Don’t Be a Chicken, Read This

Creatively stifled, Gerry Alanguilan turned his back on the mainstream comic world in 2005 after inking some of the most influential comic books of our generation, such as Iron Man, Wolverine and Superman.

However, rather than fade away into obscurity, he’s shown the world that he’s much more than a “tracer.”

His graphic novel, “Elmer,” is easily one of the most engaging, engrossing and emotional epics in independent comic book history.

While the story itself seems bizarre at first, with chickens becoming sentient beings, it’s much more palatable and approachable than that. At its core, it’s a tale that will force you to recognize your flaws and see what’s in your heart, everything from the lust, jealousy and hate to the honesty, purity and selflessness. And yes, it’ll make you cry.

It’s that type of self discovery this book provides that makes it so enjoyable; a one of a kind work that shows dreams can come true if you are willing to work hard enough. During the course of writing the comics that ultimately became this book, Alanguilan saw his life savings dwindle and his future financial survival for both him and his family become challenged.

That quiet desperation, mixed with a message of hope and optimism is drenched on every page of this book.

So much so that it’s safe to say that if the Mike and the Mechanics hit single, “In the Living Years,” could ever find its way into a comic, it would undoubtedly be this one.

Artistically, in spite of the black and white panels, the art is adorable. At times, it’s hard to tell who is who, considering that most of the characters are chickens, but in the end, the deeply mental notes this book hits are not missed because of few hiccups here and there. As well, several of the full-page spreads are so passionate and enigmatic that you’ll completely forget there’s no color.

Simply put, this trade is the stuff that proves dreams come true.

Alanguilan is living proof.

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 8797 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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