The Night Owl Society is a brand new comic book set in Dallas and written by Fort Worth playwright James Venhaus. Issue #1 will published by IDW Publishing on April 26.
High school loner David Foxworth’s best friend is killed by a local mob boss, and the police won’t do anything about it. With nothing but his allowance and an overdeveloped sense of right and wrong, David gathers a group of fellow outsiders and misfits and decides to take matters into his own hands. By night they sneak out to disrupt the mob’s business and by day they maintain their perfect GPAs. They are The Night Owl Society. But, one of them is hiding a secret that could destroy the team. Will they survive without getting killed or grounded?
Preview artwork by Pius Bak is available at this link from IDW Publishing: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/9r8tdm6uu7gi62m/AACLCKq596xHdI39DMD_yRFFa?dl=0
Fort Worth writer James Venhaus, best known for his plays, many of which have been produced in Dallas by Junior Players and the now defunct Ground Zero Theatre Company, got the idea for this story once he began teaching theatre at All Saints’ Episcopal School in Fort Worth. “I started thinking about how my students were the perfect subject for a story about crime fighters. They are smarter than the average teenager, have copious amounts of both free time and disposable income, and an overdeveloped sense of right and wrong. They see everything in black and white and aren’t afraid to take action when they feel that there is an injustice in their community.”
Venhaus then set about finding a collaborator by searching the web for an artist whose style fit the story he wanted to tell. His search led him to Pius Bak, an artist living in Lithuania. “Pius has been great to work with. Although we’ve never met in person, his style matched the tone I knew I wanted for this book.” Pius has never been to the United States, and that presented a few challenges. “Pius’ English is very good, which is a blessing considering my Lithuanian is very bad. So, communication was never a problem. But, there are some cultural differences that needed explaining. For example, Pius had never seen a high school letterman’s jacket or high school lockers, so I sent quite a few reference photos of my school and my students. Consequently, several of the people and places in the comic bear a striking resemblance to people and places at my school.”
Other reference photos of the Dallas area made their way into the comic including downtown Dallas (with Reunion Tower in the background) and Campisi’s Restaurant on Mockingbird, which plays an important part in the story . “I thought having the mob boss’ headquarters by Campisi’s would be a fun nod to the urban legend that Campisi’s used to be a mob hangout in the 1950’s and 60’s.”
Issue #1 of The Night Owl Society will be released IDW publishing on April 26. To find a comic shop near you go to: http://www.comicshoplocator.com/storelocator
What the Critics are Saying:
Living Myth Magazine, April 25, 2017 – “JamesVenhaus is on writing duties and this is a weird one: he’s a playwright whose done some awesome stuff, most notably Ugly People (about running an electoral campaign) and Weird Sisters (which is Macbeth set in a modern high school where the students are studying the Scottish Play). His work is quirky dark comedy with soul, the sort of thing I keep hoping one of the local theater troupes will do (hint, hint). He’s a treasure, is what I’m saying, and if this comic brings more attention to his work that can only be for the best. Do not miss it.”
Pop Mythology, April 25, 2017 – “”This [is] the natural choice for the pick of the week for this week’s review! After all, this book was a complete surprise to me and made it a complete joy to read. It’s about the determination of an individual who recognizes the wrong in his community and, despite all of the pressures and overwhelming opposition to him, he stands up and resists.”
ComicWOW!, April 24, 2017 – “A CW! Must-Read Book!” “In short, it’s not that this is just another “teenage outcasts become heroes” story. The thing that makes this special is how well it’s done. This is an unusually well-polished issue from a pair of relative newcomers, and definitely one you need to check out.”
Reading With a Flightring, April 26, 2017 – “For a first issue this one really grabs the attention, imagination and leaves you with one heck of shocking ending. This is fresh, innovative and so much more than I could’ve hoped for!”
Outright Geekery, April 30, 2017 – “I really liked the twists and turns that the story takes. The ending has me planning on coming back for more.”
Geeks World Wide, April 26, 2017 – “A fun comic book that has a lot of potential. Good enough to get me intrigued about the next two issues.”
All-Comic, April 26, 2017 – “The future looks good for this group of night owls. They have an interesting story as a foundation and a well balanced cast to inject some light heartedness into the darkness they are facing. Definitely pick this issue up if you have ever thought of starting your own team of crime fighters or were a member of the Breakfast Club in school.”
James Venhaus will do a short book tour in April and May. He will visit local comic shops in Dallas, Garland, Plano, Keller, Corsicana, Burleson, Waco, Houston and Austin.
For a full list of appearances, check the events page here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/nightowlsociety/events
Idea and Design Works, LLC