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SelfMadeHero at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2016

Forty years ago French comics veteran Edmond Baudoin abandoned a career in accountancy to devote himself to bandes dessinées. In October he makes another wise move by travelling to Kendal for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, which takes place from 14th-16th October. He’ll be joined by guests including Craig Thompson, Bryan Lee O’Malley and Martin Rowson.

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Baudoin’s UK visit coincides with the release of his graphic biography, Dalí. Commissioned by the Pompidou Centre, this compelling, original and expressive graphic novel is the latest addition to our Art Masters series.

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There is no shortage of labels for the great Surrealist painter. Was he a madman? A genius? An exhibitionist? Baudoin paints an inimitable portrait of an artist as well known for his acts of public bravado as for his extraordinary work. What emerges from his quest to discover the man behind the myth is a heartfelt and original account of two artistic worlds, each possessed of its own rare intensity, meeting for the first time.

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Baudoin will share a stage with Craig Thompson on Saturday 15th October (“Motion and Emotion”, Brewery Arts Centre, 1-2pm). The two artists will be doing what they do best – draw! – while also taking the time to discuss their work with Paul Gravett.

But that’s not all. You may have seen Leah Moore and John Reppion on the festival’s guest list ; you may also be looking forward to their discussion of graphic adaptations at the Brewery Arts Centre (“The Write Stuff”, Sunday 16th, 11-12pm). Well, on the SelfMadeHero stand in the Comics Clocktower (tables 30-31) we’ll be debuting the first volume of their incredible adaptation of M.R. James’ Ghost Stories of an Antiquary.

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Together with artists Aneke, Kit Buss, Fouad Mezher and Alisdair Wood, Leah Moore and John Reppion have crafted adaptations of four masterpieces of understated horror: “Canon Alberic’s Scrapbook”, “Lost Hearts”, “The Mezzotint” and “The Ash-tree”. Expect your spine to be chilled by vanishing children, spectral artworks and vengeance from beyond the grave.

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But after darkness, there must come light… Mike Medaglia’s One Year Wiser: A Gratitude Journal, released in September, helps us keep a lasting record of richness and variety of the here and now. It encourages us to reflect and inspires us to act. It prompts us to harness the power of gratitude to become more positive, calm and confident.

Together with Lisa Woynarski and Farokh Soltani, Mike Medaglia has channeled his trademark positivity into an exhibition, “Five Bridges: Stories of the Flood”, which runs from 12th October-19th November in Kendal Museum.

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In December 2015, flooding hit Cumbria when a year’s worth of rain fell in a single day.The River Kent breached its banks in Kendal, closing the town’s five bridges and flooding many local homes. Comics and audio work together in “Five Bridges” to bring five human stories to life.

Another Lakes Festival debut: The Return of the Honey Buzzard by Aimée de Jongh will also be available for the first time in Kendal. This is a stunning book, a compelling story and a thoughtful meditation on grief, love, our actions and their consequences.

It bears repeating that Bryan Lee O’Malley also visits Kendal for the first time. Bryan Lee O’Malley! The creator of Seconds and Scott Pilgrim will be promoting his brilliant new Image series Snotgirl (with art by Leslie Hung). We look forward to joining you all in the queue.

 

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Aimée de Jongh joins SelfMadeHero at the Small Press Expo

This weekend we’re escaping the muggy confines of SelfMadeTowers and jetting off to Bethesda, MD for the Small Press Expo, the USA’s premiere small press convention.

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At tables W20-W21 you’ll find the full SelfMadeHero spread: new releases, limited edition prints, discounted masterpieces from the backlist… Plus, we’ll be joined by Aimée de Jongh, the Dutch creator of The Return of the Honey Buzzard, which will be available for the first time at SPX.

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Officially published next month, The Return of the Honey Buzzard tells the story of Simon, the third-generation owner of the Antonisse Book Shop. With the doors about to swing shut on his family business, Simon is facing some tough decisions. But when he witnesses a suicide, old memories intrude, guilt bubbles up, and his grip on reality loosens.

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A chance encounter with a young student, Regina, prompts Simon to open up about the past that haunts him. But will their budding friendship last long enough for him to come to terms with the present? Powerful, perceptive and beautifully drawn, The Return of the Honey Buzzard is a compelling graphic novel about grief, love, our actions, and their consequences.

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You’ll find Aimée de Jongh signing copies of the book on our table throughout the weekend. Plus, she’ll be discussing it as part of a panel on Sunday morning.

You Can’t Not Make Comics
2:30-3:30pm, White Flint Auditorium
What is it about comics that makes us fall in love with them? Whatever elusive quality it is, these artists have made room in their incredibly creative and diverse lives for making comics that make us feel things. Aimée de Jongh, Cathy G. Johnson and Eleanor Davis speak to building lives and careers while answering the call of comics creation, with Ron Wimberly moderating the discussion.

The Small Press Expo takes place on Saturday 17th (11am-7pm) & Sunday 18th (noon-6pm) September at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel. See you there, I hope!

