This last weekend’s MoCCA was excellent and generally brisk for us thanks in good part to a great reception of Guest of Honor P. Craig Russell’s latest volume in his Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince, we premiered there.
Many fans had come to the show with stacks of accumulated comics of his, going back all the way to even his earliest for him to sign, besides the new book. Craig had done a gorgeously roccoco/art nouveau-ish poster for the show. That art ended up making beautiful T-Shirts and postcards as well!
In all, we sold out of most of the books we brought and this time Sunday, normally a much slower day, came close to the level of sales we had on Saturday. I have to say, the show started also much more slowly on Saturday than usual but the crowds accumulated and throughout it was good and steady.
Had a good time entertaining Craig for the weekend, he doesn’t travel often -this was his first time back in nyc in 10 years. We also had Brooke Allen at the booth and Neil Kleid appeared as well. A little tease: had good discussions with all about forthcoming books! Stay tuned…
Just learned that the greatly influential publisher Jose Maria Berenguer of La Cupula passed away a couple days ago. He was only 67, not only too young to die in age but mostly in spirit. He would have remained eternally young in mind.
He rose right after the fall of Franco in Spain to create the subversive magazine El Vibora which brought a lot of US underground to Spain and Europe but also brought up many great Spanish artists such as Max, Mariscal, Marti, Pons… His publishing became a beacon of the new freedom in his country and one that shined well beyond his country.
I did business with him quite a bit over his other magazine that just had pure fun being naughty and nasty: Kiss magazine featuring really good erotic comics which we’ve been publishing a lot of over here. From Noe to Gambedotti (you need to be 18 to go to these links), these books are not sausage factory sex but have a great sense of humor, good storytelling and characterization. You might remember that there was for a while a US edition of Kiss (called French Kiss). I didn’t hold it against him. There was plenty of good stuff to go around!
One of the great figures of a very lively comics scene in Spain has left us…
Right now, he’d just want us to continue the party, the thumbing of our nose at the system, having fun disobeying as a statement.
That’s why I admired him and liked him very much.
Last week, I was invited to be part of this center’s Industry Day, along with Gary Groth and Judy Hansen amongst others. They’re up in bucolic Vermont, a far cry from the hectic NYC pace and a nice breather. A long picturesque ride on the train and they’re in what was a train boom town, White River Junction. Obviously it’s suffered with the decline of rail but it’s coming back and the Center has some to do with that but it also still retains a lot of the old time charm. Staying at the Coolidge Hotel was a gas(lamp) [sorry, couldn't resist], a little like the Horton Grand in San Diego, all classic of a century ago but this one more rustic.
We engaged in a lively conversation of where the industry is, poured tons of cold shower onto the poor students there but when it came to portfolio review, I was generally impressed. Told a few we’d like to publish ‘em! It is amazing, despite such low odds and bad money for most, how much great talent just really really wants to be in this medium.
Also the school is at a human size with 40-50 students and a great faculty roster. Besides founder James Sturm, Steve Bissette, Jason Lutes and others teach there. Impressive.
Great to be away from the ever devouring Big Apple and go see what the latest aspiring generation is up to.
…we have still no internet and even phone lines! They were supposed to come days before our move to install both and failed to do so.
What did they do to make up for it? Put us back in the queue as if we were a new order! Another 2-3 week wait!!!
And I haven’t even started… we have been fighting this every day to little avail.
Hopefully by the end of this week we should have all this up and running but God knows.
Meantime it’s a been a wangling of using a cellphone hotspot and Starbucks and routing calls to our cellphones!
It’s enough to turn you into THE HULK.
We’ve been hearing a lot of Verizon horror stories like this. Anybody else experience this?
He was a role model and I was priviledged to do business with him.
Barney Rosset, as you may have heard, passed away. He made his life as a publisher a crusade against our society’s strictures of morality. He picked fights and fought them fearlessly: Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Tropic of Cancer, Naked Lunch and yes The Story of O.
Oh, the fights benefitted sales, certainly. He wasn’t stupid. But it seems the fight was what he enjoyed the most throughout his life. Givin’ it to those moralizing censors, making the 1st amendment actually mean something.
In the early nineties, Rosset called me to establish an account with us. At the time, he had sold his legendary Grove Press and started another called Blue Moon Books to bring out a trove of long repressed 19th century erotic books. He wanted to complement his mail order business of this with our Eurotica line, including, of course, The Story of O, which he had to have a nostalgia for at that point.
This was vindication. The spirit with which I entered into publishing Eurotica was in fact very similar to his. Yes, to make money. But also to thumb my nose at the puritanical establishment. My finger at it, actually. Also I wanted to show that comics can also do smut with quality, with a voice. That’s why I’m still proud to publish Eurotica. It’s certainly not all high falutin’ stuff, a lot of it just plain fun (but always with great art) but you can see our gems in there, Omaha the Cat Dancer being one of them.
His fights against censorship, his Evergreen Review, which, by the way, featured dirty comics before underground comix existed, helped to bring on the sixties. He was fighting those sixties fights well before the sixties! That made him a visionary.
Ah, yes, Barney Rosset made being a smut peddler cool.
A belated welcome to Craig Russell to our blog! We’ve got a series of fascinating videos/interviews of him working specifically on his next Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, the 5th volume with the Happy Prince, coming out in April and to be premiered at MoCCA in NY end of April. We’ll post one a week of those and also have him comment in regular blog entries on his work.
The book is being solicited for now at comics stores.
We’re also busy at the office working on putting together the book to go out to the printer tomorrow. The artwork is stunning and Lovern Kindzierski’s colors just beautiful! Lovin’ every minute.
We’re working right now on preparing Dungeon Zenith vols. 1 and 2 for going back to press and in doing so I got to realize the 1st one is now heading into its fourth printing, the second into its 3rd.
Damn, I’m impressed and quite proud of this success.
In March, we’ve got a banded set of all 3 volumes in the Zenith subseries lined up which prompts these reprints, the volumes had been out of stock for a good few months and are certainly missed.
I’d like to welcome Top Shelf to the 21st century and digital comics.
I find the hoopla around their announcement somewhat amusing especially as we’ve been there, done that for over two years now and have quite a nice library up on Comixology building for some time now! So declarations about being the first, well, Chris, I luv ya, but…
We’re also working with our distributor IPG to get us available with e-tailers and providers beyond comics ones in the general realm of e-books. So, Libraries: Overdrive should have us already! And that’s just one.
End of bass drum beating.
Following right after this, Ernie Colon’s first appearance on our blog, welcome, Ernie!
He joins our many artists blogging here from Rick Geary to Sean Michael Wilson.
Just back from SPX in the Washington DC area and it was energizing!
Saturday was amazing, starting right off the bat in high gear. For a few hours, we sold steadily books upon books, selling out of many Dungeon titles quickly as well as Sky Over the Louvre and Geary’s new Sacco & Vanzetti.
By the end of the show we had sold out of substantial quantities also of our premiere of the Stargazing Dog which was warmly received and, with Brooke Allen signing, of the many copies we brought of her Home for Mr. Easter.
The energy around the show is wonderful to see, the Ignatz Awards were SRO with many unable to fit and the post party went on into the wee hours. Gotta say, I love the forgiving hours of the show, starting at 11 on Saturday and even noon on Sunday.
A fun experience worth the trip and this show should attract attendees from farther than the DC area alone, it deserves it!
Many thanks to Brooke, Rick Parker who held up the Papercutz side, and Jesse Lonergan for appearing at our booth and talking with fans.