Richard Van Camp

What’s new in the small press world this week? The Small Press Spotlight is pleased to announce Renegade Arts Entertainment’s acquisition of publishing rights to the first in the Wheetago War series ROTH. The original graphic novel is from bestselling and award-winning indigenous author Richard Van Camp (Moccasin Square Gardens, The Lesser Blessed) in collaboration with acclaimed illustrator Christopher Shy (Dead Space, I Sleep in Stone).

Take a look at what the publisher has shared about the series:

“ROTH unleashes the unique terror of the Wheetago, as glimpsed in several of Richard’s published short stories.

Ross, a local hero known as the Child-finder, fights to retain his humanity following a Wheetago bite at his cabin north of Edmonton. His wife and daughter are trapped in the city, surrounded by a vast army of marauding Wheetago. Ross forms an uneasy alliance with four escaped prisoners who narrowly escaped a Wheetago attack, and a mother and her young son after they also escaped a Wheetago attack. The unlikely allies work together to create a safe refuge at the cabin.

The deadly and ancient Wheetago are conquering the land and sky using either a bite attack to transform their victims, or a paralyzing scream to freeze and feast upon them. Ross was bitten by the Wheetago who killed his mother, and he will discover that the Wheetago have renamed him ROTH, and are expecting him to ‘turn’ like they have to join their gruesome crusade. Ross has half-turned already, and if he lets go of his family medicine, the rat root he’s clutching, he will turn fully to attack and feast on the group as well as his own family. He plans to get into the city to save them and bring them back to the small community at the cabin where, so far, it is still safe.”

Van Camp said in a statement:

This has been a 10-year journey for me, and I am so excited to finally have found the right publishing house at Renegade Arts Entertainment. To work with fantastic illustrator Christopher Shy and publisher Alexander Finbow on ROTH is a dream come true, partly because both Alexander and Christopher love comics just as much as I do and both have been collecting for decades too. They know of all of my heroes in the comic book industry: George Pratt, Kent Williams, Bill Sienkiewicz, John Mueller, Mike Grell, etc.

Renegade have published several of my all-time favourite graphic novels, including Pass Me By: Gone Fishin’ by Kyle Simmers and Ryan Danny Owen, and the Shame series by Lovern Kindzierski and John Bolton. I’m excited by the direction Renegade is going and I’m so proud to join their publishing family. ROTH is the first in a series of books that follows the reanimation of the last Wheetago in Canada, reanimating itself thanks to the greed of men and industry causing the permafrost to melt. It’s filled with humor, horror, heart, and hope.”

Publisher Alexander Finbow added:

“The opportunity to help bring Richard’s unique and terrifying apocalyptic tale to readers was impossible to resist. Richard is an author I have long admired, his writing is heartfelt, funny, and surprising in equal measure. I am honoured that Richard has put his trust in Renegade and myself to help realize his spectacular story.”

Stay tuned for updates on the series. Check out the concept art below!