Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Today’s special guest is Shannon Wheeler, New Yorker cartoonist and creator of the Eisner Award-winning comic book Too Much Coffee Man, Oil & Water, the Eisner-nominated I Thought You Would Be Funnier and the upcoming Grandpa Won’t Wake Up.
To see what Shannon and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Voting for the Eisner Awards kicked off late last week, which is open to all professionals in the comic industry. The online ballot had an error on it — Shannon Wheeler‘s I Thought You Would Be Funnier was left off the humor category. It’s since been corrected, but not before some people had already voted. And not before Wheeler had the opportunity to have some fun with it:
Professionals who have already voted online at www.eisnervote.com can change their votes any time before June 13, while voters who elected to download the PDF ballot and mail it in need not worry, as that ballot was unaffected by the error.
BOOM! Studios, publisher of the Eisner-nominated graphic novel under their BOOM! Town imprint, have made it available online to be read for free, and are also giving away physical copies to eligible voters — email firstname.lastname@example.org with your eligibility status to have a physical copy sent to you.
Too Much Coffee Man creator Shannon Wheeler has signed a three-book deal with BOOM! Town, the “lit comix” imprint of BOOM! Studios.
As a part of the deal, BOOM! will publish a new collection of Too Much Coffee Man stories, subtitled “Cutie Island & Other Stories,” as well as a follow-up to last year’s I Thought You Would Be Funnier, a collection of Wheeler’s rejected New Yorker cartoons. The third book is an original graphic novel titled Grandpa Won’t Wake Up, written by simon max hill and illustrated by Wheeler.
Too Much Coffee Man started as a self-published minicomic in the 1990s, and was self-published by Wheeler until it was picked up by Dark Horse a few years later. An omnibus collecting four volumes of the series is due from Dark Horse in July. The comic has also been adapted into an opera.
BOOM! announced their BOOM! Town imprint last year. You can find the full press release after the jump.
A few weeks ago we learned that BOOM! Studios, publisher of everything from Mark Waid’s Irredeemable series and Farscape to Disney/Pixar comics like The Incredibles and Cars, was branching out into the alt.comix arena. Their new imprint, BOOM! Town, will publish and market “literary comics,” selective reissues of out-of-print works and merchandise.
Their first few projects include:
- A Too Much Coffee Man mug.
- A political satire/collection of prose pieces and artwork called Repuglicans.
- I Thought You Would be Funnier, a collection of Shannon Wheeler’s rejected New Yorker cartoons.
- A reissue of a set of 36 trading cards by R. Crumb that were originally released by Kitchen Sink Press in 1991.
- A reissue of The Grasshopper and the Ant by Harvey Kurtzman.
The line is being overseen by BOOM! publisher/co-founder Ross Richie and their marketing director Chip Mosher. I interview Mosher via email over the last week about the new imprint, what their plans are for it and the online reactions to one project in particular. My thanks to Chip for his time.
Yesterday we learned that BOOM! Studios was kicking off a new imprint called BOOM! Town, under which they’ll release “literary comics” projects as well as merchandising. One of the first products they’ll release is a Too Much Coffee Man coffee mug, featuring Shannon Wheeler’s famous creation.
Its appearance changes when you fill it with a hot beverage, though I’m not sure which of the above mugs represents the before and which one represents the after (I assume an empty mug = death, and thus the skull).
Publishers Weekly reports that BOOM! Studios is launching a separate imprint called BOOM! Town, under which they plan to publish and market “literary comics,” selective reissues of out-of-print works and merchandising. And they’re working with a couple of well known names in this area: former Kitchen Sink publisher Denis Kitchen and Too Much Coffee Man creator Shannon Wheeler.
Although their publishing plans are still being finalized, they’ll start off by reissuing a set of 36 trading cards by R. Crumb that were originally released by Kitchen Sink Press in 1991. They also plan to release a Too Much Coffee Man mug and I Thought You Would be Funnier, a collection of Wheeler’s rejected New Yorker cartoons that can be read online at the Activate site.
It also sounds like they may be publishing some of Harvey Kurtzman’s work, based on this quote from Kitchen:
“Denis Kitchen Publishing has four R. Crumb card sets that are perennials, [Harvey] Kurtzman’s The Grasshopper & The Ant and other books that could do much better in the marketplace with a real company’s attention. So I’ve entered into a distribution arrangement with Boom! to free myself more to represent clients as a literary agent but also to do more directly creative things like writing and packaging new books.”
It’s been a big week for BOOM! news; in addition to BOOM! Town, they’ve also got a Samuel L. Jackson-written series on the way, a new ongoing featuring Scorpius from Farscape and something in the works with CBGB.
I recently caught up with seasoned industry veteran Shannon Wheeler for an email interview. This interview took place before Wheeler’s recent announcement that he was contemplating a project at ACT-I-VATE–I mention this only as an explanation as to why I ask no questions in that regard. As noted in this recent post, his work has frequently been picked up by The New Yorker as of late, while he continues his work on How to Be Happy. And, of course, we get in some discussion about his overall Too Much Coffee Man work. My thanks to Wheeler for his time.
Tim O’Shea: You are a creator with a long, proven track record, who covers a great many concepts in your work (judging by this tag cloud). This page offers me a wealth of topics to ask you about, but I’ll focus on one. In a down economy like this current one, does it make it easier (or even too easy) to tackle consumerism in the strip?
Shannon Wheeler: It makes it easier to criticize capitalism/materialism/consumerism when the economy is South in that you have specific things (like unemployment and poverty) to point at. Some of the humor becomes more poignant because the reality is more harsh. But that’s very external. To me it feels like the humor has stayed the same.
A lot of the cartoons are about my personal struggles. Consumerism is something I wrestle with. I love buying DVDs, collectibles, art. At the same time I think owning things, wanting things, is ridiculous.