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That Distant Fire: Info Kit

Updated: Jul 6, 2022

That Distant Fire · Now Crowdfunding Banner

Creators: J.R. Hughto (writer); Curt Merlo (illustrator)

Publisher: Black Eye Books, Toronto, Canada

Format: 5.85 x 8.75 / Full Colour / 176 pages / Trade Paperback / ISBN: 978-1-7781526-4-1

Audience: For mature readers

Publication date: September, 2022

Crowdfunding: June 21–July 25, 2022 at

web: twitter/instagram/facebook: @blackeyebooks

Advance reading copy:

Press contact: Michel Vrana

Download ZIP • 3.87MB

In a near-future dystopia, a young couple is on the cusp of inventing a breakthrough medical advancement while navigating a time of violent social unrest.

“Beautifully written, stunningly illustrated and paced, That Distant Fire confronts what our society is today—and what it may become.” —Ho Che Anderson, King: A Comics Biography of Martin Luther King and Godhead


Vera and Paul hold enviable jobs at Pinkerton-Bei, a military engineering firm specializing in surveillance technologies. When Paul is fired but Vera asked to stay on, they choose to leave for the rural town where Paul grew up and move in with his father, Ben, his sister, Hazel, and Hazel’s actvist girlfriend, Diana, at the now defunct family farm. Jobs are in short supply in the area, and Vera and Paul hope to help the floundering community get back on its feet while completing their secret project — a handheld MRI-like “Device”.

Meanwhile, Diana begins to lead a strike against Queeny Agriculture, who owns and operates all the regional farms. Vera falls more and more under Diana’s influence, and the strike becomes increasingly violent as corporatized police forces and strike breakers bring the community to heel. Vera and Paul race against the clock to escape the powers moving in on them. Facing violence and unrest, they struggle to keep their labor movement from tearing itself apart, and the technology they’ve built from being turned against the community they are struggling to protect.

“A harrowing, intelligent story, gorgeously drawn and begging to be revisited often.” —Noah Van Sciver, The Complete Works of Fante Bukowski

That Distant Fire is an official anchor launch title for the new creator-focussed platform Crowdfundr

That Distant Fire is being offered to readers as a pre-order via crowdfunding, which will run from June 21–July 25, 2022 on Crowdfundr at

The book will be printed for a September release as a 176 page, full-colour, trade paperback and will also offered as a limited edition jacketed hardcover edition.

“A beautifully rendered tale of a future that could very well be our tomorrow. Top-notch cartooning.” —Matthew Allison, Cankor


About writer J.R. Hughto:

J.R. Hughto works in creative marketing by day, leading award-winning campaigns for some of your favorite movies and streaming TV shows. By night, he carves out time to tell his own stories. J.R.’s film Diamond on Vinyl premiered at the 2013 Slamdance Film Festival to critical acclaim from The Hollywood Reporter, Fangoria, and others, and was awarded Best Director and Best Ensemble at the 2013 Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles as well as Best Feature Drama at the Atlanta Underground Film Festival.

About illustrator Curt Merlo:

Curt Merlo is an editorial illustrator by day, visually interpreting the latest news and stories for publications all around the world. By night, he is locked in his studio creating and self-publishing books. That Distant Fire is his 7th book in total, his first graphic novel and a dream project for Curt. Follow his process and progress at or @curtmerlo on all the platforms.

About Black Eye Books:

From 1993–1998, Black Eye Books published such notable cartoonists as Jay Stephens (The Land of Nod, Atomic City Tales), Nick Craine (Dance Me Outside), Jason Lutes (Jar of Fools, Berlin), Tom Hart (The Sands), Jeremy Eaton (World of Trouble), Matt Madden (Black Candy), James Kochalka (Quit Your Job), Ed Brubaker (Lowlife), Brian Biggs (Dear Julia), and New Zealand's Dylan Horrocks (Pickle, Hicksville).

Relaunched in 2019 by publisher Michel Vrana, Black Eye Books continues its pursuit of publishing eclectic and engaging stories told in the form of words and pictures.

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