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Death Play a Mean Harmonica – A Graphic Novel Takes Us to Oaxaca

Death Plays a Mean Harmonica, Steve Lafler’s graphic novel tribute to Oaxaca, Mexico, hits stores this August.

Death Plays a Mean Harmonica / Cat Head Comics

Gertie and Rex get a wild hair and relocate to Oaxaca! Upon arrival in this cultural hub of southern Mexico, our intrepid migrants meet Eduardo, the crafty 1000-year-old Zapotec vampire who prefers chicken blood, El Rey Pelón (the skinny pot-bellied fungus who drives a taxi) and of course Death, who plays a mean harmonica.

But why Oaxaca? What are our intrepid migrants running from? Turns out Rex is plunged into a newfound fear of mortality at age 50, while Gertie is bored with her writing career and harbors a secret ambition to become a Lucha Libre wrestler.

Buy Death Plays a Mean Harmonica at Amazon

Retailers can order Death Plays a Mean Harmonica from Diamond Comic Dist.

Cartoonist 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.

First released in 2018 in a limited edition of 100 with a screenprint cover signed by the artist, this is the first trade book edition of Death Plays a Mean Harmonica.

Order Death Plays a Mean Harmonica from Amazon

“It’s pitch-perfect, a veritable clinic on how to draw the eye into scenes where most of the drama comes by way of interpersonal communication rather than dull fisticuffs, chases on foot or by car, etc. When you look at Lafler’s characters talking, you instantly want to know what they’re talking about.”

-Ryan Carey, Four Color Apocalypse

Ever the maverick marching to his own beat, Lafler enjoyed long runs of his improvised Dog Boy comic books as well as the jaunty, unhinged Buzzard anthology. From there the self-styled maestro settled into the BugHouse trilogy of graphic novels, a history of Bebop jazz realized with an all-insect cast.

Subsequently, the artist decamped to Oaxaca, Mexico with his family for a decade. There, he started a country punk band with locals, Radio Insecto.

Death Plays a Mean Harmonica is the artist’s fictional report on the sublime city of Oaxaca.

Death Plays a Mean Harmonica by Steve Lafler / GN for August Shipping

ISBN: 9780976969075

Publication Date: August 2021

$12.99 US

146 pages

Diamond Comics Item Code: JUN211410

Also Available: Amazon, Ingram Content Group


Coming Fall 2021!

1956 Book Two: Movie Star

BugHouse: Book One – Back in Print

I’m delighted to announce that my BugHouse graphic novel is back in print on my Cat Head Comics imprint! It was first released by Top Shelf in June, 2000.

You can get a copy at Amazon, or ask your comic retailer to order from Diamond Comic Distributors.

For those new to this title, here’s a synopsis:

Tenor saxophone maestro Jimmy Watts leads his talented band of bugs from the swing era into the uncharted maelstrom of Bebop. As he and his band mates claw their way to the top of the jazz world, they must fight the temptation to be consumed by addiction to a substance known as “Bug Juice.”

Inspired by the postwar explosion of Bohemian cultural stylings from artists as diverse as jazz trumpeter Miles Davis and Beat avatar William Burroughs, cartoonist Steve Lafler delivers his indigo-tinged masterwork graphic novel, BugHouse.

BugHouse is available now from Amazon for $15.99 (or $2.99 Kindle)

Right now, retailers can order BugHouse: Book One from Diamond Previews for May (ships in July), item code MAY211336

The book is also available to the book trade from Ingram Content Group ISBN # 9781734108736

“This is a comic that transports you to a very singular and spectacularly-realized place and time and holds you fast to the point where you quite literally don’t want to leave. I felt absolutely privileged to pay a return visit to Lafler’s world, and envious of those who will be having the pleasure of experiencing it for the first time. Now more than ever, this stands out as one more the most purely enjoyable comics that I’ve ever read in my life.”

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Steve Lafler

Steve Lafler / Cat Head Comics Catalog

“A Loose Cannon on the Deck of Alt/Indy Comix since the Dawn of Civilization”

I’m super pumped to have my key graphic novels available for your reading pleasure and general edification! Here you’ll find four key graphic novel titles: Death Plays a Mean Harmonica, BugHouse, 1956 Book One: Sweet Sweet Little Ramona and Doggie Style: The Complete Dog Boy.

