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
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.