Elliot and Grist's Absent Friends in February from SLG

Sun, December 28th, 2003 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Jonah Weiland, Founder/Former Owner

Official Press Release

No stranger to comic books whose themes include sex, love and

personal trauma, SLG Publishing is proud to reintroduce the world to

the long-lost collaborations between Phil Elliott and Paul Grist,

Absent Friends. Early in their comic book careers, Elliott (Tupelo,

Illegal Alien) and Grist (Kane, Jack Staff) collaborated on a series

of comic-book-format short stories about sex, young love and

struggling artists.

The stories were published in a variety of magazines and then

collected into a mini-comic, which was sold mainly through the Gosh!

comic shop in London. The distribution was small, however -- only 200

copies -- and both Elliott and Grist wanted to find a wider audience

for Absent Friends, so Elliott approached SLG Publishing, which is

currently publishing Tupelo, a mini-series written by Matt DeGennaro

and drawn by Elliott, with the project. The 40-page digest-sized

comic will be released in February to coincide with the 2004

Alternative Press Expo.

While not strictly autobiographical, the stories in Absent Friends

are, according to writer Elliott, inspired by "personal experiences,

thoughts and traumas." Elliott, known primarily as a comics artist,

intended to draw the stories himself, but he wasn't satisfied with

his attempts. Meanwhile, Paul Grist had self-published his comic,

Short Stories, and Elliott felt that Grist was a match for his own


"It was the first time that I actually drew anything that somebody

else had written," said Grist. "It got me doing things that I'd have

never really tried on my own. I tried to approach each story in a

different way, which certainly helps flex the artistic muscle."

Elliott agrees. "These stories show a different side of Paul's

drawing that maybe he can't express in other comics," he

said. "There's still the same excellent graphic eye and superior

composition, but there's a finer, almost hesitate line that hangs in

the air and . . . well, that's why I gave these stories to Paul in

the first place."

The stories that Elliott weaves focus on quiet, poignant human

emotions and the relationships that inspire them. In Absent Friends,

a man recalls a dangerous friendship, a boy tries to understand his

teenaged sister, a young man learns about sex and love, and a street

musician finds her own path to success. "The stories aren't always

the most straightforward of tales," said Grist of his collaborator's

work, "but they tend to rattle around in your head for a while


Absent Friends is a 40-page graphic novella in 5.5 x 8.5 inch digest

format. It will be published in February and will retail for $3.50. A

preview is available at SLG Publishing's website, www.slavelabor.com.

Established in 1986, SLG Publishing is a San Jose, CA-based publisher

of comics books and graphic novels. Operating under its imprints

Slave Labor Graphics and Amaze Ink, SLG Publishing has distributed

the work of such notable cartoonists as Jhonen Vasquez, Roman Dirge,

Evan Dorkin and Andi Watson.

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