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Is There Life on Mars?

Critically acclaimed creator Jessica Abel’s answers the question in her latest graphic novel Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars

The settings of Jessica Abel’s work have run the gamut from the streets of Mexico City to the neighborhoods of Los Angeles to behind the scenes at NPR. But this fall she’s breaking new ground. And that ground happens to be on another planet.

Abel’s latest graphic novel, Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars is the powerful, positive, and politically aware story of a seven-and-a-half year old girl on Mars (that’s 15 in Earth years). Like most Martys, she and her family struggle to survive. The Mars colony where she lives has become a company town, where the omnipresent Arex corporation keeps humans indentured through a combination of debt and water rationing. Her aunt is struggling to eke out a living as a moisture farmer and her parents went missing on an anthropological mission over a year ago. Trish dreams of escaping her dreary existence by becoming a hover derby star with the local Boreale Bombers. But even if she could make the team, she’s too young to get a contract, and her family is going broke faster than her escape velocity.

So when a half-dead native Martian shows up on her doorstep, that seems like the last thing Trish needs. But choosing to nurse her back to health rather than call the MarsGuard turns out to have all kinds of world-altering after effects. And truly becoming Rollergirl of Mars takes on new urgency, in ways Trish could never predict.

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Part science fiction, part rollicking adventure story, Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars is also a compelling character study of a young girl who feels trapped by the circumstances of her birth and economic situation. The series also tackles issues of diversity and prejudice head on. In addition to featuring a multi-racial lead character, it also explores issues of prejudice and social injustice through the relationship between the humans and the native Martians who appear in the book. Its universal themes will resonate with tweens, teens and older readers in a way that only the best young adult fiction does. It’s a unique graphic novel and Abel was very selective in picking an English language publishing partner.

Abel explains, “I felt the story of Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars had the potential to reach a wide audience and I knew I wanted to work with a publisher who had strong relationships with the librarians and booksellers who could really generate word of mouth for the series. I’ve long admired the work that Terry Nantier and the Papercutz team have done establishing graphic novels in libraries, schools and other channels where they can reach a wide range of readers. So when I was looking for a partner for this series, they seemed like a natural fit.”

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Papercutz Publisher Terry Nantier feels Papercutz’s acquisition of Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars reflects a natural progression in the company’s evolution. “Trish’s story is exactly the type of book I had in mind when we created the Super Genius imprint for Papercutz,” Nantier explained. “While its content and themes are more sophisticated than our traditional Papercutz fare, it’s got a strong appeal for the tween+ audience. Jessica has a unique voice and point of view and we’re proud to add her to our roster of creators. The same readers who eagerly consumed the humorous adventures of THE LUNCH WITCH and the gorgeous imagery of Metaphrog’s THE RED SHOES AND OTHER TALES will snap this up. And young readers who’ve read our more adventure-driven fare like NANCY DREW and SCARLETT will gravitate to this next stage in their reading development.”

Papercutz plans to release the first volume in this three-volume series as an oversized graphic novel in November 2016. But since Abel has been working on the book for a number of years, she’s already created some compelling material to accompany the book’s original publication in France. As a result, eager readers can get a number of cool “sneak previews” of what to expect from her latest offering. Abel has established Tumblr and Facebook pages dedicated to the series and she publishes a Trish Trash newsletter. Fans can also read a 10-page excerpt from the first volume (in English) on the author’s website (http://jessicaabel.com/books/trish-trash-rollergirl-of-mars/). Even more bonus material is being planned for the book’s publication this fall.

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“I’m in conversations with the Papercutz marketing team about all sorts of new goodies”, enthused Abel. “We plan to dive a lot deeper into the roller derby culture and create some cool stuff that focuses on that. And, of course, I’m all about the mechanics of storytelling. So I’m sure there will be a lot more “behind the scenes” material for fans to dive into. I really want to make reading Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars an immersive experience.”

“We’ve got a terrific mix of great characters, great content and great creators here”, noted Papercutz publisher Terry Nantier. “I’m looking forward to sharing Jessica’s latest work with her fans and sharing Trish’s story with a whole new audience of graphic novel readers.”

Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars Vol. 1 will be available in bookstores and comic book stores across the United States and Canada on November 15th, 2016. To find a comic shop near you go to http://www.comicshoplocator.com/ or dial 1-888-COMIC BOOK.