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Revealed: SelfMadeHero’s Spring Releases

Winter may have come, but already there are five green shoots on the horizon…

That’s right, folks: we can now announce our releases for the first half of 2016 – and my, what a fine bunch of graphic novels they are. Taking in everything from the Berlin of Hitler’s Germany to the deserts of Sudan, Agatha Christie to Edvard Munch, our spring titles are at times tragic, at times inspirational, but always brilliantly crafted and compelling.

March sees the release of the award-winning Irmina by Barbara Yelin. Based on the life of Yelin’s grandmother, Irmina follows the eponymous young German who, in the mid-1930s, moves to London. At a cocktail party, she meets Howard Green, one of the first black students at Oxford, who, like Irmina, longs for an independent existence. However, their relationship comes to an abrupt end when Irmina, constrained by the political situation in Hitler’s Germany, is forced to return home. As war approaches and her contact with Howard is broken, it becomes clear to her that prosperity will only be possible through the betrayal of her ideals. Conjuring perfectly the oppressive atmosphere of wartime Germany, Barbara Yelin presents a troubling drama about the tension between integrity and social advancement, reflecting with compassion and intelligence on the complicity that results from the choice, conscious or otherwise, to look away.

Irmina_cover for blog

March also sees the release of another award-winning German graphic novel in translation: An Olympic Dream by Reinhard Kleist. Following Castro, Johnny Cash: I See A Darkness and The Boxer, Kleist’s latest graphic biography tells the incredible true story of Somali Olympian Samia Yusuf Omar. In 2008, 17-year-old Yusuf Omar stood alongside some of the fastest women in the world on the start line of the Olympic 200m. Four years later, she boarded a refugee boat to Europe, risking her life on the waters of the Mediterranean. An Olympic Dream tells the remarkable story of Yusuf Omar’s attempt to compete at the London Games in 2012. Picturing her life in Mogadishu, a city ravaged by conflict, Reinhard Kleist reveals the challenges she faced both as a sportsperson and as a woman. In doing so, he shows why Omar, like so many others, would choose to flee. Following her journey through Ethiopia, Sudan and Libya to its tragic conclusion, An Olympic Dream is a forceful statement on Europe’s response to the refugee crisis. But it is also a moving account of a remarkable life, best remembered for a single moment: when an unlikely Olympian, dressed in knee-length leggings and a baggy t-shirt, finished in last place – and the Bird’s Nest stadium erupted.

An Olympic Dream_cover for blog

In May, another graphic biography: Agatha by Anne Martinetti and Guillaume Lebeau, illustrated by Alexandre Franc. Spanning marriages and wars by way of archaeology and infidelities, Agatha is an entertaining and dramatic portrait of the 20th century’s best-loved crime writer. In December 1926, Agatha Christie vanished, sending shockwaves through British society. As the authorities scoured the country for her, theories and suspicions abounded: it was murder, a hoax, suicide, a publicity stunt, revenge. When she was finally located – ten days later, living under an assumed name in a hotel in Harrogate – she returned to normal life, refusing to explain what had happened. Despite Christie’s reputation for final act revelations, this episode of her life would be forever shrouded in mystery. Agatha uses Christie’s enigmatic disappearance as a gateway to explore the life and character of the Queen of Whodunit. Taking in her childhood in Torquay and her early attempts at writing, this landmark graphic biography charts Christie’s development into a free-spirited and thoroughly modern woman who, among other things, enjoyed flying, travel and surfing.

Agatha_cover for blog

Also in May, our Art Masters series continues with Munch by Steffen Kverneland, an extraordinary and inventive graphic biography of the great Norwegian expressionist. Munch explores the relationships and obsessions that drove the artist behind ‘The Scream’. Using text drawn from the writings of Edvard Munch and his contemporaries, this extensively researched and beautifully drawn graphic novel debunks the familiar myth of the half-mad expressionist painter – anguished, starving and ill-treated – to reveal the artist’s neglected sense of humour and optimism. Born out of a life-long fascination with all things Munch, Kverneland’s award-winning seven-year project is the funniest and most entertaining portrait yet of a complex man and a pioneering artist.

