Set in 1970s Hollywood, acclaimed comics artist Sammy Harkham’s latest graphic novel, Blood of the Virgin, weaves the lives of Seymour, a young film editor, and his wife and infant son into a complex personal drama, a fascinating look at the chaotic drudgery of low-budget filmmaking of that era, and an epic meta-narrative evoking the waves of hustlers, cinephiles, and immigrants that created the history and legend of Tinsel Town. An ambitious, frustrated wannabe director, Seymour works backbreaking hours for a production house, where he helps crank out a stream of profitable grindhouse horror, splatter, and crime flicks. He’s a self-destructive movie romantic (and a feckless philandering husband) in thrall to the history of iconic trashy cinema, desperate to direct but utterly overwhelmed by the cynicism and arbitrary demands of a boss—made Hollywood mansion–wealthy from popular dreck—only interested in investors, budgets, profits, and the next movie to be slapped together. In this 11-page excerpt, Seymour is summoned poolside to his boss’s mansion and instructed to fire the disobedient (and overly artful) director of a film under production. Blood of the Virgin by Sammy Harkham is out now.

Copyright © 2023 by Sammy Harkham. Excerpted by permission of Pantheon, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.