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
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.
THE RED SHOES: Educator’s Guide is now available! One of our best reviewed graphic novels of last year was Metaphrog’s wonderful THE RED SHOES AND OTHER TALES. We’ve heard from numerous teachers and other educators who want to use the book in their classrooms. That’s why we’re so happy to announce that we’ve just posted a new educator’s guide to the book on our Resources page. If you’re interested in incorporating the book in to your lesson plan or even assigning it to individual students, this new booklet will be a great resource. Download your copy today!
We’ll have a ton of advance editions and show exclusives at this week’s Comic Con! We will feature a hand-picked assortment of the newest Papercutz titles.
Many books will be show premieres including :
DENNIS THE MENACE #1: THE CLASSIC COMICBOOKS
SCARLETT: A STAR ON THE RUN
THE RED SHOES AND OTHER TALES– with exclusive “Advance Festival Edition” stamp (limited run for the Edinburgh Internation Festival. Only 250 copies made!)
Smurfs & Friends Vol 1 cover
SMURFS AND FRIENDS #1
We will also have recent hits:
SANJAY AND CRAIG #1: “Fight the Future with Flavor”
THE LUNCH WITCH #1
DISNEY GRAPHIC NOVELS #1: “Planes”
NEIL GAIMAN’S TEKNOPHAGE #1
GERONIMO STILTON #16: LIGHTS, CAMERA, STILTON!
EuroBooks, a new initiative promoting translated books, will have a special stand at Comic-Con, letting everyone know where they can find as some old favorites like DANCE CLASS, ARIOL, and DINOSAURS! These series will be available at our booth as well!
Bring a book bag!
Papercutz, the children’s graphic novel publisher turns 10 years old this year and the company has a some special plans to mark the occasion.
Founded in February 2005 by industry veterans Terry Nantier and Jim Salicrup, the company was initially formed to take advantage of a vacuum in graphic novel publishing at the time.
“It may seem hard to believe now,” explained (Papercutz’s President) Nantier. “But in 2005 there was hardly any graphic novel material being created for kids. Comic stores had become largely inhospitable to younger readers and the larger trade houses had yet to see the potential in children’s graphic novel publishing. Jim and I discussed the state of the market and realized there was an opportunity to create accessible material for kids and distribute it to the trade bookstores and other retail outlets where kids hung out. We started with NANCY DREW and THE HARDY BOYS and haven’t looked back since!”
“I think that starting with those titles and then adding in time-tested brands like CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED, we sent a clear message to parents and educators that this really was “all-ages” material,” added Editor-In Chief Salicrup. “But we never talked down to younger readers or packaged anything in a “kiddie” manner. I think that you need to respect kids’ taste and intelligence if you really want to connect with them and that’s why so many of our series have succeeded with that audience.”
From an initial small stable of licensed properties the company has expanded to work with a who’s who of the entertainment industry including DISNEY, DREAMWORKS, SONY, FOX, SABAN and LEGO and noted creators like Sho Murase, Riff Rebs, Scott Lobdell, Emmanuel Guibert and Lewis Trondheim. The future looks equally bright with new series from the minds of Neil Gaiman and Stan Lee and a “first look” with NICKELODEON. Now Papercutz, is celebrating their legacy with a special anniversary print program that pays tribute to some of the franchises they’ve worked with over the past decade.
“With 2015 marking 10 years of publishing kids’ graphic novels, we wanted to share our excitement with our readers and fans by creating these special prints,” explained Papercutz VP of marketing Sven Larsen. “We’ve enlisted some of the top names in comics to help express what a special event this is for us and celebrate some of the wonderful properties we’ve been lucky enough to be involved with.”
The print program debuts at this year’s BookCon in New York City, where the publisher will debut a special print featuring NANCY DREW by acclaimed artist Stephanie Buscema. Hot on the heels of that debut will be a CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED print by Riff Rebs featuring the legendary Captain Nemo that will be offered for the first time at the American Library Association Conference in San Francisco. Plans call for four more posters in the series, debuting at special events throughout the rest of the year. Each print will be limited to 250 copies, numbered and marked to indicate the extent of the run. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the prints will go to help different charities including the Children’s Book Council, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the Hero Initiative. Fans who are unable to attend one of the events where the prints are sold will also be given the chance to purchase the prints online or through their local retailer.
“We’re excited to debut these beautiful pieces of art”, enthused Papercutz publisher Terry Nantier. “And we can’t wait to celebrate our anniversary with our fans. In addition to this program we’ve got some special programming at ComicCon this year, some unique promotional items, and a lot more in the pipeline for this year. Best of all we’ve got some great books coming out in the summer and fall that will reflect the tradition of quality and diversity that’s a hallmark of Papercutz’s publishing program.”
“We’ll be announcing more artists in the poster series soon (as well as our big San Diego plans)”, promised Larsen. “So as Jim likes to say, ‘Watch out for Papercutz!’”
TOTO TROUBLE VOL. 3: “The Ace of Jokers” hit stores last week. We thought we’d treat you to a sneak peek at the latest antics of everyone’s favorite pot-stirrer!