SPOTLIGHT – Murder on the Cosplay Express
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ABOUT THE STORY
A famous mystery author has spent the weekend at a comic book convention. While riding the train back to Los Angeles, he finds himself caught up in a murder investigation where every suspect is wearing a costume and isn’t who they claim to be. The first in the Kent Bronwyn mystery series, this short story pays homage to the great comic book conventions of Southern California.
I shifted my weight from one leg to the other, but it wasn’t helping my hurting feet. I shouldn’t really complain; I hadn’t spent hours on the convention floor this year, other than being ushered through the crowd by a volunteer to get me to the panels I was on and to the autograph signing area, and my publisher’s own booth. Though my panel didn’t fill the room, I still found it surprising just how many people were in line for my autograph. I was even more surprised that people were actually reading my books, and knew who I was.
As those thoughts went through my mind, I spotted something very familiar being pulled from a convention bag. A young woman dressed in a bright pink short dress and matching pink hair held the object tightly to herself and looked over at me. Her four friends in similar bright costumes were encouraging her to do something, but she was clearly nervous.
Not wanting her torment to last a minute longer, I smiled and gave her a small wave to come over. Her four starlight-shining friends pushed her forward and held her place in line.
I could tell the starship captain next to me was watching with great concern. He obviously thought I was some kind of pervert.
“Uh… Mr. Bronwyn,” the girl nervously said, “sir.”
My previous thoughts ran through my head again – even more surprised that people were actually reading my books, and knew who I was. Even after the autograph signing, it was still hard to believe. She knew who I was at least.
“I’m no sir,” I tried to reassure her, “and I like your costume.”
“Oh, you do? I made it based on an eighties cartoon show.”
“I can tell. Well done. Too bad the live action movie was such a flop.”
“We all knew it would be,” she replied. I had gotten her on a topic she loved to relax her fears. “They should have gone to the creator of the show to write script instead, in my opinion.”
“True, but I suspect you didn’t want to talk about girl rock bands. What can I do for you?”
She fell back into nervous silence for a moment before speaking again.
“Can you sign this for me? I wasn’t able to make it to your signing this afternoon.” She held out a copy of my latest novel, BULLET FOR THE DEVIL.
Pulling a pen from my coat, I took the book from her and opened to the title page.
“Whom should I make this out to?”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin Paul Shaw Broden first fell in with the masks as a child while listening to old time radio and the adventures of Green Hornet, The Shadow, The Lone Ranger and many others. They were soon followed by the four-color heroes of comic books, not the heroes of the modern age, but those of the Golden Age. Roy Thomas’ run on All-Star Squadron introduced Kevin to heroes long past. It would be those heroes he would dream of and want to write about; all that led to his pursuit of a career in comic books. He took art courses throughout his education – and his first professional job was as a background artist in the early issues of SUPREME for Image Comics – only to discover that no matter the media, he was a storyteller at heart.
He would never be far from his first love, the masked heroes. For over fifteen years Kevin has been illustrating and co-writing (with Shannon Muir) the online comic book FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY which can be found at http://www.flying-glory.com about the granddaughter of a golden age heroine known as Flying Glory. He has also written for television animation, including the Japanese series MIDNIGHT HORROR SCHOOL, and worked as an Associate Producer for the pre-production stages of an animated feature. He is a member of the Animation Writers Caucus of the Writers Guild of America. Kevin also digitally paints book covers, not only for his own books, but for other authors, including the cover art for Pro Se Productions’ NEWSHOUNDS. In 2015, he also contributed artwork for LEGENDS OF NEW PULP FICTION for Airship 27.
Kevin’s first novel, CLOCKWORK GENIE, was released in 2011, followed in 2012 by REVENGE OF THE MASKED GHOST, his homage to the golden age pulp heroes that got him started. In 2013, his work appeared in two anthologies from Pro Se Productions. In BLACK FEDORA, he wrote about the villainous Maestro Mechanic in “The Man Who Stole Manhattan”, and in NEWSHOUNDS printer’s ink mixes with blood in the tale “Stop The Presses!” He’s since followed this up releasing several short stories on his own, including “The Cop Who Wouldn’t Die” from the CLOCKWORK GENIE universe, “A Scarlet Spirit Tale: In the Clutches of Convicts” which expands the world of the MASKED GHOST, and the stand-alone “No Easy Way to Die.”
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