Drawn & Quarterly
With the end of the year approaching, book publishers are sending out their preview catalogs to book buyers and the media. One of those publishers, Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, just happens to represent the Canadian comics company Drawn & Quarterly, which means we can get a sneak peek of sorts at their plans for the spring and summer months. Most of these titles won’t be too surprising to those who follow the company’s output, but there are a few books of note that readers may not be expecting. Click on the link to find out what they are.
I’ve been anticipating this since Daniel Clowes teased it at the Alternative Press Expo in October … Tom Spurgeon broke the news this morning that Drawn & Quarterly will release a hardcover version of Clowes’ The Death-Ray next fall.
Much like Pantheon did when they repackaged Clowes’ Ice Haven as a stand-alone hardcover, the book will repackage and re-release an issue of Clowes’ Eightball — issue #23, which came out in 2004 and starred the outcast-turned superhero. The Death-Ray has also been optioned for film by Jack Black’s Electric Dynamite Productions, with Chris Milk attached to direct
“The Death-Ray is one of the most perfect and fully realized comics of the past decade and it is nothing short of the highest honour to publish,” said Chris Oliveros, editor-in-chief and publisher of Drawn & Quarterly in the press release. “The story of the alienated Andy is drawn and written to perfection with Dan’s signature subtle humour, stylistic eloquence, and understated social commentary–showcasing all of the hallmarks of why Dan is one of the preeminent cartoonists of the comics medium.”
You can find the entire press release after the jump.
Comics College is a monthly feature where we provide an introductory guide to some of the comics medium’s most important auteurs and offer our best educated suggestions on how to become familiar with their body of work.
This month we’re looking at the career of a relative newcomer to the comics industry, Mr. Kevin Huizenga.
Acme Novelty Library Vol. 20
by Chris Ware
Drawn & Quarterly, 72 pages $23.95
(Note: I shall endeavor to be as spoiler-free as possible, but obviously if you’re the sort who would rather dive into a book like this knowing as little as possible then you may not want to click on that “continue reading” link.)
Acme Novelty Library #20 is about an asshole. The book’s main character, one Jordan W. Lint, is a bully, a coward, an adulterer, a drunkard, is frequently callous and cruel to friends and family, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In some regards he is an outright monster.
And yet, Ware manages to make us not only care, rather deeply, about this unlikeable figure but also sympathize and, to a surprising degree, understand his plight. Without condoning or excusing his behavior, Ware manages to offer a portrait that is nuanced enough to make us reflect upon our own foibles and fears. If that’s not the mark of a great artist, I’m not sure what is.
As is my wont, I made the one-day (the one day being Saturday) trek to Bethesda, Md., along with Joe “Jog” McCulloch for the annual Small Press Expo. Perhaps the Earth’s rotation is spinning ever faster, but this year’s show seemed a bit of a blur to me, even by previous years’ standards. Before I had a chance to say “Sorry, I’m tapped out and can’t buy your mini-comic,” it was after 6 p.m. and time to go home. Fortunately I took some pictures to help my fading memory keep the show alive in my tumescent brain. Or at least, I tried to take some pictures.
Alternative comics’ Day of Deals continues: Drawn & Quarterly has launched its annual Warehouse Sale, the biggest sale of the year for the publisher. Nearly everything D&Q has in stock is available for 30-40% off the regular price: Chris Ware, Seth, Lynda Barry, Chester Brown, Kevin Huizenga, Rutu Modan, Ron Regé Jr., Gabrielle Bell, Jillian Tamaki, you name it. Between this and Top Shelf, you could basically build yourself a respectable bookshelf for practically peanuts.
Welcome to another round of What are you reading. JK is off enjoying the Labor Day weekend somewhere far away from any Internet connection, so I’m filling in for him this week.
