“Creative Scotland announced this month’s open project fund awards today. We are honoured and delighted to have been awarded £32,000 towards creating our next graphic novel. This new fairy tale adaptation will follow on from the success of The Red Shoes and Other Tales and The Little Mermaid. The book will be published by Papercutz as the third volume in the collection, its title to be revealed at a later date.
“We are honoured to have been awarded funding from Creative Scotland for the creation of our next graphic novel: a new fairy tale adaptation to follow on from The Red Shoes and Other Tales and The Little Mermaid. Fairy tales are extremely powerful, tapping into the very origins of stories. They tell us about ourselves and others and, in these uncertain times, they can provide us with necessary truths. In reimagining our favourite tales as graphic novels we hope to create an immersive, lasting reading experience.”
About Creative Scotland:
Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery. For further information about Creative Scotland please visit www.creativescotland.com.
Join us in congratulating Metaphrog on their award! We can’t wait to see what they have planned next! (Well, we already know, but we can’t wait for you to see it!)
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.
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.
San Diego Comic Con aka ComicCon International is now just three weeks away! If you’re one of the lucky few (thousand) who will be at San Diego this year, don’t pass up the chance to stop by our booth, #1720! Papercutz is taking advantage of the opportunities provided with SDCC to make a couple of exciting announcements about upcoming projects, and to do one of the things we do best: give you free stuff! The centerpiece of our promotional items will be SLICEZ, a free 96 page sampler featuring bite-size chunks of all your favorite Papercutz graphic novels. We’ll also be handing out other goodies like TROLLS movie posters, LUNCH WITCH lunch bags filled with all sorts of creepy concoctions and even some items related to our brand new imprint that launches in 2017 (details are hush hush until the show)!
While we love the freebies, we also want to make sure that fans have a chance to do something that’s become harder and harder at the show in recent years – read great comics! So we’ve set up a special “Reading Nook” in our booth featuring comfy chairs and bookshelves stacked with all your favorite Papercutz graphic novels. When the press of the convention floor becomes too much or you just want to lose yourself in a great graphic novel, come by booth #1720 and remind yourself what being a comics fan is all about!
You definitely won’t want to miss Sunday (which is Kids Day at SDCC) because we’ll have so many creators at our booth! Among the top tier talent we’ll have signing at our stand are Eric Esquivel of PIG GOAT BANANA CRICKET, Sam Spina of SANJAY AND CRAIG,Stuart Moore of THE ZODIAC LEGACY, and Chris Savino and Jordan Rosato of THE LOUD HOUSE.
Here’s a tentative booth schedule:
Sunday, 7/24 Papercutz Booth Signing Schedule
11:00 am – 12:00 pm – Eric Esquivel & Sam Spina
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm – Stuart Moore
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm – Chris Savino and Jordan Rosato (signing exclusive THE LOUD HOUSE mini-comics)
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm – Eric Esquivel & Sam Spina
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm – Stuart Moore
Want even more Nickelodeon goodness? A bunch of your favorite creators will also be signing at the Nickelodeon booth on Sunday. Here are the details:
Current Series Signing ft. Chris Savino (Loud House), C.H. Greenblatt (Harvey Beaks), Johnny Ryan, Dave Cooper and David Sacks (Pig Goat Banana Cricket):Sunday, 7/24 from 10:30a-12:00p at the Nickelodeon Booth
Make sure you stay tuned to our Twitter feed and Facebook page for even more announcements and updates as we get closer to the show.
Artist Steve Ellis Explains How His Experiences as a Father Shape the World of THE ONLY LIVING BOY
Like his co-creator David Gallaher, artist Steve Ellis has penned a meaningful essay on how parenthood has shaped his approach to his art. This article originally appeared on the ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY website and we thank them for allowing us to reprint it here.
Back in 2009, when David Gallaher and I first started collaborating on what would later become a series of graphic novels called The Only Living Boy, we envisioned our story in the vein of ‘I Am Legend,’ as the story of a young boy, alone in a big city, fighting zombies. We created a two-page proof of concept strip, brought it to San Diego Comic Con International, and circulated it around the internet. Not much came of it.
