Multi-platform storyteller and new Dayton transplant Mathew Klickstein is celebrating the release of his new graphic novel “You Are Obsolete” with two local book tour events in Dayton and Yellow Springs.
Klickstein has published several pop culture books, but this is his first adventure in the comic book world. Initially produced by AfterShock Comics as a miniseries, the entire “You Are Obsolete” story is now available as one complete graphic novel, featuring illustrations by Evgeniy Bornyakov.
The novel examines society’s increasing reliance on technology through a sci-fi horror lens. This dystopian tale is set on an isolated European island where journalist Lyla Wilton untangles how children are using a deadly technology on their smartphones to kill off adults when they turn 40. Think “Children of the Corn,” but with cell phones.
“This book is about what happens when we get too dependent on our phones and devices, and our relationship with technology,” Klickstein told us. Growing up near Silicon Valley, and with some of the original engineers at the biggest tech companies, gave Klickstein insights for this particular story.
The “You Are Obsolete” miniseries was a hit with reviewers when released last summer, so it’s no doubt the graphic novel version is drawing attention. "Creepy and highly entertaining ... The dialogue is spot on ... and the art is terrific,” George Gustines wrote in The New York Times.
Locally, you can pick up the novel and meet the author himself at two upcoming book signings. On Saturday, June 27, from 1-3 p.m., Klickstein will be at Super-Fly Comics & Games located at 132 Dayton St. in Yellow Springs. Note, although the story is not graphically violent, it is intended for a mature audience.
On Tuesday June 30, from 5-8 p.m., Klickstein will sign books at Bell, Book & Comic at 458 Patterson Road in Dayton. This signing will follow its Comic Con, which is happening on Friday, June 26, from 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday, June 27, from 11 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sunday, June 28, from 12-6 p.m. Both stores will be taking precautions with limited seating, and asking attendees to wear masks and practice social distancing.
You may find it odd that Klickstein would choose to do an in-person book tour in the era of the coronavirus, but he felt it was critical to help comic book shops right now. These stores, like record stores and coffee shops, are places that people want to physically be in person.
“Comic book stores were uniquely impacted by COVID-19,” he explained to us. “Comic books are like vinyl records; people want the physical copy — a digital version is not the same. They want to shop in person, so shutting down these stores greatly damaged the industry.”
“I wanted to do physical book signings to help rejuvenate the stores,” he continued. “I’m aware of and respectful of COVID-19, but we also need to support these local stores because if they close, there’s a good chance they won’t come back. They’re part of the creative class that we need to foster.”
The in-person book signings are also a great way to meet this author, and as of a few months ago, our new neighbor here in Dayton. Klickstein, a southern California native, recently chose to move to Dayton to work on his next projects. We caught up with him to find out why this talented writer chose to move to Dayton.
“So why did you move here?” Mathew Klickstein and his wife Becky hear that question a lot since they purposefully chose to move to Dayton this February. Klickstein has found a lot to appreciate about living in the midwest, and Dayton in particular.
Klickstein grew up in California and graduated from the University of Southern California's prestigious screenwriting program. From there he wrote and produced “National Lampoon's Collegetown USA” and “SLIMED! An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age,” among other projects. He even “accidentally” wrote Steven Segal’s one horror film, “Against the Dark.”
After the writer’s strike in 2009, Klickstein left LA and started bouncing around the country, doing multiple stints in New York City, where he worked on the “Restaurant Impossible” television series for Food Network. He also lived and worked in Baltimore, Boulder, and Lawrence, Kan.
Klickstein and his wife Becky decided they liked the feel of the Midwest, and the accessibility. “You meet 3 people and suddenly you know 20,” he told us. “You can also be in so many different places in just 3-5 hours, which is great for book tours,” he said in regard to Dayton specifically.
He was also drawn to the Dayton area because of all of the universities here, and has been considering teaching at one. Wright State specifically is well known for its film program.
Affordability was also a major factor in choosing Dayton, he said. Living between book advances and royalty checks can be challenging in other big cities, but they found Dayton’s cost of living conducive to a creative’s lifestyle.
“We’re so glad we’re here,” Klickstein told us. “The freelance lifestyle is so hard in other places, but livable here. We looked around for reasonably priced places to live. Dayton is affordable plus it’s conveniently located and has vibrancy.”
The couple moved to Dayton in February of this year, started to meet people in town, and then like the rest of us, were homebound during the coronavirus shutdown just a few weeks later. While the time at home gave them an opportunity to unpack, and get settled, they’re ready to explore Dayton and meet their neighbors.
To review the full list of books Mathew Klickstein has published, along with his theater, television and film credits, visit MathewKlickstein.com.