Boxer’s amnesia to her advantage, she will tell Boxer that the two of them were together in Vegas for the weekend, partying and working on a script that she wrote called ‘The Power’, she was researching a character at Buffalo Bill’s (her character in the movie is an intelligent dancer interested in astrophysics). She then goes on to say that Fortunio has to pretend that he is a private detective and was hired to find Boxer and bring him to Krysta, if he doesn’t do it, she will deliver him to the bookies in Vegas.

She ends up convincing the naive Boxer.

Apparently, the script (‘The Power’) was written solely by Krysta, and that Boxer never had anything to do with it to begin with, but she has convinced him that he is starring in and directing the film.

He asks what it is about and who he plays. Krysta says that Boxer plays a renegade L.A.P.D. cop called Jericho Kane and that it revolves around the end of the world. She gives him a copy of the script to read.

Krysta begins talking to Fortunio outside her hotel room. She tells him to contact a lawyer and have him draw up a short form contract for himself for ‘The Power’ and to give himself $100,000 to settle his debt with the bookies.

While Boxer is reading the script, the phone begins to ring. He answers and the woman on the other end tells him:

‘is this the Pragmatic Prevaricator?-Stay with the girl, she is your only chance for survival, We saw the Shadows of the Morning Light, The Shadows of the Evening Sun, Until the Shadows and Light were One. Cross the Border At Dawn, Stay with the Girl, and whatever she says, Keep Taking the Injections, and whatever you do-do not board the roller coaster.’

Krysta enters the room and asks about the script. Boxer says he likes it but there is lots of work to be done on it.

Later, Boxer signs the contract given to him by Fortunio and Krysta. He goes to get a check from the bank, he places his thumb on the scanner, which is fed back to US-IDent (who are looking for Boxer).

Boxer tells Krysta about the phone call and of his dream in the desert; she was in his dream and he remembers the song she sang in Buffalo Bill’s in the dream. She tells him that they have to ride the roller coaster across the road from Buffalo Bill’s. Boxer is hesitant at first but agrees. He takes an injection before they go on. Once they get to the top, Boxer has a vision...a vision of 1902, a Native-America tribe standing there. Boxer waves at one of them. He seems to have created a rupture in the fourth dimension. He goes back to 2008 all of a sudden and he tells Krysta about his vision. The two of them exit the roller coaster together....

The book takes on a classical literature type of story, the title, "Two Roads Diverge" is from a famous poem by Robert Frost. The cover from the book has a quote from T. S. Eliot, stating that our world will not go out with a bang as we expect, but with a whimper.

Part Two – Fingerprints

June 30, 2008: Ronald Taverner is still on the houseboat with his father and cousin. We learn that he is suffering from amnesia. His father, Tab, brings him below deck to show him something. Down there is his twin brother-Roland Taverner, he is tied up to a chair. Tab tells him that Ronald kidnapped his own brother to hide him up at the lake for several days. His father tells him that he doesn’t remember it because he hit his head, which caused memory loss and he instructs him to keep taking the injections. His brother Roland was drafted in the Iraqi War and was sent home to work for the U.P.U. (Urban Pacification Unit) and uncovered a conspiracy and if the government found him, they would get the information out of him.

They need Ronald to impersonate Roland for several days as a part of a mission to destroy US-IDent. He is to meet with a woman named Zora Carmichaels (Cheri Oteri)-a Neo-Marxist (a member of the revolution against US-IDent) in Venice Beach. Zora takes Ronald and the tied-up Roland to Los Angeles.

July 1, 2008: Boxer Santaros and Krysta Now finally arrive in Los Angeles. They and Fortunio Balducci (now a producer due to the contract signed in Buffalo Bill’s) visit a friend of Krysta’s named Tawna McBride for research on the script. She tells Boxer to remain in character the entire time.

