Stardom by the book
Twelve-year-old Noah Bunyan is wielding the power of imagination to save a steadily growing fan base from the clutches of mediocre reading. The budding child author’s secret weapon has been an electrifying venture in self-publishing.
“When I was 6-years-old, I liked superheroes a lot,” Noah said. “I thought I should come up with my own.”
Noah was all smiles on Sunday morning at the Kadena BX. The young author held a book signing to promote the first and second installments of “Lightning Man”, a graphic novel series chronicling the adventures of superhero Lightning Man and his sidekick super-dog, Sparky.
Noah’s characters finally jolted to life when “Lightning Man #1” was printed by a self-publishing company, Xlibris, last summer. In May, “Lightning Man #2” debuted.
The Lester Middle School sixth-grader is thrilled to report that his saga will continue in upcoming books 3-7, recently contracted with a new literary agency. For now, Noah is just happy to see his graphic novels pick up momentum, considering Lightning Man has been several years in the making.
“First, I thought of a type of superpower which was lightning,” he said. “Then I came up with the superhero and the story. It took me a while to come up with how he got his powers.”
Noah followed a tried-and-true comic book formula in creating Lightning Man. Bob Spark is an average Joe who zaps to superhero status when an attempt by mischievous villains to create an artificial lightning machine goes awry. An accidental encounter leaves Bob with the abilities to fly and shoot lightning bolts from his body. Subsequently, Bob gives the same powers to his dog.
“It takes a few days to get a new idea when I get writer’s block,” Noah admitted. The toughest part of writing “Lightning Man” has been coming up with new villains for each book.
“Lightning Man #2” employs another crazed scientist with ill intentions. When Dr. Dino miscalculates the outcome of brewing a ghastly green potion, he unwittingly turns himself into a monster of Jurassic proportions.
“My family helps me come up with the plots,” Noah said.
In fact, “Lightning Man” has been a huge family affair over the years. Noah’s grandmother helped him sharpen his drawing skills, while his mother, Jennifer Bunyan, taught him to use writing strategies. When Noah has needed inspiration, he’s turned to his mom and younger sister, Maria. Over time, it became clear that Noah’s writing deserved a professional touch.
Jennifer looked into self-publishing for Noah and the results have been pleasing. The young entrepreneur has already received two royalty checks to pad his college fund. Noah said he plans to continue authoring books when he grows up.
Self-publishing has taught Noah that being an author is hard work, but he is up to the challenges of marketing his series. At Sunday’s book signing, Noah wasn’t bashful about donning a three-piece suit – and, briefly, a Lightning Man cape and mask – to attract BX shoppers to buy his books. His stash of “Lightning Man #1” didn’t last long, drawing the interest of curious passersby and graphic novel enthusiasts.
“I bought them for my kids to add to their book collection,” said Darrin Eslick, a visiting member of the Royal Australian Navy. “I’m impressed with this young man for writing them.”
Eslick is not alone in his observations. The school district’s administration is also beaming with pride over Noah’s accomplishments.
“We’re very proud of Noah. He’s a talented young man whose creativity is bringing enjoyment to others,” Martha Brown, the DoDEA Okinawa District Superintendent, said in a press release.