Saturday, January 29, 2011

OT PR: Stargazer, my all-ages graphic novel

Von Allan, although Canadian, has attended SPX and was an early supporter of ComicsDC. Here's his note about a new comic he has out.

I have new graphic novel that just arrived in comic shops and some bookstores.  Very quickly, it's an all-ages fantasy story focusing on a young girl named Marni who is dealing with the recent death of her grandmother.  As Marni struggles to place this loss, her life takes an abrupt and strange turn. Her grandmother bequeathed her a mysterious "Artifact" and, while on a backyard camping trip, the object suddenly takes on a life of its own.  Marni and her two best friends are transported to a strange and distant world. After summoning their courage, Marni, Sophie and Elora venture out to explore their alien surroundings, where they find a surreal world containing a robot, a mysterious far-off tower, and an illusive yet terrifying monster. Scared, yet buoyed by the stories and songs that they've heard while growing up, the three girls gather their meagre supplies and head out into the wilderness, determined to find a way home. A magical tale with the most unlikeliest of heroes, "Stargazer" is an exploration of friendship, loss, and hope. By turns terrifying, poignant, and humorous, "Stargazer" is part fairytale, part science fiction, and part adventure story.  The main website for my graphic novel is at

Why is this story special?  Well, I think there are a number of reasons.  First, it's an all-ages story that features three girls as protagonists, which is still fairly rare in comics.  Marni, Sophie and Elora are strong and independent characters.  While they are young, they are not weak and I think that's very important and something that both girls and boys can identify with.  Secondly, I'm both the writer and the artist of "Stargazer" and that, too, is uncommon in comics, which are generally created by teams of writers and artists sharing the work.  Thirdly, "Stargazer" is self-published, but I've managed to secure world-wide distribution through a number of distributors, including Diamond Comic Distributors, Follett Library Resources, Brodart Company and Ingram Book Company.  Publishing is certainly challenging in this day and age, but distribution and accessibility are critically important aspects that absolutely cannot be overlooked.

"Stargazer" is also getting some very positive reviews and I'd like to quickly share two brief ones with you.  The first is from the Midwest Book Review (

"Stargazer Volume One is a black-and-white graphic novel following three girls stranded on a faraway alien world. Young Marni has recently lost her grandmother, with whom she was very close. Her grandmother had also bequeathed a mysterious "Artifact" upon her - and it is this object that transports Marni and her friends, Sophie and Elora, far away from any home they have ever known. The three girls must pool their courage and resources to learn more about this unreal new world, and the strange things within it - a robot, a faraway tower, and an unknown monster hidden in shadows. Stargazer is a story of wonder, exploration, determination, and inward as well as outward challenge, and is highly recommended for readers of all ages."

Ms. Kat Kan, a librarian working in Florida, passed a copy of "Stargazer" to her elementary school book club; I received perhaps one of the best reviews I've ever gotten for my work from one of her students, a young third-grade girl.  With Ms. Kan's permission, I wanted to share it with you (I've left all of her grammar intact):

"Your book Stargazer. I'm reading it...I like adventure books, and this book so far has a lot of adventure already. It was pretty cool that Marni and her friends travelled into this other world. It was weird when they heard this roaring sound and I would be pretty freaked out if I was running for my life then I tripped like Marni did. I just absolutely love the book! I hope your happy about that. It was funny when she said "STUPID LACES, OH COME ON!" It was weird when that robot showed Marni all the different things in the fire. It was also funny when Sophie said "I had to go pee and I realized you weren't in bed." It was said with her having all those flashbacks with her and her grandmother. Because if you just imagine your grandma die you will cry just as Marni did when she figured out her grandma died. It was funny when Marni had that sword and said "en garde." I liked the extras. You told me how you write, concept art, brainstorming...I liked the pictures at the end, this book was amazing. I wish I could keep it and read it again, again and again, but I have to return it in five days so I probably can't but I just love Stargazer."

As you know, it's always a challenge to try to build awareness for a new book from a relatively unknown creator.  If you don't mind spreading the word, please do!  And, of course, don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments.

Thank you very much!
Von Allan

Quote: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." (Beckett)

Stargazer, my all-ages graphic novel, is now available in all channels. It has a Diamond Item Code of NOV101057 and an ISBN of 978-0-9781237-2-7. More information about Stargazer can be found at

the road to god knows... (ISBN: 978-0-9781237-0-3) is also available through book trade channels. Information about road can be found at

Von Allan Studio
P.O. Box 20520, 390 Rideau Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. K1N 1A3
Phone: 613-236-9957

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