ELCAF Returns: SelfMadeHero in Hackney

This weekend, 20th & 21st June, we’re heading to Hackney for the East London Comics and Arts Festival. This year’s event takes place across two venues: SPACE on Mare Street (for the talks and workshops) and The Laundry on Warburton Rd (for the expo).

We’ll be bringing our wares to the Laundry (table 31) on Saturday and Sunday, 10am-7pm. There’ll be exclusive discounts on all titles, signed book plates, fine company and much, much more. We’ll also be debuting something special: End of a Century by Run Wrake, edited by Andrew Collins.

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This beautifully produced rocket trip through the nineties collects the visually incendiary, satirically acute album review illustrations of the late Run Wrake, who was a mainstay of the NME between 1988 and 2000.

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We’ll also have copies of I. N. J. Culbard’s bestselling adaptation of Robert W. Chambers’ The King in Yellow, Andrzej Klimowski and Danusia Schejbal’s Behind the Curtain, and Julie Birmant and Clément Oubrerie’s acclaimed graphic novel biography of Picasso, Pablo. Plus, every copy of Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley, The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis and The Sculptor by Scott McCloud will come with a free signed, limited edition book plate.

So, jump on the 55, get off at Mare St, browse, buy and chat. A full programme of events is available here.

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End of a Century: Nineties Album Reviews in Pictures

Later this month, we launch End of a Century: Nineties Album Reviews in Pictures by Run Wrake. Edited by Andrew Collins, End of a Century is a rocket trip through the last decade of the Millennium via the NME album review illustrations of the late John Matthew Charrosin Wrake, who traded as Run.

The book launches on Friday 26th June at The Crate, 3 Dunworth Mews, London, W11 1LE, starting at 6.30pm. Want to come? Just RSVP to

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End of a Century collects the visually incendiary, socially charged, satirically acute artwork of Run Wrake. Specifically, his illustrations for the album review pages of weekly music bible the NME. These regular commissions collectively describe the shifting musical, cultural, political and artistic trends of the 1990s. Together, they form an exhilarating visual guide to a musical decade remembered for its heady mix of guitar-driven grunge and Britpop acts, gangster rappers and manufactured popstars.

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From U2, Blur and the Wu-Tang Clan to Nirvana, Kylie Minogue and PJ Harvey, these striking images mutate from monochrome, fanzine-style cut-out Xerox collages to more sophisticated, full-colour computer-generated fantasias. What unites them is Run’s unique wit and invention, borne out of a deep love of music and the multimedia world around him. From the perspective of the next century, they seem brighter still.

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Run Wrake studied graphics at the Chelsea School of Art and animation at the Royal College of Art. His graduation film, Anyway, won the BP Expo prize, the first of many international awards over a varied animation career, including a BAFTA nomination for Rabbit. (You can watch the latter below.) An avid music fan, he provided distinctive illustrations for the reviews and features pages of the NME between 1988 and 2000. As a filmmaker working across music, video, advertising and TV, he created visuals for tours such as PopMart by U2 and the Rolling Stones’ 50 & Counting… He died in 2012.

End of a Century is released on 25th June.

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Andrzej Klimowski and Danusia Schejbal at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival

Andrzej Klimowski and Danusia Schejbal will discuss the creative life with Sydney Padua at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival on Sunday 7 June at 4pm. The conversation will be chaired by Resonance FM presenter Alex Fitch. Tickets are available here.

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Two recent graphic novels show how artistic and inventive lives can flourish in extraordinary, often difficult circumstances. Andrzej Klimowski and Danusia Schejbal’s collaborative biography, Behind the Curtain, explores their formative years as artists in 1970s Poland. Sydney Padua’s The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage takes us back to the 1830s and an alternate reality in which Ada Lovelace, often credited as the world’s first computer programmer, avoids her untimely death to realise Charles Babbage’s plans for the world’s first computer.

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So, if you’re interested in hearing about two of the spring’s finest graphic novels, get yourself on a bus to Stokey on Sunday afternoon! The event takes place at Stokey Stop, 176 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16 7JP, at 4pm on Sunday 7 June.

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TCAF 2015: SelfMadeHero and Barbara Stok take on Toronto!

It’s that time of year again: we’re off to Toronto for Canada’s finest convention. This weekend, the Reference Library will transform into the comic book Mecca that is TCAF, and SelfMadeHero will be centre stage (tables 142-43), offering handsome graphic novels, tolerable staff, staggering discounts and giveaways to cherish.

