A month of Previews: Elmer #1, part 1

I’m going to cheat here a little by breaking up the first chapter of ELMER, by Gerry Alanguilan, which is collected this month by Slave Labor. Originally published in the Philippines as a mini-comic, it’s many things: a bizarre SF social satire in the style of George Orwell or (as one reader suggested to me) Poul Anderson’s Brain Wave — and also Adam Hines’ recent Duncan the Wonder Dog, which has some of the same themes treated very differently. It’s also a beautiful example of the Filipino komiks school, all lush penwork and atmosphere. it’s also just a good read.

Because it’s the whole first chapter I’m going to break it up over two days. Tune in tomorrow for the second part.













A month of Previews: Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer Volume 2: The Great Puppet Theater


Continuing our preview month, here’s a 16-page preview from Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer Volume 2: The Great Puppet Theater, the sequel to the best-selling Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer by Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins. In this installment, our wooden vampire hunter meets other like him in a story inspired by the great Italian puppet theaters seen to this day in Sicily. The Great Puppet Theater is published by SLG and is on sale this month.

There’s more info on the book at pinocchiovampireslayer.com, on the Facebook page or on Twitter @p_vampireslayer.


intro1.jpg intro2.jpg intro3.jpg intro4.jpg intro5.jpg story001.jpg story002.jpg story003.jpg story004.jpg story005.jpg story006.jpg story007.jpg story008.jpg story009.jpg story010.jpg story011.jpg

SD10: SLG #1815

PINOCCHIO_VAMPIRE_SLAYER.jpgSLG has posted their con schedule at their blog, which includes an epic signing list of Jhonen Vasquez, Drew Rausch, Van Jensen, Dusty Higgins, Gene Luen Yang, Greg Wiesman, Aaron Alexovitch AND MANY MORE. Full details here.

Going to Comic-Con in San Diego this year? Lots of good folks are going to be signing at our booth, so be sure to stop by and say hi and support EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM!!!!

You will also get to meet the guy to the right as Pinocchio the little wooden boy will be at our booth all four days.
We will be trying something new this year with scheduled times for portfolio reviews. Given the way Comic-Con goes this may go out the window by the end of Preview Night, but let’s give it a go.

Speaking of Preview Night, we do not have any scheduled signings, but if you are there and want a portfolio review I will be there (I being Dan Vado) the entire night with nothing better to do than curse the notion of having to be open on Wednesday night.
Panels? try these:

Spotlight on Dustin Higgins and Van Jensen
Thursday, JULY 22

The Year of the Writer: Indy Writers Unite!
Friday, JULY 23
The Year of the Writer: Indy Writers Unite! panel will include Van
Jensen, Larry Marder, Terry Moore, Carla Speed McNeil and James Sturm.

And, what’s that you say? Where are Landry Walker and Eric Jones? Can it be that they finally succumbed to  common sense and stayed home for Comic-Con? No chance, they will be at their own Idiot Ink booth (which we are calling the SLG Annex) at booth # 1630 for the entire show.


Preview: STREET ANGEL trailer

Did you know there is an award-=winning short film based on Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca’s awesome STREET ANGEL comic? Short version: what if Hit Girl was Kick-Ass? The film will be screened on Thursday at this year’s Comic-Con, as part of the indie film festival. The film already won Best International Film, Best Director and Best Actress at the Phoenix Comic-Con and was made in Australia.

www.youtube.com 2010-7-9 3-53.jpg


A cat that cooks ramen, and a boy and his gorilla

A couple of publishing announcements that caught our eye the other day.


• Tokyopop will publish Kenji Sonishi’s NekoRamen. a manga about a cat who cooks ramen. SOLD. Via Johanna, who has a rundown of the busy marketing campaign, which includes weekly online comics.

• Slave Labor has announced CAPTAIN LONG EARS, the debut graphic novel from Diana Thung. It’s about a boy, whose father recently died, who pretends to be a space ninja. With his imaginary gorilla friend, he attempts to rescue an elephant at an amusement park. Looks Sendakian but cute.

