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Pop Culture Convention Provides Backdrop For New Novel

Author Richard Andreoli will be signing books at Mysterious Galaxy on Saturday

Photo credit: Richard Andreoli

Author Richard Andreoli set his novel "Battle at the Comic Expo" at a pop culture convention that may remind you of Comic-Con.

Pop Culture Convention Provides Backdrop For New Novel

GUESTS:

Richard Andreoli, 'Battle at the Comic Expo' author

Beth Accomando, KPBS arts reporter

Transcript

A pop culture convention much like Comic-Con provides the backdrop for Richard Andreoli's new novel "Battle at the Comic Expo." He will be at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore Saturday, Sept. 1, to sign books.

Andreoli grew up in San Diego and started going to Comic-Con at the age of 13. He said his "mind was blown" by all the pop culture available at the convention, even back in those early days. Andreoli's love for the convention led him to not just attend, but to volunteer to work at the annual event. That experience inspired him to write the novel "Battle at the Comic Expo."

Photo credit: Richard Andreoli

Richard Andreoli (left) with friends at one of the Comic-Con Masquerades in the early 2000s.

Anyone familiar with Comic-Con will notice details in the novel that feel directly lifted from that pop culture convention. But the story is a work of pure fiction.

Andreoli wanted to see what might happen if you took an obsessed fan, the most arrogant man working in comics, and the head of security and threw them into a crisis situation with the world's largest comic book convention as the setting.

"I was a fan of action movies and comic books and cartoons. I thought, 'What would happen if a crisis ever broke out at Comic-Con?' where it happens in a world filled with people who believe in heroism and grow up sort of feeding off of those concepts. Could those people who are fans of heroism actually step up and become a hero when they are called to action?" Andreoli said.

The book captures the feel and flavor of the real Comic-Con in its fictional America's Finest's Comic Book Expo. Andreoli writes as an insider so he is never making fun of the geeks, fans and cosplayers, but rather as someone who appreciates all that a pop culture convention offers in terms of passion, obsession, dreams and acceptance of those who don't necessarily feel they fit into the mainstream.

So Andreoli tackles the stereotypes of the nerdy guy with poor hygiene and then refocuses our attention on what a comic book convention really means to someone who loves it. In Andreoli's case, it's that particular and intoxicating smell of old paper of a boarded and bag vintage comic book.

Andreoli will be at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstores to sign books, answer questions and read selections at 2 p.m., Saturday.

You can also listen to Andreoli reminisce about the Ken Cinema and his time performing with the live cast for "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

Photo credit: Richard Andreoli

Author Richard Andreoli (left) was part of the early "Rocky Horror Picture Show" live cast. Here he is pictured with fellow cast members in front of the Ken Cinema.

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