Friday, December 10, 2010

Book Recommendation from Jeff VanderMeer!

Elmer by Gerry Alanguilan (Slave Labor Graphics) "“ Elmer is a window into a world where chickens have suddenly acquired the intelligence and consciousness of humans, where they can now consider themselves their own separate race. Recognizing themselves to be sentient, the inexplicably evolved chickens push to attain rights for themselves as the newest members of the human race. This is edgy stuff and in lesser hands might've been too absurd. Instead, it's riveting and thought-provoking. Originally self-published by the author in the Philippines, this is the first US edition of the book. A highly recommended graphic novel.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Talking Animal Comics

Jeez. I just heard about Duncan The Wonder Dog by Adam Hines. It's a 400 page graphic novel (Only 1 of 8 volumes) that's about well.... talking animals. I heard he worked on it for seven years before it was released in October 2010. I guess I'm just concerned at how possibly similar this and Elmer may be, how they were released at almost the same time.

Of course, comics projects like this take years to finish. I worked on mine for two years beginning in 2006. There was no way for me to know what Adam was doing or was about to do or could he be possibly be aware of what I was doing.

As of now I have yet to read Duncan so I have no idea how similar they are. But I get the impression that Adam's story is more complex and it involves all other animals, not just chickens.

Oh well, I guess it's just one of those things.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

First French Review

You can pass it through Google Translators, or better yet, use Google Chrome which automatically translates it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Library Journal Review

Alanguilan, Gerry. Elmer: A Comic Book. Slave Labor. 2010. c.144p. ISBN 9781593622046. pap. $12.95. f

Why did the chicken cross the road? Because he could. After chickens became intelligent from a freak virus, civil unrest among men and fowl reigned for far too long. But finally the birds were internationally declared fellow humans. Elmer was one of the pioneers who lived through the awakening. Dying, he bequeaths his diary to disaffected son Jake, who reads with growing fascination his father’s story. As Jake struggles through understanding while sorting out interfamily tensions—with his grieving mother, nurse sister, and Hollywood star brother—he vows to publish Elmer’s diary as a tribute to those who struggled toward freedom before his hatching. Not funny, Alanguilan’s realistic, highly skilled black-and-white drawings suck you into this feather-clad race relations parable despite the internal dissonance it sets up. You want to find those chickens funny. But you can’t—think Orwell’s Animal Farm.

VERDICT Originally self-published in the Philippines, where Alanguilan lives, this unusual and affecting story is bound to evoke what-if discussions. Strongly recommended for teens and up in classrooms as well as libraries. Violence, strong language, and occasional sexual references and nudity.—M.C.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Booklist Webinar - Seeing is Reading, An Inside Look at Graphic Novels

Booklist Webinar - Seeing is Reading: An Inside Look at Graphic Novels from ALA Publishing on Vimeo.

Booklist Review


Starred Review


languilan, Gerry (Author) , Alanguilan, Gerry (Illustrator)
Nov 2010. 144 p. SLG, paperback, $12.95. (9781593622046). 741.5.

Gorgeously drawn, black-and-white artwork combines with outstanding storytelling in this modern-day fable of ethnic strife, identity, friendship, and family. The titular character has been a writer all his “human” life, keeping a secret diary that his son Jake discovers and reads after Elmer’s death. Along with his newly engaged sister and gay movie-star brother, Jake returns to his childhood home for Elmer’s last days, stays on for his funeral, and helps his newly widowed, delicate mother. Oh, and Jake and family are sentient, well-spoken chickens, a result of a never-explained but carefully depicted world event in 1979.

Elmer’s old human friend, Farmer Ben, offers Jake insight on Elmer’s past—both pre- and post-sentience—and advice as Jake works through his family’s victimization at the hands of Ben’s kind. Bloody world wars pitted chicken against man, and led to a wave of anti-chicken prejudice and even attempts at genocide before the UN declared chickens an equal part of humanity. Ethical and moral issues touch on wide-angle politics but also keep close to familial events in Jake’s childhood (bullying, child-parent strife) and adulthood (inter-“ethnic” marriage). The fine-lined artwork depicts the differences between sentient and pre-sentient chickens, while some full-page panels show the lush scenery and relative calm between action sequences. Set in Alanguilan’s Philippine homeland and marked by its culture, Elmer deserves a wide international readership (for teen collections, note some brief female nudity), and shows how the sequential-art format can challenge even such canonical predecessors as Animal Farm.

— Francisca Goldsmith

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Publishers Weekly Review!

Elmer: A Comic Book

Gerry Alanguilan, SLG (, $12.95 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-59362-204-6
Jake Gallo is an angry young man, frustrated at his lack of employment and easily provoked by perceived slights. It is not until we are several pages into the book that we discover that he is also a talking, thinking chicken. He is no anomaly; decades earlier, all of chickenkind suddenly gained intelligence and speech; by the 2000s they are legally human. Jake's father's illness and subsequent death lead Jake to read his father's account of the early days after the change; this in turn allows Alanguilan to show the reader the often horrific sequence of events that followed chickenkind's sudden elevation to sapience. Used to seeing chickens as food or worse, humans are not shown at their best as they react, often violently, to this sudden alteration of the natural order. The gorgeous b&w art, full of lush pen work and strong expressions, takes what should be a self-evidently ludicrous proposition and somehow imbues it with plausibility, drawing readers into a brutal, blood-soaked tale of a transformed species and the outrage and savagery of their former owners. A peculiar but engaging work that deserves attention. (Nov.)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Interview with the Publisher

Here's a link to my interview with SLG Publishing about my comic book ELMER.

ELMER from SLG out worldwide by November 10, 2010!
French Language ELMER from Editions çà et là out by November 16, 2010!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I wrote three afterwords to ELMER. The first one appears in the Komikero Publishing edition, and two different (but similar) afterwords will appear in the SLG and Editions çà et là editions. I wrote the latter one in English, so they will be doing a translation in French. I think it would be such a trip to see that afterword in French with my name on it. I've long wanted to study French so I can read TINTIN in the original language but I've never got around to it. The best I can do at the moment is "Du coffee sil vous plait!" oh yeah, and "Sacre Bleu!"

I'll be posting the original English text to my French afterword when the book comes out.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

French Elmer

If you want ELMER in French, you can now pre-order it from at this link.
Elmer in French will be published by Editions çà et là.

Monday, July 26, 2010

ELMER at the San Diego International Comic-Con 2010!

Photos from the SLG Publishing booth at the recently concluded San Diego Comics Convention.

Thanks to Dan Vado for the photos!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


The SLG Publishing Edition of ELMER is now available for pre-order at and Barnes & Noble.

As far as I know it, pre-ordering from online stores means bigger discounts the earlier you pre-order.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Romeo Tanghal's ELMER

Romeo Tanghal, world famous Filipino comics illustrator and inker (of Teen Titans over George Perez), once wrote and drew a short story on Elmer and me! This was posted at the old Philippine Comics Message Board and I'm glad I was able to save it.

Thanks Ser Romy! Mabuhay Kayo!

Bird Flu Photo

This is a photo that came out during the height of the Bird Flu scare several years ago. I don't know who took this photo or what agency it came from, but I remember trying to get permission to use it in ELMER. Having not received any reply, I thought against using it at all.

This photo was important in that it pretty much galvanized a lot of the ideas that went into the conceptualization of Elmer, and where I wanted to go with the story.

ELMER's Chicken Scratchings

This is a supplementary blog to the main ELMER site, which will act as a regularly updated scratchbook of Elmer related material that I encounter on and offline. I will be posting new fan art here, as well as sketches, scans, scripts and other behind the scenes material about Elmer. Stay tuned!