The cover and characters to our first volume of the Wonder City called “The Great Whale of Coney Island.” On it the Wonder Wheel takes center stage as Coney Island features heavily in the first round of our story. Artwork and design by Courtney Zell

This week marks the official beginning of The Wonder City unraveling New York’s greatest mystery right here on Untapped Cities. Check out last week’s teaser if you haven’t already.

For the next few months we’ll be presenting installments from our first book called “The Great Whale of Coney Island.” So illustrator, Courtney Zell has whipped up some artful watercolors of our characters especially for this post so you can get to know the characters a little better.

And if you want to read the first and second issues in hard copy click over to the Holiday Gift Guide and pick up a copy.

The Wonder City Cast of Characters 

July, 1942: While the world is at war a great mystery buried in the heart of New York City is close to being solved. Velma Graydon, a gal Friday turned gumshoe is hot on the trail of an important charm lost ages ago. Called the Parelzaad, it was crafted before the city’s founding and Velma is one of the few people who knows the incredible power it holds. After years of research, she finds the charm in the possession of a working class Brooklyn family. Just as it’s within her reach one summer day on Coney Island, the charms is suddenly lost again and this time without a trace… In it lies the fate of the entire city.

twc-cast-owenOwen Julip is a nervous young fellow with a superlative green thumb who just so happens to be the key to saving the entire city of New York. But more on that later.

twc-cast-lizzieThe precocious younger sister of Owen. Lizzie Julip can’t sit still and somehow always finds her way into trouble. It’s her necklace, a gift from her departed grandmother, that starts our goliath of an adventure rolling. She also has a tendency to cheats at marbles so it’s best to keep your eye on her.

twc-cast-edwinaMother to Owen and Lizzie and British ex-pat. Edwina Julip is our dandy seamstress, a dressmaker extraordinaire who can be quite a chatterbox. In her spare time she maintains a healthy fascination with the occult.

twc-cast-velmaThe Light Keepers’ gal Friday and the mouthpiece for our wild adventure. Velma Graydon is an expert at languages and a bit of a sleuth to boot. She’s the lone wolf who takes Owen Tulip under her wing to crack the mysterious code of the Tovernboak, an enigmatic book she has devoted her life to translating. In it hides the instructions to unlock the awesome potential of the Parelzaad (now found on Lizzie’s necklace), a charm forged during New York City’s birth pangs hundreds of years ago.

twc-cast-kapseeA Lenape shaman back during the days of New Amsterdam, Kapsee was the first to hear whispers on the wind that spoke of the great opposing forces of good and evil that came together to plant the seeds of Gotham. It is he who forges the Parelzaad and he who urges the new European stewards of his homeland to keep watch over it. Kapsee knows a day will come when they will need a light to ward off the dark days. Those days are nigh!

twc-cast-joshuaA quiet boy from the Underground, a hidden community of people who live underneath NYC in a city almost just as sprawling as the one above. Joshua is a runner, meaning he runs up “to the surface” for supplies. He also fancies himself a scavenger. Over the years of collecting artifacts Joshua has amassed a treasure trove of antiques. His most recent, although the most gruesome, may be New York’s most important antique ever.

twc-cast-jackA good man, with a good pipe, Jack is Chairman of the Light Keepers, a secret society of old New York families sworn to protect the city from an uncertain doom foretold by its founding fathers. Jack descends from a long line of old New Yorkers and the city is in his blood. he would stop at nothing to preserve its rich history while safeguarding its future.

twc-cast-dottieA no-nonsense Brooklyn girl born and raised in Bay Ridge. Dottie is Velma’s best friends and one of the few lady lawyers in NYC in 1942. When it seems like the whole world turns against Velma, Dottie will be the strong arm she needs to get the job done. What job is that? You’ll find out.  

twc-cast-foxVelma’s favorite bar keep complete with his very own downtown dive bar. Fox knows just about everyone in New York worth knowing and if it’s information you need, Fox has it. And if it doesn’t, well he knows where to find it.  

twc-cast-madame-lenaEdwina Tulip’s psychic of choice who takes a special interest in Owen when she realizes he may possess great powers. More from this crazy character in issues to come.

Be sure to join us next Tuesday as the story officially kicks off in a tiny tenement apartment of the Tulip family in Brooklyn.

These heated, torn, distracted ages, are to be compacted and made whole. – Walt Whitman

Check out the teaser for the Wonder City here. Purchase the hard copy of the Wonder City books and other great gifts at the Untapped Cities shop.

Click here to read Installment 1.