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The Real Life of Agatha Christie: An Evening with Anne Martinetti and Guillaume Lebeau

To celebrate the release of Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie, co-authors Anne Martinetti and Guillaume Lebeau visit the Institut Français in London to discuss their lively and surprising graphic biography of the Queen of Crime. The event takes place at 7pm on Wednesday 11th May. Tickets are available here (£8, conc. £6).

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Crime fiction experts Anne Martinetti and Guillaume Lebeau worked alongside artist Alexandre Franc to create Agatha, which uses the novelist’s enigmatic disappearance in 1926 as a gateway to explore her life and character.

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Taking in her childhood in Torquay and her early attempts at writing, the authors chart Christie’s development into a free-spirited and thoroughly modern woman who, among other things, enjoyed flying, travel and surfing.

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Anne Martinetti has  been an Editor at French crime publisher Éditions du Masque for more than ten years. She is the author of an Agatha Christie-inspired cookbook – the fabulously titled Creams and Punishments - among many other books.

Guillaume Lebeau is the author of more than fifteen books, novels and graphic novels, among them a biography of Stieg Larsson. Together, Martinetti and Lebeau have created a cookbook inspired by Scandinavian crime fiction, Crimes on Ice, and the encyclopedia Agatha Christie from A to Z.

Join both authors at the Institut Français, where they’ll uncover the real Agatha Christie – funny, fallible and full of life.

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SelfMadeHero to publish Tetris: The Games People Play by Box Brown

Big news: in October, we’ll be bringing Tetris: The Games People Play by Box Brown to UK readers. This hotly anticipated – and, we can confirm, brilliant - graphic novel is a dramatic and surprising history of the most ubiquitous and addictive video game of all time. We bagged UK & Commonwealth rights from our friends at First Second, who’ll be publishing the book in the States.

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So, what’s it all about? Here’s the blurb:

It is, perhaps, the perfect video game. Simple yet addictive, Tetris delivers an irresistible, unending puzzle that has players hooked. Play it long enough and you’ll see those brightly coloured geometric shapes everywhere. You’ll see them in your dreams.

Alexey Pajitnov had big ideas about games. In 1984, he created Tetris in his spare time while developing software for the Soviet government. Once this alarmingly addictive game emerged from behind the Iron Curtain, it was an instant hit. Nintendo, Atari, Sega – game developers big and small all wanted Tetris. A bidding war was sparked, followed by clandestine trips to Moscow, backroom deals, innumerable miscommunications and outright theft.

New York Times bestselling author Box Brown untangles this complex history and delves deep into the role games play in art, culture and commerce. For the first time and in unparalleled detail, Tetris: The Games People Play tells the true story of the world’s most popular video game.

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Of course, you’ll know Box Brown as the creator of Andre the Giant: Life and Legend, which tells the story of another pop culture icon. He’s also the founder of the fabulous alt-comics publisher Retrofit Comics.

Tetris_blog_3Be the first to hear what we’ll be doing to celebrate the release of Tetris by signing up to our newsletter. It’s going to be a fun autumn!

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Revealed: SelfMadeHero’s MoCCA Arts Festival Debuts

We’ll soon be making our annual pilgrimage to the MoCCA Arts Festival, where the first three books on our spring list make their US debuts. The event takes place on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd April (11am-6pm) at Metropolitan West, 639 W 46th St, NY 10036.

We’ll be joined by Reinhard Kleist, who’ll be signing copies of An Olympic Dream. Find him sketching and scribbling on the SelfMadeHero stand (G237-238) throughout the weekend. Kleist will arrive fresh from a live drawing event at the Goethe-Institut on Friday evening, of which more here.

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Two more graphic novels make their debuts at the show: Irmina by Barbara Yelin and Munch by Steffen Kverneland.

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Irmina is an award-winning wartime drama based on the life of the author’s grandmother. Conjuring the oppressive atmosphere of Nazi Germany, Yelin’s graphic novel explores 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. Read the Library Journal‘s review of the book here.

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Steffen Kverneland’s extraordinary and inventive graphic biography 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. The Comics Journal has said of the book, “Munch is a dazzling use of sequential storytelling… Rarely have I read a more entertaining biography.”

If you’re lucky enough to be in New York City, we look forward to seeing you there!

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Reinhard Kleist: Live in New York City!

On Friday 1st April Reinhard Kleist will draw live to music at the Goethe-Institut New York (30 Irving Place, NY 10003). The event, which includes an author Q&A, starts at 7pm and admission is free.