Gene Luen Yang collection at SLG

Animalcrackers MockupSLG has released details of a collection of early stories by National Book Award-nominee Gene Luen Yang, ANIMAL CRACKERS.

The past few years have been a whirlwind of success for American Born Chinese author Gene Luen Yang, and now SLG Publishing is collecting his earliest published comics works, Gordon Yamamoto and the King of the Geeks and Loyola Chin and the San Peligran Order, in an omnibus, Animal Crackers, to be released by SLG Publishing in January 2010.

Gordon Yamamoto was Yang’s first comic, a three-issue miniseries that Yang self-published with the aid of a Xeric Grant and SLG published as a trade paperback in 2004. It tells the story of bully Gordon Yamamoto, whose worldview changes when alien technology leaves him with the memories of his favorite target — a hapless freshman that Gordon had dubbed King of the Geeks.

Yang followed Gordon Yamamoto with Loyola Chin, which SLG also published in 2004, the story of a teenage girl who visits other worlds by eating strange foods before she goes to sleep. Soon, she becomes entangled in an alien plot to “save” humankind that forces her to examine her own heart and ask hersealf what makes us better human beings — our intelligence or our compassion?

[Read more…]

PINOCCHIO, VAMPIRE SLAYER contest — Lie to win

PINOCCHIO, VAMPIRE SLAYER by Van Jensen and Dustin Higgins is coming out this fall from Slave Labor, and the creators are promoting it with a most imaginative contest:

Hyphothetical question time. What if you were a magically sentient wooden puppet? And what if whenever you told a lie, your magically sentient wooden nose would grow suddenly? And what if you suddenly were confronted by a gang of bloodsucking vampires, and you needed to snap off a shank of magically sentient wooden nose to kill the undead? Hypothetically speaking, what lie would you tell?

If you can come up with a funny, creative lie, you could win some serious swag from the upcoming Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer graphic novel. The book, created by Dustin Higgins and Van Jensen, will be released by SLG Publishing on Sept. 30. All you have to do is post your best lie at the Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer Facebook group or send one by e-mail to [email protected] All entries must be received by Sept. 23.

The best lie, as chosen by Dustin and Van, will receive a signed copy of the book and a page of Dustin’s original artwork. Two runners up will both receive signed copies of the book.

Mark Twain may have said “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes,” but it can also help rid the world of vampires. So get creative! Get hypothetical! Get lying!

Disclaimer: The creators of Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer are not liable if a submitted lie appears in the current or any future Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer book. Dozens of lies appear in the book, and any submitted lie matching one in the book is purely coincidental.

SD09: SLG — #1815

Here’s the details on SLG’s con activities, via Jennifer de Guzman. First signings:

Aaron Alexovich (Serenity Rose)
Kerry Callen (Halo and Sprocket)
Derek Hunter (Pirate Club)
Aleister Gilgrim (The Cemeterians)
Karl Christian Krumpholz (Byron)
Kenny Keil (Tales to Suffice)
Tommy Kovac (Wonderland)
Ethan and Isaiah Nicolle (Chumble Spuzz) — Eisner Award nominee!
Drew Rausch (Haunted Mansion, Winchester)
Chris Reilly, Steve Ahlquist and Tara Billinger (Strange Eggs)
Mike Shoyket (Captain Blood, Tron)
Charles Soule and Allen Gladfelter (Strongman)
Serena Valentino (Nightmares and Fairy Tales)
Jhonen Vasquez (Johnny the Homicidal Maniac) and Jenny Goldberg (Jellyfist)
Landry Walker and Eric Jones (The Super-Scary Monster Show, Tron)
Greg Weisman and David Hedgecock (Gargoyles)

Also attending but at their own tables:

Camilla d’Errico (Nightmares and Fairy Tales)
Shari Chankhamma (The Clarence Principle)
Sonny Liew (Wonderland)

[Read more…]

WARLORD OF IO: a symbol for our times

Everyone is justifiably linking to this post at The Comics Reporter as a passionate response to the ongoing winnowing at Diamond that is removing books like James Turner’s WARLORD OF IO from its catalog and why this is bad for EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US.