Scroll down for covers, synopsis and ordering info for each title.

Retailers can order 1956 Book One from Diamond Comic Distributors.

Death Plays a Mean Harmonica, 146 pages, trade paperback

Gertie and Rex get a wild hair and relocate to Oaxaca! Upon arrival in this cultural hub of southern Mexico, our intrepid migrants meet Eduardo, the crafty 1000-year-old Zapotec vampire who prefers chicken blood, El Rey Pelón (the skinny pot-bellied fungus who drives a taxi) and of course Death, who plays a mean harmonica.
Death Plays A Mean Harmonica ISBN 978-0-9769690-7-5
Buy at Amazon for $12.99 ebook $2.99, or Venmo me @Steven-Lafler and be sure to tell me your address!
Retailers and libraries can order at Ingram Content Group

BugHouse (Book One), 194 pages, trade paperback

Tenor saxophone maestro Jimmy Watts leads his talented band of bugs from the swing era into the uncharted maelstrom of Bebop. As he and his band mates claw their way to the top of the jazz world, they must fight the temptation to be consumed by addiction to a substance known as “Bug Juice”.
Inspired by the postwar explosion of Bohemian cultural stylings from artists as diverse as jazz trumpeter Miles Davis and Beat avatar William Burroughs, cartoonist Steve Lafler delivers his indigo-tinged masterwork graphic novel, BugHouse.
BugHouse: Book One Buy at Amazon for $15.99 / ebook $2.99 ISBN 978-1-7341087-3-6
Retailers and libraries can order at Ingram Content Group.

1956 Book One: Sweet Sweet Little Ramona, 58 pages, trade paperback

Notorious alt comix legend Steve Lafler delivers readers to the bright lights and glamor of Manhattan in 1956 with Jack, Susie and Ramona. In the graphic novela 1956 Book One: Sweet Sweet little Ramona, they cut deals in the Garment District by day and haunt the legendary Jazz Clubs of 52nd St. by night.
Buy at Amazon for $9.95 (ebook $2.99) ISBN 978-1-7341087-2-9 Retailers and libraries can order at Ingram Content Group.

DIAMOND COMIC ORDER CODE APR211576

Doggie Style: The Complete Dog Boy, 486 pages, Oversize 8.5 x 11 artbook

Imagine, if you will, a young man with a penchant for strong coffee, cheap beer and blotter acid (not necessarily in that order) who happens to be outfitted with a big fuzzy Golden Retriever head. This irascible “Dog Boy” is given to bursts of enthusiasm—we find him expounding on everything from socialism to earth-shattering transcendent epiphanies. Well, sometimes we just find him stealing cars.
Bookstores and libraries can order email Steve for discount information on Doggie Style; this title is pending for distribution through other channels.
Doggie Style: The Complete Dog Boy Buy for $39.99 at Lulu ISBN 978-1-7341087-1-2

Death Plays a Mean Harmonica, BugHouse and 1956 Book One are all slated for release in Spring/Summer 2021 via Ingram Advance catalog in the trade paperback format–so tell your local indy bookstore, library or comic shop to order big!
Diamond Comic Distributors are also on board with these three titles, look for this Cat Head Comics lineup to be listed in Diamond’s Previews catalog in April, May and June!
Individual and wholesale orders can also be placed with Birdcage Bottom Books.
As for the Doggie Style: Complete Dog Boy, at present it’s currently available via online order. Dog Boy chronicles my enthused wild ride through the 1980s and a young man full of his dreams (well, along with the beer and LSD!) While I consider the eighties my “developmental” decade, I highly recommend this near 500-page volume as a joyful, entertaining inquisition into the meaning of it all!

And yes, you can order direct from me by sending $ via Venmo: @Steven-Lafler
Just tell me which books you want and send me your mailing address!

Meanwhile I’m chained to the drawing board working on the next installment of 1956–and I have more of my back catalog titles scheduled for release before the year is out!
Thanks for your support, I really appreciate it!

Steve Lafler
click here to email steve

(Send me your email to join my list to be notified when my next graphic novel appears!)

1956: Sweet Sweet Little Ramona, a New Graphic Novel

Notorious alt/indy comix legend Steve Lafler (BugHouse, Dog Boy, Buzzard) returns with a new graphic novela, 1956 Book One: Sweet Sweet Little Ramona. on the Cat-Head Comics imprint.

