Next week Top Shelf Productions will release Free Pass, the latest graphic novel from British cartoonist Julian Hanshaw. The new book follows a pair of twenty-somethings in an evolving relationship made more complicated by technology, politics, and sex. Today The Beat is pleased to present an exclusive four-page excerpt from the graphic novel.
Here’s how Top Shelf describes Free Pass:
Huck and Nadia are enjoying their twenties: working in Big Tech and developing an adventurous sex life. As they discuss their fantasies, including the possibility of swapping partners and drafting a “free pass” list, they take pride in their honest and transparent relationship.
But when it comes to politics, Huck is leading a double life. As a national election looms, he grows more and more uncomfortable with his company’s unelected authority over internet discourse.
When the couple receives a bizarre gift — a cutting-edge humanoid sex AI that can morph into anyone with an internet presence — their worlds of fantasy, trust, and consent are blissfully thrown into chaos.
In a society growing more divided each day, Huck struggles with the pressure to uphold the boundaries of a binary world at work while everything is collapsing at home.
Free Pass is the latest graphic novel from Julian Hanshaw, whose previous work includes Cloud Hotel and Tim Ginger, also published by Top Shelf. Hanshaw has also recently co-edited, with Krent Able, a pair of anthologies for SelfMadeHero, 2018’s I Feel Machine and 2021’s I Feel Love, which featured stories by Tillie Walden, Box Brown, Benjamin Marra, and many others.
Check out the exclusive four-page excerpt from Free Pass below. The 192-page softcover graphic novel is due out in bookstores on Tuesday, June 7th, and in comic shops on Wednesday, June 8th. You can also read an extended preview of the book here.