Unfortunately, what should be the jewel in the crown of multiple comics markets is more like a lump of coal shaped by arbitrarily applied market forces and short-term decision-making into something resembling an armless bust of Black Bolt. The end result is that despite an artistic flowering and sustained high level of craft that might shame any previous era of comics-making, it’s harder than ever to find many comics in the place where for now they should be really easy to find: the shops devoted to them.

While it’s impossible to disagree with Spurge’s basic points — having WARLORD OF IO around is a good thing for comics — every time we read one of these stories, our own problem solving app is involuntarily switched on. The primary point, for us, anyway is this: The comics shop system as serviced by Diamond is no longer (or perhaps never was) an effective way for James Turner to market his books to his readers.

So the question becomes: Can the LCS system be changed to become an effective system to sell WARLORD OF IO? And if they can’t…what can?

SLG: sale and lesson

SLG is having a tax time sale, according to Twitter (THAT AGAIN!):

Tax time sale at www.slgcomic.com. 30% off everything in the store. Use coupon code taxtime09. Sale ends Friday April 17th.

Hurry up and git over there!

200904170403Meanwhile, SLG head Dan Vado, who always speaks his mind, explains that ordering from retailers is still the way of the world:

These days the safe assumption for fans would be that they will NOT see our newest releases at a comic or book store, at least not on the shelf for them to buy. If you are interested in something like Captain Blood or Fat Chunk (or ANYTHING we publish for that matter) and your plan is to buy it at your local retailer (whoever that might be) then you had better let that local retailer know you want the book or comic in question, otherwise they may just pass up ordering it altogether.

This is not a missive on how retailers suck, they don’t. They are doing the best they can with limited resources just the way we are. A comic shop can only order so much stuff and the decisions they have to make are based on the need to pay rent and not on what they think may or may not have artistic merit. I should mention that all of the stuff we publish that shops consider essential (stuff by Jhonen Vasquez or Evan Dorkin or Serena Valentino) started life as low-selling, poorly circulated comics. It was only because readers went into stores and demanded those books that anybody listened and started carrying them on something beyond a special order basis.


Who wants to buckle a swash? SLG has announced a serialized adaptation of Rafael Sabatini’s classic novel of sea-faring adventure Captain Blood, to be written by Matthew Shepherd and drawn by Mike Shoykhet. A trailer and preview are available here.

Peter Blood had always been a driven man. He was a soldier, a sailor, a captain, and a doctor. Nothing seemed unattainable for the skilled Dr. Blood. But when an act of compassion during a rebellion thrusts him into the bottom trenches of slavery, Peter must use his wits and experience to fight his way back to freedom. Shepherd’s Captain Blood promises to chronicle Blood’s ascension to power as he eventually becomes one of the most notorious pirates to roam the seven seas.

The book will be filled with epic sea warfare, forbidden romance, drunken debauchery, unrelenting action, and yes, even political intrigue. This isn’t any ordinary pirate story, however. It’s as much a story of one man’s journey of transformation and strength in the face of defeatist-inducing circumstances as it is a tail of revenge, violence, and adventure. “Blood is no cardboard-cutout hero,” Shepherd says, “he’s a tactical genius, but also a rash, bullheaded leader whose sense of nobility gets him into as much trouble as it gets him out of it.”

The novel was also the basis of a classic Errol Flynn movie and one of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s great scores, which we suggest putting on the old iTunes as you read the book. The PR from publisher Dan Vado also contained this interesting quote:

Captain Blood #1 is 24 page one color comic book printed in a sepia tone a priced at $3.50. The comic flies in the face of a recent move by SLG Publishing to an all graphic novel release schedule. “Given the state of the economy and recent sales figures it became apparent that selling a graphic novel, even something based on a familiar character like Captain Blood, is becoming more and more difficult” said SLG president Dan Vado “We want to start moving back to products with lower price points which might still have a longer shelf life.”

SLG’s Boutiki opens this Friday

Boutiki Party
SLG (that’s Slave Labor Graphics) is jumping on the publisher-goes-retail bandwagon (D&Q, FBI, PictureBox) and opening a store in beautiful downtown San Jose. The grand opening is Friday and it’s part of South First Fridays in San Jose, a big block party-type thingy, we guess.

