It’s been a long time coming, but the graphic novel that Sean Von Gorman and I Kickstarted back in 2012 is finally done and about to go off to the printer’s. Kickstarter backers have received their digital copies (if you haven’t, there’s an update for backers-only on the KS project with a link to download) and some members of the press have gotten their review editions.
I’m also pleased to say that the print edition will feature a foreword by die-hard New Yorker, class act, and writer extraordinaire, Adam P. Knave.
If you happened to miss the Kickstarter, you can currently pre-order the book from my online store and it will ship after the Kickstarter folks receive their copies.
Much to my delight, response has been quite flattering so far. Thank you all. I wanted to post some of the love we’ve received, if only to remind myself that the two years it took to get this book out the door was worth it. Here’s what some awesome people are saying:
USA Today’s Brian Truitt was incredibly generous in saying:
With four stories of love, loss, pain and hope, Pawn Shop is at its heart both a memorable love letter to New York City and a touching study on the interconnectedness of us. Not only does Joey Esposito cement his status as a creator on the rise, but even more impressively relays a message of compassion and respect in a cynical world. After a visit to Pawn Shop, that stranger next to you on the subway train might be more important than you thought.
Our pal Joshua Yehl at IGN said:
With such attention to the nuances of daily life, the yearning for purpose, and the drive to change one’s self, Pawn Shop is the kind of story that would earn an Oscar if it were a movie. I guess Joey Esposito and Sean Von Gorman will just have to settle for an Eisner.
Esposito weaves a slice of life tale around a New York City Pawn Shop that cuts deep into your heart, forcing you to watch his characters make sense of their lives as well as reconsider your own. With Von Gorman’s expressive watercolors telling the story of these four troubled souls, the reader becomes immersed in their interconnected hopes, pains, and dreams.
The gentlemanly Tony Guerrero from Comic Vine said:
Pawn Shop is more than just a story–it’s a journey through the lives of ordinary people told in an extraordinary way.
Everyone has their own story. Sometimes they’re interconnected. Watch as Joey Esposito weaves their tales together in a way that will capture your attention while bring a smile to your face and possibly some tears as well.
Over on the Talking Comics podcast, Bobby Shortle had some nice things to say about the book at the 1 Hour 53 Minute mark or so, calling it his book of the week:
I’ve read some of [Joey’s] work before, his Captain Ultimate stuff, the Footprints book, but this is like a whole other level book for him. It is utterly fantastic… I expected to like it, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I’m loving it.
I stopped by the Talking Comics morning show, Comics and Coffee — unkempt beard in tow — to talk more about the book:
Talking Comics also gave us a nice review:
Each character gets a chapter in the book, and each character experiences a story that is at once a self-contained journey toward self-discovery as well as a small piece in a larger tableau. Yes, each character struggles and overcomes and grows individually, but Esposito always maintains that characterization of “A” rather than “THE.” In other words, Pawn Shop really is about all “the lonely souls haunting New York City” and the world. Yes, he imbues each character with idiosyncratic personalities, but he is sure to shoot for his larger motif throughout: for every individual story of sorrow and sacrifice, heroism and compassion, and love and death, there is always going to be a larger human narrative about the quest for connection.
Multiversity Comics gave it a nice 9/10 review as well, calling it “The Essex County Trilogy for New Yorkers”:
One of the most fascinating things about life is the complex web of daily human interactions. It’s never ending domino effect. Every action, small or large, can have a profound effect on those around us. Most of these moments, these intersecting spokes on the cosmic wheel of time, go completely unnoticed. In Pawn Shop, Esposito and Von Gorman weave a fictional web of hope, loss, fear, redemption, courage, and love, told across one the most iconic hives of human highs and lows; New York City.
And We The Nerdy gave us a stunning perfect 10, saying:
I really enjoyed Esposito’s Footprints mini-series, and I liked what I read from his co-written ongoing, Captain Ultimate, but neither of those captured me the way Pawn Shop did. The stories immerse you deeply within the world that is New York, and the beautiful, if not insane, way it works. How it breaks you, challenges you and lifts you up.
