How to Create and Publish a Graphic Novel: A Guardian Masterclass

Later this month, we’re bringing together some of the finest experts and creators in the business for a Guardian Masterclass in graphic novel creation. This in-depth, full-day seminar will cover everything you need to know about the art of the graphic novel, from developing an idea to pitching to publishers. It’s happening on Sunday 27th July, and tickets are available here.


Graphic novel guru Paul Gravett, co-curator of the British Library’s Comics Unmasked exhibition, kicks the day off with a history of the graphic novel art form, introducing key texts and exploring the possibilities offered by this unique medium. Novelist Toby Litt, writer on the brilliant Vertigo series Dead Boy Detectives, will lead a session on writing for comics. Guardian cartoonist Steven Appleby, who collaborated with Black Francis and Josh Frank on The Good Inn, will demonstrate how to bring a project to life through drawing. And finally, Karrie Fransman, creator of the The House that Groaned and many other fine comics, will discuss ways to find a publisher for your work, and how to pitch. It’ll be a laid-back, engaging affair – and there’ll be plenty of opportunities to ask questions.

The event takes place on Sunday 27th July, 10am-4pm. Venue: The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Price: £99 (including lunch and refreshments).

For more info and to book tickets, click here. We look forward to seeing you there!

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How to Pitch to Publishers: A Short Course at the British Library

To tie in with its Comics Unmasked exhibition, the British Library is hosting a series of workshops aimed at aspiring comics artists – and SelfMadeHero’s founder and Publisher, Emma Hayley, is lending a hand.

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Next Wednesday, 2nd July, Emma will join Ariel Kahn, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Roehampton University, in leading a workshop aimed at budding graphic novelists. Here’s the blurb:

“Pushing the Boundaries: From Pitch to Publication”

Whichever genre you choose to work in, discover how to push the limits of form to enhance the impact of your narrative. Learn how to create a professional script, approach publishers and target the right audience.

This is an intermediate to advance workshop aimed at those who already have a portfolio of work or a graphic novel in development. It includes exclusive after-hours entry to the Comics Unmasked exhibition.

The course takes place on Wednesday 2nd July, 18.30-20.30, at the British Library, 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB. Price: £40 / £35 concessions.

To book a place on the course, click here.

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Drawing the Line: Antonin Baudry in Conversation with Frank Rich and Edmund White

Antonin Baudry (aka Abel Lanzac), French diplomat and author of the bestselling political comedy Weapons of Mass Diplomacy (with Christophe Blain), will discuss France’s resistance to the Iraq War with the writers Frank Rich and Edmund White on Wednesday July 2nd at McNally Jackson, from 7pm.

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This unique event brings together two of America’s finest writers and the author of the most successful European graphic novel of recent years. They come together to discuss the turbulent period during which Baudry worked as an advisor to French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin.

McNally Jackson is located at 52 Prince Street, (between Lafayette & Mulberry), New York City, NY 10012.

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Literary Kitchen Festival: Steven Appleby, ILYA & Oscar Zarate


This Sunday, 22nd June, we’re venturing south of the river for The Literary Kitchen Festival at the Peckham Pelican, 92 Peckham Road, London, SE15 5PY. This week-long literary extravaganza culminates in a Journal and Imprints Fair on Sunday, 11am-4pm, showcasing some of the country’s finest independent presses, literary journals and creative writing enterprises. SelfMadeHero will be there, alongside And Other Stories, Quick Fictions, Influx Press, and many more.

What’s more, at 5pm, three of the UK’s finest comics artists – Steven Appleby (The Good Inn), ILYA (Room For Love) and Oscar Zarate (The Park) - will take to the stage to discuss graphic novels with Steve Walsh, bookseller at Gosh! Comics and co-presenter of the South London Hardcore podcast. The event also takes place at the Peckham Pelican and entry is completely free. Find out more here.

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See what else is going on over the weekend by visiting the Literary Kitchen Festival’s website.

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Steven Appleby Signs The Good Inn at Gosh! Comics, Tuesday 17th June

Following his appearance at the amazing launch event at the British Library a week ago, Steven Appleby will will be signing copies of The Good Inn at Gosh! Comics on Tuesday 17th June, from 7pm.


The Good Inn, released last week, is co-authored by Pixies frontman Black Francis and biographer and screenwriter Josh Frank.


Based on a yet-to-be-written soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t yet exist, The Good Inn weaves together two historical events: the explosion on the battleship Iéna at the French port of Toulon and the making of La Bonne Auberge, the earliest known pornographic film. Illustrated throughout by Steven Appleby, the novel combines fact and fiction to recreate this lost piece of history.

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You’ll know Steven Appleby from his work for The Guardian, and as the artist behind many brilliant books. He also contributed artwork for the Pixies album Trompe Le Monde. He’ll be signing from 7-9pm at Gosh! Comics, 1 Berwick Street, W1F 0DR. There’ll be free beer, wonderful company, and a limited edition book plate available exclusively at Gosh!

