Category Archives: Books

More Than Comics: A Comic-Con Romance Novel

I have read an honest-to-goodness romance novel set at the San Diego Comic-Con. More Than Comics by Elizabeth Briggs is the love story of Tara McFadden, a young woman just out of college who’s been writing Misfit Squad, a successful graphic novel for Black Hat Comics, “the third largest comic book publisher” in this universe. That’s not the only discrepancy. She’s meeting her artist, Hector Fernandez, for the first time in person at the con, and he turns out to […]

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The Final Reveille

Since I enjoyed the Chloe Ellefson series of mysteries set at a variety of living history museums, I thought I’d try another one from the same publisher, Midnight Ink. In The Final Reveille by Amanda Flower, out next month, the murder takes place during a Civil War reenactment at a living history farm in Ohio. Kelsey Cambridge has been showing the wealthy donor Cynthia Cherry around for the special weekend events. Cynthia’s unpleasant nephew and heir Maxwell is threatening to […]

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Murder With a Twist

If you miss William Powell and Myrna Loy in The Thin Man movies, have I got a new mystery novel for you! Out in early May is Murder With a Twist by Tracy Kiely, a modern, gender-flipped version of that premise. Nic (Nicole) Martini used to be a New York City police detective (until she was shot and went on disability leave). Nigel is her flippant husband, with plenty of inherited money and a crazy family. They’re back in the […]

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Marvel: The Avengers Vault

Between the years of 2007 and 2011, a publisher named Running Press issued a series of beautifully written and produced Vault books on the histories of comics’ biggest companies (Marvel and DC Comics — both previously reviewed by me, here at CWR) and their top characters (Batman and Spider-Man). Despite the similar title, this new 2015 Avengers Vault book, from a different publisher, Thunder Bay Press, is not like those books. In fact, I think the best thing I can […]

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Empty Rooms Excerpt From New Novel by Jeffrey J. Mariotte

Jeff Mariotte is known for writing a number of Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics and tie-in novels, but under his full name, Jeffrey J. Mariotte, he also writes his own stories. His newest novel, published by WordFire Press, is out tomorrow. Empty Rooms is a “dark thriller” covering “gritty issues that include child abuse and Detroit’s economic woes”. Empty Rooms introduces Detroit police detective Frank Robey, a comic book-loving former FBI agent-turned-cop whose obsession with the case of a missing […]

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Funny Girl: The New Nick Hornby Novel

Nick Hornby has written some of the best portraits ever of obsessive fandom in Fever Pitch and High Fidelity, but I haven’t read many of his newer works. When I heard that his most recent novel, Funny Girl, was about a beautiful young woman who wanted to make people laugh in 1960s Britain, I thought that sounded like a great book for me to try. I love pop culture, pop history, and women struggling to break through artificial entertainment barriers. […]

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Some Like It Hot-Buttered

Since I enjoyed Jeff Cohen’s The Question of the Missing Head, I thought I’d check out another comedy mystery he’d written. Some Like It Hot-Buttered is the first of three in the “Comedy Tonight” series, named after the theater the protagonist runs that only shows comedies. (The other two are It Happened One Knife and A Night at the Operation.) It’s the story of Elliot Freed, a divorced Jersey guy who wrote a book that became a bad movie. He […]

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Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels

Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels is a bit of a specialized book, focused on writing comics for businesses run by other people (instead of self-publishing or drawing your own work), but it’s full of great advice for those who want to go into that aspect of the industry. More importantly, the enthusiasm Brian Michael Bendis conveys for the job is infectious. Similarly, Joe Quesada’s foreword hits the “don’t give up, push through […]

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