Papercutz is delighted to be returning to Toronto for TCAF 2017 with our special guests Metaphrog (courtesy of Creative Scotland)! John & Sandra will be at the show both days, signing copies of THE RED SHOES and THE LITTLE MERMAID and meeting and greeting their many North American fans. Come by TABLE 252 (on the 2nd Floor of the Toronto Reference Library) to say hi and see all of the great books we’ll have on sale.
Here’s a complete listing of the panels and signing times for Metaphrog:
SATURDAY, MAY 13
11:00-12:15 Teamwork: Comics & Collaboration Panel
12:30-1:15 Signing @ Papercutz table
1:30-2:45 NBM 40th Anniversary Panel
2:45 – 4:00 Signing @ Papercutz table
SUNDAY, MAY 14
11:00-12:15 Signing @ Papercutz table
12:30-1:15 Spotlight on Metaphrog Panel
1:30-2:30 Signing @ Papercutz table
Papercutz’s Tween Imprint Adds “GFFs” & “Scarlet Rose” to Lineup, Mariah McCourt to Editorial Team
While it’s official launch doesn’t take place until May, Papercutz’s new Charmz imprint is already adding new series and new creators, including a new role for New York Times best-selling author Mariah McCourt.
Charmz, a new graphic novel imprint devoted to romance focused fiction and squarely targeted at tween girls was already off to a strong start, with four new series launching this spring. But that’s just the jumping off point for one of the most ambitious comics publishing launches in recent memory. By the end of the year, the line will expand to six ongoing series. And the publisher has brought on an editorial “heavy hitter” naming McCourt as the line editor for the imprint.
“When Papercutz Publisher Terry Nantier and I decided to expand the line, we wanted to make sure that we got someone who understood the vision behind the imprint and was passionate about bringing more girls in to the comics market. After working with Mariah on STITCHED, we knew we had found the ideal candidate,” explained Papercutz Editor-in-Chief Jim Salicrup. “Her experience as an editor at Vertigo and IDW as well as her awesome writing skills make her the perfect fit for the job. Mariah’s worked with an amazing array of talent during her time in the industry and we look forward to bringing her unique editorial viewpoint to the Charmz line. I’ve always been impressed by her ability to discover and work with new talent, as well, and I think those skills will serve her well as we continue to expand the line.”
“The position is a great fit for me both personally and professionally,” enthused McCourt. “I’ve always been interested in seeing the market for graphic novels expand and that’s the ‘raison d’etre’ for Charmz. When Papercutz first approached me about working on a title for the Charmz imprint, I saw it as a great opportunity to create the kind of book I wish existed when I was a 13 year old. Heading up the imprint allows me to take that to the next level, making sure that our books are focused on the adventure & excitement that goes along with being a tween. I’d also describe myself as a ‘romance fiend and getting to work on a line of romance-focused books like this is right up my alley!”
McCourt’s appointment comes at a time of expansion for the fledgling imprint. In addition to the previously announced debut titles (supernatural romance STITCHED by McCourt & Aaron Alexovich, cosmic adventure ANA & THE COSMIC RACE by Amy Chu & Kata Kane, and European imports CHLOE and SWEETIES), Charmz will add two new series, GFFs and THE SCARLET ROSE, to its lineup this fall.
“GFFs is a really spectacular new book by Monica Gallagher and Kata Kane,” explained McCourt. “It’s the story of three teens who get involved with the supernatural and each other. Jake and Sophia live in a town where ghosts are common and many of the townspeople make a living helping spirits pass on. But when Sophia develops a crush on a girl ghost they’re trying to help, her old crush Jake realizes he may have feelings for Sophia as well. It’s a classic love triangle with a modern twist and a prime example of the kind of innovative stories we’re looking to tell at Charmz.It reminds me, in the best possible way of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (a property I’m pretty familiar with) but the characters and situations are uniquely their own GFFs is the kind of relationship-driven adventure story that epitomizes the Charmz line.”
The other new title is THE SCARLET ROSE, the story of a female swashbuckler in 18thcentury France. When Maud sees her father murdered in front of her eyes, she decides to become a champion of justice like the famous “The Fox”. She dons the identity of “The Rose” and uses her sword fighting skills to rescue the innocent. Of course, it’s only a matter of time before she crosses paths with her hero. But what will she do when she finds out “The Fox” is a boy from court that she can’t stand?
The manga influenced series by Patricia Lyfoung is a huge bestseller in France and Papercutz publisher Terry Nantier expects a similar reception when the series makes its US debut. “I’ve had my eye on this series for quite a while,” noted Nantier. “And I’ve always wanted to publish it in English. It’s a natural fit for the Charmz line. Patricia’s art is absolutely stunning and I love the combination of romance, high adventure and dynamic action that she brings to the book. There really is nothing like this in the American market right now and I think it’s really going to make a splash when it hits the bookstores.”