Munch_cover for blog

And finally, in June: Stardust Nation by Deborah Levy and Andrzej Klimowski. You will, of course, know Deborah Levy as the Booker-shortlisted author of Swimming Home and Andrzej Klimowski as the co-creator of a number of classic adaptations (The Master and Margarita, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robot) and, more recently, the collaborative autobiography Behind the Curtain (with Danusia Schejbal). Adapted from one of the centrepieces of Levy’s short story collection Black VodkaStardust Nation follows the story of Nikos Gazidis, a man suffering from a strange psychiatric condition: he seems to have unwittingly crashed into the consciousness of his boss. Committed to an institution for the rich and unstable, Nikos is afflicted by the disturbing memories and violent emotions of a man who suffered from an abusive father and a neglectful mother. That man, Tom, feels nothing. But when Nikos’s sister begins preventing Tom from sharing his memories with his colleague, things begin to change… Stardust Nation is an absurdly funny, unsettling and unforgettable graphic novel about memory, empathy and how we are, all of us, connected.

stardust_cover for blog

In short, 2016 is shaping up to be a good year!

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Like Christmas: A Carol for Klaxon by Paul Mosley

Our Christmas gift to you: a beautiful song by musical adventurer Paul Mosley, lifted from his soundtrack to Klaxon, Si Spencer and DIX’s delightfully dark and disturbing graphic novel.

The full soundtrack will be made available alongside the digital edition of Klaxon, which will be released next year.

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Thought Bubble 2015: SelfMadeHero in Leeds!

In the autumnal gloom, a ray of sunlight: Thought Bubble is upon us!

thought bubble image_2

That’s right: this weekend, we’re jumping on the train to Leeds for what is always the highlight of the comic book calendar. Joining us in The Royal Armouries’ New Dock Hall will be Edward Ross (Filmish), Si Spencer and DIX (Klaxon) and Rob Davis (The Motherless Oven). Plus, the best table-neighbour a publisher could wish for: Mike Medaglia (One Year Wiser). To get your hands on signed books, exclusive prints and complimentary liquorice allsorts, stop by tables 90-92 on Saturday or Sunday (10am-5pm). There may even be popcorn.

klaxon for blog 2

A chance of some bling: on Friday evening, we’ll be heading to the British Comic Awards. Run in association with Nottingham’s Page 45, and judged by a panel of aficionados including Kate Beaton and Scroobius Pip, the BCAs are the principal and most prestigious accolade for British comics artists – and the 2015 nominees are a testament to the rude health of our scene. SelfMadeHero’s very own Rob Davis is shortlisted in the Best Book category for The Motherless Oven. There will be whoops and hollers.

motherless cover for blog

Hangover cure: at 12.10pm on Saturday, Film4‘s Mike Leader will lead a Q&A with Edward Ross, the creator of Filmish: A Graphic Journey Through Film. Join them in the Royal Armouries’ Newsroom to learn about Ross’s unique visual guide to cinematic history. The Guardian praised Filmish in a review this Saturday, calling it ”thoroughly enjoyable… a wonderfully breezy read.”

filmish_cover for blog

Si Spencer and DIX will join Rob Davis and Edward Ross in signing on our table throughout the weekend. So, get yourself a train ticket and come find us in New Dock Hall. We’re right by the entrance!

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Filmish By Edward Ross Launches at Gosh! Comics

This Saturday, 7th November, Filmish by Edward Ross launches at Gosh! Comics in London. Join us in raising a glass (or bottle) to this brilliant visual guide to cinema between 7 and 9pm.

filmish_cover for blog

Not only will you be able to grab a signed copy of the book – you’ll also get your hands on this beautiful limited edition book plate, which is exclusive to Gosh!

gosh plateAnd the book itself? Well, in Filmish, Edward Ross takes us on an exhilarating ride through the history of cinema, using comics to uncover the magic and mechanics behind our favourite movies. Exploring everything from censorship to set design, he spotlights the films and film-makers that embody this provocative and inventive medium, from the pioneers of early cinema to the innovators shaping the movies of today, from A Trip to the Moon to Inception and beyond. For further info, preview material and more, visit www.filmish.co.uk.

back to the future

The launch takes place on Saturday 7th November at Gosh! Comics, 1 Berwick Street, London W1F 0DR, 7-9pm. Sold? Join the event on Facebook and let everyone know!

