For comic book fans out there, indeed, for readers as well as writers of any genre, what would you do if you suddenly found yourself facing a villain from the story? Yikes. For that is what happens in Black Hat Blues.

Scratch, a comic book villain, is a wicked, murdering sorcerer with an inflated ego. He travels the multiverse conquering different realms out of, it seems, boredom.

Mark, the creator of Scratch, is an elderly, obsolete comic book artist. He finds his work inspires more vilification than praise these days from a culture with different standards, expectations, and viewpoints.

When Scratch suddenly finds himself in the same existence as his creator, using the villain’s own words, “Reality swirls.” Mark wonders if he’s going mad, and it’s all in his head. Scratch wonders if Mark is living his fantasies through him.

I wasn’t sure about the book when I began. It seemed scattered, constantly toggling between different points of view, dimensions, and storylines. But as I read, I found myself chuckling at the dark, scathing humor, even while feeling semi-outraged. The author touches on all aspects of life, at the heart of which seems to be the turmoil of aging and the increasing inability to relate to contemporary ways of thinking. It reminded me a little of Gulliver’s Travels in its clever, satirical wit.

Written in a unique style that seems to break all the rules of writing, it could be confusing for some. But It’s funny, brazen, full of surprises, and strangely relatable. In the end, you realize it could not have been written any other way.

Good read.

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