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‪Ricky Rouse (Ripoff Rodent Remix)‬

SPOILER: THIS IS NOT YOUR AVERAGE BOOK TRAILER

You might have seen the news that we’ll be publishing Jörg Tittel and John Aggs’ irreverent satire Ricky Rouse Has A Gun in September (with a limited edition hardback available in June).

Well, now we can reveal the brilliantly bonkers promo video. It tells the story of a lonely Chinese rip-off mascot finding love in London, and it features an original song by UNKLE‘s James Lavelle (Sexy Beast), curator of this year’s Meltdown at the Southbank Centre.

Set in a knockoff Disney theme park, Ricky Rouse Has a Gun is a relentless action comedy, a satire of US-China relations, and a parody of Western entertainment. It follows the story of Rick Rouse, a US army deserter who takes a job at Fengxian Amusement Park, a family destination heavily “inspired” by Western culture, featuring Rambi (the deer with the red headband), Ratman (the caped crusader with a rat’s tail), Bumbo (small ears, big behind), and other original characters. But when American terrorists take the entire park hostage, only Ricky Rouse can save the day. In a furry costume. This original graphic novel takes a curious look at China – a country that, once we look past its often outrageous copyright infringements, is a culture ripe with innovation and a unique, courageous spirit. The book features an introduction by Christopher Sprigman, Professor of Law at New York University and author of The Knockoff Economy: How Imitation Sparks Innovation.

Find out how to pre-order the limited edition hardback (out 12th June) here.

 

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Launch Party: Celeste by I. N. J. Culbard

We’re really excited to be launching I. N. J. Culbard’s first original graphic novel, Celeste, at Gosh! Comics on Friday 25th April – and you’re all invited!

Celeste Cover for blog

You’ll know I. N. J. Culbard from his masterful adaptations of Lovecraft and other classics, as well as his work on The New Deadwardians (Vertigo). Celeste is the first original graphic novel that Culbard has both written and drawn, and he’s put his imagination and craft to incredible use. Here’s the blurb:

In London, the moment two commuters, Aaron and Lilly, lay eyes on each other on a packed Monday morning tube train, everyone else around them vanishes. In Los Angeles, Ray is sitting in gridlock on the 405 Freeway when he receives a call from an LAPD officer with news about his wife. Ray fears the worst. But just as the officer is about to give Ray the news, he is cut off. The caller has disappeared, and so has everyone else around him. Everyone except for a badly beaten man tied up in the trunk of another car.

In Japan, comic artist Yoshi has come to the demon-haunted Aokigahara Forest to die, but the spirits of the forest have other ideas. Taking us through the deserted streets of London, the empty freeways of Los Angeles, and the dream world of the Aokigahara Forest, Celeste is a compelling and profound graphic novel about the choices we make and the courage it takes to make them.

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And here’s what the reviewers are saying:

“It’s a book that will keep you thinking long after you’ve closed it, and you’ll want to return to its images afterwards.” SFX Magazine

“As intriguing a debut as any in recent memory.” Your Days Are Numbered

At the launch, there’ll be signing and sketching, free beer and sparkling wine, not mention amazing company. Plus, you’ll be able to get your hands on one of these three limited edition book plates:

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celeste book plate 3

Celeste launches on Friday 25th April, 7-9pm, at Gosh! Comics, 1 Berwick Street, Soho, London, W1F 0DR. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Coming Soon: Ricky Rouse Has a Gun

This week, at the London Book Fair, we’re thrilled to be revealing news of an upcoming release: Ricky Rouse Has a Gun by Jörg Tittel and John Aggs. Set in a knockoff Disney theme park, this original graphic novel is a relentless action comedy, a satire of US-China relations, and a parody of Western entertainment. It follows the story of Rick Rouse, a US army deserter who takes a job at Fengxian Amusement Park, a family destination heavily “inspired” by Western culture, featuring Rambi (the deer with the red headband), Ratman (the caped crusader with a rat’s tail), Bumbo (small ears, big behind), and other original characters. But when American terrorists take the entire park hostage, only Ricky Rouse can save the day. In a furry costume. Ricky Rouse Has a Gun takes a curious look at China – a country that, once we look past its often outrageous copyright infringements, is a culture ripe with innovation and a unique, courageous spirit. The book features an introduction by Christopher Sprigman, Professor of Law at New York University and author of The Knockoff Economy: How Imitation Sparks Innovation.

