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Spotlight on Sarah Kuhn

Darkling, Archie, and more
Spotlight on Sarah Kuhn

Last week, Sarah Kuhn guest-hosted the weekly Stone Soup digest, sharing some of her favorite things from around the internet! Today, I’m excited to share some of my favorite published and upcoming work of Kuhn’s. Scroll down and stock up your tbr!

Sarah Kuhn is the author of the popular Heroine Complex novels—a series starring Asian American superheroines. The first book is a Locus bestseller, an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award nominee, and one of the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog’s Best Books of 2016. She also penned the beloved YA rom-coms I Love You So Mochi and From Little Tokyo, With Love, and a variety of short fiction and comics, including the DC Comics graphic novels Shadow of the Batgirl and Girl Taking Over: A Lois Lane Story, the Star Wars audiobook original Doctor Aphra, and the recent Archie Comics one-shot Darkling. Her books have been Junior Library Guild Selections and nominees for YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults and the Golden Poppy Award. They have also been featured on Best of… and Most Anticipated lists in People Magazine, Book Riot, Amazon, the AV Club, Nerdist, Entertainment Weekly, the New York Times, and more. Additionally, she was a finalist for both the CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) New Writers Award and the Astounding Award for Best New Writer. A third generation Japanese American, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and an overflowing closet of vintage treasures.

Development art by Carola Borelli

Darkling by Sarah Kuhn and Carola Borelli

From the outside, Darla Lang looks like a normal college student—save for the peculiar voluminous black cloak she wears everywhere. Her peers and professors chalk this up to Darla’s eccentric, introverted, slightly creepy persona, but Darla is a young woman with a secret… and a mission. Darla’s cloak is actually a mystical artifact that she can use as a melee weapon, trapping her enemies inside and teleporting them away. Darla’s power and connection to the supernatural world have always been a curse, and now she’s enrolled in Ivy Hollow University which harbors some dark secrets of its own. Will Darla find within its hallowed halls the answers to the questions about herself and her powers that she’s been seeking? Darkling mixes superheroics with dark academia from writer Sarah Kuhn (Shadow of the Batgirl, Girl Taking Over: A Lois Lane Story) and artist Carola Borelli (Spider-Woman).

“Sarah Kuhn’s impressive work on Shadow of the Batgirl and Girl Taking Over: A Lois Lane Story made her a perfect choice to tell the story of Darla Lang,” said Archie Comics Senior Director of Editorial Jamie L. Rotante. “This one-shot explores more of her life, demystifying the character who was once defined by being cloaked in shadows. And we’re excited to work once again with artist Carola Borelli, who has a wonderful grasp of character designs and setting the right mood to tell a story.”

Darkling first appeared in 1983’s Mighty Crusaders #4, as part of Archie’s “Red Circle” line of superhero comics. She fought alongside heroes like The Web and The Shield and stood out for her unique design and unusual power set: teleporting evildoers to another dimension through her cloak. The character has recently reappeared in new issues of Archie’s digest comic magazines in the “classic” Archie style. The new Darkling one-shot will be her first solo adventure for older readers since the ’80s, and sets her alongside other dark academia stalwarts like the Netflix series Wednesday and Lev Grossman’s The Magicians book series.

“Darkling’s been popping up recently in some of our classic-style titles as Riverdale’s resident goth queen—who just so happens to have powers that often put her at odds with supernatural entities and monsters. We wanted to take that energy and bring it to a new audience,” Rotante added.

Darkling, with a cover by Maria Sanapo, an open-to-order variant cover by David Mack, colors by Ellie Wright, and lettering by Jack Morelli, is out now.

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Shadow of the Batgirl by Sarah Kuhn and Nicole Goux

Cassandra Cain, teenage assassin, isn't exactly Batgirl material...yet. Will she step out of the shadows and overcome her greatest obstacle--that voice inside her head telling her she can never be a hero?

Lucky for Cass, she won't have to defy her destiny alone. With the help of her new mentors, noodle shop owner Jackie Fujikawa Yoneyama and a librarian named Barbara Gordon, she'll attempt to answer this question the only way she knows how: learning everything she possibly can about her favorite hero. The only problem is that Batgirl hasn't been seen in Gotham for years...Can Cass find Batgirl before her father destroys the world she has grown to love? Or will shehave to take on a heroic mantle of her very own?

Barnes & Noble | Bad River Website | Local Library | Find an Indie Bookstore

Heroine Complex

Being a superheroine is hard. Working for one is even harder.

Evie Tanaka is the put-upon personal assistant to Aveda Jupiter, her childhood best friend and San Francisco's most beloved superheroine. She's great at her job–blending into the background, handling her boss's epic diva tantrums, and getting demon blood out of leather pants.

Unfortunately, she's not nearly as together when it comes to running her own life, standing up for herself, or raising her tempestuous teenage sister, Bea.

But everything changes when Evie's forced to pose as her glamorous boss for one night, and her darkest secret comes out: she has powers, too. Now it's up to her to contend with murderous cupcakes, nosy gossip bloggers, and supernatural karaoke battles–all while juggling unexpected romance and Aveda's increasingly outrageous demands. And when a larger threat emerges, Evie must finally take charge and become a superheroine in her own right...or see her city fall to a full-on demonic invasion. 

Barnes & Noble | Bad River Website | Local Library | Find an Indie Bookstore

I Love You So Mochi 

Kimi Nakamura loves a good fashion statement. She's obsessed with transforming everyday ephemera into Kimi Originals: bold outfits that make her and her friends feel like the Ultimate versions of themselves. But her mother disapproves, and when they get into an explosive fight, Kimi's entire future seems on the verge of falling apart. So when a surprise letter comes in the mail from Kimi's estranged grandparents, inviting her to Kyoto for spring break, she seizes the opportunity to get away from the disaster of her life.When she arrives in Japan, she's met with a culture both familiar and completely foreign to her. She loses herself in the city's outdoor markets, art installations, and cherry blossom festival – and meets Akira, a cute aspiring med student who moonlights as a costumed mochi mascot. And what begins as a trip to escape her problems quickly becomes a way for Kimi to learn more about the mother she left behind, and to figure out where her own heart lies.

Barnes & Noble | Bad River Website | Local Library | Find an Indie Bookstore

Doctor Aphra, by Sarah Kuhn and narrated by a full cast

Dr. Chelli Lona Aphra, rogue archaeologist, is in trouble again.

A pioneer in the field of criminal xenoarchaeology, Aphra recognizes no law, has no fear, and possesses no impulse control. To her, the true worth of the galactic relics she discovers is found not in a museum but in an arsenal. This viewpoint has led to a lot of misunderstandings. After her latest plan goes horribly wrong, Aphra's roguish ways are on the verge of catching up to her. That's when suddenly Darth Vader, terror of the galaxy, swoops in with his lightsaber and . . . saves her life?

Don't get her wrong--it's not like she's ungrateful. Sure, her new boss is a lord of the Sith. And okay, she may have just become a pawn in a deadly game being played by him and his boss, who happens to be the Galactic Emperor. And yes, the life expectancy of anyone who disappoints Vader can be measured in seconds.

But she's back doing what she does best. She's got a ship to fly, a heist to pull, and two unorthodox but effective metal buddies: Triple-Zero, a protocol droid specializing in etiquette, customs, translation, and torture; and BT-1, an astromech loaded with enough firepower to take down a battlecruiser. Together, they might just find a way to get the job done and avoid the deadly performance review that waits at its conclusion.

Just kidding. She's doomed. 

Barnes & Noble | Bad River Website | Local Library | Find an Indie Bookstore