By Sarah Jane Abbott | 

Monday, September 29, 2014-  Off the Shelf

Early this year, I was reading a Joe Hill novel and I noticed a back-ad for his graphic novel collaboration with artist Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key.  I had never read a graphic novel or had much desire to, but the concept was intriguing—and it was Joe Hill, so that in and of itself was interesting to me.  At that time, though, I really only gave it a passing thought.  Then, in July, I was working at the Simon & Schuster booth at San Diego Comic Con, handing out promotional items, answering questions, and escorting authors.  I was flipping through the show program during a slow moment and noticed that Joe Hill would be having a signing in the booth right next to ours later that morning.  I figured I would have him sign a copy of  his novel Heart Shaped Box, but then it hit me – this was Comic Con!  I had been interested in that Joe Hill graphic novel, so…when in Rome!  I weaved through the throngs of cosplayers to the IDW booth and purchased my very first graphic novel: Locke & Key #1: Welcome to Lovecraft. 

As I waited in the ridiculously long line of Hill aficionados, I flipped through and started reading.  If you’ve ever looked through a graphic novel, you’ll know that the dialogue is laid out in speech bubbles, generally meant to be read left to right and top to bottom.  Well, I did not know this.  So I ended up reading conversations multiple times, trying to put the bubbles in an order that made sense.  When it was my turn, I was literally quivering with excitement (I can’t hold a candle to hard-core Comic Con fangirls, but I for sure have some fangirl in me).  Naturally, since I was meeting a famous person that I admire, I said the most awkward and embarrassing thing possible as I handed him my new graphic book: “Hi!  This is my first graphic novel.  I’m so excited!  I’m having trouble figuring out which speech bubbles to read first!”  I let out a crazily high-pitched giggle and froze on the spot with instant mortification.  Joe Hill (bless him) just smiled and said I would get the hang of it