micky mouse cover.2bb

COPYRIGHT VS. CREATIVITY: A LONDON BOOK FAIR DEBATE

To coincide with the announcement of the book, SelfMadeHero are hosting a panel discussion at the London Book Fair, which will centre on some of the issues raised by the book. Chaired by The Guardian‘s Technology Reporter Alex Hern, the debate will feature the book’s author, Jörg Tittel, as well as BitTorrent’s Chief Content Officer Matt Mason (author of The Pirate’s Dilemma) and musician, songwriter and Guardian columnist Helienne Lindvall. Titled “Copyright Vs Creativity: Is Intellectual Property Reserved for the 1%”, the panel asks whether copyright has lost one of its principle functions: to protect authors and to combat fakes. It takes place on Thursday 10th April, in the Thames Room, Earls Court 1, 1pm-2pm.

PRE-ORDER THE LIMITED EDITION HARDBACK

Ahead of its paperback release in September, we’ll be publishing a limited-run “Gold Edition” of Ricky Rouse Has a Gun on June 12th. Available a full three months ahead of the book’s official release, this lavishly produced hardback is an object worth owning. The print run will be limited to just 500 copies, so you must pre-order.

To pre-order the Gold Edition of Ricky Rouse Has a Gun (£24.99 + P&P, out 12th June), drop an email to sam@selfmadehero.com. The first 20 pre-orderers will have their book signed by Jörg Tittel and John Aggs.

Here’s a taster of the artwork:

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You can pre-order the paperback edition of Ricky Rouse Has a Gun (out September 11th) here.

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SelfMadeHero and Nick Abadzis at MoCCA

It’s that time of year again: the days are getting longer, the weather’s getting warmer, and MoCCA Comic Arts Festival is upon us! Once again, SelfMadeHero are in New York City to fly the flag for British and European graphic novels, and we’ve got one very special guest joining us.

Following on from the launch of his brand new graphic novel at the Strand bookstore on Thursday night, Nick Abadzis will be signing copies of The Cigar that Fell in Love with a  Pipe at SelfMadeHero’s stand (tables A18 and A19) throughout the weekend. What’s more, if you but a copy of the book, you’ll go home with one of these exclusive Cigar-themed book plates.

Rita_bookplate for blog Conchita_book plate for blog

Plus, there’ll be exclusive discounts on all SelfMadeHero titles throughout the weekend. There’ll also be a chance to get your hands on our brand new US releases: The Park by Oscar Zarate, a stunning graphic novel by the artist behind the Eisner-winning A Small Killing (with Alan Moore); The Boxer by Reinhard Kleist, a moving biography of Holocaust survivor and champion boxer Harry Haft; and the first volume of Frederik Peeters’ Angoulême-winning science fiction series, Aama.

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You’ll be able to get your hands on this wonderful book plate by Reinhard Kleist, and many more exclusive treats.

MoCCA Comic Arts Festival takes place on Saturday April 5 and Sunday April 6, 11am-6pm, at the 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010. To find out what is happening over the weekend, visit MoCCA’s website.

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Nick Abadzis at the Strand, NYC, April 3

To celebrate the release of his brand new graphic novel, Nick Abadzis will be in conversation with comics journalist and bookseller Tucker Stone at New York City’s Strand bookstore on Thursday April 3, from 7pm.

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Written by the French novelist David Camus, The Cigar that Fell in Love with a Pipe is a brilliantly original tale of love, heartbreak and tobacco. Fans of Nick Abadzis’s Eisner-winning graphic novel, Laika, will recognise his bold style and brilliant visual storytelling.

