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Across the Pond | A roundup of U.K. comics news

First, a heads-up on the British Invasion of Toronto: This weekend, Toronto Comics Art Festival will host a number of creators from the United Kingdom, including Sean Azzopardi (Necessary Monsters), Darryl Cunningham (Psychiatric Tales), Joe Decie (Accidental Salad), Tom Gauld (Goliath), Lizz Lunney (Depressed Cat: Nine Miserable Lives) and Luke Pearson (Hilda and the Midnight Giant). Publishers Blank Slate, Nobrow Press and SelfMadeHero will also be in attendance. I ran into some other British creators at MoCCA this weekend; you’ll be hearing about that shortly.

Comics | Gary Northfield shows off some of the art from his comic Gary’s Garden, which runs in the weekly children’s comic The Phoenix:

Part autobiography, part made-up nonsense (well, mainly completely made-up nonsense to be fair), Gary’s Garden delves into my favourite thing ever – me spying on the comings and goings of all the little dudes and dudettes who dwell in my garden.

This makes me wish more fervently than ever that The Phoenix would get an app or somehow make itself available outside the UK, digitally or on paper. Adding to my pain: Jim Medway offers a peek at his new comic Chip Charlton & Mr. Woofles of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

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Robot Reviews | Jerusalem and Best of Enemies

Jerusalem: Chronicles From the Holy City
by Guy Delisle
Drawn and Quarterly, 320 pages, $24.95

Best of Enemies: A History of U.S. and Middle East Relations, Part One 1783-1953
by Jean-Pierre Filiu and David B.
Self Made Hero, 120 pages, $24.95

Perhaps it’s just the tenor of the times (quite likely) or perhaps it’s the influence of Joe Sacco (not quite as likely but still a possibility) but there’s been a lot of graphic novels focusing on the Middle East lately. In the realm of fiction there’s Craig Thompson’s Habibi, G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker’s Cairo and the various works of Marjane Satrapi. In the realm of nonfiction, there’s Sacco’s own Footnotes from Gaza. and Sarah Glidden’s How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less. Now two new books have joined the conversation on the nonfiction side of things: Guy Delisle’s Jerusalem and Best of Enemies, from historian Jean-Pierre Filiu and Epileptic author David B.

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Abrams buys U.K. graphic novel publisher SelfMadeHero

U.S. art and illustrated book publisher Abrams announced Wednesday it plans to buy London-based graphic novel publisher SelfMadeHero. Financial terms weren’t disclosed for the deal, which is expected to be finalized in the next several weeks.

Founded by Emma Hayley, SelfMadeHero launched in 2007 with its much-publicized Manga Shakespeare line, which reinterprets the Bard’s plays, and Eye Classics, which adapts classic works like A Tale of Two Cities and The Picture of Dorian Gray. The publisher expanded in 2009, adding original fiction, Sherlock Holmes adaptations, and biographies (beginning with the well-reviewed Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness, published in the U.S. by Abrams ComicArts).

Hayley will remain as managing director, but distribution in the U.K. and export markets will be handled by Abrams & Chronicle Books. In spring 2012 SelfMadeHero will launch a North American graphic novel list that includes Chico & Rita by Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal, Kiki de Montparnasse by Catel & Bocquet, The Lovecraft Anthology: Volume I edited by Dan Lockwood, But I Really Wanted to Be an Anthropologist by Margaux Motin, and Best of Enemies: A History of U.S. and Middle East Relations by David B. and Jean-Pierre Filiu.

“Having long admired SelfMadeHero’s publishing program and Emma Hayley’s eye and taste for original and exciting graphic novels and material for both adults and children, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with her and her team to bring the books to even larger audiences,” Abrams President and CEO Michael Jacobs said in a statement. “We at Abrams have been looking to expand our reach in the still growing markets for comics and graphics and think that with SelfMadeHero we have found a perfect complement to our existing Abrams ComicArts publishing program.”

Abrams’ comics line includes Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Art of Jaime Hernandez, Nat Turner, Mom’s Cancer and Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?


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