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Graphic Novelist Eaten Alive by Oaxacabilly Cult

Photo: Jeff Charles

When I moved to Oaxaca, Mexico in the Fall of 2007, I was looking for adventure. If I’d know I was to be drafted by a clandestine group of shaggy, mezcal-slugging musicians caterwauling under the moon, you could have knocked be over with a feather.

The remote highland city of Oaxaca has it all. An art scene second only to Mexico City, eclectic late-night cafes, astounding ruins, and it’s own Oaxacan cuisine celebrated the world over.

Along with adventure, I was looking for a house. The wife, two kids and I had to live somewhere on our Mexican sojourn. Enter one Todd Spiehler, expat real estate agent. Mr. Spiehler, an amiable fellow, showed us a few houses around town. Within 15 minutes of meeting us, Todd gave me a cock-eyed look and queried me with an impish grin “So you’re a guitar player?”

“Huh? I’m a cartoonist! Sure, I know a few chords, but…” Undaunted, Spiehler informed me that I’d be attending Thursday night jams out in San Pablo Etla, a village a few miles out of the city of Oaxaca. Turns out a rag-tag group of expats & Mexicanos known as the Bodega Boys assemble weekly to run through an assortment of bluegrass, blues and rock & roll tunes.

What’s more, the host, Tony Raab, is an expert mezcalero. He makes craft mezcal, the distilled agave spirit that is the heart & soul of Oaxaca. Mr. Raab’s mezcal still is conveniently located 60 meters from where the Bodega Boys play under the stars. Trouble ahead, trouble behind! And, and amazing amount of fun beckons.

To say I fell down the musical rabbit hole is an understatement. I played under the stars with the Bodega Boys week after week for several years, and played in bands with a variety of swashbuckling musicians, both expats and Mexicans.

Fast forward almost 10 years. By the time my family returns to the United States, not only am I the frontman of Radio Insecto, a local “Oaxacabilly” band, but I had my subject for my new graphic novel Death Plays a Mean Harmonica.

Currently, I’m running a Kickstarter to finance my Oaxaca graphic novel, a limited edition first printing with a screen printed cover. The book highlights the small moments of life in Oaxaca, exploring street food with an insider’s eye, as well as big overarching themes such as the Mexican take on mortality. And yes, making music under the stars with a jicara of craft mezcal in hand.

Steve Lafler

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Radio Insecto’s Oaxacabilly Music

Listen & download to our shit-kicking Oaxacabilly music at this link!

On Deadline, Slinging Ink

I have a bunch of pages to ink to get my new book done!

Would you consider ordering Death Plays a Mean Harmonica at my Kickstarter? This is my Oaxaca graphic novel,  a culmination of my moxie as a cartoonist. A real art-object collector’s item.But damn! I’m asking for support on this one, not sure if I can garner enough sales to fund this sucker!

But damn! I’m asking for support on this one, not sure if I can garner enough sales to fund this sucker!

With your order, I’m on my way to getting this book into print. I know I sound like a public radio fundraiser here, but I’m delivering a wonderful weird item you’ll truly treasure, and indeed won’t ever find elsewhere.

Cheers,

Steve

Retailer & Library Pitch for “Death Plays a Mean Harmonica”

I’d love to get comics retailers and libraries involved with my new graphic novel! Now is the moment for you retailers and librarians to pick up this limited edition book.

Here’s the pitch:

Auteur graphic novelist Steve Lafler returns with Death Plays a Mean Harmonica for January 2018 release. The 136-page book features a limited edition screen-print cover, signed and numbered by the artist. (cover art below)

“Gertie and Rex get a wild hair and move to the remote highland jewel of Oaxaca, Mexico in pursuit of adventure. There they find Eduardo, a crafty 2000-year old Zapotec vampire, El Rey Pelón (the skinny, pot-bellied fungus who drives a taxi), and of course Death, who plays a mean harmonica.”

Lafler combines slippery optimism with a deep suspicion that time does not exist. A view of life, death and everything in between is encoded in brush strokes executed in magic black ink.

This first limited edition art-object book is available to retailers via the Kickstarter campaign only, with two retailer tiers, where they can acquire the book at a standard 40% discount.

Lafler’s works include the BugHouse GN trilogy on Top Shelf, and his Dog Boy comic book series with Fantagraphics. He co-published the cutting edge UG anthology Buzzard in the 90s.

