Toledo shop to debut local authors’ Batman bookWritten by Jim Beard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A Toledo comic shop is set to host the official nationwide release of a new book about Batman.
“Gotham City 14 Miles: 14 Essays on Why the 1960s Batman TV Series Matters” was edited by Toledo Free Press Star contributor Jim Beard and includes essays by Beard, Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star editor in chief Michael S. Miller and other local writers as well as many well-known names in the comics world.
Beard and Miller will be at Monarch Cards and Comics, 4400 Heatherdowns Blvd., from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 18 to answer questions and sign books.
“This is literally the premiere of the book,” Beard said. “Monarch will get it before any comic shop in the U.S. — a benefit of being in the editor’s hometown.”
The shop will have 70 copies, with about 35 already reserved for pre-order customers, said manager Ed Katschke. The book will be available at other comic shops later in December and online in January, Beard said.
Owner Steve Shufritz said Beard has been a friend and regular customer for more than 20 years and the shop wanted to support him.
“We e-mailed the publisher and asked if he’d be interested in helping us host a book-signing,” Shufritz said. “He called us back and was really enthusiastic and we hammered out the details from there. It seemed like too good an opportunity to miss, with several contributors right here in Toledo.”
Miller said he discovered Batman comics and graphic novels in the mid-1980s at Monarch, when the store was located on Airport Highway.
“I remember having conversations with [Shufritz] when ‘The Killing Joke’ and ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ debuted,” Miller said. “So to contribute to a Batman book that will be for sale in his store is very cool to me personally.”
The book aims to “critically examine the 1966-68 ‘Batman’ TV series and quantify its worth and weight in current pop culture,” according to publisher Sequart’s website. “It also intends to shoot down many of the clichés, falsehoods and outright misinformation about the show and illuminate its strengths and, yes, its weaknesses.”
Topics include analyses of the music, villains, gadgetry and a female perspective on the male-dominated show. Beard thinks the book will appeal not only to Batman fans, but to anyone interested in pop culture.
“I hope that we’re going to get some people that don’t normally come into comic shops,” Beard said. “It’s not just about the show or its connection with comics, but its connection with so many different things. I think people will get a view of all the things going on in the 1960s. In a wider sense, it’s a chronicle of pop culture and not just then, but now. The show served as an inspiration to so many people working today.”
Other contributors include Chuck Dixon (writer of the “Batman” comics in the 1990s), Paul Kupperberg (former editor at DC Comics), Robert Greenberger (writer and former editor of Comics Scene magazine), Will Patrick Murray (author and pulp-fiction scholar), Peter Sanderson (archivist and researcher for DC and Marvel Comics), Timothy Callahan (reviewer and columnist for a comics news website), Beard’s wife Becky and more.
In October, Beard, Miller and several other essayists hosted a standing-room-only panel discussion about the book at the New York City Comic Con, where a limited-run beta edition of the book sold out.
“That was really, really something,” Beard said. “I remember walking up to the panel after the last panel was done thinking this crowd must be for the panel after us. And they said ‘No these people are here for you and the book.’ That was really cool. We had so many people coming up afterward with beaming faces saying this was really great and they were looking forward to the book. That was everything that I wanted.”
With the 45th anniversary of the TV series coming up in January, Beard said he hopes the book gets people talking about “Batman” again.
“It’d be fun if it was so well-received that people asked if there would be a follow-up,” Beard said. “I think I have enough topics left for one more book.”
For more information, call Monarch Cards and Comics at (419) 382-1451 or visit www.sequart.com.