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SHELF-AWARENESS -- In a world where spelling bees are more dangerous than mixed martial arts and more popular than any sport ever devised, one group of ragtag spellers unite to destroy the secret society behind it all or die trying. Because losing a match surely means D-E-A-T-H!" That (or something very much like that) had to have been the pitch the authors delivered to Oni Press when they first talked about this book. This not-quite-our-world features a society built on the English language, where every class in high school is somehow related to the language arts (except for PE, of course), back-alley spelling bees exist for those banned from official matches, and a shadowy organization called the Spelluminati run everything and remove undesirables with swift efficiency. Words and letters can be (and often are) used as weapons in the right mouths (and occasionally hands) in videogame style matches where dichotomy can be more dangerous than thaumaturgy. While the world is interesting enough and the main characters engaging, the awesome cast of supporting characters is very enjoyable: they're other spellers who come with superhero names, great gimmicks and excellent, word-related backgrounds. My favorite is the Immortal, who is rumored to have been alive since the first spelling bee, and knows the meaning and history of every word thrown at him. Handselling Opportunities: Fan of magical realist comics like Scott Pilgrim, Sharknife, Street Angel and Suburban Glamour, among others (it's pure synchronicity that they all start with "S").


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