The book is avaiable at Amazon in print or ebook format.

This is the story of Jack, Susie, and of course Ramona. We travel to Manhattan of 1956 to meet our players, who haunt the wholesale Garment District by day, and the legendary jazz clubs of 52nd Street by night.

The above panel features John Coltrane, who makes a cameo appearance on the bandstand in the 1956 book.

Here’s the cover art from 1956: Sweet Sweet Little Ramona…

Here are a few pages from the book:

Along with 1956, I have many great backlist graphic novels for sale. Score my 2019 title Lucha Bruja at Amazon, and at my Lulu Artist Page You can order BugHouse, Dog Boy and Cat Suit, along with other titles.

Here are a few fellow artists who have weighed in on my work:

“I’m going to recommend a graphic novel that is great because it is good, solid and delivers in spades what I most enjoy in a comic book; a comfortable mastery of the form, fun, surprises, a story I can get into and a light touch. In short its the kind of book you can flop down on the couch with of an afternoon, lie back and enjoy.”
-Jim Woodring, Frank  (Commenting on BugHouse at Boing Boing)

“I love BugHouse. I’m fond of the little bug-creatures that inhabit it. With his masterful storytelling, Steve Lafler has created an alternate universe. His characters are not particularly cute (well, some of them are), but one can easily emphasize with their meaty human struggles with addiction, love, power, greed, and lust. Check it out!”  -Phoebe Gloeckner, A Child’s Life

“Stop! Stop! My sides are aching! You’re driving me to Buggyland with this stuff!” -Lux Interior, The Cramps

Thanks for your support — it is hugely appreciated!

Steve Lafler

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(write “subscribe” in the subject line.)
and get a free PDF of Cat Suit, Steve’s super-hero satire.

Steve’s Secret History of Indie/Alt Comix

In the spring of 2019, I created a video series about my brilliant “career” in comics, called Cats Dogs & Bugs.

What I like about these video bits, you get a sense of the “WHY?”. Who is this Steve? What is he doing here? Where is he going?

Take a dive in! And, I’m also recommending you check out my new book 1956: Sweet Sweet Little Ramona. The link takes you to the Kickstarter for the book. Push that green button there and lock in your copy (and thanks!)

Cats Dogs & Bugs / Steve Lafler’s Indie Comix

1. https://youtu.be/pZXvMwWHA6s

2. https://youtu.be/hZ78RW0qt6k

3. https://youtu.be/b9TQ5Q9a6rI

4. https://youtu.be/QPsMZkBCURU

5. https://youtu.be/jNCZ__MoDKs

6. https://youtu.be/hXBUsIdi-DU

7. https://youtu.be/T44MgFGE4Ds

8. https://youtu.be/h07zmSvT8TE

9. https://youtu.be/zIU72LmbwlM

10. https://youtu.be/G8DWcZfF5YM

11. https://youtu.be/yBsSfyUlbps

12. https://youtu.be/iu5whHSV4Nw

13. https://youtu.be/tkY3gnPWPhA

14. https://youtu.be/6UMzsk3nNCA

15. https://youtu.be/S3HfFRAFCdE

16. https://youtu.be/BFNRRE9ihU8

17. https://youtu.be/ocQQp5Q1g-s

18. https://youtu.be/GOWeUpwtYNA

19. https://youtu.be/x-qwHcn-qpo

1956 Book One: Sweet Sweet Little Ramona… FUNDED on DAY ONE!

Hi! I put up my new book at Kickstarter, and it funded on Day One! Go ahead and order your copy HERE AT THE KICKSTARTER! Please join me and lend your support to this project.

This is the story of Jack, Susie, and of course Ramona. We travel to Manhattan of 1956 to meet our players, who haunt the wholesale Garment District by day, and the legendary jazz clubs of 52nd Street by night.

Jack and Susie, junior buyers for the McCurdy’s chain of department stores, are ambitious kids trying to make their mark as they vie for the position of Chief Buyer. And hey, maybe they happen to fall in love on the side? We’ll see!

Ramona hails from Texas, a young trans woman looking to be herself in the atmosphere of 1950s New York City. It ain’t easy! She descends into working the streets to support herself while she dreams of becoming a fashion model.

