Just arrived in Frankfurt, Germany for the annual huge international book shindig. Publishers from around the world converge in a number of halls the size of many football fields each to present to each other their new books for selling foreign rights. Been here every year since the 80′s, well, except for 2001, out of respect for my frantic wife (who’s a little nervous this time too, since there’s a warning out).
Besides presenting NBM’s latest, like The Broadcast or Networked, or Papercutz’ Harry Potty and Tales from the Crypt, I’ll also be meeting with many European pubs to see their latest and finalize on plans for future books to come from us.
Stay tuned, I may have some news, “Live from Frankfurt, it’s…”
I dunno, live from New York has a better ring.
Right now I’m jusg bleary eyed with jetlag waiting for some books to arrive… sleeeep, I need sleeeep. But I can’t ’cause it’s too early here.
I’d like to welcome to this blog Sean Michael Wilson, whose new book The Story of Lee will be shipping from us to comics stores in December. He’s also noted for AX, Alternative Manga from Top Shelf which has been getting a lot of press and he’s got an adaptation of a famous Japanese classic tale coming out from Kodansha here.
Prolific guy for a ‘wee brain.’ Meeting him is to enjoy his Scot’s brogue, btw. A Scot living in Japan for years and into manga aplenty. And that’s no blarney, mate!
The art for this is by Japanese Chie Kutsuwada who lves in… the UK.
How mixed up is that?!
Just back from the SPX show this last weekend, held in Bethesda. Saturday was amazing. A crowded big hotel conference room full of people eager to get the latest exciting indie comics.
The energy and enthusiasm was palpable as we blew through all the Dungeon books we brought within 2 hours, sold out of our premier of The Broadcast and sold a lot of A Home for Mr. Easter and Greg Houston’s books Vatican Hustle and his new Elephant Man.
Eric Hobbs had flewn in from Indiana for the occasion and we also had Brooke Allen up from Savannah and Greg Houston from… Baltimore all busy signing. Brooke had cute little pins to give away and had made little Mr. Easter figurines which she painted right there for people.
What impressed me the most, after not having been able to go the last couple of years myself (our artists took care of the NBM tables themselves), was a clear turnaround in attitude where in the past many were shy to spend more than a buck or two at a time on mini-comics and kinda stared at the graphic novels. Now they were there to get the latest GNs even if they were, as some publishers do them, at more than $25. Of course, great preference was given to those that the artists could be there to sign (which is why the early blow out of Dungeon took me by surprise, we’ll come better armed next year- oddly enough though we couldn’t sell Little Nothings. Go figure).
Thanks to ever-charming Brooke, Eric and Greg, all very good at engaging the fans, in helping to make this an exciting event to be at.
See ya there next year!
It’s quite fascinating as he goes back to where he went at the start of the Afghan War back in 2001. He reported on that in one of our bestselling books To Afghanistan & Back. This hybrid of comics and articles that he wrote for the Village Voice was also the first ‘instant graphic novel’ as we rushed it out to print within months beginning 2002. It’s gone on to sell over 20,000 copies.
Ted just had to see for himself what was really going on, especially with our country frantically waving our flags at the time and blood-thristy for revenge. What he brought back was sobering. He predicted clearly back then that this was far from over. I knew this would make a great bit of comics journalism and had Ted bring it into comics.
Well, he’s back at it again and tweeting about it as well as blogging. Live from the middle of Taliban hell. The guy’s nuts. But count on him to tell you a different point of view. Subscribe to it.
Also, this time he got a miraculous amount of funding for it through the amazing Kickstarter site (link here goes straight to Ted’s page there). No paper or magazine would pay for this highly dangerous assignment in these nobody-has-money-internet-days, so quite a few people contributed to it through Kickstarter…
Literally, the internet taketh away and then giveth back.
Well, on this one at least…
We’ve updated our look as you can see, much bolder and using space better than it used to. What do you think? Suggestions on anything missing are welcome.