Comic Attack had nice things to say, too:
Pawn Shop is the kind of book you can’t put down, a brisk read that seems to end far too soon. So often the heart of a book is lost to snappy dialogue and nonsensical happenings, yet the characters of Pawn Shop proudly display theirs for the world to see. Esposito and Von Gorman have delivered a truly affecting debut, one that lingers long after the final page is turned. It’s about moving forward, about dealing with the past without being beholden to it, about connecting with those in the present, the here, the now. Life is about moments, and one reading Pawn Shop is a moment well spent.
Stash My Comics gave us a very kind review as well, saying:
Esposito writes four tales that connect to each other seamlessly. When one story ends, the next begins, fitting into the previous and the next effortlessly. The stories are heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. To see the very human depths of emotion in the stories, but also the very human, and often incredibly warm, interactions between the characters as they flit through each other’s lives can’t help but leave you feeling good. Love and loss, happiness, and doing the right thing, for yourself or others, all come up again and again, as they’re very much part of being human. Esposito writes a graphic novel that is sure to incite emotion in most any reader.
Comics the Gathering gave us a very kind 8/10 review:
Beyond the city tying together the characters, the titular pawn shop brings a majority of the key players together without them ever knowing the details. The heart strings are plucked in different manners and a number of different approaches to the story beats are employed. We are reminded that love has many forms. Love for your significant other. Love for family. Love for yourself.
Pal Ron Marz had this to say:
Most people hear ‘comics’ and they think of super-heroic feats, world-conquering villains and galactic armadas. Big stories, told on larger-than-life canvasses. Pawn Shop is a much rarer breed: a small story, well told. Or rather, small stories that intertwine in clever, compelling fashion. Joey Esposito and his artist collaborators have pulled off an admirable feat here, engaging readers with heartfelt humanity.
As did the very kind Bryan Q. Miller:
Pawn Shop manages to excel where most mainstream releases have recently faltered by presenting the Reader with relatable, remarkable and cripplingly REAL characters. And we’re better for it.
Here are some very nice tweets we received as well:
— Chris D’Lando (@DlandoCalrisian) January 30, 2014
@joeyesposito I just finished Pawn Shop and holy crap, it was just really good comics.
— Jonathan E. Johnsick (@JonJohnsick) January 29, 2014
@joeyesposito getting teary on the first chapter of Pawn Shop. Need to set up sometime for us to chat for the site.
— Bobby Shortle (@bobbyshortle) January 28, 2014
— Phillip Martinez (@PhilMar88) January 27, 2014
@joeyesposito Finished reading Pawn Shop and really enjoyed it. Can’t wait for the TPB! Well worth the wait.
— Robert Rimmer (@Rand0mHero) January 26, 2014
Damn you @joeyesposito for making me feel all the feels this morning, that Pawn Shop comic is awesome
— Guilherme Jacobs (@TheGhostSix) January 24, 2014
— Leo Johnson (@LFLJ) January 24, 2014
— Boy Akkerman (@NoMoreDucks) January 24, 2014
— Chip Reece (@ChipReece) January 23, 2014
— Jaclyn (@jaxcinthe) January 23, 2014
— Eastin DeVerna (@EastinDeverna) January 23, 2014
@joeyesposito I should have pledged more! It was great!
— Eric Campos (@terror_pocket) January 23, 2014
Big ups to @joeyesposito on finishing Pawn Shop. Looking forward to reading.
— Hilary Goldstein (@hilgoldstein) January 23, 2014
@joeyesposito Just finished Pawn Shop, I really enjoyed it! Can’t wait to re-read the physical copy along with listing to the soundtrack.
— BJ David (@bj_david) January 23, 2014
— James Montague (@JimboMont) January 23, 2014
Thank you all — I’ll update as more reviews come in.