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The graphic novel Scare City – written by Paul Jenkins and illustrated by Fred Pham Chuong and Veronica R. Lopez – welcomes readers into a world populated by the stuff of nightmares. Zombies, werewolves, vampires, ghouls, aliens, and terrifying creatures of all shapes and sizes roam the streets of Scare City, far below the world of humans. The good news? These spine-tingling citizens have built a tenuous sort of peace within the city, and their days of scaring the so-called “topsiders” are long-since over …mostly. All of this changes when nefarious forces begin to kidnap the citizens of Scare City and take them hostage. As people throughout the city disappear, old wounds and ancient divisions between the inhabitants resurface. In order to save Scare City, it’s up to Gina – a half-witch, half-zombie owner of a pastry shop – and her motley crew of unlikely heroes.
The events, settings, and characters in Scare City offer readymade connections to subjects ripped from today’s headlines, touching on contemporary themes of persecution, discrimination, corruption, power, fear, complacency, and much more. As the book goes on, readers are forced to confront the difficult question that lies at the heart of Scare City’s expansive story: What exactly makes someone a “monster” in today’s world, and why?