David Wong (writer)
January 10, 1975
|Alma mater||Southern Illinois University|
|Subject||pop culture, news media, Americana, science fiction|
|Notable works||John Dies at the End|
Jason Pargin (born January 10, 1975), known by his pen name David Wong, is an American humor writer. He is the executive editor of humor website Cracked.com and has written three novels, John Dies at the End (2007), This Book Is Full of Spiders (2012) and Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits (2015). John Dies at the End was adapted into a film of the same name in 2012. The third novel in a "John Dies at the End" series, titled "What the Hell did I just Read?" will be released in October 2017.
Wong was born in Lawrenceville, Illinois. He and fellow Internet writer John Cheese (real name Mack Leighty) went to high school together and met during an art class they shared. Wong then attended the Southern Illinois University (SIU) radio-television program, graduating in 1997. While at SIU, he was part of a TV show on Alt.news cable TV called Consumer Advocate. A number of episodes were produced.
PWOT and Cracked
In 1999 Wong started his own humor site, Pointless Waste of Time (PWOT), which would eventually be absorbed into Cracked.com.
While working as a copy editor at a law firm, he would spend his days copy editing insurance claims and nights posting humor articles on PWOT. Every Halloween on the site he wrote a new chapter of an online story that he published as a webserial. An estimated 70,000 people read the free online versions before they were removed in September 2008. Wong used the feedback from people reading each episode of the webserial to tweak what would eventually become the book, John Dies at the End.
Demand Media hired Wong to be the head editor for their revamped online magazine, Cracked.com, although Demand was not aware of Wong's book deal. As part of the deal, he merged PWOT into the Cracked forums. Wong has described a disconnection between the old Cracked print magazine and the humor site Cracked.com due to multiple relaunches and almost entirely new staff. As a child, he read Cracked magazine's biggest competitor, Mad magazine.
In a popular article published at Cracked.com, Wong coined the neologism "monkeysphere" which introduces the concept of Dunbar's number in a humorous manner. Wong referred to Dunbar's number again in his novel, This Book Is Full of Spiders.
Adopting the pseudonym David Wong
When Pargin started PWOT, he took on the pseudonym of David Wong to keep his real and online lives separate. Since much of his writing involved situations similar to his real life, he did not want co-workers and his employers to think that his rants about fictional characters were inspired by real people.
The origin of the name was a character from one of his first short stories. He writes
"It's not a very interesting story, 'David Wong' was the villain in a story I had written way back in the day, so when I was signing up for my first online accounts in 1998 I started using it. Then when hate mail started coming in with a bunch of racist anti-Chinese insults, I realized I had either gone badly wrong or badly right."
After his book and movie deal, his real name became common knowledge, but Wong accepted it, saying "It's not like I'm under the Witness Protection program or anything. I was just trying to keep things simple in my personal life."
John Dies at the End
John Dies at the End was at first rejected by publishers, and Wong considered taking it down until indie horror publisher Permuted Press agreed to publish the novel in 2007. A second edition by Thomas Dunne Books was published with additional material as a hardcover on September 29, 2009. After enjoying some success, it came to the attention of Don Coscarelli who decided to adapt it as a film.
The film, starring Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Clancy Brown, and Paul Giamatti, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2012. It also played on March 12, 2012, at South by Southwest, in Austin, Texas.
- Wong, David (2010). John Dies at the End. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9780312659141.
- Wong, David (2012). This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9780312546342.
- Wong, David (2015). Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits. Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 9781250040190.
- Mileur, Eli (February 22, 2012). "SIU grad makes it big with comedy website". The Daily Egyptian. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
- Panovich, Becky; Cowger, Matt (March 15, 2010). "John Dies at The End : Review and Interview". RevolutionSF. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- "Wong, David, 1975 January 10–". Library of Congress Authorities. Retrieved 2014-07-27.
- "Jason Pargin on Earwolf". www.earwolf.com. Retrieved 2016-11-18.
- Cheese, John (2012). "Is there an origins story to your pseudonym"John Cheese"?". johncheesecracked.tumblr.com. Archived from the original on October 22, 2013. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- Consumer Advocate (1996). "alt.news – Consumer Advocate – etch (1996 season one)". Alt.news cable TV. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
- McCormick, Luke (November 30, 2009). "Wong writes way into Hollywood". The Daily Egyptian. Archived from the original on January 18, 2013. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
- Testa, Adam (January 16, 2011). "‘Cracked’ Up: Local author finds niche in humor market". The Southern Illinoisan. Retrieved May 21, 2012.
- Lee, Jodi (November 7, 2010). "Inter-review Sunday: David Wong & JDatE". Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- Adhominem (2012). "The many dimensions of David Wong". Adhominem. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- David Wong. "Inside the Monkeysphere". Retrieved 2007-12-25.
- "Reddit AMA thread".
- Wong, David (September 25, 2011). "John Dies at the End Teaser Trailer". Cracked. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- Publishers Weekly (July 13, 2009). "Fiction review". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- Wong, David (September 29, 2009). "September 29, 2009". johndiesattheend.com. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- Quint (October 21, 2010). "Quint knows what Don Coscarelli's new movie is! And more importantly he knows Paul Giamatti and The Kurgan are in it!". Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
- "John Dies at the End" just starting post and VFX". Don Coscarelli. Twitter. January 27, 2011. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
- Labrecque, Jeff (January 24, 2012). "Sundance: 'Bubba Ho-Tep' director back with a vengeance – VIDEO". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- Sundance Film Festival (December 19, 2011). "Four Additional Films Selected for 2012 Sundance Film Festival". Sundance Film Festival. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- South by Southwest (2012). "John Dies At The End". South by Southwest. Retrieved May 12, 2012.