After letting it breathe for a few years, we revisited the idea and added in more of ourselves, letting the idea evolve. Rather than telling the story of a survivor in a grim, unrelenting zombie apocalypse, we focused on telling the story of an explorer discovering a wonderful and mysterious new world. As an added wrinkle, we stripped our new hero of his memory, removing any skills, knowledge, and cynicism he might have. As Erik Farrell, our 12 year old adventurer, discovered the world, he’d discover more about himself as well. It is a world filled with monsters, mad science, and mayhem.
Alone on patchwork planet, Erik is an alien in a world that has been moving on without him, who rightly or wrongly becomes an agent of change. Despite the challenges he faces, Erik isn’t prone to violence. As the parent of both a boy and a girl, that’s something I find really inspirational about the character. We live in a world of violence and conflict. It fills our newsfeeds and our entertainment. David and I wanted to create a character who had to negotiate his surroundings, think his way out of challenges, and forge new bonds across all walks of life. He stands up for what is right and what is just without jumping into battle at a moment’s notice.
Male characters in comics are often depicted as tough. They are muscular, one-dimensional characters whose fists speak for them. These portrayals in the media left me wondering why there were so few characters that were modeled after what it is like to be a ‘whole’ person. As jaded, cynical thinking made its way into characters like Superman — who would rather kill an enemy than look for a solution to a problem — what other heroes were out there for my son to admire?
Raising our children in Ithaca, my wife and I found ourselves involved in the Adventure Playground movement. In the early 1940s, an enlightened approach to play was developed in Lancashire, England. Traditional swings, slides, and see-saws were replaced by asymmetrical wooden structures, discarded buses, and abandoned train cars. These ‘junk playgrounds’ became a crucial factor in producing a more imaginative and exciting approach to children’s play.
One of the only Adventure Playgrounds in America — The Anarchy Zone — is figuratively in our own backyard. With giant ponds of mud to splash in, massive trees to climb on, and giant tires to swing on, it’s become a place that I’ve come to care about a lot. When my kids would come home covered in dirt and mud, I could tell that they had a great time. That sense of adventure and danger has helped my children understand their place in the natural world. They’ve learned self-reliance, independence, conflict resolution skills and gained a broader understanding of their place in the ecosystem.
We’re telling a similar, fictional, story in The Only Living Boy. Without skills or memories to call upon, Erik often relies on his wits and his developing code of ethical behavior. As he learns from the world around him, he is able to understand the cultures, traditions, and beliefs of others. He doesn’t let racial and societal prejudices influence his growth. He’s a thoughtful kid whose first response to adversity isn’t “punch first, ask questions later.”
It might seem naive to believe that a kind character, like Erik, could be a powerful one. Erik’s predecessors — Harry Potter and Captain America — show that kindness isn’t a weakness; it’s a virtue. I think it’s even more heroic when someone with no natural advantages still stands up and fights for what he believes in. Erik is that sort of character.
Erik may be the only living boy — but he is not alone. Joining him on his quest are Morgan and Thea, two female characters who are as vital to the story as Erik is. Strong, emotionally complex, and filed with their own share of insecurities, they compliment Erik, providing the resources and skills he lacks. Morgan, a valiant and arrogant mermaid warrior, has put herself in harm’s way to protect a tribe that doesn’t believe in her. Thea — the noble insect princess — lives in shame and fear of the monster she will one day become. They, like Erik, are trying to find their own place in the world.
And the world they inhabit — Chimerika — is an amalgam of thousands of alien worlds forged together into a single patchwork planet. Ruled by the Dreaded Lord Baalikar, the mysterious Doctor Once, and the Consortium, thousands of creatures have found themselves fighting for their very survival in this dangerous new landscape. This trinity of villains feels profoundly threatened by Erik and his friends. Each driven by their own agenda, they seek to stop him by any means necessary. As with our heroes, we’ve created a set of villains who will grow and develop over time. We can’t wait to share their backstories and their secret origins with our readers.
The Only Living Boy offers adventure, excitement, and inspiration unlike anything else being published today. We don’t shy away from pain, struggle and adversity. David and I are working together to create something for readers that will build psychological resilience, challenge their preconceptions, and encourage them to courageously follow their own paths. We want this generation of readers to be versatile, malleable and able to find strength in problem solving. We want our readers to go out into the world and challenge themselves — find new things, get hurt, make mistakes, pick themselves up and try again.
These are the lessons I teach my children… and the lessons David and I are teaching our characters. As Erik grows into the character I want my kids to admire, my children are growing into the adults other children will admire.