Inside, Tawna tells Krysta that her husband, Rick, died recently due to a drug overdose, with the same syringe that Boxer had. Boxer shows her the syringe he has and Tawna asks where he got it from and asks whether or not he volunteered for the program. Rick was in the army and volunteered for a Top-Secret program and that the weeks leading up to his death, Rick began to act crazy, wandering off into the desert in the middle of the night saying that he was going to see the Chief. This makes Boxer feel unpleasant so he goes to use the bathroom.

Inside the bathroom, a character in the mirror begins talking to Boxer . He keeps asking Boxer: ‘Do You Bleed?...Not Like we Do Future-Man’. Boxer asks who the Indian is. The man says that the Indian is a natural bleeder and that it took long to make contact, he took a shot of Fluid Karma (The name of the substance inside the syringes), The Indian is a natural bleeder (he sees forward in time) and the man in the mirror and Boxer are Chemical Bleeders (they see back in time) but when Chemical Bleeders take Fluid Karma too much, they begin to see both ways...this is why the man in the mirror is seeing into the future-at Boxer. He is 6 months behind in January 2008.

The man asks if is he sleeping with Tawna and asks where he is. He then begins to recognize Boxer and his films. The man in the mirror is Rick, Tawna’s husband. Boxer tells him that he is dead. Rick doesn’t believe him and he takes a shot of Fluid Karma and he then falls to the ground and dies. Boxer comes rushing out telling Tawna that he saw her husband die and that he was a part of it. She becomes very upset and she kicks them out of her house. Boxer then faints and falls onto the ground...

Boxer seems to be dreaming, he is in a big maze. All of a sudden, a giant snake appears from behind him and it begins to chase Boxer around the maze. Boxer runs up a set of stairs and into a portal. He lands on the other side and sees Ronald standing there. Ronald asks Boxer who he is...Boxer calls himself ‘Jericho Kane’.

All of a sudden, Ronald wakes up from his dream. He is still with Zora in her van driving into Los Angeles. He begins to describe the dream for her.

In the Treer Plaza, Inga von Westphalen and two fellow scientists are discussing an experiment that they are conducting (several people involved in it is the Taverner twins and Boxer). Boxer was apparently guided to Krysta for a reason (which we don’t know yet). Krysta was part of the experiment also because of her psychic abilities. They believe that her script ‘The Power’ is a ‘guide map for the experiment’ and a work of prophecy. They administered Fluid Karma into Krysta’s system, hypnotised her and also had her read the entire Book of Revelation, then they told her to create a document that would detail the final three days on Earth before the apocalypse.

Inga gets a telephone call from Zora, who tells her that Ronald has experienced his first ‘Fluid Karma dream’.

Krysta takes Boxer and Fortunio to a barnyard outside of Los Angeles, where many Neo-Marxists are attending a huge party. They meet up with Jimmy Hermosa who leads them into his tattoo parlour. Krysta tells Boxer that this is where he will become Jericho Kane. He is getting numerous tattoos all over his body. At the same time Ronald and Zora arrive at the barn and she introduces Ronald to Dream and Dion (The leaders of the Neo-Marxist movement). Moments later, Boxer Santaros is introduced to the crowd, who cheer wildly. Ronald is shocked...it’s Jericho Kane from his dream.

Part Three – The Mechanicals

July 2, 2008: Madeline Frost Santaros (Mandy Moore) (daughter of the current Senator) calls her father and tells him that Boxer Santaros has been missing for several days. She and Boxer were married for several years. If word got out of his disappearance, it would effectively ruin Senator Bobby Frost’s chances of being re-elected.

June 27, 2008: Boxer and Madeline are at a Charity Scavenger Hunt sponsored by Treer. They are guests of honour at it. Before they go out on stage, Madeline gets pissed off as to why they would be associating with a nut-job like Baron Von Westphalen. But Vaughn Westhouse (Hollywood advisor to the Elliot-Frost campaign and Boxer's agent) gets her to get out on stage or he will tell Boxer that she is having an affair with her assistant - Brandt Huntington. Boxer goes out on stage and talks about the Scavenger Hunt, whoever finds the last mechanical ball (remote antennas for the energy fields) buried underneath the ground will win a brand new SUV powered by Fluid Karma.