Added McCourt, “Girls with swords? French noblemen? High Adventure? Swashbukling and romance is my jam.”
With its fresh editorial vision and expanding roster of innovative new series, Papercutz’s latest imprint is shaping up to not only be one of the most highly anticipated publishing debuts of 2017 but also the line that brings romance back to comics..
Get ready to be Charmzed!
Joe Clokey, President of Premavision and son of GUMBY creator Art Clokey today announced a new partnership with Papercutz, “the #1 Kids’ Graphic Novel Publisher”. The agreement gives Papercutz rights to create comics and graphic novels based on the company’s GUMBY character, the best-selling toy and TV star that has become a cultural icon.
The partnership will let Papercutz create new material based on the hit GUMBY shorts that have found a new generation of fans through YouTube and DVD releases. With literally millions of fans online and toys, DVDs and other merchandise being sold through mass market retailers like Wal-Mart and Target, the character is enjoying a resurgence in popularity that is also driving creation of new media. Premavision recently announced development of a new television series (in partnership with the Jim Henson Company) and plans for a feature film are also in the works. With the recent 60th anniversary of the GUMBY TV show, the timing was perfect for the character to return to comics.
“I’m always delighted by how the character my father created has touched the hearts of so many people,” observed Clokey. “The emergence of GUMBY centered fan conventions and the huge reception we’ve received at places like ComicCon International show just how important GUMBY is to so many people. We wanted to make sure we found a publishing partner who not only appreciated the property but also shared the approach and values that have made GUMBY such an enduring character. Papercutz shares our commitment to creating great stories. And they also have some of the biggest GUMBY fans I’ve ever met on staff. That made them the ideal choice for a publishing partner.”
Chief among those fans is Papercutz Associate Managing Editor Jeff Whitman who will be one of the writers on the ongoing comic book series. “I’ve been a GUMBY fan for as long as I can remember,” explained Whitman, “And I think Terry and Jim wouldn’t have known how to deal with me if we hadn’t been selected as the publisher for these characters. Did I wear a full-size GUMBY costume to the office to help convince them we should go after this property? Maybe. What I can say for sure is we’re committed to capturing the magic that Art Clokey brought to his creation and that we’ll be exploring all the different settings and characters in the Gumbyverse while staying true to the essence of Gumby. He can jump into any book (with his pony pal, Pokey, too), so the story potential is virtually endless. We’ll also be finding out more about the Blockheads, Gumby’s sister Minga, his friends Prickle and Goo, and more recently introduced characters like his girlfriend, Tara. These comics will celebrate Gumby’s past, present, and future; if you have a heart, then Gumby’s a part of you. ”
Current plans call for an ongoing monthly comic book series to launch in July with the first issue debuting at this year’s ComicCon International. The 32 page, $3.99 issues will feature two ten-page lead stories and a five-page backup story, which will provide the opportunity for multiple creators to try their hand at the adventures of the “little green ball of clay”.
“Jeff may be the biggest GUMBY fan in the office but he’s certainly not the only comics creator with a love for the property,” observed Papercutz Editor in Chief Jim Salicrup. “We’ve had a number of people approach us about working on the series and hopefully we’ll hear from even more writers and artists after this release. I think a lot of people will be excited to hear the first roster of creators we announce. Of course, GUMBY has a rich history of A-list creators like Art Adams, Rick Geary and Bob Burden working on the property and we’re currently in discussions on how we can bring some of that material back in to print again as well.”
In addition to the new comic books, plans call for the series to be collected in graphic novel format starting in November 2017. “GUMBY certainly has a lot of adult fans but the character is also one of the great kids’ properties,” explained Papercutz Publisher Terry Nantier. “The graphic novels will let us place the character in bookstores, schools and libraries and reach a whole new generation of fans. It’s a brand-new format for GUMBY to explore and I’m sure he’ll prove just as popular in this category as he has in other media and toys!”
Added Clokey, “Gumby is a timeless character with universal appeal. I’m excited that we’ll be able to share his new adventures with both Gumby enthusiasts and new fans and that working together, we’ll be able to create a new chapter in the character’s rich history.”
GUMBY #1 will be on sale at comicbook stores, online retailers and bookstores everywhere on July 19th.
Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers (aka Metaphrog) have been creating graphic novels like THE RED SHOES and THE LITTLE MERMAID for over two decades. They recently penned an overview of their lengthy career on their own blog and they were kind enough to give us permission to reprint that article here. It’s a fascinating look at the development of two truly unique artists.
