What happens when a comic convention you are attending cancels on you?
That was Hope Nicholson’s situation when Wizard World cancelled their Atlanta show this month – and she had already bought nonrefundable tickets to the show and her Secret Loves Of Geek Girls books had already been shipped to the venue.
Which is where friend-of-Bleeding Cool, Dr. No’s Comics & Games SuperStore of Marietta, Georgia stepped in, to host a signing of her books on Wednesday, January 20th, from 6pm to 7:30 pm.
Nicholson talked about the anthology, the response to it, and how Dr. No’s was able to work with her to host the signing.
“Secret Loves of Geek Girls is a nonfiction anthology of prose and comic stories about women in fandom discussing love, sex, and dating. It’s a 286-page softcover book.”
Nicholson has assembled a dazzling mix of prose, comics, and illustrated stories about love, dating, and sex featuring more than fifty creators, including Booker Award–winning novelist Margaret Atwood, Mariko Tamaki, Trina Robbins, Gisèle Lagacé, Marguerite Bennett , Marjorie Liu, Carla Speed McNeil, and Nicholson herself. It also features a foreword by Kelly Sue DeConnick and cover art by Noelle Stevenson.
Nicholson explained how she managed to assemble such an all-star list of contributors. “Some of the writers were close friends who were the first to know of the concept, I approached them well over a year ago, others I found through Twitter and approached, and still others were brought to the project through a public call for entries. All in all, from concept to Kickstarter start it was about a year, though about a few weeks from the point where I decided to go through with it for sure.”
Landing Atwood for the book was a major coup, although Nicholson pointed out that her contributions to The Secret Loves of Geek Girls are “not her first comics work. She actually used to contribute cartoons that she drew for Canadian magazines in the 1970s. I saw some on her website, and when we had a meeting to discuss Angel Catbird (an upcoming project we’re working on that is now in production with Dark Horse.) I asked if she could contribute some to help raise awareness of the campaign. Instead she went one better and created new strips for it!”
What inspired Nicholson to put the book together? “Well I’m a fangirl first and foremost, and everything else sort of just follows from that. I’ve been an academic, historian, documentary producer, researcher, restorationist, publisher, editor, journalist in the comics area for several years, switching between these roles depending on what was going on in my life at that time.
“I’m also passionate about community building and helping to see spaces created to encourage women to read comics, and keep reading them, so I’d go to many meetups and helped organize a few too, with women in the comics industry, or who were passionate fans. From here, often talk turned personal and we discussed our love and dating lives, or lack thereof in many cases. It fascinated me that these weren’t stories I saw told very often, so I wanted to promote them to help others feel connected through sharing similar stories.”
Response to the book has already been overwhelmingly positive. “I’ve been receiving a lot of messages, many of them public on Goodreads and Twitter, from readers who felt so connected to the book that they cried, and that to me was something unexpected but beautiful. We need to tell these stories, and not every reader is lucky enough to be in an area where they can go and meet up with friends and discuss romance and attraction, even online it takes a certain amount of extroversion to make friends. With this book, people can connect to the experiences of a wide range of women without knowing us at all. And I think that’s going to be a very therapeutic process for many.
“It was important to me that the stories didn’t tell the ‘one true way’ of finding your path. We have stories of women who fell into relationships that were friendly, but not romantic and had to work up the courage to break it off. And others who fell in love with their partners after a year of dating. Everyone has different stories and different paths, it was important for me to showcase that even in similar situations different people took different paths, and they still were just fine after, no matter their choices.”
Nicholson had originally planned for the book to make its Southeastern debut at Wizardworld in Atlanta, but “the convention was cancelled! I happened to be googling to double-check if it was a three day or two day con a few weeks ago and saw a tiny little one line mention of the cancellation in a press release from them—for a different convention! It took a few days for them to get back to me and confirm this after I emailed them upset and confused. Since this was in the middle of my US launches and not at the beginning or end of the tour, there really was no way for me to cancel my trip to Georgia, so..here I am!”
Once Dr. No’s learned that Nicholson was left without a site to host her premiere, they offered to step up and offer a home for the event. Dr. No’s has a large, diverse, and very supportive customer base, and are hoping that those customers – as well as other readers in the Atlanta area who’d like a chance to get a signed copy of this outstanding anthology almost nine months before it goes into wide release – will be at the store on Wednesday, January 20th, to pick their own copies of The Secret Loves of Geek Girls.