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Halloween Celebration: Klaxon Launches at the Lord Clyde in Islington

This Saturday, we’re celebrating Halloween with the launch of Si Spencer and DIX’s disturbing urban horror story Klaxon. Join us for a good ol’ knees-up at Islington’s finest, The Lord Clyde on Essex Road, from 1.30-3.30pm. There’ll be booze, bands and liquorice allsorts. All you need to do is let us know you’re coming by joining the event on Facebook or rsvping to sam@selfmadehero.com.

klaxon invite for blog

Turn up on time to catch musical adventurer Paul Mosley with his band. ”A honeyed voice and a garage orchestra of sometimes disturbing magic realist folk-pop. Excellent.” So wrote Q Magazine of his latest album, A Chattering of Birds. Joining Mosley at the Lord Clyde are the mighty Kung Fu Vicar.

So, what’s Klaxon all about? Well, it’s difficult to explain. Tank Girl creator Alan Martin has called it “an urban nightmare of finely balanced dialogue and artwork, as if Raymond Briggs teamed up with Daniel Clowes and they dropped the bad brown acid. Which is my idea of an evening well-spent.” And our idea of a brilliant graphic novel.

klaxon for blog 2Here’s the blurb:

Carlisle, one of three slackers high on wax and cavity wall insulation, finally has a reason to leave the house: new neighbours. But his offer to help Carol and her weeping mother move in incurs the wrath of their landlord, the grim, grinning Mr Stapleton, and his halfwit minion son. As Mr Stapleton’s malign influence begins to plague both houses, the residents are afflicted by milk binges, metamorphoses and indoor confectionary storms. Inspired by the unspoken wisdom of a giant porcelain cherub, Carlisle realises he must take the fight to his enemy – only then will he have a chance of saving his friends and neighbours.

klaxon for blog 1

And here’s the object in all its glory:

klaxon book shot for blogThe Lord Clyde is located at 340-342 Essex Rd, London N1 3PB. It’s close to Angel, Highbury & Islington and Essex Road stations. Join us in Jeremy Corbyn’s heartland from 1.30-3.30pm!

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SelfMadeHero at the Lakes Comic Art Festival

The Lakes Comic Art Festival is now so firmly ingrained in the cultural calendar, its guest list so illustrious, its festival mascots so deeply rooted in our collective consciousness, that it’s difficult to believe this is only its third year. If you haven’t been already then now’s the time. Imagine Glastonbury in 1982; these are the glory days. There’s always a lot of rain, but you don’t have to sleep in a tent – and there are lots of creators, publishers and punters to brighten up your weekend. It takes place on Friday 16th, Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th October across various venues in the beautiful Lake District town of Kendal.

lakes poster for blog

We’ll again be exhibiting our wares in the Comics Clock Tower (Sat, 10-6; Sun, 10.30-5). Our two tables (30-31) are on the first floor, just as you walk in. Joining us in Kendal will be special guests Si Spencer and DIX, whose graphic novel Klaxon debuts at the festival.

klaxon for blog

Reinventing the Horror Comic: Si Spencer and DIX in conversation with John Freeman. Time: 1.30-2.30pm, Saturday 17th. Venue: Comics Clock Tower.

Si Spencer and DIX’s brand new graphic novel, Klaxon, is a mould-breaking, intensely weird and inscrutably beautiful graphic novel about three wasters who find themselves on the wrong side of their neighbours’ landlord. Milk binges, metamorphoses and indoor confectionary storms ensue. John Freeman joins the authors to discuss this bizarre and brilliant creation. For full details (and to book tickets) click here.

