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Cartoonist Josh Neufeld Awarded Xeric Foundation Grant

Official Press Release

New York, April 23, 2004: New York cartoonist Josh Neufeld has been awarded a prestigious Xeric Foundation Grant to self-publish his A Few Perfect Hours (and Other Stories From Southeast Asia and Central Europe) graphic novel. Neufeld's 120-page book will debut this fall at SPX, the weekend of October 1-3, 2004, in Bethesda, MD, just one mile outside Washington DC. Now in its tenth year, SPX serves as the preeminent showcase for the exhibition of independent comic books and the discovery of new creative talent. "I'm incredibly gratified that the Xeric Foundation Distribution Committee believes in me and my project enough to give me this generous award," says Neufeld. "I'm excited to have this opportunity to share my work with a wider audience, and I look forward to the process of self-publishing and giving my book the best possible presentation." Neufeld's autobiographical stories of international travel have previously appeared in titles like The Vagabonds (Alternative Comics) and Keyhole (Top Shelf). This is Josh Neufeld's first full length book collection.

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The Xeric Foundation has awarded in excess of $1 million to comic book creators and non-profit organizations since its first grant cycle in September 1992. Established by Peter Laird, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Northampton, MA-based foundation offers financial assistance to self-publishing comic book creators in the US and Canada and to qualified charitable and nonprofit organizations in western Massachusetts. Previous Xeric Foundation Grant Award winners include Jessica Abel, Nick Bertozzi, Shannon Brady, Jordan Crane, Farel Dalrymple, Ellen Forney, Justin Hall, Tom Hart, Megan Kelso, Jason Little, Jason Lutes, Jim Ottaviani, Brian Ralph, James Sturm, Adrian Tomine, and Kurt Wolfgang.

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A FEW PERFECT HOURS (AND OTHER STORIES FROM SOUTHEAST ASIA AND CENTRAL EUROPE)

By Josh Neufeld

October 2004. 120 pages. Colored ink on cream paper. 6-5/8" x 10-1/8". $12.95. ISBN: 1-891867-79-2.In A Few Perfect Hours (and Other Stories From Southeast Asia and Central Europe), autobiographical cartoonist Josh Neufeld takes us on a dramatic tour of places as exotic and different as Thailand, Singapore, and the former Yugoslavia. Highlights include Neufeld and traveling companion Sari Wilson on a volunteer expedition to an organic farm in Malaysia, their stint as extras in a Chinese-language Singaporean soap opera, a train trip through war-torn Serbia, and a near-disastrous cave adventure in Thailand. The book's longest story is "Cremations, Cubicles, and Cant," a brand-new 20-page tale about the death of Neufeld's grandmother, which contrasts her Jewish funeral service with a Balinese cremation ceremony; it forms the emotional heart of the book.

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With gentle humor and a keen eye for the revelatory detail, Neufeld explores religion and spirituality, politics and personalities, and the mysteries of everyday life. His stories reflect the backpacker's conflicted feelings: a yearning for adventure mixed with homesickness and a sense of disconnection, trapped in a reality constantly in flux. Throughout the collection, Neufeld uses the comics form to experiment with narrative and point-of-view. The themes and conventions of the eight stories in A Few Perfect Hours will resonate with readers both within and outside the comics world.

Alternative Comics to Sub-Distribute Neufeld's A Few Perfect Hours

Florida comic book publisher Alternative Comics will sub-distribute A Few Perfect Hours. Neufeld's book will all also be available from all of Alternative Comics' standard distributors. Alternative Comics is sub-distributing A Few Perfect Hours to help give readers a better chance to find the award-winning collection. "We're doing this so that Neufeld's book will be carried by all of our distributors, ordered by stores, and ultimately land in the hands of readers," said Alternative Comics publisher Jeff Mason. "We have also done this with previous Xeric Award winning books such as Derek Kirk Kim's Same Difference and Other Stories, Sammy Harkham's Kramers Ergot, Ben Catmull's Paper Theater, Lauren Weinstein's Inside Vineyland, Leela Corman's Queen's Day, and others." Alternative Comics, publishers of cool comic books, releases some of the most original and intelligent titles being created today.

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