Tales of the Astonishing Black Spark
Trapped in a dead-end job in his Ohio hometown, watching the girl of his dreams move on to a glamorous new life in a big city--Donald McDougal's aimlessness has held him back for a long time. When a lightning strike grants him superhuman powers, he jumps at his chance to finally be somebody. But the new abilities and the pursuit of superheroic fame come with a price tag, and it may not be one he can afford.
This wry debut is at once a fanboy's homage to the history of superhero storytelling in America and a keen-eyed satire of those same stories, raising questions about race and privilege that are becoming impossible to ignore.
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About the Author
"You'd need lightning to combine the satire of Paul Beatty, the rueful humor of Lorrie Moore, the deranged superheroes of Charles Yu, and the twenty-first-century inheritance of Invisible Man--and then you'd have Charlie J. Eskew's Tales of the Astonishing Black Spark, a funny, nerdy, and biting look at race and contemporary life, celebrity, and power. Buy it for the superheroes; read on for the humor and the wisdom. This is a rich and furious debut novel." --Daniel A. Hoyt, author of This Book Is Not for Youand Then We Saw the Flames
"Tales of the Astonishing Black Sparkis a scintillating journey into the distance between villains, heroes, and superheroes. In swift, edgy prose, Charlie J. Eskew gives the reader a beautifully created world where 'superhero' is a business and ethics grow murky. You'll be thinking about the smart yet earnest Black Spark and his 'True Believers' long after you've turned the last page."
--Soniah Kamal, award-winning author of the novels Unmarriageable: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in Pakistanand An Isolated Incident
"Tales of the Astonishing Black Spark is the origin story of an unlikely champion who strives for greatness with wit, electricity, and the help of his eccentric--if not always heroic--superhuman allies and all-too-human friends. Eskew tackles social issues with a keen eye, but he has a hell of a lot of fun doing it, and you'll have fun reading it too!"
--Erica L. Satifka, author of Stay Crazy, winner of the British Fantasy Award
"Eskew's debut novel pays homage to a comic-book-fueled America that deconstructs and reinvents superheroes for the twenty-first century. Tales of the Astonishing Black Sparkgives us a new everyman to root for in the form of Donald McDougal--one of my new favorite superheroes."
--Gary Jackson, author of Missing You, Metropolis