Also at the festival is One Year Wiser creator Mike Medaglia, whose work is currently on show in Kendal’s branch of White Stuff. Look out for his illustrated meditations among the slippers and the socks and the jumpers. You might even find some loose pages from One Year Wiser: The Colouring Book to sneak into your bag. Mike will be signing and sketching in store from 2-3pm on Saturday and 12-1pm on Sunday. Click here for directions.

white stuff image 2 for blog

Mike Medaglia will also be selling prints, comics, greetings cards and copies of both editions of One Year Wiser in the Comics Clock Tower. You can’t miss him – his table’s right next to ours.

And that’s not it: Mike will also be giving a workshop, Illustrate Your Mantra, in which he’ll walk attendees through the process of adapting a favourite quote, song lyric or aphorism into a full-colour illustration. This takes place in the Brewery Arts Centre (Room 2) on Sunday 18th, 1.30-3pm.

illustrate your mantra for blog

There is, of course, so much more going on throughout the weekend, including appearances from SelfMadeHero favourite Steven Appleby, who recently created this wonderful reimagining of the Lake District postcard.

appleby lakes postcard for blog

The Lakes Comic Art Festival takes place from 16th-18th October in Kendal, Cumbria. View the full festival programme here.

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Hysteria launches at The Freud Museum

This coming Wednesday, 14th October, we’re celebrating the launch of Hysteria by Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zarate, the long-awaited second book in our Graphic Freud series. The launch takes place at the Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens, London NW3 5SX, 6.30-8.30pm. There’ll be free booze, fine company and lots of signed books – and everyone is welcome. What’s more, there’ll be an exhibition of Oscar Zarate’s artwork from Hysteria.

Hysteria-Cover

Hysteria follows the early career of Sigmund Freud, from his training in neurological research to his establishment of a therapeutic practice in Vienna. Taking in the psychoanalyst’s earliest clinical experiences, his studies alongside Charcot at La Salpêtrière and his interest in the work of his friend and colleague Joseph Breuer, Richard Appignanesi and Oscar Zarate introduce the characters and case histories that inspired the development of a revolutionary new clinical therapy.

hysteria for blog1

Drawing on the case histories of “Anna O.”, Fräulein Elisabeth von R. and others, Hysteria shows Freud and his contemporaries developing ideas that would transform the intellectual landscape of the Western world. With a foreword by Deborah Levy, this is a masterful visual guide to the strange and fascinating characters that populate Freud and Breuer’s Studies in Hysteria, the founding text of psychoanalysis.

hysteria for blog 2

Here’s what people are saying about it:

“What a wonderful book: clear and witty; beautifully drawn; by turns both disturbing and enlightening. Whether you know Freud or not, this will speak to your inner shrink.” Rachel Cooke, The Observer

“Dark, delightful and deep, this brilliant graphic novel not only brings Freud’s case history to life but also raises crucial questions about contemporary approaches to human suffering. An inspiring and thought-provoking book.” Darian Leader

“[An] incredible graphic novel, magically brought to life with delicacy and complexity in the drawings of Oscar Zarate.” Deborah Levy

hysteria book shot blog

Hysteria launches on Wednesday 14th October at the Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens, London NW3 5SX, 6.30-8.30pm. If you’d like to join us for a good ol’ Freudian knees-up, RSVP to sam@selfmadehero.com.

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In Conversation: Peter Kuper at the Strand Book Store in NYC

On Tuesday 22nd September, fresh from his appearances at SPX and the Brooklyn Book Festival this weekend, Peter Kuper visits New York City’s finest book store for the official launch of his hotly anticipated new graphic novel Ruins. The event takes place at 7pm in the Strand Book Store‘s beautiful 3rd floor Rare Book Room.

Peter Kuper_photo for blog

Kuper has created over a dozen graphic novels, including The System, Sticks and Stones and an adaptation of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. He is co-founder of the political graphics magazine World War 3 Illustrated and, since 1997, has written and drawn “Spy Vs Spy” for MAD Magazine. His comics have appeared in TIME, The New York Times and many other publications. He has been teaching comics courses for over 25 years and is a visiting professor at Harvard University.

ruins_cover for blog

Ruins tells the story of a New York couple who launch into a sabbatical year in the quaint Mexican town of Oaxaca. In tandem, the remarkable and arduous journey that a monarch butterfly endures on its annual migration from Canada to Mexico is woven into Ruins, creating a parallel picture of the challenges of survival in our ever-changing world.

