Long before publishing 21 books and becoming a New York Times best-selling author, Patricia Briggs grew up a comic book fan.
The 49-year-old Benton City woman returns to her roots Oct. 1 when she celebrates the release of her latest work -- Mercy Thompson: Hopcross Jilly -- with a comic book signing at Adventures Underground in Richland.
Mercy Thompson: Hopcross Jilly is the first release in a planned six-issue miniseries that will eventually be compiled into a hard-copy graphic novel.
Copies at Adventures Underground have been adorned with a specially commissioned, limited-edition cover that features the book store's unofficial mascot, Charley -- a beastly Irish wolfhound-German shepherd mix -- running with a pack of werewolves.
Briggs, an urban fantasy writer, described the transition from prose to comics as "kind of an adventure."
She had to trust the artist to build her characters through imagery instead of through her words.
"Novels are written to be read, and graphic novels are meant to be visual," Briggs said.
Her comic was adapted from a conceptual short story, co-written by Rik Hoskin and illustrated by Tom Garcia. Briggs said it spent about a year in production before being released.
"The story has gotten better and better," Briggs said of the work her team put into the project. "And I'm thrilled with this."
Her heroine, Mercy Thompson, is a shape-shifting coyote who runs with a Tri-City werewolf pack. When her pack finds the remains of dead children, she's drawn into a dangerous mystery involving a mystical creature, publisher Dynamite Entertainment said in a release.
Mercy Thompson: Hopcross Jilly is not Briggs' first foray into the comic book world.
Mercy Thompson: Homecoming was produced as a graphic novel in 2009 and eventually became a New York Times best-seller.
Briggs has published fiction since 1993, including the Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series. Her work includes Tri-City landmarks.
The second release in the comic book series is expected Nov. 12.
Mercy Thompson: Hopcross Jilly will sell for $3.99. Briggs will be signing copies from 4 to 6 p.m.
"We'll have her books and comics here all day," said Amanda Divine, co-owner of Adventures Underground on George Washington Way.
-- Drew Foster: 509-582-1513; firstname.lastname@example.org