Sunday, June 21, 2015

Jay Piscopo

Jay Piscopo is the author and illustrator of “The Undersea Adventures of Capt’n Eli” graphic novel series.  He has created numerous titles featuring spin off characters from this series, including “The Sea Ghost #1: The Sea Ghost in the Machine” and the “Commander X All-Star Special.”  He is known for his signature pulp style and is a frequent contributing artist for Moonstone Books.  He co-created the internationally distributed comic book series, “The Scrap City Pack Rats,” featuring the world's first disabled superheroes. This six-issue series received national attention for its groundbreaking approach and subject matter.  Jay has conducted hundreds of workshops and classroom events across the country teaching drawing and storytelling techniques.  He is an engaging presenter with extensive teaching experience.

What are your ties to Maine or the Boothbay Peninsula?

I'm a Maine native. Currently living in Falmouth. I love the Boothbay region. When I was kid the Trolley Museum was a magical destination.

What is your favorite thing about writing and illustrating in Maine?

As Dorothy said, "There's no place like home." My family and friends are here and I'm proud of the community I'm a part of.

Being so close to the ocean and the rocky coastline is inspirational and relaxing after long deadlines.

I'm also inspired by Maine's place in history and researching Maine's numerous weird legends from ghosts, to mad scientists to sea monsters.

What are the most important themes in your work?

The intention behind The Undersea Adventures of Capt'n Eli has always been about creating a sense of fun and wonder in a graphic novel that could be enjoyed by kids and adults alike.  Over the years, the comics market has skewed towards an older audience, a "grim and gritty" more graphic approach to violence and the use of adult themes have significantly edged out a more "all ages" approach. Along with other independent creators working now to open comics up to a wider audience, my efforts are focused on creating books that families can read as well as fans of sci fi and high adventure that harken back to the classics with some modern twists.

Within the story, themes dealing with history, war, science, technology and multi- cultural mythology as well as themes about community and what it really means to be a hero.

Tell us about the book(s) you will be signing at Books In Boothbay this year?

The third installment in The Undersea Adventures of Capt'n Eli saga – The Mystery of the Devil’s Sea -- is my newest book. In the first two chapters, Capt'n Eli has been learning about himself while jumping from one adventure to the next, meeting friends like Commander X, and mysterious foes like Lord Hydro.  In this book, the time-traveling, undersea adventurer and boy inventor, Capt'n Eli, and his crew are thrown in the deep end of a global conflict with the undersea Aquarian Empire. Fast paced action, giant robots, flying submarines as well as a super hero army abound!

What do you hope readers will discover in your latest book?

My hope with every Capt'n Eli graphic novel is that each reader finds a rich, exotic and vast universe to become immersed in.  I hope Book 3 in the Capt’n Eli series exemplifies this with story twists, new characters and lots of eye candy.

For long-time readers, I hope they enjoy the new characters and revelations.

What do you feel about the future of our local libraries?

I'm seeing encouraging news every day about readers returning to real books in lieu of electronic reading devices. I'm also seeing a growing awareness of the need for libraries as an integral part of the community. I've been offering my cartoon workshop for years to libraries in many communities and I have great admiration for the dedication of librarians and the essential work they do.

Come meet Jay Piscopo at Books in Boothbay on July 11!

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