Super Hero for blog

Here’s what Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer has to say: “With a monarch butterfly serving in the role of all-seeing observer flying poetically above it all, the constantly remarkable Peter Kuper details the travels and travails of a creative NY couple who move to Oaxaca to find inspiration and revitalize their lives. Kuper’s art is, page after page, astonishing.”

And Publishers Weekly: “Magnificent… a beautiful, epic roman à clef about the importance of seeking the new and questioning the old.”

Peter Kuper will be joined at the Strand by Karen Green, librarian of both Graphic Novels and Ancient and Medieval History at Columbia University. To attend the event, you’ll simply need to buy a copy of Ruins or a $15 Strand gift card.

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SelfMadeHero to exhibit at CanalCon, Kings Cross

This Sunday, 20th September, we’ll be exhibiting at our very first canalside comic con. Our friends at Comica Festival have teamed up Floating Cinema to create the wonderfully named CanalCon, which is happening from noon until 6pm on the canalside steps at Granary Square in Kings Cross, just minutes away from SelfMadeTowers.

canalside photo

The event marks the finale of a weekend of science fiction-themed events, Extraterrestrial London: Humans in Space!, which will feature open-air screenings, live music and more.

extraterrestrial london logo

Expect the full SelfMadeHero spread: new titles (RuinsAama 4. One Year Wiser), limited-edition book plates and an SF & Horror flavoured selection from the backlist. In addition, there’ll be House of Illustration workshops, an interview with Comics Laureate Dave Gibbons and more – all for free! For more information, check out COMICA’s blog.

Hope to see you there!

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Frederik Peeters & Peter Kuper join SelfMadeHero at The Small Press Expo

In just over a week, we’ll be heading to Bethesda, MD for SPX - the USA’s premiere small press convention.

At tables W21-W22 you’ll find the full SelfMadeHero spread: new releases, limited edition prints, discounted masterpieces from the backlist… Plus, we’ll be joined by two very special guest creators, Frederik Peeters (Aama) and Peter Kuper (Ruins).

SPX Poster (for blog)

Following his event at Busboys & Poets Takoma on Thursday evening (details here), Frederik Peeters will visit SPX to mark the launch of the fourth and final volume of his Angoulême-winning series AamaYou Will Be Glorious, My Daughter.

aama 4_cover for blog

He’ll be signing all day Saturday, as well as joining Jennifer Hayden (The Story of My Tits) and Derf Backderf (My Friend Dahmer) on a panel. “Life, Death, Comics, & Everything in Between“ takes place on the Sunday, 12.30-1.30pm, in the White Flint Auditorium.

What’s more, we’ll be giving away this rather lovely series book plate with every copy of Aama:

Aama Book Plate for blog (new)

Peter Kuper, whose brand new graphic novel Ruins we publish this month, will also be joining us. Jules Feiffer, last year’s guest of honour at SPX, has said of the book, “With a monarch butterfly serving in the role of all-seeing observer flying poetically above it all, the constantly remarkable Peter Kuper details the travels and travails of a creative New York couple who move to Oaxaca to find inspiration and revitalize their lives. Kuper’s art is, page after page, astonishing.”

ruins_cover for blog

Kuper will also appear alongside Ted Rall (Snowden) and Chris Kindred (The Response) on a panel: “Drawing the News: Comics Journalism” takes place on Saturday, 5.30-6.30pm, in the White Flint Auditorium.

The aforementioned butterfly features on these two beautiful book plate designs, created by Peter Kuper and available for the first time at SPX. We’ll be giving away a signed, numbered plate with every copy of Ruins.

ruins 1 new

ruins 2 new

The Small Press Expo takes place on Saturday 19th (11am-7pm) & Sunday 20th (noon-6pm) September at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel. See you there, I hope!

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