Launching Pinball: A Graphic History with Jon Chad

We can't wait to virtually celebrate the release of this fun and informative history of pinball! Jon will be joined in conversation by local pinball aficionado Taylor Reese and pinball nerd/GM Andi will host. This is sure to be really fun!

About the Book:

In 1976, champion player Roger Sharpe stepped up to a pinball machine in a Manhattan courtroom. The New York City Council had convened to consider lifting the city’s ban on pinball—a game that had been outlawed since 1942 for its supposed connections to gambling and organized crime. Sharpe was there to prove that, unlike a slot machine, pinball wasn’t a game of chance designed to fleece its players—it was a game of skill that required a measure of patience, coordination, and control. To prove his point, he proclaimed that he would launch his ball into the center lane at the far end of the playfield—much like Babe Ruth famously pointing to the fences. Sharpe pulled back the plunger and released, and the fate of this industry and art form hung in the balance.

Thus opens Jon Chad’s comprehensive graphic novel to the history of the captivating, capricious—and at times infuriating!—game of pinball. Tracing pinball’s roots back to the Court of King Louis XIV, through the immigrant experience of early 20th century America, the post-War boom and bust, right up to the present day, Chad charmingly ushers readers through the myriad facets of this most American of pursuits—capturing not just the history but also the artistry, cultural significance, and even the physics of the game.


About the Author:

Jon Chad is obsessed with giant robots, screen-printing, and bookmaking. Chad has been commissioned by Cartoon Network to make artist books based on shows like Adventure Time and The Amazing World of Gumball. He is the author of Leo GeoScience Comics: Volcanoes, the illustrator of Science Comics: Solar System, and the creator of the multi-format immersion narrative BAD MASK. He also drew the art package for The Jetsons pinball machine for The Pinball Company and Spooky Pinball.


Taylor Reese attended VCU's art school in the early '90's and spent way too much time in the dark corners of arcades playing what are now considered modern classics like The Addams Family, Terminator 2 and Indiana Jones to name a few. He is now the sole proprietor of Reese Rails, a woodworking business focusing on recreating pinball parts for restorations, and has been co-hosting This Flippin' Podcast for over 5 years. As an avid collector of pinball machines and pinball inspired artwork for the last 15 years, he has shared his collection through the running of a local league, charity tournaments and hosting the IFPA VA State Championship in 2019.

Event date: 

Tuesday, February 8, 2022 - 6:00pm

Event address: 

Online on Crowdcast
Staff Pick Badge
Pinball: A Graphic History of the Silver Ball Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250249210
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - April 5th, 2022