Official Press Release
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. (May 21, 2002) Publisher Larry Young announcedtoday that AiT/Planet Lar's upcoming September offerings will includeABEL, by William Harms and Mark Bloodworth. AiT/Planet Lar book designerand cover artist Brian Wood works his magic on his eleventh AiT coverfor ABEL.
"ABEL's a hard book to classify, and, as such, makes it a perfect bookfor us to publish," said Young. "It's an extremely literate work,addressing the same themes and tonality as Steinbeck's GRAPES OF WRATH…death, guilt, repression, rage, tragedy, silence. Billy and Mark haveconstructed a graphic'novel' that really deserves the name." Ostensiblya story of racism, and the hatred the members of a small American townhas for a kindly Asian man, ABEL is rather a coming-of-age story, withthe grown-up lessons learned those of the betrayal and lies which rumblebeneath the Norman Rockwell veneer.
"ABEL started out as a short story I wrote for a fiction-writing classin college," said Harms. "My original plan was to write the story as anovel -- the short story version was published twice -- but I decided todo the story as a graphic novel instead. I've always been interested increating comics that are more literary in tone, that explore the sameissues that pervade the works of prose fiction."
"After I had read the script I did my level best to make sure I pulledout all the stops because I felt that ABEL deserved to be out there onthe shelves. It was that good," said Bloodworth. "More importantly, thecomic book reader deserved to have that choice. To have something otherthan the usual blah-blah-blah. A story about people making decisions...some right, some wrong, and the consequences of those actions. Somethingthat might just make the reader think a few minutes after finishing andperhaps even discuss what happened with someone else... Working withWilliam Harms on ABEL was one of the best experiences I've ever had witha writer. He is, quite frankly, one of the few reasons I even still careabout the medium."
Artist/designer Brian Wood plays with the form with this latest, using amatte finish on the cover stock and a sepia-tone for the key inkinteriors, so the physical form of the book echoes the thematic notes ofthe story.
ABEL also includes an afterword by World Fantasy Award-winning authorRachel (SWAMP THING) Pollack.