Against this backdrop, our cast of players congregate in the jazz clubs at night and begin to scheme. Are they competing with each other? Or do they work together to realize their dreams?

1956 Book One was inspired by the early career of my dad, Don Lafler, who passed away last year in 2019. This book is dedicated to him.

Thanks for your support!

Steve

BugHouse: It was 20 Years Ago Today

Time flies when you’re having fun (aka drawing comics!) It’s twenty years since my first BugHouse graphic novel from Top Shelf Productions hit the stores. While that edition is out of print, you can still score my classic indigo-noir story of Bebop jazz and insect addiction. Here is the Cat-Head Comics edition of BugHouse at my Lulu store.


BugHouse traces the rise of tenor sax genius Jimmy Watts and his piano cohort Slim Watkins to the pinnacle of the jazz world. Will they fall to the depths of addiction and depravity?

Here’s what some of my peers have to say about BugHouse:

“I’m going to recommend a graphic novel that is great because it is good, solid and delivers in spades what I most enjoy in a comic book; a comfortable mastery of the form, fun, surprises, a story I can get into and a light touch. In short its the kind of book you can flop down on the couch with of an afternoon, lie back and enjoy.” – Jim Woodring, commenting on BugHouse for Boing Boing

I love BugHouse. I’m fond of the little bug-creatures that inhabit it. With his masterful storytelling, Steve Lafler has created an alternate universe. His characters are not particularly cute (well, some of them are), but one can easily emphasize with their meaty human struggles with addiction, love, power, greed, and lust. Check it out! -Phoebe Gloeckner, A Child’s Life

“Steve Lafler’s comics will have you keeling over backwards with laughter.” – Peter Bagge, Hate

“Stop! Stop! My sides are aching! You’re driving me to Buggyland with this stuff!” –Lux Interior, the late, great lead singer for legendary Psychobilly punk band, The Cramps

Well, I guess Lux was more of a rock & roll Demi-God than my peer, but you get the idea…

Best,
Steve

PS – Drop me an email anytime.

My Next Graphic Novel

Hello! I am working away on my next graphic novel. The working title is Housewares and Ladies Dresses. The story is set in the 1950s in Manhattan, in the garment district by day, and the jazz clubs in and around 52nd St. by night.

I’ll be serializing it in periodical segments over the next stretch, then it will be collected as a graphic novel. I’ll have the first “book” out in September 2020 – keep an eye out for it!

Meanwhile, you can get your copy of my 2019 graphic novel Lucha Bruja at Amazon.

Join expats Rex and Gertie on their wild ride to the remote highland jewel of Oaxaca, Mexico. 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. Pour a shot of craft mezcal and cozy up with Lucha Bruja!

You can also pick up a copy of my BugHouse graphic novel at my Lulu store. BugHouse traces the rise of tenor sax genius Jimmy Watts and his piano cohort Slim Watkins to the pinnacle of the jazz world. Will they fall to the depths of addiction and depravity? The 192-page gem is Indigo-tinged “insect noir” at it’s best. Published as the first graphic novel in my 3-part trilogy with Top Shelf in 2000, this edition sneaks under the radar with my Cat-Head imprint.

Questions or comments? Click my name below to send me an email.

Cheers,

Steve

Steve Lafler Graphic Novels

Hello! You can order my latest graphic novel Lucha Bruja at Amazon.

Here’s the rap:

Auteur graphic novelist Steve Lafler invites you to join expats Rex and Gertie on their wild ride to the remote highland jewel of Oaxaca, Mexico. 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. Pour a shot of craft mezcal and cozy up with Lucha Bruja!

Many of my graphic novels are available at my Lulu.com Steve Lafler page – please visit and shop! Here are some of the covers of these titles:

                           

You can still catch up with my Steve Lafler T-Shirt shop at Redbubble.

Cheers!

Steve

(You can send me an email by clicking my name).

Was Elmer Fudd a Zapatista?

Serena (my wife) found an abandoned religious poster and brought it home. We decided I might as well treat it as “found art” and work with it. The results include Elmer Fudd in full Emiliano Zapata regalia, as well as Bugs Bunny in drag… enjoy!

Ink & brush on “found print”, about 30″x36″. Like it? It’s yours for a mere $1250! Shipped insured.

Email Steve