And what a perfect week it is for me to fill in as we’ve got not one but two special guests this week! First up is Kristy Valenti, associate editor of The Comics Journal and Comixology columnist. If that weren’t enough we’ve also got Chris Arrant, who has been kind enough to guest-blog with us all this week.
Click on the link to see what they and everyone else has been perusing lately. And be sure to tell us in the comments what comics you’ve been reading as well.
Having looked at Fantagraphics’ catalog a few weeks ago, the time seemed ripe to pull back the curtain on Drawn and Quarterly’s publishing plans for the coming months as well, especially since their distributor Farrar Straus and Giroux was kind enough to email me a link to their .pdf catalog.
What’s in the offing? New books by Adrian Tomine, John Stanley, Frank King, just to name a few. Click on the link to see what else to expect.
Maybe it was the sharpened instincts I gained from reading Brian Ralph’s first-person POV post-apocalyptic thriller Daybreak, which uses that unique videogame-style eye-view perspective to put you in the middle of the action like no other comic from the zombie craze. Or maybe I’m just a good guesser. But when Ralph (an alumnus of the ultra-influential Providence art/comics/music collective Fort Thunder) started posting never-before-seen Daybreak cover sketches to the New Bodega blog last week, I had a hunch this meant that the acclaimed three-part series had a collected edition in its future. Now Drawn & Quarterly’s Tom Devlin confirms the upcoming creation of a Daybreak hardcover, kinda, with a series of rhetorical questions: “Next Fall?…Additional epilogue? Deluxe hard cover treatment? Comic-Con debut? Are these things in the offing from D+Q?” I’ll bet my right arm that the answer to all these questions is “yes”…
If it’s Tuesday, it’s time for Food or Comics? Every week we talk about what comics we’d buy if we only had $15 to spend, if we only had $30 to spend and if we had extra money to spend on what we’re calling a “Splurge” item.
So join Brigid Alverson, Chris Mautner and me as we run down what we’d buy this week, and check out Diamond’s release list to play along in our comments section.
If I had $15…
I’d start with the first issue of Baltimore: The Plague Ships ($3.50), because it’s written by Mike Mignola and it has Europe flooded with vampires. Looks like fun. And then, because I can’t get enough Mignola, I’ll take issue 2 of Hellboy: The Storm ($2.99).
Dark Horse is launching its updated Magnus: Robot Fighter series, written by Jim Shooter, this week. Issue #1 looks pretty sweet, and it’s 56 pages for $3.50 (including the original Magnus story from 1963), so I’ll give that a try.
Welcome to another round of What Are You Reading. With JK Parkin in the midst of San Diego Comic-Con madness, I’m taking over the WAYR duties for this week. Our guest this week is blogger, noteworthy critic and Newsarama contributor Matt Seneca.
Find out what Matt’s been reading (he’s got a long list), and be sure to include your own current reading list, after the jump …
Saturday at Comic-Con International in San Diego, once upon a time, was “big movie day” at the con … back before every day became big movie day at the con. Still, today somewhat lived up to its reputation for being eventful, as the Avengers assembled on stage, Green Lantern movie footage was shown and one poor fan was stabbed in the eye while attending programming in Hall H, where several of the big movie panels took place. The victim was taken to UCSD Medical Center, while his attacker was taken away by police after attendees detained him.
In happier news, here’s what was announced on the comics front:
• Marvel Editor-in-Chief and Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada confirmed that Marvel is “gonna be doing some CrossGen stuff.” CrossGen, which published numerous titles like Sojourn, Way of the Rat, Abadazad and Meridian starting 1998, went bankrupt in 2004. Disney bought their assets that same year.
Their titles covered many different genres, from fantasy to horror to detective stories. “I think with the CrossGen stuff you’re going to see us attempt a little more genre publishing, which I think is much-needed in our imprint,” Quesada said. No word yet on what properties they plan to bring back.
