Return To Snakeland Jason Gusmann


Author: Jason Gusmann
Artist: Aaron O'Brian

When author Jason Gusmann began posting his semi-autobiographical novel Return to Snakeland on his blog in 2012, he never expected a stranger would ask to illustrate it or that a groundswell of support would help turn it into a printed graphic novel. Artist Aaron O’Brian discovered that Gusmann had written about his shared teenage obsession — Buffalo’s abandoned grain elevators, particularly one nicknamed “Snakeland”—and immediately contacted the author. Snakeland was a notorious teenage party location, but O’Brian was more interested in the artistic possibilities provided by the dilapidated structure and the Satanic graffiti that littered the place. Gusmann and O’Brian immediately set to work on telling a story that previously lived in legend and gossip: that of the several murders and suicides that took place in the suburbs of Buffalo in the mid-1980s. Using Snakeland as a symbolic backdrop, Gusmann and O’Brian have managed to detail a macabre history lesson that has startling relevance today. While a chronicle of teenage murder, suicide and Satanism is not to everyone’s taste, the project has earned a devoted following and successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign to fund its completion. True to the project’s hometown origins, only Buffalo-based printers and binders were used to produce the graphic novel. Additionally, it is only currently on sale at local retailers: Talking Leaves Books, Gutter Pop Comics, Empire Comics, and Revolver Records