He is a gifted comic book writer, an underground DJ, a movie critic, and, so I have heard, he has also penned a novel or two. However, up until now, I have not had a chance to read any of his prose. But, at Stumptown Comics Fest, Jamie reminded me that the first chapter of his new novel, Bobby Pins and Mary Janes, was now available online for free. In fact, Rich is serializing the entire novel on line for free, one chapter a week. The main page of the site has the first 1000 words or so, and gives you a taste of Rich’s writing style. At the bottom is a “Click to read more” button which takes you to the remainder of the chapter.
Click the button!
The problem with the first section on the site is that there is not nearly enough to let the reader know what the book is going to be about. However, after reading the entire first chapter, I had a much clearer picture of the main character and politics of the publishing world in which she operates.
The book has been described as “The Devil Wears Prada for the comic book industry.” that seems like a fairly apt description. Parker, the main character, is an assistant editor at a boutique publishing house in San Diego. She works under a woman who intimidates everyone and rules the floor with her steely glare and harsh tongue. Parker walks a thin line between being the beneficiary and the victim of her position under the boss. There are office politics, hidden romances, and enough true-life comic book shenanigans to keep the reader interested.
I usually try to avoid fiction books about the comic book industry. Often they are written by people who really have no idea what they are talking about and try to set their novel in the world of comics just for “something different.” But Jamie Rich has been in the industry quite a while. he knows the ins and outs of not only being a creator, but also as a young editor. He was the youngest editor at Dark Horse in the mid-nineties and became editor in chief of Oni Comics a few years later. with his experience on both sides of the desk, he has the perfect perspective for creating an authentic look at the comic book publishing world. Maybe, with a few drinks in him, he will spill about some of the people or circumstances which inspired him!
Bobby Pins and Mary Janes is a perfect pool-side read as you recover from this hectic convention season!
Bobby Pins and Mary Janes updates with a new chapter every Friday. They are available for perusal on-line or can be downloaded to the portable reading device of choice.