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Kleist’s appearance at the Goethe-Institut coincides with the release of his latest graphic novel, An Olympic Dreamwhich tells the remarkable true story of Somali Olympian Samia Yusuf Omar. In 2008, the 17-year-old Yusuf Omar overcame conflict, poverty and discrimination to run in the 200m at the Beijing Olympics; this moving and politically charged graphic novel is an account of her ill-fated attempt to compete at London Games in 2012.

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Publishers Weekly said of the book, “Kleist’s treatment of [Yusuf Omar's] quest is heartbreaking and inspirational, putting a human face to Europe’s current migration question.”

An Olympic Dream debuts at the MoCCA Arts Festival, which takes place on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd April (11am-6pm) at Metropolitan West, 639 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036. Reinhard Kleist will be signing on SelfMadeHero’s tables throughout the weekend.

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Comix Creatrix: Catherine Anyango, Barbara Yelin and Hannah Berry in Conversation

This Saturday, 5th March, we’ll be at the House of Illustration in King’s Cross for an event featuring three creators whose work is on display in the gallery’s brilliant exhibition Comix Creatrix: 100 Women Making Comics. Catherine Anyango (Heart of Darkness), Barbara Yelin (Irmina) and Hannah Berry (Adamtine) join co-curator Paul Gravett to discuss their work, ideas and influences. The event starts at 3pm and is completely free (just rsvp to rsvp@houseofillustration.org.uk).

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Catherine Anyango is an artist and graphic novelist. Her acclaimed graphic adaptation of Heart of Darkness was published by SelfMadeHero in 2010. Anyango’s artwork has been exhibited at Art Basel Miami Beach, the National Film Theatre, The British Library and the V&A. She is currently a Tutor in Visual Research at the Royal College of Art.

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Barbara Yelin is a Munich-based comics artist. She received the Bavarian Art Award for Literature for her graphic novel Irmina, which also won the Best German Graphic Novel prize at the PENG Awards. Irmina is published in English by SelfMadeHero in March 2016. Yelin is also the author of Gift (with Peter Meter) and Riekes Notizen.

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Hannah Berry is a graphic novelist, writer and illustrator. She is the author of two graphic novels, Britten and Brülightly and Adamtine, both published by Jonathan Cape. She is currently working on a third, Livestock, which will be published in 2017. Her artwork has been exhibited in solo and collective exhibitions in the UK and around the world.

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Paul Gravett is a London-based journalist, curator, writer and broadcaster who has worked in comics publishing and promotion for over 20 years. He is the author of Comics Art, Graphic Novels: Everything You Need To Know and Manga: 60 Years Of Japanese Comics, and co-curator of Comix Creatrix: 100 Women Making Comics with Olivia Ahmad.

Comix Creatrix displays original artwork by 100 female comic creators working across genres and generations, from the 1800s to the present day. Read The Guardian‘s thoughts on the exhibition, with quotes from co-curator Olivia Ahmad and comics artist Una, here.

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Event: Barbara Yelin and Reinhard Kleist to Speak at London’s Goethe-Institut on 3rd March

Our spring season kicks off with the launch of two brilliant German graphic novels in translation: Irmina by Barbara Yelin and An Olympic Dream by Reinhard Kleist.

On Thursday 3rd March we’re celebrating the release of both books with a free event at the Goethe-Institut in London (50 Princes Gate, Exhibition Road, SW7 2PH; tube: South Kensington). Barbara Yelin and Reinhard Kleist will discuss their work with the journalist Rosie Goldsmith. The event, which starts at 7pm, is free to attend – all you need to do is rsvp to info@london.goethe.org.

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Set for the most part in the Berlin of Hitler’s Germany, Barbara Yelin’s award-winning Irmina is a troubling drama based on the life of the author’s grandmother. Conjuring the oppressive atmosphere of Nazi Germany, Irmina explores 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. You can read more about the book here and you’ll find a preview of the artwork on the Forbidden Planet International Blog.

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You’ll already know Reinhard Kleist as the author of Castro, Johnny Cash: I See A Darkness and The Boxer. His latest prize-winning graphic biography tells the remarkable 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. 

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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 both a forceful statement on Europe’s response to the refugee crisis and a moving biography of an incredible woman. Read more about it here.

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The event takes place at the Goethe-Institut, 50 Princes Gate, Exhibition Road, SW7 2PH on Thursday 3rd March, from 7pm. We hope to see you there.

Can’t make it because you live in the South West? Fear not: both Reinhard and Barbara will be speaking at the Independent Bath Literature Festival the following evening, Friday 4th March, from 8-9pm. Info here.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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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