Howard Shapiro


 My Book Story: The High Cost Of Living by Neil Gaiman

Howard Shapiro

I was doing an elementary school visit back in 2010 and as I was leaving the librarian said to me that I should check out this genre of books called Graphic Novels.  “We can’t keep them on the shelves, the kids, mainly the boys, will take them out no matter what the subject.”  So, I did check out their collection and I was pretty intrigued.  I had grown up on mostly Marvel Comics (Spiderman, Daredevil, The Fantastic Four etc) so I thought of these graphic novels as being expanded comic books.
Oh how wrong I was!
I found out when I did some more research at our local library (they have a killer collection of GN’s) that the subjects tackled in the books can range from the obscure to super heroic and everything in between.  I didn’t take any out, instead deciding to stop at Barnes and Noble to buy one and take it home and read it.
DTHCOLI came across one that looked very interesting at the B&N, it was called “Death:The High Cost of Living” written by Neil Gaiman with art by Chris Bachalo and Mark Buckingham.  I had heard about Neil Gaiman but not not read any of his work but figured I’d take a chance on it and to this day I’m so glad that I madethe purchase!  I read it all in one sitting and that very day I was inspired to try and take a chance and write my own graphic novel.  I knew that it would never be as good as “Death” but the goal was to try and make it as great as possible.  The bar was set so high and it still is, that book literally changed my life that day!
So, I’m still trying to write a story as great as “Death: The High Cost of Lving” with characters as rich and wonderful as the ones Neil created, I may never fully succeed, but thanks to that book, I will always keep trying!
Howard Shapiro
howardshapiroI live in Pittsburgh, PA with my wife and two sons. I am the Controller for the Pittsburgh-based Visual Effects firm, Animal Inc., and I have written four children’s books and “The Stereotypical Freaks” will be my debut Graphic Novel.My 2008 book, “Hockey Player for Life”, has been the #1 downloaded children’s hockey e-book on Amazon’s Kindle chart since its arrival as an e-book in November of 2011.My “Hockey Days” book was the only book featured in the December 2007 Sporting News Annual Gift Guide as a Best Buy Gift for Children. Through a corporate
sponsorship program I set up (and maintain), since the 2010-11 season, both of my children’s hockey books have been given to NHL teams (over 2,500 copies to date) for use in their community and educational initiatives.Since 2006 my annual charity raffle, which he matches dollar for dollar donated, has raised funds for several hockey-related charities including the Mario Lemieux Foundation, Hockey Fights Cancer and the Keith and Lisa Primeau Scholarship Fund.

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Read our review of The Hockey Saint:



More Best Of

We promised more best of 2014 and here it is. These are the very first Modest Verge Awards. Enjoy and Happy New Year!


Best Female: (tie) Layla from The Harvesting by Melanie Karsak

Ciara from The Kings Blood by Sabrina Zbasnik

Irene Adler from Locked by Eva Morgan

Best Male: Romulus Buckle from The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin by Richard Ellis Preston JR.

Best Villain: The Queen from A White So Red by K.D. Jones

Best Demon: Proserpine from The Jack Nightingale series by Stephen Leather

Best Use Of Zombies: Greywalker by Rayne Hall

Best Ghost: Misty Joe from Fallen On Good Times by Rewan Tremethick

Best Monster: Tanglers from Romulus Buckle and The City Of The Founders by Richard Ellis Preston Jr.

Best Use Of An Airship: Romulus Buckle and The Engines Of War by Richard Ellis Preston Jr. 

Best Fairytale Retelling: Red Of The Woods by Lana Axe

Best Fairytale Reimagined: Alice In Wonderland by Elle Lothlorien

Best Pet: Basil from A Hairy Tale by Jamie Campbell

Book That Made Me Cry: Ignoring Gravity by Sandra Danby

Quirky Character: Connor from Spirited Away by Angela Campbell

Best Wise Cracking Character: Isis from Lovely Vicious by Sara Wolf

Best Bad Boy: Brody from Fate by Sydney Lane

Dreamest Guy: Declan from Hope by Sydney Lane

Best Love Triangle: Lia, Kaden and Rafe from Kiss Of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Best Kiss: Bryn and Roman from The Girl Inbetween by Laeken Zea Kemp

Best Comedy Duo: Frank and Seth from The Fruitcake by Caren Rich

Best Cover: Red Of The Woods by Lana Axe

Best Graphic Novel: The Hockey Saint by Howard Shapiro

Best Novella: Claimed by Lindsay Buroker



Do you agree with our picks? Do you have some of your own? Let us know.


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The Hockey Saint by Howard Shapiro

The Hockey Saint by Howard Shapiro (author)

Maricia Inoue (illustrator) and Andres Mossa (illustrator)


TheHockeySaintCoverBook Description:   Twenty-one year old Jeremiah Jacobson is the world’s best hockey player, but he wasn’t prepared for the frenzy and scrutiny that came with that title. Tom Leonard is an average college sophomore… just a guy trying to find his place in the world as he sorts through issues that are both very real and seemingly insurmountable. Through a chance meeting, these two strike up an unlikely friendship. Their bond is tested when Tom discovers that his idol isn’t as perfect up close as he seems from afar. With Jeremiah living a little too much in the moment and with his past catching up to him, will Tom be able to help him before it’s too late? “The Hockey Saint” is the sequel to the critically acclaimed and award winning graphic novel, “The Stereotypical Freaks” and is Volume 2 in the “Forever Friends” Trilogy

**Mr. Shapiro gave us a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

My Review:  Let me start by saying that I had never read a graphic novel before and I had no idea what to expect.  I had to read up on what a graphic novel even was.  I wrongly assumed that they were comic books.  I’m not even sure it’s still politically correct to call comic books comic books.  There are strong opinions on both sides of that battle from what I’ve read.

Here is what I actually learned about graphic novels from reading The Hockey Saint:

1.  Graphic novels are still novels.

2.  Graphic novels have amazing art work.

I really enjoyed The Hockey Saint.   It’s a tale about addiction, guilt and redemption.  I realize that those are things that wouldn’t normally put a smile on ones face but this story is beautifully told and carries an uplifting message.  If you are new to graphic novels as I am then this is the perfect place to start.

About the hockey.  This story has hockey in it but it isn’t about the sport.  It’s a story about a man trying to be a better man and falling a little sort until he meets someone who makes him realize that he wasn’t trying hard enough.  It’s simply told with hockey as the background.  So you don’t need to search the internet learning about hockey if you don’t follow the sport.  Don’t let the title put you off.

This was a great story with great artwork.  You should visit the author’s website and check out the rest of his work.

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PicsArt_1375992687897PG  This is a clean book suitable for all ages that deals with alcoholism and doing the right thing.





Background feature image: Ice, Frozen River by Philippena from