What’s more, Barbara Stok will be flying from The Netherlands to join us! Fresh from her appearance at MoCCA and the Met Museum in New York, the author of Vincent will be signing on SelfMadeHero’s stand throughout the weekend, as well as talking to Barbara Postema of Ryerson University about her acclaimed biography of Van Gogh (Sat May 9, 11am, The Marriott 50).

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If that’s not enough, TCAF will mark the comic-con debut of two of the spring’s best European graphic novels in translation. The first is Pablo, Julie Birmant and Clément Oubrerie’s award-winning graphic biography of Picasso. Stunningly drawn, and focussing on Picasso’s early years, Pablo has been lauded by The New York ObserverBooklist and many others. You should buy it. It’s ace.

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The second is Aama: The Desert of Mirrors, the third volume in Frederik Peeters’ mind-expanding science fiction series, which Sci-Fi Now has described as “Prometheus reimagined by Hayao Miyazaki”. We’ll have it on sale for a mere $20 Canadian - a bargain.


You’ll receive a signed book plate with every copy of Rob Davis’s Eisner-nominated graphic novel, The Motherless Oven, Oscar Zarate’s The Park, Glyn Dillon’s The Nao of Brown, and many, many more books.

So, stop by early and get your hands on some fabulous printed goods, some of them cheap, some of them free, and all of them beautiful.

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Behind the Curtain Launches at the RCA

Behind the Curtain, Andrzej Klimowski and Danusia Schejbal’s much anticipated collaborative autobiography, launches at the Royal College of Art on Monday 27th April. The event takes place at 6.30pm in the Senior Common Room, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2EU – and everyone is welcome! If you’d like to come, RSVP here.

Behind the Curtain cover (for blog)

Andrzej Klimowski and Danusia Schejbal’s previous collaborations include adaptations of The Master and Margarita and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde for SelfMadeHero. In Behind the Curtain, Klimowski and Schejbal’s unique styles combine to create a beautiful and intriguing portrait of their formative years as artists in Poland.

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During the 1970s, many East European citizens dreamed of going West. Behind the Curtain is an autobiographical account of two young art students who travelled the other way. Studying and working in Poland, they found themselves part of a vibrant community producing visionary work across the arts – even as prices rocketed, trade unions drove social unrest and, finally, tanks appeared in the streets .

A unique collaboration interweaving two distinctive styles, Behind the Curtain combines life, art and politics to reveal the cultural environment that flourished despite the harsh realities of the Communist state. When toilet paper is worth its weight in gold, what price do you put on expression?

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Can’t make the launch? Never fear: Behind the Curtain is available now in all good book shops!

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This Saturday: Martin Rowson’s Satirical Battle Bus Stops At Somerset House

This Saturday, Political Book Award-winner and Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson will visit Somerset House to discuss the history and function of visual satire over the last 32,000 years. The event, which forms part of Pick Me Up Festival‘s “Points of Contention” programme, takes place at 11.30am. Festival passes are available here.

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Later, Rowson’s satirical battle bus travels south of the river to the Hill Station in New Cross, where an evening of election entertainment awaits the venue’s politically engaged punters. Organised by Lewisham’s finest, People Before Profit, the event kicks off at 8pm. Full details are available here.

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So, if you’re in London this weekend, join us in laughing at the powerful incompetents currently working so hard to win our vote. You never know, we may not have the adorable Cameron and Clegg to amuse us for very much longer!

“Rowson is a master of inky invective.” Ralph Steadman

“Martin Rowson’s cartoons aren’t just all sorts of comic genius – their exposure of the wrongdoings of those with power make you want to have a revolution and thus pose a mortal danger to the status quo.” Owen Jones

“Sending excoriating Exocets straight down at our current leaders, Martin Rowson is a great draughtsman and a sharply well-informed political critic.” Polly Toynbee

The Coalition Book, SelfMadeHero’s collection of Martin Rowson’s cartoons from the era of Cameron and Clegg, is available now from all good book shops.

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Barbara Stok brings Vincent to New York

This month, SelfMadeHero’s Art Masters series launches in North America with the release of Julie Birmant and Clément Oubrerie’s Pablo and Barbara Stok’s Vincent. The series has already won praise from the New York Observer, and this weekend Barbara Stok will be speaking at one of the USA’s most esteemed artistic institutions.

This Friday, 10th April, Barbara Stok will visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to discuss her acclaimed graphic novel biography of Van Gogh. The event, which takes place at 6.30pm in the Bonnie J. Sacerdote Lecture Hall, will see Stok talk about her background as an artist and the process of researching and creating Vincent. It’s completely free but registration is required (more details here).

