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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 2008/08/17 - Von Allan, a Canadian artist and graphic novelist, publishes his first graphic novel “Li’l Kids” - (ISBN of 978-0-9781237-1-0).
Comic books and graphic novels have, over the past twenty years, become a widely embraced medium in book publishing. Initially dismissed as children’s entertainment, comics have now developed a maturity and range of vision that rivals other forms of art and literature. Graphic novels are read by people from all walks of life and have reached a level of critical acceptance that was unheard of decades ago. This resurgence has been led by a number of young artists who bring unique voices to the medium. Von Allan, an Ottawa-based artist and graphic novelist, joins this group with his recently published graphic novel “Li’l Kids: road to god knows… adventures!”
“Graphic novels offer a combination of words and images that speak to us on a very fundamental level,” says Allan. “In a way I think it’s storytelling at its most primal form. It allows an author to engage with a reader in a way that’s similar to literature and yet very, very different. Comics, when you come right down to it, are just ink marks on a piece of paper. That a reader can interpret that into a fully formed story is really quite remarkable. On top of it, so much of what makes sequential art come alive is defined by what’s not there. The gutter space between each panel of art is very important. This is where the reader’s imagination and personality comes into play. It’s a beautiful medium and one I love exploring. Hopefully that sense of exploration comes across in ‘Li’l Kids.’”
Another unique aspect of the graphic novel is its availability in multiple channels. “Li’l Kids” is downloadable as a free PDF eBook on the artist’s website. In addition, a free torrent version is available via LegalTorrents.com. The graphic novel is distributed under a Creative Commons Canada licence that grants readers the ability to distribute the online versions of the book for free. “I believe in both print publishing and bookstores and I always have,” says Allan. “But I also believe that obscurity is one of the hardest things for young artists to avoid. By using a variety of online distribution tools as well as more traditional print publishing, I’m hoping more people will get to know both myself and my work. I believe that this helps build a platform for my continued development as an artist and helps grow my audience at the same time. I’m also very pleased to see that the book is already available through a number of channels, notably online at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.”
“Li’l Kids” is a collection of three interlocked short stories that focus on elements from a young girl’s life. We see Marie, the main character in each story, develop and grow; from meeting a new friend to her burgeoning awareness of both her family’s poverty and her mom’s mental illness. This later theme is more fully explored in the graphic novel “the road to god knows…;” Marie is only eight years old at the time of these three stories. As a result, she is only just beginning to be aware of the world around her and her place in it. Each story stands on its own but, when taken together, they demonstrate that childhood, like most aspects of life, can have its ups and downs. Being a child can be fun, scary, and magical; but sometimes the things that seem very little at the time can have a profound effect on you later on in life. That’s certainly true for Marie and her experiences in these stories help to bear that out. Later, in “the road to god knows…,” we see just how significant some of those events can be.
In addition to the three stories, this collection includes a large amount of supporting material. Concept and thumbnail art illustrate how each story was put together. Allan also discusses where each story’s inspiration came from and how each story’s initial idea formed. Lastly, he shows each step from story outline to completed script.
“Li’l Kids: road to god knows… adventures!” is an 88 page graphic novel and has an ISBN of 978-0-9781237-1-0. The suggested retail price is $13.95 US.
About Von Allan
Von Allan (vonallan.com) was born red-headed and freckled in Arnprior, Ontario, just in time for “Star Wars: A New Hope.” He managed Perfect Books, an independent bookstore in Ottawa, for many years while working on story ideas in his spare time; eventually, he decided to make the leap to a creative life, and “the road to god knows…” was the result. Additional information about the graphic novel can be found online.
Best run between Monday, August 18th and Sunday, September 28th 2008.