Wednesday, July 26, 2017

"It's comic book Wednesday", says Peter, and that's why we're telling you about new novels (and events) from Fred Van Lente and Benjamin Percy, well-known for their work in comics and graphic novels

What with the last week of entertainment news being all about San Diego Comic-con, it's hard not to get into the comic book groove.

Fact #1: A substantial number of our staff reads graphic novels and comics.

Fact #2: Some of the best writers in the world of letters are writing comics, though of course these writers are still at the mercy of sales. High profile projects from Roxane Gay and one of two series from Ta-Nehisi Coates featuring The Black Panther have recently been discontinued. You can read that story from Alex Abad-Santos on Vox. Note: it's actually two of three, because Coates was collaborating with Gay on World of Wakanda.

And as an aside, Peter just told me that Rainbow Rowell is going to be writing The Runaways.  I once bought Rowell tea. If you have a comic book question, ask Peter.

Fact #3: Two authors with comic book/graphic novels ties are coming to Boswell in August. I wanted to get the word out that both events are free, and both authors will sign their other work.

Fact #4: Event #1 is Fred Van Lante, who is visiting us for his book, Ten Dead Comedians, a cross between Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None and the television series Last Comic Standing. Literally. Get it?

Fred Van Lente is at Boswell on Sunday, August 6, 3 pm. This event is cosponsored by Crimespree Magazine!

But that's not the best comparison. Booklist called it "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory meets Lost." You can watch Van Lente at the Penguin Random House Open Book event.

Van Lente has written or cowritten Cowboys and Aliens (you might know the film), Action Philosophers, Chaos War, Alpha Flight (both with Greg Pak), Generation Zero, Magnus, and more. As our Jason noted, Alpha Flight is a team of Canadian superheroes.

Fact #5: Event #2 is Benjamin Percy, whose new novel is The Dark Net. Percy has visited Boswell for previous novels, and always gets a good crowd, in part because he is a great writer. In addition to his novels, his writing guide Thrill Me (it's often on my rec shelf!) is used in classes around the country. Also, he did have a stint teaching at Marquette, so we can claim him a sort of local guy. I certainly do!

Benjamin Percy is appearing at Boswell on Thursday, August 10, 7 pm.

Here's Boswellian Sharon Nagel's recommendation of The Dark Net: "In Percy’s latest, dark forces are gathering to take over the world unless an unlikely group of folks can stop them. The Dark Net is the criminal underbelly of the Internet. Most people know nothing about it, but it is used by a select few for nefarious purposes such as human and drug trafficking. Hannah, a twelve-year old blind girl, her Luddite aunt Lena, a reporter, and Mike, a former child evangelist who runs a homeless shelter, are the unlikely heroes who must stand against the demons of the Dark Net. Fast-paced and exciting, you won’t be able to stop reading this cyber thriller until you find out what happens."

Percy dabbled in the visual storytelling arts before; his short story Refresh, Refresh was turned into a graphic novel. But now he's as well known for his work on Green Arrow and Teen Titans.

Note that the Milwaukee area is a hub of activity for the world of Green Arrow. Another digital first series, The Dark Archer, features Carole E. Barrowman as one of the writers.

We don't sell the individual comics, though we might have some collected volumes in stock; our focus is on the authors' new novels We're happy to order in something we don't have, but leave us a few days.

Obviously, we're hoping folks who know the authors by their comics will discover Ten Dead Comedians and The Dark Net and will buy them as well!

Fact #6: A partial list of comic book shops. If you're looking for an individual comic, there are lots of great options in the Milwaukee area.

a. Collectors Edge, 4 locations, including one at 2004 N Farwell Ave and another at 2330 S Kinnickinnic Ave in Bay View

b. The Turning Page, 2452 N Murray Ave, blocks from Boswell

c. Vortex, 8118 W National Ave in West Allis

d. Lost World of Wonders, 6913 W Oklahoma Ave, which I believe is in the city of Milwaukee. Peter gives LWOW three thumbs up.

e. Classic Comics and Collectibles, 6815 N Green Bay Ave in Glendale focuses on collectible, but can special order new titles.

f. Kowabunga Comics, 102 N Main St in Oconomowoc

Note that comic book hours vary. Check first!

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