Thanks to Jerrold Shiroma who helps us with this and the Papercutz blog (still being worked on)!
Miran Kim (who did the X-Files comics covers for Topps and recently a spoof of Twilight in Tales from the Crypt 8), was nice enough to send some great pictures she took:
Legendary Ron Turner of Last Gasp came by to sit with us for a bit at the Papercutz booth. That’s me with him.
Back to the dinner (see last post):
Me with Rick Geary and wife Deborah.
Everybody doing a better job of smiling here:
Again, from left to right: Patrick Turner our booth mgr., Ted Rall, friend and wife of Rick Geary, Terry Nantier, Miran Kim, Sean Michael Wilson, Mark Badger and son.
San Diego is an exhausting experience but thrilling oftentimes as well. It’s great to hear from fans about their excitement on certain series or even to hear ‘what a great publishing company you are!” For all the hard work, such compliments are music to my ears. Also, many of our authors that we publish we first started talking to at this show, from Geary to Shane White.
And so, every year, we celebrate our authors in a dinner get together where we all unwind and have a good time together.
Here from right to left is Rick Geary with wife and friend, Ted Rall. On the other side Mark Badger.
And here from left to right: Miran Kim, Badger and son. The other side: Patrick Turner, our booth mgr., Stephanie McMillan, Ted Rall, Geary facing away and co.
One you can barely see in the top picture behind Miran is Sean Michael Wilson, who just did AX, alternative manga at Top Shelf and is about to do with us Story of Lee. He’s a Scot living in Japan. You can imagine the stories he regaled us with in his rich accent.
And now back to the daily task of getting out those books you want from us and see you at the next show (SPX in Washington in September where this time I plan to attend, hadn’t been able to in a few years).
Here’s a great video about the Future of publishing and books in general that’s gone viral for a good reason. Dorling Kindersley UK did it.
It’s quite amazing, you’ll see, very clever.
And after you see it, let me ask you how we ourselves can improve, be more responsive to you. I’d love to hear from you.
Hello from Angouleme. I’m at this year’s edition of the show that attracts as many as 200,000 people every year. It’s France’s San Diego. Lewis Trondheim has had many a page of his Little Nothings dedicated to this show, especially around his consecration with the grand prize here a couple years ago.
Just arrived yesterday and this morning, visited some of the exhibits. Blutch who is one of the main artists of the new generation like Trondheim was given the Grand Prize last year, so that makes him President of this year’s fair and also enables him to put up an exhibition of hois works. In a new space the convention didn’t have before, Blutch has what is this year a regular gallery type hanging of many never before seen works of his. Usually these exhibits mix a recreation of the artist’s world so this is a bit unusual. He also says right up front that he’s not showing his life work or best originals from graphic novels, but various creations he made which had never seen daylight since “and don’t expect any identification.” He’s an original and his work shows how creative and off the beaten path he is. Unfortunately not seen here so far, I believe.
Next to his exhibit is another excellent one of the history of humor cartoons but what I found most interesting was going to see the all new extension of the comics museum which finally has a beautiful new space to show off their extensive collection which they do by presenting a history of comics, with a strong French comics angle obviously but well and in a great space. As you walk over a pedestrian bridge to it, you pass a life size statue of Corto Maltese peering dreamily into the distance. When is San Diego going to do that?
All this with the possibility that Angouleme will no longer host the fair. There was a big debate that even threatened this year’s show, with an almost last minute save. It would be ironic for this city which has streets signs in balloons and two of its main streets named after Goscinny and Herge!
I am very excited to introduce Brooke Allen here, see her post below. Even just a student still, she shows incredible talent already and her energetic drawing style coupled with an uproarious story will make her intro book A Home for Mr. Easter a hit, I just know it!
Take a look at the previews we’ve posted. I’m tellin’ ya her book is irresistible. Just got all the pages and I’m relishing them, snickering openly in the subway while people stare at me for reading such stuff in public. Nyeh, nyeh.