Check out our flickr stream to see some photos from the launch event at the British Library.

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SelfMadeHero at ELCAF 2014

It’s that time of year again: we’re slipping on our tight jeans, waxing our moustaches and riding our fixed-wheel bikes to trendy East London for ELCAF. This year we have no less than seven – yes, seven! – amazing creators in tow: John Aggs (Ricky Rouse Has A Gun), I. N. J. Culbard (Celeste), Mark Stafford & David Hine (The Man Who Laughs), Oscar Zarate (The Park), ILYA (Room For Love) and Rob Davis (The Complete Don Quixote). What’s more, there’ll be exclusive better-than-Amazon discounts on every one of our books.

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Debuting at ELCAF is the beautiful, gold-foiled hardback edition of Jörg Tittel & John Aggs’ Ricky Rouse Has A Gun. John Aggs will be signing copies from 11am-1pm, and you’ll be able to pick it up for just £20 (RRP 24.99). Read about this mad, bad and brilliant book here.

Ricky Hardback Pic for Blog

You’ll also be able to grab a copy of The Good Inn by Black Francis, Josh Frank & Steven Appleby. Hot off the press, and fresh from its first outing at The British Library on Saturday night, it will be available with a free limited edition book plate designed by Steven Appleby.


I. N. J. Culbard will be signing copies of his much-praised first original graphic novel, Celeste, throughout the day.

celeste (for blog)

In the morning, Mark Stafford and David Hine will be around to sign copies of their British Comic Award-nominated adaptation of Victor Hugo’s The Man Who Laughs. Oscar Zarate, creator of The Park, will be around in the afternoon (from 2.30pm), as will Room For Love author ILYA.

Double 2014 Eisner nominee Rob Davis, creator of The Complete Don Quixote, will also be around in the afternoon. Ask him about his upcoming graphic novel, The Motherless Oven. (It’s incredible.)

ELCAF takes place on Saturday 14th June at The Oval Space, London E2 9DT, 10am-7pm. See what else is going on here.

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Ricky Rouse Has A Gun: Limited Edition Hardback


On Thursday this week, 12th June, we’re releasing a limited edition hardback of Ricky Rouse Has A Gun by Jörg Tittel and John Aggs, a stunning, brilliant and utterly bonkers graphic novel set in a knockoff Disney theme park. Find it in a comic shop near you, or order it online.


You may have heard of him already, Ricky Rouse. He’s the rip-off rodent, as loveable as he is original, who starred in that memorable music video that featured a brand new track by UNKLE’s James Lavelle. Haven’t seen it? Do:

You may even have infringed SelfMadeHero’s copyright – shame on you! - by downloading the first 33 pages as part of the BitTorrent Bundle offered up by militant anti-piracy campaigners They did this to damage the book’s reputation – just, they say, as Ricky Rouse Has A Gun damages the property of the Hollywood creatives whose boundless creativity has brought joy to the lives of so many for so long. It didn’t work.

After hundreds of thousands of downloads, the first 33 pages of Ricky Rouse Has A Gun might be disseminated beyond the point of (digital) retrieval, but we’re bringing it to you in a format no pirate can touch: a handsomely produced, beautifully bound, gold-foiled hardback. It is a thing of beauty only the most ruthless criminal would attempt to steal. (N.B., Ricky we have notified the country’s comic shops that additional security may be required.)

Ricky Hardback Pic for Blog


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.

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“One big heap of fun.” — Forbidden Planet International

“Looks set to be huge” — Comic Review (Comic Heroes)


Can a Graphic Novel Change Attitudes On IP?: an interview with Jörg Tittel on BitTorrent’s blog

Ricky Rouse Has A Gun: Mouse Madness From Jörg Tittel and John Aggs: a feature on the Forbidden Planet International Blog Blog: hear what the militant anti-piracy campaigners are saying about the book. It’s hilarious.

Read an extract from Ricky Rouse Has A Gun on the wonderful literary blog

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Stoke Newington Literary Festival: Oscar Zarate, ILYA, Steven Appleby & Martin Rowson

This weekend, the Stoke Newington Literary Festival sees a whole load of brilliant events take place in north-east London, with guests including Ray Davies, Lynn Barber and Mark Kermode. What’s more, there’s plenty to amuse graphic novel and cartoon fans as well.

Living and Loving in London: Oscar Zarate & ILYA, Saturday 7th June, 2.30pm, Stoke Newington Library Gallery 

With compelling subtlety and sharp observation, two seasoned graphic novelists record and reflect the realities of urban relationships and the longing for belonging. The Park is Oscar Zarate’s first full-length solo fiction and recounts the repercussions and reprisals sparked by an incident involving a dog on his beloved Hampstead Heath. ILYA’s Room For Love captures complex interconnections across age and class divides between a novelist with writer’s block and a teenage runaway. The event will be chaired by Alex Fitch, presenter of Panel Borders on Resonance FM.

