Horror film director Jackie Kong holds a book-signing at Multiverse


For a store known for its variety of fictional comic books, games and collectible items, Multiverse now welcomes book signings with special guests – and longtime horror film director Jackie Kong was the first to arrive in Chestnut Hill to display and sign her latest work.

“The way this signing worked out wasn’t so much of us pursuing [Kong]; I saw that she had a comic out and I ordered [them] months ago,” said co-founder of the Multiverse comic book store, Gralin Hughes. “I recognized her name and was like ‘Wait I know who that is, she’s iconic’ — then she reached out to us a couple of weeks ago.”

Kong told the store owners that she’d be in town for a March 28 screening of her 1987 comedic cult horror film, Blood Diner, at the Colonial Theater in Phoenixville. After noticing that Multiverse purchased copies of her comic, the California native and resident then proposed to stop by Chestnut Hill for a book signing event a day before her screening.   

“I was like yes, of course,” Hughes said.

The signing event took place on Wednesday, March 27 from 6 to 7 p.m., consisting of Kong and a table full of the first three volumes of her Spend the Night horror comic book series that has all recently dropped throughout 2023.

From penning signatures on a fan’s poster to signing copies of her comic book issues, to staying 15 minutes after the book signing to converse with fans, Kong enjoyed interacting with Chestnut Hill fans.

“That’s why I love talking [with fans]; you can tell there’s a common taste, so for me, it’s very much fun to have that dialogue,” Kong said. “My fans are particularly knowledgeable, they get my work.”

Multiverse is currently one of just a handful of comic stores in the nation that possess copies of the Spend the Night series, alongside other store examples such as the Golden Apple in Los Angeles, California, Forbidden Planet in New York City, New York, Epikos in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Coast City Comics in Portland, Maine.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Kong is particularly known for her Blood Diner film, which displayed her style of combining humor and horror to audiences across the nation.

“I remember the movie; I watched that movie with my friends — [seeing her name] took me back to those very 80s horror movie moments,” Hughes said. “It was the style of the movie that I really appreciate. Very comedic, humorous horror movies from the 80s are some of my favorite types of films.”

In early 2023, Kong launched Kong Comics, shifting her focus from film production to the creation of comic books. Even in this different medium, she is maintaining her style of combining humor and horror that helped her make her mark decades ago.

“The comics are film-like, it's my style,” Kong said. “It’s really about storytelling, which medium are you going to use to tell a story? Are you going to do it in a comic book, or is it going to be a film, because I can also visualize them and see them in a film.”

The comics come with QR codes, which readers can scan to access the comic’s soundtrack, which have specific songs that match specific page scenes.

The first three volumes are only the beginning of a 20-part series that Kong announced during the book signing. According to Kong, she wrote 20 books worth of material during the pandemic, and Kong Comics will be her main concentration until the series is fully released.

“Four will drop a year. This year we’ll get out [volumes] five, six, seven, and eight by January,” Kong said.

Kong has not only broken down barriers as a pioneer of combining genres, but she also recognizes the path she has carved for people in the industry who may feel doubts about their work.

“I was before my time, one being a woman, being a woman in comedy and horror, and being Asian,” Kong said. “It was always like ‘you don’t fit into this at all’ and I’ve sort of gotten used to it because in horror comics, you don’t see any women out there, so like again, it’s about time.”

“[Something] we always try to do is have a good representation; this is a female creator, and a horror director who wrote and created her own comics, so for me it was obvious,” Hughes said.  

Book signing events are something that Hughes wants to continue as an essential part of the business. 

“Now that we’re six months [into the business], we’re starting to try different things and see how they work in our space,“ Hughes said. “Our next one is a children’s book, and Jackie Kong was more of an adult horror comic. We’re going to continue with these types of things [with] diverse genres of [work].”

The next book signing event will be on April 20th and will feature Jamar Nichols, an author of a children’s graphic novel called Leon the Extraordinary.