This weekend marks Toronto Comics Art Festival 2011 (TCAF), where among the many great storytellers appearing, Stuart Immonen celebrates his “return to his eclectic collection of work” with the premiere of Centifolia II (and the return of the out-of-print Centifolia I). To mark the debut/return of Centifolia, I contacted Immonen for this hellaciously enjoyable interview. This exchange was a blast for me, particularly given that Immonen indulged numerous follow-up questions in our email exchanges. A great many storytellers are immensely funny people, but I genuinely think Immonen possesses a rare wit and wealth of knowledge that reveals itself not only in this interview, but more importantly, it informs his work. I wish I was attending TCAF, for numerous reasons, but the fact that “there will even be a limited (100) slipcase edition [available at TCAF] that includes a special S&N print and custom slipcase design” is the ultimate “damn I wish I was going” talking point for me. Need more convincing how great these books are? AdHouse’s Chris Pitzer (the publisher of Immonen’s Centifolia) offers consumers nine-page previews of Volume I and Volume II for everyone’s enjoyment.
Tim O’Shea: When one hears that the book is culled from your sketchbooks, it might seem a bit misleading. Not every sketchbook sports pages with fully designed logos (“9 Nuts and Why I Hate Them” for example).
Stuart Immonen: Well, I think that’s probably due to the term “sketchbook” being more often used to describe a collection of finished pinup drawings and not so much actual sketching– i.e. ideas in development, visual note-taking, idle doodling and so on. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the former– I love being able to enjoy and study the completed work of my favourite artists, but I’m also interested in process; the journey of how an artist gets to the final piece, and that’s what Centifolia tries to be.
Some of my most well-thumbed artist’s books fall into this category: Tardi’s Chiures De Gomme, Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Datebooks, Ashley Wood’s Sencilla Fanta… even Dupuy and Berberian’s Maybe Later qualifies.So… I’m interested in pulling back the curtain and showing readers a little of how I work.
Awards | Adam Hines has won the graphic novel category in the 31st annual Los Angeles Times Book Prize for his debut book Duncan the Wonder Dog: Show One. The other nominees were Dash Shaw’s Bodyworld, Karl Stevens’ The Lodger, Carol Tyler’s You’ll Never Know, Book II, and Jim Woodring’s Weathercraft. [press release]
Conventions | More than two years after canceling its Los Angeles convention, Wizard World announced it will return to the city Sept. 24-25 with Los Angeles Comic Con, to be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Big Apple Comic Con, which previously had been scheduled for those dates, will be moved to the spring. [press release]
Publishing | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson talks with Viz Media Vice President Alvin Lu about the expansion of the publisher’s iPad app to include iPhone and iPod Touch. [Publishers Weekly]
Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca’s Afrodisiac took the comics world by storm last year and recently received an Eisner Award nomination. Only thing is, the book is currently between printings.
“To ensure that every possible Eisner Award voter has all of the necessary information to cast their ballot in a responsible and educated manner, we have decided to put the entire book online for FREE,” the team posted on AdHouse’s site. You can check it out for yourself over at the Issuu website.
AdHouse Books has a habit of producing some pretty exquisite-looking books, so it’s no wonder Stuart Immonen has teamed with them to produce Centifolia V2, an 128-page collection of the artist’s sketches, concept designs, illustrations and comics.
I believe the sold-out first volume was self-published, but AdHouse will also bring it back into print. They’re also offering a limited slipcase edition that includes both volumes and a print.
“I was very happy to be approached by Stuart to help make this happen. We’ve been con-buddies for a few years now, and I really love his work,” Pitzer said.
All three will be available starting at the 2011 Toronto Comics Art Festival on May 7 & 8. You can find the entire press release after the jump.
AdHouse Books announced on their blog yesterday that Duncan the Wonder Dog, by Adam Hines, has won the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize. This is the first year for the prize, which is sponsored by the Penn State University Libraries and administered by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, which is affiliated with the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. The judges award the prize, which consists of $2,500 and a copy of the Library of America’s two-volume set of Lynd Ward’s graphic novels, to the best U.S. or Canadian graphic novel published in the previous calendar year by a living author.
Duncan sold out in print back in January, and AdHouse has published it as a digital graphic novel while waiting for the new books to arrive. Hines has also posted Show One at his blog, although he mentions plans to take it down this month when the print edition becomes available again.
Fantagraphics notes on their blog that Drew Weing’s Set to Sea is a runner-up for the prize. The Center for the Book people haven’t sent out an official announcement yet, but the internet runs faster than the printing press. On that note, it’s interesting that both these book awards went to graphic novels that have significant digital releases—and in fact, are both available in their entirety online. It seems like the opposite of Ward’s handmade, low-tech ethos, but really it isn’t—handmade by their creators with minimal editorial interference, webcomics really are the new woodcuts.
