Event Report: Book Signing at Jim Hanley’s Universe and Comic: Dolltopia

January 20th, 2008

Here’s a quick report on the book signing I did the other night, and a little review, too!

Jim Hanley’s Universe, seen on the left, is immediately across the street from the Empire State Building. I took a picture looking up at it from below, but it didn’t really come out. Oh well. I like the ESB – so deco, so excessive, so phallic, so shiny.

I arrived early. I always arrive early. It’s my nature. And not only were we expected, with a table set out and all, it even had good placement right up near the front of the shop. The staff at Jim Hanley’s Universe were *fabulous*. Every last person we dealt with was as nice as can be and they really did a great job of making us feel welcome. Thanks Vito and Harry and everyone at JHU!

I sold a book or two before Abby or J.D. even arrived, which set my whole evening off on a good footing. :-) Then Abby came and got herself all set up. We chatted a bit until at about 6:30 when people started to arrive – except JD, who was stuck in traffic. :-) Patty and David from Prism Comics came and made sure we were all good to go.

I was so pleased that some friendly faces showed to provide support. Mari, John, Chet and Yuri Monogatari 5 artist Jess B. who made a stealth appearance! I made her sign books, but she sneaked out when I wasn’t looking. lol

J.D. finally made it and before she even got her coat off, I made us take pictures together, because I would have completely forgotten to, otherwise. :-) From the left, it’s J. D, me, and Abby.

We really had a terrific time. All three of us sold each other’s books, which was pretty funny. “Now that you’ve bought this book,” we’d say, you should buy one from these two.” And for the most part, people did! Since people came for each of us specifically, it was a very cool way to get our books in front of people who might not otherwise have learned about us. After it was all over, we decided that it was so much fun, we’d definitely try to do this again in the summer as a Pride event. Prism continues to be the least sucky GLBT group I’ve ever dealt with.

Abby quite generously gave me a copy of her Dolltopia comic and I absolutely wanted to tell you all about it immediately. You’ll love it. Run right out and get a few copies for yourself and friends – it would make a great “thinking about you” gift for someone. In fact, next time I see Abby, I’m buying a handful and giving it to friends. It’s like 2 bucks, so there’s really no excuse when you figure it’s cheaper than a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Dolltopia is a mini comic series about doll interior lives and what they do when they break free from the constraints of their molded characteristics. Dolltopia is the world that dolls have constructed for themselves. Inhabiting this world are many dolls that have taken freedom into their own hands, including two modified “Darling Candy” dolls, Candy-O and her partner Candy-X. And yes, that’s parter, as in “life partner.” Abby says of the “Darling Candy” dolls, that they are based on a popular doll model that everyone would recognize. She told me that as a kid, she always used to hack their hair off, make her own clothes for them and drawn makeup and tattoos on them. This was, in part, the inspiration for Dolltopia.

The themes that permeate this comic, “who am I?” “what is my role?” “how can I be free?” are the same as in many an anime and manga relating to artificial intelligences. And they resonate with people because despite our apparent freedom, many of us find ourselves trapped in our bodies, our roles, the perceptions of what we can and cannot do – just like the dolls in Dolltopia. This is a mini-comic that packs a pretty solid punch. And it has non-creepy lesbian dolls, what more can you ask for? lol

Thanks to Abby for turning me on to this series, I now await the next volume impatiently. ;-) And thanks to everyone who came to the event, (I was told that we drew a bigger crowd than a well-known DC artist with the explanation, “But he’s an asshole and you guys aren’t.” LOL) Thanks again to the staff at JHU, and J.D. for setting this all up and Prism Comics for being in existence. It was a fantastic evening all around.

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