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Fantagraphics announces two new Lucy Knisley books

age-of-license-coverLucy Knisley was the toast of comics last year for her graphic-novel memoir Relish, so the announcement that Fantagraphics will publish her next two books is big news.

Both books are travel stories. The first, An Age of License, is the tale of Lucy’s trip through Europe, where she apparently has all sorts of adventures, meditates on the meaning of life and finds love. It’s due out this fall and will be about 200 pages, black and white with some color.

In the second book, Displacement, Lucy takes her grandparents on a cruise, meditates on the meaning of life and “tries to hold her family together,” which sounds intriguing. This graphic novel will also be black and white with some color.

There are a couple of things about this announcement that are worth noting. First is the move from First Second, which published Relish, to Fantagraphics. First Second gave Relish a strong marketing push — for a while it seemed there was a Lucy Knisley interview somewhere, often in a major publication, every single day, and she did a book tour as well. I think that’s helpful to a young creator, and I hope she’s able to stay on a roll with Fantagraphics.

The other thing is format. Relish had a lush feeling because it was in full color. To me, a black-and-white or black-and-white-with-color format signals a different type of book, maybe something a bit more serious, a bit more literary. It works well for many of Fantagraphics’ titles, as it did for Knisley’s first book, French Milk, and it will be interesting to see how it changes the feel of her work.

Fall is a long ways away, so while you wait, check out Knisley’s sporadically updated webcomic, Stop Paying Attention, which is funny and perceptive and really shows what she is capable of.

The full press release can be found below.

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Comics A.M. | Dark Horse turns to Random House for bookstores

Dark Horse

Dark Horse

Publishing | This may seem a little inside-baseball, but it’s actually pretty significant: Dark Horse will switch from Diamond Book Distributors to Random House for book-market distribution, effective June 1, 2014. The publisher is sticking with Diamond for comics, but a lot of its line has appeal outside the direct market — the Avatar graphic novels, the Zelda guide — and Dark Horse wants to expand its presence in bookstores. This also makes for an interesting consolidation of manga distribution, as Random House also distributes Kodansha Comics (with which it has a strong business relationship) and Vertical books. [ICv2]

Comics | Superheroes may rule on television and in film, but comics continue to be a niche medium. The Associated Press reporter Melissa Rayworth talks to a comic-shop owner whose customers skulk in on the down low, an opera singer whose friends are surprised she reads comics, and Comics Alliance writer Chris Sims, who does a good job of putting things in perspective. [ABC]

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Comics A.M. | Is the world’s oldest comic book from Scotland?

The Glasgow Looking Glass

The Glasgow Looking Glass

History | Scholars will present their research this week on The Glasgow Looking Glass, which is believed to be the very first comic book, at the International Graphic Novel and International Bande Dessinee Society Joint Conference in Glasgow Published in 1825, the work is a satire of early 19th-century Scottish fashions and politics. [ITV]

Retailing | Aaron Muncy, owner of The Comic Shop in Decatur, Alabama, is matter-of-fact about his business: There isn’t much of a kids’ market, he says, and he has no time for collectible comics: “Since it’s worth so much money — it’s just straight to eBay and get rid of it. I’ll leave it in the store for a week or two if I pick it up, just to give my customers a chance but it’s worth too much money to have sitting around.” [WAFF]

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Talking food with ‘Relish’ creator Lucy Knisley

RelishLucy Knisley’s Relish: My Life in the Kitchen has been one of the most talked about graphic novels of the year since its debut in April at the MoCCA Arts Festival. That’s not too surprising, as the emotional pull of food and the way it intermingles with family and other relationships often makes for compelling reading. In Relish, Knisley has put together a series of short stories about her foodie parents and her own experiences in and out of the kitchen and accompanied them with some favorite recipes, all illustrated in her loose, colorful style.

For a while it seemed like everyone in the world was interviewing Knisley, and as someone who enjoys a good food story, I didn’t want to be left out.

Brigid Alverson: Obviously food is very important to your family, but why did you think it was a good theme for a memoir?

Lucy Knisley: Sense memory is a great connection to our past! I grew up with a family that cares a lot about food, and learned from them how to care about food. I have so many wonderful memories associated with foods, it makes perfect sense to tell these stories centered around the food I love.

In the prose world, food writing has become its own genre. Do you have any favorite food writers?

Lately I love David Lebovitz‘s food writing — he has a great (and hilarious) voice, and writes quite a bit about Paris (which I love) and chocolate (ditto).

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Comics A.M. | Amazing Spider-Man #700 racks up $1.6 million

The Amazing Spider-Man #700

Publishing | The Amazing Spider-Man #700 led the pack in the December comics numbers with 200,000 copies selling to comics shops, and with a cover price if $7.99, it racked up a cool $1.6 million in sales. Avengers #1 sold 186,000 copies but at a more reasonable price, so the dollars didn’t pile up as high for that one. ICv2 also has the December charts for the Top 300 comics and graphic novels in the direct market. John Jackson Miller takes it to the next level with sales estimates for the top 1,000 comics and trades of 2012. [ICv2]

Publishing | At the other end of the scale, Rob Clough talks to Chuck Forsman, the guy behind micropublisher Oily Comics. [The Comics Journal]

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Comics A.M. | New York Comic Con three-day tickets go on sale

New York Comic Con

Conventions | Three-day tickets went on sale this week for New York Comic Con. Confirmed guests so far include Geoff Johns, Jim Lee, Mike Mignola and Josh Gates. [Collider.com]

Publishing | The revelation that DC’s newly reintroduced Green Lantern Alan Scott is gay has moved Christian comic publisher Art Ayris, who is also the executive pastor of a Baptist church, to announce that his company Kingstone Media won’t be including gay characters in its lineup: “If Kingstone is the only comic book company in America doing it, we will stand for the things God says are godly and stand against things that clearly fall under the category of sin.” [Baptist Press]

Retailing | The Avengers movie seems to be bringing new customers into comics stores looking for Marvel titles, at least in Maryland. Pullbox requests for Marvel comics are also up, suggesting some of the uptick is from existing customers. [The Star Democrat]

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Skyhorse to publish Tangles graphic novel

Friday’s New York Times had a fascinating article by James Warren about Comics & Medicine: The Sequential Art of Illness, a conference that was held this past week at Northwestern University in Chicago. The article mentioned a number of comics and graphic novels that deal with medical issues, including slice-of-life stories of working in the medical field, instructional manuals, and accounts of living with an illness. One of the latter that caught my eye was Sarah Leavitt’s Tangles, which deals with her mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease—a story that is all too familiar to readers of my generation (including myself). The graphic novel was published in Canada, but later on Friday, Skyhorse Publishing announced via Twitter that they will be publishing it in the U.S. as well. Skyhorse is an independent book publisher with a wide repertoire, from the looks of their website, and they are distributed by W.W. Norton (which also distributes Fantagraphics books), so Tangles should be easy to find when it is published.

For more on the conference, which included guest appearances by Scott McCloud, Phoebe Gloeckner, David Small, and Paul Gravett, check out the blog of Mom’s Cancer creator Brian Fies, as well as Publishers Weekly’s writeup.


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