20 Years Since Our First Comic!
Unbelievably, this month sees the 20th anniversary of our very first comic. When we met in 1994 we started working on comics together almost right away and, after creating several short comic stories, eventually collected them in our first comic Strange Weather Lately – Martin Nitram #1 in December 1996. We brought this out with limited edition lino prints in silver and the tagline: “Stories from the surreal yet unnervingly real world of Martin Nitram”. We jumped up and down a bit when Diamond Comic Distributors agreed to distribute it through their Previews catalogue.
Thus began our career in comics. At the time we were told our comic was the wrong size (we’d had it printed A4). But we didn’t really care – we hadn’t even thought at the time about comic shops and their coffins or boxes for storing American comic sized titles. Indeed we knew very little about the workings of the comic market. The comic quickly sold out. (There doesn’t even seem to be any copies on ebay now!).
We followed this up with The Maze
and then with a longer and more intricate Strange Weather Lately
story arc published as bimonthly comics and gathered them all in our first graphic novels in 1998 and 1999. At the time, the Scotsman newspaper ran a “Who to Watch” feature on us and we were interview on the radio for The Brian Morton Show.
|Our first comic,
Strange Weather Lately
|Extract from Strange
Weather Lately #1
|Strange Weather Lately
Between 1999 and 2011 we worked on the Louis series of graphic novels. Louis – Red Letter Day was originally intended to be a one off but we realised how much we loved the character and working with the Louis world that five more books followed. Much to our amazement we received nominations for the Eisner Awards and also the Ignatz Awards and international acclaim. We were delighted to receive coverage in mainstream media as many places didn’t really review comics or graphic novels in the early 2000s. Our Louis books, perhaps because they were so different and a bit strange, found their way into publications like i-D (where Kodwo Eshun described Louis – Red Letter Day as “a seriously spaced enigma”), The Guardian (with a column on our work by Julie Burchill), SFX, Art Review, New Internationalist, The Herald, Creative Review among many others. Our comic/music/animation project with hey and mum and the Fat Cat record label, Louis – Dreams Never Die, was featured on the late, great John Peel’s radio show along with his beloved The Fall and even received a lengthy write-up in Liberation in France.
|The Guardian – Julie Burchill – 2003
|The Scotsman 1999
|The Herald 2004
In 2002 Louis – The Clown’s Last Words was the first graphic novel ever to receive funding from the Scottish Arts Council. The Scottish Arts Council became Creative Scotland and they have continued to be very supportive of our work.
|The Louis graphic novels (2000-2011)
Looking back now it is truly hard to believe that it’s been 20 years already! Since then we’ve devoted all our waking hours to making graphic novels and comics. Naturally, there have been ups and down, disappointments, rejections and moments of elation. When we started we were both determined to make a living from our work, from being a writer and artist, but had absolutely no idea if this was even possible or indeed how we’d go about it. Comics weren’t even respected back then, and many people thought they were just for kids, or just trash. Initially in the UK and US, we kept on being told that our work was too European, while in Europe, and in France particularly (even though Sandra is French) we were told that our comics were too Scottish. This is possibly because we were feeding them potato scones. Now things have changed and more people see comic and graphic novels as art.
This year saw us win the Sunday Herald Scottish Culture Awards 2016 for Best Visual Artist. It felt like a real achievement and a great way to celebrate the anniversary of our first publication. And we still don’t take anything for granted.
We’re delighted to be creating new work with support from Creative Scotland and are working with Papercutz, who published The Red Shoes and Other Tales in late 2015, and who will be publishing our graphic novel adaptation of The Little Mermaid in April 2017.
BARBIE:”Puppy Party” writer Danica Davidson drew inspiration from her own life for her first Papercutz graphic novel. Are you ready to meet her dog, Porthos?
Puppies and comic books are two things I really love, so that made it a blast for me to write BARBIE:”Puppy Party”. When I was trying to come up with an idea that would involve Barbie, her sisters and their new puppies Honey, DJ, Taffy and Rookie, I got inspiration from my own dog and his story.
Meet my beagle Porthos. He’s named after the beagle on Star Trek: Enterprise, who’s named after the Musketeer Porthos in The Three Musketeers. (He is a very literary dog, though he doesn’t know it.) I adopted Porthos from my local shelter about three years ago, when he was one. Before that, he’d been a stray.
Now he’s a very happy dog who likes to sniff everything and he sleeps by my feet while I write. (He’s sleeping there right now as I type this. What do you think he’s dreaming?) I thought maybe Barbie and her sisters could help shelter dogs find forever homes. I like to help animals, so I thought Barbie and her sisters would enjoy it, too!
So in “Puppy Party”, Barbie finds a lost dog and then learns about the dogs and cats needing homes in the shelter. She puts together a big puppy party to find them all homes and to help the lost dog find his owner. Adopting a dog makes a big difference in their life. Not everyone is able to adopt a pet, but there are also other ways to help out, as Barbie and her sisters find out. You know what else I love besides puppies and comic books? Happy endings, especially for our furry friends.