(Via The Beat.)
Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading, our weekly look at whatever books, comics or cereal boxes we happen to be reading at the moment. JK Parkin is on vacation for the next week, so I’ll be your host until he gets back.
Our guest this week is Vancouver artist Jason Copland, who has contributed to the Perhapanauts series and currently draws the online comic Kill All Monsters (which is written, of course, by our own Michael May)
To see what Jason and the rest of the crew are reading, click below.
Today’s Six by 6 sprang out of a recent post Comics Reporter Tom Spurgeon did on five of his favorite superhero fights. It’s a pretty excellent list and made me want to come up with my own, though I thought I might see if I could expand it a bit by staying away from the superhero genre and moving into other realms. What great fights could I find in the world of manga or alt-comix, I wondered?
Turns out I didn’t have to look too far. I should note though that this list is by no means definitive — it’s simply a list of six comic book battles that I like a whole lot. I’ve probably forgotten some. Actually I’ve probably forgotten plenty. Feel free to let me know what I’ve overlooked in the comments section.
Finalists and winners are selected by panels of three judges composed of published authors who specialize in each genre or category. The winners will be presented April 29 in a ceremony at the Chandler Auditorium in Los Angeles as a prelude to the 16th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.
The finalists in the graphic novel category are:
• Adam Hines, Duncan the Wonder Dog: Show One (AdHouse Books)
• Dash Shaw, Bodyworld (Pantheon)
• Karl Stevens, The Lodger (KSA Publishing)
• C. Tyler, You’ll Never Know, Book Two: Collateral Damage (Fantagraphics)
• Jim Woodring, Weathercraft (Fantagraphics)
For the full list of finalists in all categories, visit the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes website.
Adam Hines’ Duncan the Wonder Dog has done pretty well — a little too well, as it turns out. The first printing has sold out, and the second won’t be ready until later this spring. So Hines did the logical thing and took the digital road, but in this case, it’s the road less taken: Rather than go with a comics app like comiXology, he is releasing Duncan in downloadable form via MyDigitalComics.com. MyDigitalComics allows users to either download comics in PDF or CBZ format or keep them in the cloud and read them via an online web viewer.
Chris Pitzer of AdHouse, which publishes the print version of the book, talked to Laura Hudson of Comics Alliance about the decision to publish the graphic novel via MyDigitalComics rather than comiXology. One factor was that comiXology needed to reformat the files for mobile devices like the iPhone, which neither party wanted to do. On the other hand, since the files were already in digital form, no prep was needed to sell them as PDF or CBZ downloads, so the digital cost is lower than print.
And if you want to view it for free, take a look at Adam’s blog, because hard as it is to believe, all of Show One is up there now. So why pay for a download? Because unlike a PDF, the web isn’t forever — Hines plans to take Duncan back offline in March.
Need to know more? Publishers Weekly reviewed Duncan this week.
If you’re looking for a company that started and ended strong 2010, look no further than AdHouse Books, the independent company that’s published books by Joshua Cotter, Paul Pope and James Jean, among others. Although they aren’t the kind of company that puts out a huge amount of books, they are one you can always count on to put out something interesting.
As for those bookends for the year, AdHouse kicked off 2010 with the release of Afrodisiac by Brian Maruca and Jim Rugg, and ended it with Duncan the Wonder Dog by Adam Hines, which landed at the top of some folks‘ best comics of the year lists. (Including my own; it came in at No. 16 on CBR’s list for 2010).
I spoke with AdHouse Publisher Chris Pitzer about the previous year, the above two books, their new AdDistro initiative and what they have coming up for 2011. My thanks to Chris for sending over a lot of cool art to show you as well.
JK: Thanks for agreeing to talk to us today, Chris. I thought we could start off talking about 2010, and in particular some the bigger projects you put out.Let’s start with something that seems like it came out a long time ago, Afrodisiac. It seemed to garner a lot of attention when it came out in January.
Chris: Thanks for the interest in AdHouse, JKP! I dig what the Robot 6 blog does, so I appreciate the opportunity to chat about this stuff. In regards to Afrodisiac, it was an HONOR to work with Jim and Brian on that. We’ve been “dancing” around the topic of publishing it for years, and it was nice to finally have it happen. Yeah, it feels like so long ago, doesn’t it?
Today Pop Candy’s Whitney Matheson did something that some consider too revealing even in this socially networked, airport x-ray’d age: She posted 20 movies from her Netflix “Watch Instantly” queue. Like anyone else’s, it’s a motley crew of movies made possible by a massive library of films and the power to watch any of them at any time with a few clicks of a mouse — a blend of “comfort food” you want access to at all times, unwatched stuff you’re dying to see at the next available opportunity, major investments of time or energy you haven’t been prepared to make just yet, “eat your vegetables” fare you know you ought to watch eventually, and goofy guilty pleasures you’re simply tickled to be able to watch whenever you feel like it.
