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Comic Cops

Comic Cops

A juvenile mystery by Neil and Ray Raphael

Real Books, 1992

“An unusual father/son team co-author this juvenile mystery, which holds elements of both adult conversation and intrigue and teen involvement in the underworld of comic book collecting. The unusual atmosphere and realistic plot, enhanced by strong tension, set this effort apart from any other in the YA mode, and will appeal to teen readers who relish intrigue.” — Children’s Bookwatch

“The book is distinguished by its writing, which is bright and moves along smoothly. And that is quite an accomplishment because Neil Raphael is a 7th-grader. Ray Raphael, his father, teaches junior high school and college. Their mystery is sure to please young readers.” — Small Press Review

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* * *

“Two years ago when Neil Raphael was 10 years old and told his father, local author-teacher Ray Raphael, that he wanted to co-author a book with him, the response he got at first was less than enthusiastic.

“He just sort of humored me for about a week,” Neil said recently, “until he started to realize I was serious.”

In his defense, Ray said, “Well, you know how kids can suddenly get big ideas and then just as suddenly lose interest.”

But Neil was steadfast about this idea. So, Ray finally sat down at the computer with him and said, “OK kid, you want to write a book — we’ll write a book.”

As soon as they started tossing ideas around, they found themselves on a roll. Neil said that almost every morning during breakfast and every evening while getting dinner ready, they’d “brainstorm ideas and jot them down.” They’d do the actual writing on weekends when they’d sit down at the computer for two or three hour writing sessions each day.

What Neil and his dad came up with is a fun, fast moving mystery called Comic Cops. It’s about a 13-year-old comic book collector named Conrad Hirsch, who as a secret agent in his self-created Shadow Intelligence Agency, finds himself entangled in the “strange world of whacked-out comic collectors.”

At a comic book convention in a fancy San Francisco hotel, Conrad see a man dressed in a Mickey Mouse costume pull a gun on someone dressed in a Superman costume. Figuring the cops wouldn’t believe him if he told them he’d just seen Mickey Mouse pull a gun on Superman, Conrad, along with his cohorts Billy and Susan, sets out to solve the mystery of who is the real Mickey Mouse and what does he want from Superman?

There’s a whole cast of colorful characters and lunatics including the Komic Quacks, whom Neil describes as “real psychos,” Sergeant McDowney, the buffoon imaginary cop, and Jonathan Tweed, a comic book dealer who rounds out the plot. …

After the book was written, they decided to publish and market it themselves. So they were involved in every part of its making, from the book design to the style of font and even the type of paper. For Neil it was a complete learning experience. Asked if he plans to write books for a living, Neil said, “I’ll probably write one book, but I can see how hard it is to make a living as an author from my dad’s experience.

On the other hand, Dad didn’t write and publish his own book at the age of 12.” — Redwood Record

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