A person is at the area where the first ball is buried and where Boxer is expected to arrive with the first clue. The person’s mission is to kidnap Boxer and abandon him in the desert.

July 3, 2008: Back at the Treer Plaza, General Teena MacArthur was inspecting the body found in the burnt-up SUV, so she calls a long friend named Simon Theory (Kevin Smith) to help her.

Ronald Taverner, Zora Carmichaels, Dream and Dion are having breakfast at their restaurant. He wants them to bring himself and his brother to a hospital, believing that there is something wrong with both of them. The Neo-Marxists explain their plan to Ronald. They show him ‘The Power’ script. They are going to get him to go on a ride-along with Boxer for preparation and research for his character. Dion and Dream are going to stage a dispute that Ronald will have to go investigate and pretend to shoot them both dead...and all on Boxer’s video camera.

At Fortunio Balducci’s house, he is reading the script when Serpentine (a mistress of the Baron’s) calls him and tells him to facilitate a meeting between Ronald Taverner and Boxer and in return she will pay him for it.

At the Neo-Marxist HQ, Roland Taverner is tied up and injected with Fluid Karma. The unconscious Roland begins singing All These Things That I've Done-The Killers. They inject him once more and he stops.

Ronald finds a letter belonging to his brother from someone called Pilot Abilene. He asks Zora what he was. She tells him that he was an actor in a comedy troupe and he met Zora, Dion and Dream where they became ‘The Lighthouse Gang’.

Pilot Abilene is a former soldier who is now a guard of the generator dubbed ‘Utopia Three’ at the Santa Monica Pier. He was an actor who started out in an action movie with Boxer Santaros. The film was very bad but he became well-known from it, but his career ended when he was drafted to Iraq. It was here where he met Roland and the two became best friends. They learn of an experiment called ‘Serpentine Dream Theory’-all they know is if they sign up for it, you are used as a guinea pig but soon after, you are sent home. They go one night to visit Simon Theory (who is in charge of the experiment). He says no at first, saying that it isn’t for volunteers, but changes his mind once they bribe him. The next morning they are taken to a nearby airbase and each given an injection of Fluid Karma.

The next day, the two are about to drop in from a helicopter. Pilot is nervous about it so Roland gives him his iPod to listen to during the drop...the song is ‘All These Things That I Have Done’. They drop successfully and they infiltrate a building where their telepathy kicks in...the drug is working on them. Roland is in a state of dementia, so he throws a grenade into a room, which explodes right next to Pilot, which sends shrapnel into the left side of his face. They never saw each other after that day.

The Neo-Marxists are holding another meeting, this time a lottery for thumbs (certain people will be selected to have their thumb cut off to rig the election, they can re-use the same thumb as many times as possible, turning the election in their favour). Ronald, Zora, Dion and Dream are in attendance. The winner is Bing Zinneman who receives a check for $50,000 and then had his thumb cut off his hand. Afterward, Krysta Now and her friends and colleagues Sheena Gee, Shoshanna Cox and Deena Storm are in the middle of a conversation. Krysta tells her three colleagues that she booked a gig on the Mega-Zeppelin for the Baron on July 4.

While this is happening, Boxer is walking the beaches of Venice during the night. He takes out the Fluid Karma syringe and injects himself...before he loses conscious, he murmurs ‘Three Days...Three Final Days’...

After Krysta leaves the bar where she was talking with her friends, she is cornered by Fortunio. He tells her to tell him everything about ‘Serpentine Dream Theory’. She says that Serpentine is ‘The Great Mistress of the Great Wizard’ who some call the Anti-Christ...

Revelation 22:5 - For It Will Never Be Night Again, And They Would Not Need Lamp Light Or Sunlight, For the Lord God Will Be Shining On Them...And They Shall Reign Forever and Ever


Southland Tales: The Prequel Saga Wikipedia