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Following the release of his latest movie, Orson Welles – renowned director and smoking aficionado – receives a celebratory box of cigars. As he indulges his habit, Welles comes to realise exactly what he’s smoking: the final creations of Conchita Marquez, Cuba’s finest cigar roller.

Ranging from the heyday of the cigar industry to the glamorous heights of Hollywood’s Golden Age, The Cigar that Fell in Love with a Pipe inventively combines romance, history, imagination and nicotine to ask the burning question: can love triumph over adversity, or does it all go up in smoke?

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The event takes place at the Strand bookstore, 828 Broadway, New York City, NY10003-4805, Thursday April 3, from 7pm. If you’re coming, join the event on Facebook here.

To attend the event, you simply need to buy a copy of The Cigar that Fell in Love with a Pipe or a $15 gift card for the Strand bookstore. Wine will be provided!

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SelfMadeHero to Publish Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds

SECONDS COVER FOR BLOG

Finally, we’re able to shout about it! Yesterday it was announced that we’ll be publishing Seconds, a brand new stand-alone graphic novel from Bryan Lee O’Malley. One of the most hotly anticipated books of 2014, Seconds is O’Malley’s first graphic novel since the final instalment of the Scott Pilgrim series and it’s going to be huge! It will be released to UK readers in August 2014.

Stayed tuned for news of some very, very exciting promotional activities! In meantime, check out Bryan’s blog and follow him on Twitter.

P. S. Apologies for the forest of exclamation marks. It’s just, well, we’re pretty damn excited!

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New Release: Vincent by Barbara Stok

Today we publish Vincent, a graphic biography of Van Gogh by Dutch creator Barbara Stok. The second book in SelfMadeHero’s Art Masters series, Vincent documents the brief and intense period of creativity Van Gogh spent in Arles, Provence. Away from Paris, the painter falls in love with the landscape and light of the South of France, and dreams of setting up an artists’ studio in Arles. But attacks of mental illness leave him disorientated and confused. Vincent breathes new life into this fascinating story of art, friendship and brotherly love.

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We caught up with Barbara Stok to see what she had to say about the project.

Why did you choose to focus on this part of Van Gogh’s life?

I chose the last couple of years of his life, the period he lived in the south of France, because it’s an extremely interesting time. There was a lot going on: he made his most beautiful paintings, he dreamed about setting up an artists’ house, there was the tragic incident with his ear and, finally, he went to a mental institution. He had hopes and dreams and big disappointments, but in the end he found resignation and consolation in his work and in nature.

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How did you research the project?

I started by reading all of his letters. That was like reading a diary. From his letters I selected scenes and thoughts that I found interesting. I also went to Arles and Saint-Rémy to see where he lived. And I gathered all the necessary facts, for instance: What kind of furniture did they have in the late 19th century? Did they have electricity or gas light? What did their underwear look like? In order to make a drawing, you have to know every little detail.

What was your process and how long did it take?

First I wrote a broad outline of the story. After that I wrote the dialogues and started drawing page-by-page. My husband Rick coloured the book on the computer. We used the colours of Van Gogh’s own paintings: we selected one painting for each scene. All together, from the moment I started reading the letters until the book was finished, it took three years. This is me working on Vincent:

Barbara Stok_Self-Portrait

What were the challenges of the project?

The most difficult part of the book to make was when Vincent’s colleague Gaugin visits him in Arles. On the one hand, they get along; on the other, their characters clash. It was a real challenge to find the right balance.

What did you most enjoy about the project?

I most enjoyed making the part set in Saint-Rémy. This is where Vincent finds peace and resignation and where all the themes in the book come together. I could draw full pages of beautiful landscapes and bring forward his ideas about life and consolation: “When I am painting in the countryside, I feel the bonds that unite us all.”