• Kurt Busiek announced that American Gothic, the urban fantasy comic announced at last year’s WildStorm panel, will now be called Witchlands. The series will be drawn by Connor Willumson. Busiek is also working on an Arrowsmith novel titled Arrowsmith: Far from the Fields We Know, which will include illustrations by Carlos Pacheco.
I’m going to lead with a new license announcement from the Tokyopop panel at Comic-Con International: Koge-Donbo’s Naki Shōjo no Tame no Pavane (Pavane for a Dead Girl), a story about a musical prodigy who makes a deal with the angel of death. Tokyopop’s Marco Pavia told me they have another new title as well, Ghost Face, by Min-Woo Hyung, the creator of Priest.
The other big manga news is that Drawn & Quarterly has the license for two Shigeru Mizuki manga, Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths and NonNonBā. (If you’re wondering why that sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because NonNonBā won the Best Album Award at the Angoulême International Comics Festival a couple of years back. This is very good news for those who like their manga on the literary side. And the D&Q folks had to be smiling pretty broadly after Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s autobiographical tome A Drifting Life took two Eisner awards.
Meanwhile, Yen Press announced a number of new titles, including Otoyome-Gatari (The Bride’s Stories) by Emma creator Kaoru Mori, as well as Highschool of the Dead, Aron’s Absurd Armada, Betrayal Knows My Name, and yet another arc of Higurashi When They Cry. They also revealed that Yen Plus magazine, which stopped print publication this month, will continue as an online anthology that will be free the first month and cost the reader $2.99 per month after that.
There was one bit of sobering news, a reminder that things are still not all they should be in the manga industry: Del Rey’s indefatigable marketing manager Ali T. Kokmen is no longer with the company. Ali is well-liked in the industry, and hopefully some smart manga company will snap him up soon.
Ever since she made made her debut in anthologies like True Porn and Kramer’s Ergot, Davis’ work has exuded a warmth, humor, and sense of style that few of her compatriots can match, a fact only underscored by her 2005 book, Spaniel Rage, published by the late, lamented Buenaventura Press.
It’s been far too long since we’ve had a new book from her, but Make Me A Woman is thankfully worth the wait. Lest the title fool you into thinking the book is some saucy romp, let me be quick to dash some cold water on your overheated imagination. Mostly containing stories originally serialized in Tablet magazine, as well as some sketchbook strips and other material, the book explores how her relationship towards her family, friends, religion and self-image has changed as she’s matured. Along the way she talks about her experiences at fat camp, her feelings towards Robert Crumb’s Genesis adaptation and why she’d still like a present for Hanukkah.
I chatted with Davis over email last week about her new book and how she broke into comics. It was a genuine pleasure and I hope I don’t have to wait another five years for the opportunity to talk about her work with her again.
If you dig minimalist minicomics, then go ahead and climb aboard the CBR mothership for an interview with King-Cat impresario John Porcellino by Alex Dueben. In addition to some impressively direct questions about working with an outside publisher (Drawn & Quarterly) and putting together a collection — both of which, after all, are outside the legendary self-publisher’s wheelhouse — Dueben draws out some interesting info about Porcellino’s future projects:
Is the plan or the hope for D&Q to publish a collected edition of the comic every few years like this?
Yes, the next collection will be called “From Lone Mountain” and will contain material from King-Cat issues 62- 68 or so. We plan on beginning to intersperse the release of the collections with books of all-new material as well.
In addition to your “King Cat” work, you have a graphic novel coming out from Drawn and Quarterly next spring, “The Hospital Suite.” I don’t know how much you want to say about or where you are in finishing it…
It’s one of those “all-new” books I mentioned earlier – my experiences from 1997-98, when I was very ill. That period was the hinge of my life thus far, and when I look back, things are clearly divided into Pre-Illness and Post-Illness. The story has been written for a while now, I just need to draw it.
I think we probably all have events in our lives that divide everything else into Pre and Post; seeing a self-observer as astute as Porcellino tackle his big dividing-line event should be absolutely fascinating.