Barbara Stok_Self-Portrait

If that’s not enough, Barbara Stok will also be making a guest appearance at the Society of Illustrators’ MoCCA Arts Festival on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th April. The Festival takes place at Center548 on West 22nd Street, from 11am to 6pm both days. As well as signing on SelfMadeHero’s stand (tables 309-310) throughout the weekend, Stok will take part in a discussion of biographical graphic novels with Annie Goetzinger (Girl in Dior) and James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook (7 Miles a Second). The panel, which is chaired by Jillian Steinhauer, Senior Editor at Hyperallergic, takes place in the The Rusack Room of the High Line Hotel at 12.30pm on Sunday. Full details are available here.

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SelfMadeHero will be at MoCCA Arts Festival throughout the weekend (tables 309-310). There’ll be exclusive discounts on all our books, signed book plates and more. It’s going to be a fun weekend. Do stop by!

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Pablo: Julie Birmant & Clément Oubrerie visit the Institut Français, London

On Wednesday 15th April, Julie Birmant and Clément Oubrerie will visit The Institut Français to discuss their award-winning graphic novel biography of Picasso.

Iain Sinclair on the south bank of the river Thames, London, Britain - 26 Aug 2011

Pablo follows the artist’s career from his origins in penury to the advent of modern art. Taking in Picasso’s early life among the bohemians of Montmartre and his turbulent relationship with Fernande, this stunning graphic biography shows how the artist’s style developed in response to his friendships and rivalries.

Iain Sinclair on the south bank of the river Thames, London, Britain - 26 Aug 2011

Writer Julie Birmant and artist Clément Oubrerie will be joined at the French Cultural Institute in South Kensington by comics journalist and historian Paul Gravett. Together they will explore the themes and obsessions – among them, sex, death and his great nemesis, Henri Matisse – that drove Picasso to express himself.

The event kicks off at 7pm at the Institut Français Library, 17 Queensberry Place, London, SW7 2DT. It’s completely free, but you should reserve a place by emailing

The event, which is co-hosted by SelfMadeHero, The London Book and Screen Week and COMICA Festival, will be followed by a book signing.

Iain Sinclair on the south bank of the river Thames, London, Britain - 26 Aug 2011

“Why the Graphic Novel”: A London Book Fair Panel

Earlier on in the day, from 4-5pm, Julie Birmant and Clément Oubrerie will join Karrie Fransman (Death of the Artist) and Paul B Rainey (There’s No Time Like the Present) at the London Book Fair to discuss what graphic novels can do that other forms can’t. The event, which is chaired by Paul Gravett, takes place in the Club Room in Olympia’s National Hall Gallery. Full details are available here.

Pablo is now available from all good book shops (paperback, £16.99/$27.50).

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BitTorrent Release: Ricky Rouse Has A Gun

Ricky Rouse Has A Gun, Jörg Tittel and John Aggs’ acclaimed graphic novel, today becomes the first ebook to be sold through BitTorrent Bundle. You can now download the entire book for just $5 here.

Apart from allowing you to download one of the Boston Globe’s Best Graphic Books of 2015, $5 will give you access to exclusive making-of files – pages that give a behind-the-scenes insight into Aggs’ and Tittel’s creative process. Want to try before you buy? You can download the first 33 pages for nothing.


BitTorrent’s brand new paygated Bundle scheme was trialled at the end of last year with the release of Thom Yorke’s latest album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes - and, well, if it’s good enough for Thom Yorke, it’s good enough for SelfMadeHero. Combined, Yorke’s free and paid-for Bundles have been downloaded 4.5M times. We’ll settle for a million.

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Described by more than one reviewer as “Die Hard in Disney Land”, Ricky Rouse Has A Gun tells the story of a US army deserter who fights a group of neocon terrorists in a knock-off theme park near Shanghai. It’s an irreverent action comedy that’s as bonkers as it is brilliant. But don’t take our word for it:

“I loved Ricky Rouse Has A Gun, a comic filled with deaths and yet full of life.” —Alejandro Jodorowsky

“A thrilling love letter to the remix culture disguised as an action movie from the ’80s… Dum dee dum, delightful.” —Markus “Notch” Persson, Creator of Minecraft

“A story as thrilling as it is bizarre… A true original.” —The Huffington Post

Ricky Rouse Has A Gun is also available in paperback from Amazon US and UK and other quality booksellers. An enhanced digital edition is available on the SEQUENTIAL for iPad App.

The BitTorrent Bundle is available here.

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