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Vincent is available now from all good book shops, brick-and-mortar and online.

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The Good Inn Creators Collaborate on New Pixies Video

Josh Frank, co-author of The Good Inn (with Pixies frontman Black Francis), has written and directed the video for Pixies’ latest release, Greens and Blues. Plus, the titles have been done by the book’s artist, Guardian cartoonist Steven Appleby. Take a look:

The Good Inn will be release in May this year. Here’s the blurb:

“A book based on a soundtrack score that has not yet been composed for a feature film that does not yet exist.” Pixies frontman Black Francis has approached writing his first book as he would do a song: with inventiveness and originality. The Good Inn tells the story of an eighteen-year-old known only as Soldier Boy who, after escaping a devastating explosion at the French port of Toulon, sets out on a bizarre journey across France. Navigating his way past homicidal gypsies, combative soldiers and porn-peddling peasants, he takes refuge at The Good Inn – and promptly finds himself centre stage in the making of the world’s first narrative pornographic movie. Unique and vividly imagined, The Good Inn is a touchingly comic story that brings turn-of-the-century France to life.

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SelfMadeHero to Celebrate Spring with a Party at Gosh! Comics

We’re hosting a party at Gosh! Comics on Friday 7th March – and everyone’s invited! Quite aside from the free booze, there’ll be signings from three of our finest creators: Reinhard Kleist (The Boxer), ILYA (Room For Love) and Mark Stafford (The Man Who Laughs).

SelfMadeHero Spring Party 2014_Invite_For Blog

Mark Stafford will be signing copies of The Man Who Laughs, his British Comic Award-nominated collaboration with David Hine. An adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic, it was lauded as “absolutely stunning and grotesque” by Cory Doctorow. ILYA will be signing his brilliant original graphic novel Room For Love, which made the Independent‘s list of 2013′s best comics and was heaped with praise elsewhere. Fresh from his talk at the Goethe-Institut the night before, Reinhard Kleist will be signing copies of his brand new book, The Boxer, a multi-award-winning graphic biography of Holocaust survivor and champion boxer Harry Haft. Kleist is well known for his previous biographies, which include the Eisner-nominated Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness.

The event takes place at Gosh! Comics, 1 Berwick Street, Soho, London, W1F 0DR, 7-9PM.

It’s happening as part of Gosh!’s British Comics Month - a celebration of British comics artists, writers and publishers. You can join the event on Facebook here.

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Reinhard Kleist in Conversation with Paul Gravett, Thursday 6th March

To launch his brand new graphic novel, The Boxer, Reinhard Kleist will be in conversation with Paul Gravett at the Goethe-Institut in London on Thursday 6th March (from 7pm). Hosted jointly by SelfMadeHero and Comica, this event is your only chance to hear Kleist speak about his award-winning biography of the Holocaust survivor and champion boxer Harry Haft. The event is completely free, but guests are asked to RSVP to info@london.goethe.org.

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The Boxer tells the true story of Hertzko Haft, a Polish Jew who was plunged into the horror of the concentration camps at sixteen and found himself forced into life-or-death boxing matches by his SS captors. His battles took him to the end of the Second World War and – against all the odds – liberation.  After the war, having emigrated to America, Haft (now “Harry”) established a career as a heavyweight prizefighter, which began with ten straight wins and ended with a defeat to the great Rocky Marciano in 1949.

Boxer Invite for Blog

Reinhard Kleist is a multi-award-winning graphic novelist. His books include Johnny Cash: I See a DarknessCastro and Havana: A Cuban Journey. In January 2013, he became the first comic book artist to be awarded the B. Z. Kulturpreis for his contribution to Berlin’s cultural scene. Kleist will be in conversation with Paul Gravett, Director of Comica, author of Comics Art, and curator of the upcoming British Library exhibition Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK.

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The event takes place from 7pm at the Goethe-Institut, 50 Princes Gate, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2PH. Admission is free but RSVP to info@london.goethe.org.

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