For more info and to book tickets, click here.

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Steven Appleby in conversation with Martin Rowson, Saturday 7th June, 4pm, Stoke Newington Library Gallery

Guardian cartoonist Steven Appleby talks about his latest book, The Good Inn. Co-written by Pixies frontman Black Francis and writer Josh Frank, it is an illustrated novel about art, conflict and the origins of cinema. He speaks alongside political cartoonist Martin Rowson, whose bitingly satirical work from the era of coalition will be collected into a handsome printed volume by SelfMadeHero in September. They discuss their latest work and their different approaches to cartooning.

For more info and tickets, click here.

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Books will be on sale from the wonderful Stoke Newington Book Shop. It will be your first chance to get your hands on The Good Inn, which doesn’t reach shops until next week!

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LF Bollée to Speak at the ANZ Festival of Literature & Arts

This weekend, King’s College plays host to the Australia and New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts. The organisers have compiled a diverse and intriguing list of writers, actors, musicians and opinionators, who’ll be speaking at the Strand Campus in central London. Among them will be LF Bollée, author of the graphic novel Terra Australis, a 500-page history of the founding of modern Australia, illustrated by Philippe Nicloux.


LF Bollée takes part in two events tomorrow, Saturday 31st May. Here are the details:

“First Contact: The British Arrival in Australia & New Zealand”, with LF Bollée, Ali Cobby Eckermann, Witi Ihimaera & Bruce Pascoe, 10am-11am, Strand Campus, WC2R 2LS

When the British landed in Australia and New Zealand in the late 18th Century, it was the beginning of a long struggle over ownership and sovereignty with the indigenous people that in different ways continues through to the present day. Discussing this pivotal moment in history, its resonance within the two countries and the way this early period began to shape new national identities are Maori author Witi Ihimaera, journalist and graphic novelist LF Bollée,  author Bruce Pascoe and poet Ali Cobby Eckermann.

Click here for more info and tickets.


“Writing as the ‘Other’”, with Ed Hillyer and LF Bollée, chaired by Alex Fitch, Saturday 31st May, 1pm-2pm, Strand Campus, WC2R 2LS

Writing from the perspective of anyone other than your self is always an imaginative leap. Is it more difficult to make when your character is from a culture alien to your own? Ed Hillyer, British author of The Clay Dreaming, and LF Bollée, French author of Terra Australis, discuss post-colonial indigenous representation in novels and comics. Of course, Ed Hillyer also writes as ILYA, and is the author of the SelfMadeHero-published graphic novel Room For Love. This event is chaired by SelfMadeHero favourite and Panel Borders presenter Alex Fitch.

Click here for more info and tickets.


Terra Australis and Room For Love are available now in all good book shops.

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A Night At The Good Inn: Black Francis, Josh Frank and Steven Appleby in Conversation with David Quantick

On Saturday 7th June, Pixies frontman Black Francis joins writer Josh Frank and artist Steven Appleby for a unique event to celebrate the publication of their new book, The Good Inn. Hosted by David Quantick, the event takes place at the British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB, from 9pm. You can get your hands on tickets here.

Good Inn BL Flyer (FOR BLOG)

The Good Inn, which SelfMadeHero publish in June, is a bold and visually arresting novel about art, conflict and the pioneers of early cinema. The evening includes a screening of two of the early classic French surrealist shorts that inspired the book: Buñuel’s masterpiece, Un Chien Andalou (1929), and Méliès’ ground-breaking A Trip To The Moon (1902), featuring a new score by French musical duo Air. This is followed by an on-stage discussion with Black Francis, Josh Frank and Steven Appleby, who will also sign copies of the book at the event. Authentic Parisian absinthe will be provided on the night by La Fée.

The Good Inn_Cover(for blog)

Based on a yet-to-be-written soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t yet exist, The Good Inn weaves together two historical events: the explosion on the battleship Iéna at the French port of Toulon and the making of La Bonne Auberge, the earliest known pornographic film from France, produced by the pioneering Bernard Natan. He is featured in the book alongside Pierre Batcheff, the actor who starred in Un Chien Andalou. Illustrated throughout by Steven Appleby, the novel combines fact and fiction to recreate this lost piece of history. An exhibition of Appleby’s artwork will be on display in the Conference Centre foyer on the night.

The Good Inn coincides with the release of Pixies’ first new album in 23 years, Indie Cindy. Pixies play Field Day festival the following day, Sunday 8th June, in the middle of an extensive world tour. You can watch Black Francis talk about The Good Inn alongside his Pixies bandmates below.

To book tickets for “A Night At The Good Inn”, click here.

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