You know about the Boutiki Grand Opening, right? We’re scrambling to get the place ready — hanging art, price-tagging merchandise, cleaning, all the fun stuff. We’re opening on Friday, December 5, and we hope that you can make it if you’re in the area. We have original art from Dork and Milk and Cheese by Evan Dorkin on display, as well as illustration and fine art pieces by artists who also do comics –James Turner, S. Eddy Bellows, Andy Ristaino, Lesley Reppeteaux, Camilla d’Errico and Evan Waldinger. We’ll be selling original works, as prints of some of the art on display. S. Eddy Bellows will be here to sign copies of his new graphic novel Lulu and Mitzy.

The Boutiki is at 577 South Market St., San Jose, California. This is the same building as the SLG offices, so if you want a tour of the very fascinating editorial and orders departments, we will show you our natural habitat. (I will probably be cleaning off my desk for the occasion.)


It’s never too soon! SLG annoucnes its Comic-Con plans:

But, in any case, our booth will be our real home base. It’s where we will spend 11 hours a day, relentlessly offering the public comics, graphic novels, T-shirts, posters, and toys. Many artists will also be there, to sign books and exchange pleasantries. Here they are, in no particular, other than alphabetical, order:

Aaron Alexovich
Roman Dirge
Jennifer Feinberg
Jenny Goldberg
Jon “Bean” Hastings
Faith Erin Hicks
Derek Hunter
Eric Jones
Kenny Keil
Neil Kleid
Tommy Kovac
Karl Christian Krumpholz
Todd Meister
Ethan Nicolle
Chris Reilly
Andy Ristaino
Ian Smith
Tyson Smith
Serena Valentino
Jhonen Vasquez
Landry Walker
Gene Yang

Jennifer de Guzman’s “Life in Comics”

Do you miss Jennifer de Guzman‘s always well-observed and trenchant column at now-definct Comics World News? SO DO WE! Luckily we were able to do something about it, and de Guzman’s NEW column “Life in Comics” will run the first monday of every Month in PW Comics Week henceforth. In her first column she discusses where the greatest hopes for comics lie:

Considering the present political climate, it probably is no surprise that the word hope has been on my mind a lot lately. Hope is a tricky concept because while it seems to indicate a positive outlook, it carries the underlying assumption that all is not presently as good as it could be. I’ve come to realize that this is perhaps what is behind some of the reactions to my last column at the now-closed site Comic World News, in which I asserted that more rigorous comics criticism will attract more literary-minded creators to the medium, thus setting the stage for a richer comics canon. In response, I was called to task for “complaining,” being “pessimistic” and having a “bleak” view of the state of comics.

De Guzman’s is one of several new columns that will be debuting this month in PWCW. You have signed up already, right?

To Do 12/19 – Toronto: Chmakova and Hicks


Ben Towle's Midnight Sun

MidnightsungnSLG announces a new graphic novel about a North Pole mystery– an increasingly popular subject for comics it seems –by Ben Towle. The first chapter is available as a free download.

In May 1928, the Italian airship the Italia embarked on an ambitious and dangerous expedition to the North Pole. A celebratory radio communiqué from the international crew announced their arrival at their destination, but soon all communications ceased. Excitement turned to uncertainty, and a world-wide search effort was launched to recover the crew of the Italia, whose fate was unknown.
Ben Towle, a nominee for a Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition Eisner Award in 2004, captures the tense mood during the weeks of search in his graphic novel Midnight Sun, to be released in December 2007 from SLG Publishing. Midnight Sun follows H.R., a down-on-his luck American reporter. He’s dispatched to cover the story of the lost Italia at the top of the Earth, where the Arctic summer means there is almost perpetual daylight.

“The tone of this series may take readers familiar with my last work by surprise,” said Towle, referring to his graphic novella Farewell, Georgia, which attracted the attention of the Eisner Awards judges. “But it’s a story that’s close to my heart one that I’ve been developing and editing and re-editing since before I’d even conceived of any of my prior projects. It’s historical fiction, I suppose,” Towle added, “but heavy on the fiction.”

[Read more…]