We know you’re used to us fawning over Rick Veitch here, but one of the things we’re most excited about at SPX is Veitch’s first convention appearance in five years (!) and the debut of the first ever collected edition of ABRAXAS AND THE EARTHMAN. This twisted and disturbing serial first ran in EPIC magazine back in the day and scared the bejesus out of the young Beat. We don’t know exactly why we’d be disturbed by the sight of a giant preying mantis flaying a man alive against a background of Kirby cosmic bubble-stuff — guess we were just overly sensitive.

You can see a preview of ABRAXAS here and read more about it in the jump.

Rick Veitch is on the road again! Attending his first American comics convention in 5 years, Veitch will have copies of his full color graphic novel “ABRAXAS AND THE EARTHMAN” available at SMALL PRESS EXPO in Bethesda MD.

Veitch’s first graphic novel, ABRAXAS AND THE EARTHMAN was originally serialized in Marvel’s EPIC Magazine in 1981-82. Kim Thompson in THE COMICS JOURNAL (#71, March/April 1982, pg. 37), identified ABRAXAS AND THE EARTHMAN as “the only feature I have liked without reservationâ€? in EPIC, calling it “a strip with a genuinely intriguing (if twisted) sensibility.â€?

This deluxe King Hell edition is the only complete stand alone collection of ABRAXAS. In addition, the color has been completely remastered with Veitch declaring “This is how it was always meant to look”.

Veitch will be manning the astonishingly low-tech King Hell Press booth, signing copies of ABRAXAS as well as his other self published books, BRAT PACK, MAXIMORTAL, THE ONE, and the three volumes of collected dream comics, RABID EYE, POCKET UNIVERSE and CRYPTO ZOO.

Steve Bissette has a review up here with much added historical insight:

Compared to Veitch’s subsequent masterworks, ABRAXAS is admittedly crude in many ways, particularly if revisited in its original EPIC ILLUSTRATED serialization. Thankfully, Veitch has lovingly refined the whole by rescanning the original artwork and perfecting the color throughout, crafting a definitive new edition of this seminal work. This is how ABRAXAS should have always looked, showcasing the strengths of Veitch’s earliest full-color techniques (meshing brush, pen and ink, watercolor, dyes, airbrush and photo-collage). But it’s Veitch’s bold narrative drive and unabashedly melodramatic characterizations that breathes uncanny life into ABRAXAS from stem to stern, making this one of the most bracing rediscoveries of the year.