Literary Event of the Week: Silence of our Friends reading at Elliott Bay Book Company

Jim Demonakos is best known in the city as a comic shop owner and the founder of the mighty Emerald City Comic Con. But since he’s sold the show to international convention promoter ReedPOP and stepped back from the organization, Demonakos has time to move to the other side of the comics industry — focusing on his work as a writer. Tonight at Elliott Bay, he celebrates one of his early works.

Co-authored with writer and video game designer Mark Long, Demonakos’s book The Silence of Our Friends, is named after a famous quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. (“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.") It’s a slightly fictionalized account of Long’s childhood in 1967 Texas, and it’s about the struggle of a white family — based on Long’s — and a Black family trying to free five young Black students who were unjustly taken into custody for the death of a cop.

Silence was originally published in 2012 by First Second, which has become one of the most consistently high-quality young adult comics presses in the business. It’s drawn by Nate Powell, who went on to illustrate Congressman John Lewis’s award-winning memoir comic about the civil rights movement, March.

Silence is being re-released this month by mass-market YA comics publisher Square Fish, and it couldn’t be revived at a better time. The points addressed in this book — of criminal justice reform, of the bland suburban face of white supremacy, of the importance of a free press and activism — are more relevant today than they were on the day the book was published.

Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave, 624-6600,, 7 pm, free.