This got me thinking. I know there are any number of logistical and financial reasons why such a thing doesn’t exist for comics. But we comics readers are an imaginative bunch, no? And today I choose to imagine a world where I can load up pretty much any book I can think of and read to my heart’s content. So here’s what my imaginary “Read Instantly” queue would look like, circa today. Check it out, then let us know what’s on your queue in the comments!
The great cartoonist Josh Cotter, whose book Driven by Lemons ranked sixth on CBR’s list of the Best Comics of 2009, is in a bad way. AdHouse Books publisher Chris Pitzer reports that Cotter’s neighbor’s apartment recently caught fire, and the flames spread to the apartment Cotter shares with his girlfriend and their cats. Fortunately no one (two-legged or four-legged) was hurt, and the property damage could have been much worse. But with no renters’ insurance, and with the costs of clean-up and storage for all their stuff while they figure out their next move, Cotter is in the midst of a financial crisis.
Fortunately, there’s two ways you can help, and both involve getting truly awesome comics and art in return. First, you can buy things from Cotter’s website — not just his magnificent graphic novels Skyscrapers of the Midwest and Driven by Lemons, but limited edition minicomics, prints, original pages from his books, and much more.
Second, AdHouse is donating 100% of the proceeds from sales of any of Josh’s stuff directly to Josh for the next three weeks. If you ever wanted to check out the work of one of the best cartoonists of his generation, there’s never been a better time.
Publishing | John Jackson Miller delves into September’s grim direct-market sales figures and discovers a (relative) bright spot: Sales of lower-tier titles — those that don’t crack Diamond’s Top 300 — appear to be increasing, to record levels. “How do we know?” Miller writes. “Believe it or not, a record for high sales was actually set in September. The 300th place comic book, Boom’s Farscape #11, sold more copies to retailers in September than in any month since November 1996: 4,702 copies. That’s a record for the period following Marvel’s return to Diamond. This bellwether tells us about the shape of the market, and how prolific the major and middle-tier publishers are; when many of their titles are being released and reordered, higher-volume titles tend to push farther into the list.”
However, the higher you go on the list, the worse things look: “The average comic book in the Top 25 is selling more poorly in 2010 than in 2003. At the very top of the chart, 2010′s average top-sellers are about 25% off what the best-sellers of 2003 were doing.” [The Comichron]
It was beautiful yet windy day in San Francisco yesterday as I headed to San Francisco for the Alternative Press Expo. I got there a bit later than I’d hoped, due to a quick pit stop in Mountain View that turned into a traffic nightmare. The lot behind the Concourse was already full by the time I arrived, a hint of the crowds that had gathered inside. And inside, everything was different. The layout of the floor was basically flipped, so what used to be the back of the building was now the front of the building. They also had part of their programming slate, the comic workshops, out in an open area up on one of the landings, which I thought worked nicely.
My first stop was the Writers Old Fashioned booth, where I said hello to Jason McNamara, Storm, Matt Silady, Stephenny Godfrey, Emily Stackhouse, Josh Richardson, Danger Bob and the rest of the crew. They were sporting some new eye-catching banners. I also met Greg Hinkle, who worked with several of the WOF crew on a new horror comic called Parasomnia, which they had at the show … and which you’ll be able to see right here on Robot 6 the week of Halloween. I picked up copies Storm’s second Princess Witch Boy and Godfrey’s award-winning Panorama, and Stackhouse showed me her artwork from her next comic, Miner’s Mutiny, which she should have soon.
AdHouse Books returned to APE this year, bringing Adam Hines and his book Duncan the Wonder Dog. I picked up a copy; it’s a huge and mammoth volume that I’m looking forward to reading. I also have to give props to the folks at the Devastator table, whose excitement was infectious. I picked up the first volume and bought a subscription for the next three.
After an engaging spotlight panel, Daniel Clowes was signing at the Drawn and Quarterly booth, drawing a huge line of folks with everything from issues of Lloyd Llewellyn to his latest, Wilson, for him to sign. Renee French was close by, signing her latest, H-Day; we talked briefly about blogging (check out her always interesting sketch blog here).
It looks like rain today, so I should probably start making my way to the Concourse to see if I can get a better parking space …
Early this morning AdHouse Books gave subscribers to its e-newsletter the exclusive first look at one of its upcoming projects: a collection of rare newspaper strips by Joshua Cotter (Skyscrapers of the Midwest).
The book, titled Barbra in the Sky with Neil Diamonds, is a collection of the newspaper strips Cotter created from 2002 to 2007 for the Kansas City Star. AdHouse is taking a unique approach to this, with a print run of just 99 copies, each one being numbered and accompanied with a matching S&N print. It’s going to retail for $39.99 and will debut in December at the Brooklyn Graphic Art Festival.