ISBN #978-0-9769690-7-5 $39.95 retail

Contact Steve Lafler for further information and interviews. Phone (707) 849-7836

Death Plays a Mean Harmonica – the art object graphic novel

Hi! I’m delighted to announce my new graphic novel Death Plays a Mean Harmonica. The story is set in Oaxaca, Mexico and features my own brand of magic realism. HERE’s info on the book along with the chance to pre-order it.

Mean_Har_blue_4_bowker

This first limited edition of the book features a screen-print cover (signed & numbered). This project is a culmination of my moxie as a cartoonist. I combine my slippery optimism with a deep suspicion that time does not exist. A view of life, death and everything in between is encoded in brush strokes executed in magic black ink.

You can order a copy here via my Kickstarter for the book.

I’m pricing this art-object graphic novel at $28 for you… the few copies that make it to retailers will be at $39.95. DEAL!

The story:
“Gertie and Rex get a wild hair and move to the remote highland jewel of Oaxaca, Mexico in pursuit of adventure. There they find Eduardo, a crafty 2000-year old Zapotec vampire, El Rey Pelón (the skinny, pot-bellied fungus who drives a taxi), and of course Death, who plays a mean harmonica.”

I ask for your support with this project. It’s an unusual and wonderful item that you will treasure!

Thank you very much for considering this. You won’t be sorry!

Steve Lafler

See You on Friday the 13th

Hey there! Drop by on Friday October 13th for a very exciting announcement! BOO! Can’t wait!

Cheers,

Steve Lafler

Graphic Novel Pencils

I’ve only got maybe ten more pages to pencil…

The book will have a limited edition, screen print cover! Provisional title: Death Plays a Mean Harmonica

Send me your email if you’d like to be alerted when it’s available (no spam, I promise!).

Cheers,

Steve

Vacation Drawings from Oaxaca

I love dashing off a few ratty drawings down here in Oaxaca… enjoy!

Privacy Policy for the Steve Lafler Website

I am building an email list. The idea is to offer new books and shirts to fans of my work as it appears. Rest assured I will never share this info with any individual or company. Also, I will only send email notices as new work appears. My sincere thanks for your interest in my art, and your trust. If you’d like to stay informed, you can send me your email from this link.

Best Regards, Steve Lafler

The Graphic Novelist

Sat down on Wednesday and drew 3 pages of comics:

They are from the final chapter, the conclusion to my next graphic novel, Death in Oaxaca. The narrative is set in the city of Oaxaca in the remote highlands of southern Mexico. You have your middle-class migrants from the U.S. in their vainglorious folly. You have normal Oaxacans, as well as a 2,000 year old indigenous vampire who drinks chicken blood.

This vampire, Eduardo, is too polite to drink human blood. But he’s thinking of making an exception for Caroline, a bored housewife from Seattle. She thinks it would be fun to have an affair with Eduardo. She knows he has the hots for her, but does not know he’d like to drink her blood too.

The Cartoonist Dilemma

So, it’s fun to spend the entire day writing and drawing graphic novels. Why not do it every day??? Well, there is food. There is coffee. There is red wine. Shoes, children, gas and stuff like that. I guess for every one auteur cartoonist who makes a living wage, there are probably about 476 like me. Nominal professionals who do not make a living wage.

The difference is, well I’ll let you in on a  little secret! It turns out, I’m actually, pretty much the best graphic novelist in the world! I’m not the best cartoonist, penciller, letterer, inker, writer or designer. It’s just that when you figure in the whole bundle of skills that it takes to make a whole, bit fat cartoon book — I’m one of the best.

There’s something else too. A wee little something extra, my competitive edge! I’ve actually been elected, drafted as it were, by a coterie of disembodied spirits to be their cartoon avatar on the planet. They can’t draw because they don’t have hands. Or eyes, arms or bodies.

This scheming bunch have conceived some sort of baroque master plan: They feed it to me in little bit pieces at a time. As their faithful cartoon consript, I translate their arcane hoo-haa, their mumbo-jumbo into comic book form and present it to you, the general genial public!

I’m outa gas for now. The coterie of bossy muses has left the building, so there’s just a guy typing this with a glass of red wine under the belt. So I’ll cut to the chase!

You can help me and my scheming overbearing muses in producing a high volume of comics. All you need do is visit my Patreon page and subscribe to my weekly comics updates. You can get in on the action for as little as $1.00 per month, although if you want to pad it out a bit it’s OK by me.

Thank you, and goodnight!

Steve Lafler