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New Comic Book Explores Stories From Oct. 1 Shooting


Comic books have long been a place to retreat into other worlds, other minds for fantasy and fun.

But as the genre has expanded in recent decades, comic books and graphic novels have taken on darker and more dramatic themes. 

"Where We Live" is one of those.

It's a 336-page book with 75 different stories related to the October 1 shooting that killed 58 on the Las Vegas Strip.

More than 150 artists and writers from around the world along with a handful from Las Vegas helped create the book.

Las Vegas comic book artists J.H. and Wendy Williams helped organize the book's creation. 

The couple was at a wedding in California when the shooting happened. A friend of theirs was on the Strip when the shooting happened and they talked to her that night trying to reassure her and give her accurate information about what was going on. 

They also had a friend who was working in an emergency room that night. Wendy Williams said being that close to the tragedy motivated them to do what they could.

“Seeing what they went through, trying to reassure them and helping them through what they experienced," she said, "We felt like we had to do something.” 

 J.H. said for several days after the shooting he kept thinking about doing a comic book about the tragedy. He said comic books about a topic like that are not uncommon in the industry.

However, he didn't know exactly how to get a book like that together. On the Friday after the shooting, he got onto Twitter and started asking if anyone was making a book about the Oct. 1 shooting.

“By the time I woke up in the morning, I had people offering to help,” he said.

Wendy Williams said people they knew in the industry started to tell other people and word spread fast. In a short period of time, especially for the comic book industry, a book was ready to take to the printers.

“We could help the people affected but also do something that has meaningful and has something to say about what happened because these things keep happening,” Wendy Williams said.

The book includes first-hand accounts of survivors, including a high school girl who tells how she came home that night with blood all over her clothes.

Wendy Williams said they had survivors who agreed to talk to the writers but backed out because it was still too painful.

But they also had a woman who struggled to tell her story but when she finally did she was the first to contact the Williams to thank them for helping her.

The book also includes stories that are allegories about that night instead of a retelling of a survivor's story in comic book form. One of the stories is a man fighting a dragon. Presumably, it is an allegory of the first responders.

J.H. Williams said they debated about including allegorical content but in the end, they felt those stories gave a powerful message without using reality-based content.

Wendy Williams also said they didn't want to limit what the writers and artists wanted to portray and say. And they didn't tell the contributors what to write or draw concerning gun violence. Instead, they wanted them to contribute what they thought about the issue, but also go beyond just anger and provide something more constructive.

All the revenue from sale of the book will go to victims of the shooting.

Artists and writers of the book will be signing copies of “Where We Live” on Saturday, June 2, from 2-6 pm, at Alternate Reality Comics
4110 S Maryland Pkwy

J.H. Williams, comic book writer; Wendy Williams, comic book writer

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.