This past Sunday saw the Brooklyn Book Festival once again take over Borough Hall Plaza for its annual celebration of publishing, and I probably haven’t worked so hard since last year’s New York Comic Con. I was on my feet the entire day, talking to book lovers young and old—horror fans, young adult fiction fans, comic book fans, even a couple of reporters—and letting everyone know just how awesome StarWarp Concepts is.
Chapter 1: Banner Sails and Super-Mutants
Just like last year, the open-air venue was bothered by the occasional strong gust of wind that turned the Pandora Zwieback banner into a makeshift sail, but after I lashed its frame to the park bench at the back of my booth I didn’t have to worry about it taking flight anymore. And this time none of the canopies got tossed around the park!
Setting up was fairly easy, and this year I decided to bring along some of the non-SWC books I’d been involved with as a freelance writer: my X-Men: The Chaos Engine Trilogy novels; my Sunn young adult superhero graphic novel; and the anthologies Untold Tales of Spider-Man and The Ultimate Hulk (for which I co-wrote stories). Just to see if there was any interest. Good thing I did—the silver-foil X-Men covers helped to draw people over so I could tell them about The ’Warp and our titles. The most popular non-‘Warp book turned out to be Sunn, especially with young boys (its target audience).
Chapter 2: Welcoming New Fans
The most popular ’Warp title was, of course, Blood Feud, first in the Pandora Zwieback series. Folks just love our resident Goth adventuress! Not that there wasn’t a following for our favorite succubus’s graphic novel, Lorelei: Sects and the City. In fact, the co-owner of the New York branch of world-famous comics and sci-fi store Forbidden Planet stopped by to suggest I go in and pitch them on carrying the book!
Just as smart a move as putting out the X-Men novels was hanging on one of the canopy’s posts a sign featuring some of the SWC titles and a large reproduction of the QR (Quick Response) Code for The ’Warp’s Web site. (They way it works is, if your cell phone is loaded with a barcode scanner app, you take a picture of the QR Code and that automatically opens your phone’s Web browser to whatever the code links to—in this case, the SWC home page.) I saw a bunch of people snapping away with their cells, so: Welcome to all our new visitors from Brooklyn Book Fest!
Chapter 3: Spider-Girls and Pulp Heroes
Favorite “aaaawwwww” moment: a dad stopped by with his four-year-old daughter. They were looking for something he could read to her; she was so darned cute I gave him a free copy of my first, ghostwritten novel, Spider-Man Super-Thriller: Warrior’s Revenge. He said to her, “Tell him what you’re going to be for Halloween.” She said very quietly, “Spider-Girl.” Then she got embarrassed and huddled by Dad and whispered something to him. He looked up.
“She wants me to ask what you’re going to dress up as for Halloween.”
So darned cute! (I said a vampire, by the way.)
A couple of shout-outs: one to author P. J. Lozito, whose Shadow-inspired pulp adventure novel The Sting of the Silver Manticore is available from publishing house Pro Se Press; and one to comics historian and artist Arlen Schumer, author of Visions From The Twilight Zone and The Silver Age of Comic Book Art. Both gentlemen stopped by to offer words of encouragement for The ’Warp’s efforts. Thanks again, guys!
Before I knew it, six o’clock had rolled around and it was time to head home. My brother Frank and my buddy, author J. D. Calderon (who’d popped in to offer support and check out the show), were kind enough to pack everything away while I was busy talking to a few last-minute visitors—who are now official members of Zwieback Nation!
And apparently interest in The ’Warp didn’t stop with show’s end. The next day I received notices from DriveThru Fiction—one of our e-book distributors—regarding a jump in the number of downloads of our free introductory comic The Saga of Pandora Zwieback #0, as well as a few sales of the PDF edition of Blood Feud! As writer/artist Matt Howarth used to say at the end of every issue of his comic Those Annoying Post Bros., it may stop, but it never ends.
Thanks for another great festival, Brooklyn. I’ll see you again next year!