Two Generations of Graphic Novels: A celebration at Mama Buzz Café/Buzz Gallery Thursday April 7th, 7 – 10 p.m., 2318 Telegraph Ave., Oakland CA.

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Oakland cartoonist Steve Lafler is joined by nephew Dan James as both celebrate the publication of new graphic novels in April, 2005. Just as the art form gains ascendancy in the culture, Top Shelf Productions (publisher of last years mega-hit, Blankets) will release Scalawag, by Lafler, and Mosquito, by James. Following the celebration at OaklandÂ?s Buzz Gallery, both titles will be officially released at the Alternative Press Exposition in San Francisco April 9 Â? 10.

Veteran cartoonist Steve Lafler is the creator of Bughouse, and Baja, his graphic novels featuring an insect bop band addicted to “bug juice”. Mr. Lafler's nephew, Dan James, a recent graduate of Pratt Institute, has already distinguished himself with one earlier graphic novel, "The Octopi and the Ocean", and with illustrations appearing regularly in the New York Times Review of Books.

While Lafler works with a fluid brush stroke inspired by the late Will Eisner, James' inventive graphic stylings invoke both Edward Gorey, and the spirit of hip-hop.

Capsule descriptions of each book are as follows:

Scalawag by Steve Lafler - ISBN 1-891830-67-8

Dennis, the new piano player in Bughouse, is by all accounts a very funky musician and a genial chap. But before long, the real Dennis reveals himself as a gambling, lying, cheating, two-timing, drunken thief and all around Scalawag! Only when he encounters his doppelganger “Dennnis”, does Dennis reach his epiphany: That the real force at the center of his life is love. Following the premise of Lafler’s earlier title Bughouse, the action is set in an indigo toned, “insect noir” Manhattan of the 50s where all the characters are bug-headed hipster bop musicians. - 144 pages

"No amount of Raid can kill these bugs dead. Open the screen door of your mind and let 'em in. They're better company than many humans in fiction; better than some in real life, as well."

  • Tom Robbins, author (on Lafler's work)

Mosquito by Dan James - ISBN 1-891830-68-6

Following in the inspiration of H. P. Lovecraft, Mary Shelly and Bram Stoker, Dan James presents his vision of horror in his latest graphic novel, Mosquito. This silent South American folktale is an elegant and strikingly stylistic, wordless Vampire story, presented completely in Red Ink. Intriguing and clever, it follows the adventure of a man who receives a curious letter containing polariods of vampire victims and a map to the small town where the vampire lives. He gathers his stakes, says goodbye to his children, and walks straight into the mouth of evil. - 152 pages, 8" x 8".

Entertainment at the April 7 publishing party will be provided by dj J.R. Williams, himself an alternative cartooning/painting legend, wielding an encyclopedic arsenal of bluesy, funky, psychobilly and punky sounds.

For further information, contact Steve Lafler at or 510 653-1355.

Event venue:

Jen Loy / Mama Buzz Café

2318 Telegraph Ave @23rd

Oakland, CA 94612


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Steven Lafler
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