On a Wednesday morning in May of 2010, I dipped the rear wheel of my bicycle into the Pacific Ocean and began to pedal--alone--across the country.
This book--my second--is a memoir about the two months I spent crossing the country by bike. It's a story of burning saddle sores, heart-popping climbs, and unleashed dogs with a taste for ankle. It's a story of America's less-traveled roads and the people who live there. And it's a story of rebuilding a life from fragments, the spirit of the whole journey captured in a question that most of us ask at one point or another--Can I find my way home?
"A wonderful mix of personal history, travelogue, adventure, and reflection."
--Mary-Lynne Monroe, Portland Book Review (full review here)
“Wonderfully funny and startlingly truthful...A boon for nonfiction junkies and casual readers alike, That Hidden Road is one of a few travel memoirs that can be referred to as a page-turner, a designation typically reserved for thrillers and mysteries."
--Katy Major, IndieReader (full review here)
"A confiding and supremely engaging voice...That Hidden Road is a fresh and imaginative memoir full of humor, wit and many memorable adventures.”
--Christine Sneed, author of Paris, He Said, Little Known Facts and The Virginity of Famous Men
“A boldly original and absorbing memoir, candid and full of heart, That Hidden Road is a journey into the nature of what makes us human, a portrait of our histories and families and the secrets we keep from those we love most. Rocco Versaci’s words, like the central trip of the book, lead us across the landscape of our emotions—we can feel the heat, the wind, the joy and the heartache bled into every single one of these lived-in words.”
--Robert James Russell, author of New Plains, Mesilla, and Sea of Trees
“The further you read in Rocco Versaci’s wonderful biking memoir, the deeper you travel into the heart of America, and into his own complex emotional world...an inspiring read.”
--David John Anthony, author of Something for Nothing
"With bracing honesty and generous humor, Rocco reveals the inscrutable routes, by-ways, and pit stops of his courageous journey, and in doing so, illustrates for a way forward for us all.”
--Adam Bessie, author of the graphic memoir series Pink Ribbon Envy: Living with an Uncool Cancer
“Versaci proves himself to be an alert observer of the varied American landscape he crosses, and especially of the diverse people he meets…his is an engaging narrative voice, and you will appreciate going along for the ride.”
--Patricia Bizzell, Professor of English, College of the Holy Cross
In this book, I argue that comics are an important artistic medium by analyzing how they reflect and expand upon important features of various "respectable" literatures like memoir, journalism, film, and--for lack of a better term--the "classics."
Featuring numerous illustrations from vintage comics like Frontline Combat, Two-Fisted Tales, and Classics Illustrated; independent comics like Eightball, Love and Rockets, American Splandor, Maus, and Palestine; and mainstream titles like Sandman and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, this book is aimed not only at comics enthusiasts, but also at people interested in all forms of literature.
In the words of Dan Clowes--Academy Award-nominated author of Eightball, Ghost World, and Patience--the book is "big-hearted and clear-minded."
EC Archives Two-Fisted Tales, Volume 2 (Gemstone, 2007) - buy now!
In the 1950s, EC produced some of the most revolutionary comics the medium has ever seen, and beginning in 2006, Gemstone Publishing began re-releasing these comics, six issues at a time, in prestige hardbound volumes.
I was asked by series editor Russ Cochrane to write the foreword and six one-page essays for Two-Fisted Tales, Volume 2. It was a real honor for me, especially when I discovered that people like John Carpenter, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas had written forewords for other volumes.
Additional Articles, Reviews, & Creative Nonfiction
"New Criticism: Ordered Disorder in Jaime Hernandez' 'Flies on the Ceiling.'" More Critical Approaches to Comics: Theories and Methods. Matthew J. Brown, Randy Duncan, and Matthew J. Smith, eds. New York: Routledge, 2019. 105-18.
"How Comic Books Can Change the Way Our Students See Literature: One Teacher's Perspective." English Journal 91.2 (November 2001): 61-7.
"'Literary Literacy' and the Role of the Comic Book: Or, 'You Teach a Class on What?'"
Teaching Visual Literacy: Using Comic Books, Graphic Novels, Anime, Cartoons and More to Develop Comprehension and Thinking Skills. Ed. Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2008. 91-111.
"Jack Cole and Plastic Man: Forms Stretched to Their Limits!" (Book review). International Journal of Comic Art 4.1 (Spring 2002): 307-09.
"Miss Fortune." Georgetown Review, volume 16, issue 1 (Spring 2015): 26-47.
"Not in Kansas Anymore." Midwestern Gothic 13 (Spring 2014): 7-13.
"Shallow End." Midwestern Gothic 19 (Fall 2015): 89-90.
"Tintin: The Complete Companion" (Book review). International Journal of Comic Art 4.2 (Fall 2002): 339-41.
"Where Do We Start?" True (hosted by Proximity: A Quarterly Collection of True Stories). 25 May, 2017. http://true.proximitymagazine.org/2017/05/25/roccoversaci/