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Introducing One Year Wiser: A Gratitude Journal

This month, we’re delighted to be publishing One Year Wiser: A Gratitude Journal by Mike Medaglia. The latest book in his beloved One Year Wiser series is the perfect resource for anyone looking to enjoy the physical and psychological benefits of living gratefully.

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As we reflect on the past and make plans for the future, it is easy to overlook the richness and variety of the here and now.

One Year Wiser: A Gratitude Journal helps us keep a lasting record of the small moments that bring joy to our lives, be it a cool breeze on a summer’s day or the heart-warming sound of laughter.

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Filled with uplifting quotes and guidance, this keepsake journal will accompany you through a year of living gratefully. By recording and revisiting the beautiful details of your everyday experiences, you’ll take a step towards a more positive, calm and confident approach to life.

On his blog, Medaglia says of his subject, “Gratitude is a wonderful way to remind ourselves of the bounty of our lives. It is a way to turn all our experiences, good or bad, into reminders of how precious our limited time in this life is.”

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One Year Wiser: A Gratitude Journal is released on 27th September in North America and 15th September in the UK and everywhere else.

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Launch: Stardust Nation by Deborah Levy and Andrzej Klimowski

In July, Deborah Levy’s latest novel Hot Milk was longlisted for the Booker Prize. This week, we release her first graphic novel, Stardust Nation. Illustrated by Andrzej Klimowski and adapted from one of the centrepieces of Levy’s collection Black VodkaStardust Nation is a Freudian tale about memory, empathy and human connection.

To celebrate, we’re hosting a launch event this Friday, 9th September, at the Freud Museum in London. Join us from 6pm for fine company, palatable wine and an exclusive chance to get your hands on a signed copy. But first, RSVP to sam@selfmadehero.com.

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Want to know more about the book? Here’s the blurb:

For the high-flying, heavy drinking advertising boss Tom Banbury, the art of persuasion relies on an infiltration of the consumer’s mind. In the case of his colleague and confidante Nikos Gazidis, the overdeveloped sense of empathy that suits him to the business has given rise to a strange psychiatric condition. Nick has unwittingly crashed into the consciousness of his boss. 

While Tom drinks to forget the troubles of his earthly life, Nick is forced to confront a past that is not his own: a childhood scarred by the small wars waged by an abusive father – and by the events that brought them to a close. When Nick enters the panicked silence of the Abbey, a fortress for the rich and unstable, his sister guards him from the visiting Tom Bradbury. But can this peculiar bond be broken or has Nikos Gazidis taken an empathetic leap too far?

stardust_cover for blogThe book, which is published in the UK, Europe and Australia, can now be ordered from Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles and independent book shops across the land. It will be published in North America in 2017.

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Ruins by Peter Kuper wins the Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album

That’s right, folks: Peter Kuper’s Ruins has won the biggest prize in English-language comics! Kuper’s graphic novel, which explores the shadows and light of Mexico through its past and present, scooped the Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album. We love this book, and we’re delighted it’s won the recognition it deserves.

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The winners of the so-called “Oscars of comics” were announced at the San Diego Comic Con. Here’s a picture of Peter Kuper alongside Congressman John Lewis, winner of the award for Best Reality-Based Work for the second volume of March.

KuperLewis2Ruins 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 the book, creating a parallel picture of the challenges of survival in our ever-changing world. Publishers Weekly said of Ruins, “[it’s] magnificent… a beautiful, epic roman à clef about the importance of seeking the new and questioning the old.”

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Kuper has created over a dozen graphic novels, including The SystemSticks 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 TIMEThe 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.

Newsflash #2: A special mention, too, for our friends at Orbital Comics in London. They scooped the Will Eisner Spirit of Retailing Award. Congratulations!

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Revealed: SelfMadeHero’s Autumn Releases

A graphic history of Tetris; fiction from Rob Davis, Aimée de Jongh, and Deborah Levy and Andrzej Klimowski; biographies of Salvador Dalí and Roger Casement; adaptations of ghost stories by M.R. James; and the latest addition to the One Year Wiser series: this autumn we bring you a collection of graphic novels and visual narratives to inspire, inform and entertain.

Our autumn lineup kicks off with the release of a graphic biography by Fionnuala Doran, The Trial of Roger Casement. Doran, who won the British Library’s “Comics Unmasked” competition in 2014, has chosen as the subject of her debut graphic novel the extraordinary life of Roger Casement. In 1911, Casement was knighted for his humanitarian work; five years later, he was hanged for treason. The Trial of Roger Casement traces the astonishing downfall of an Irishman once feted for his compassion but later condemned both as a revolutionary and as a homosexual.

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Mike Medaglia follows his bestselling collection of illustrated meditations with One Year Wiser: A Gratitude Journal. Filled with uplifting quotes and guidance, this beautifully produced journal will help you keep a lasting record of the small moments that reflect the richness and variety of life. Keep it on your bedside table – and start living the grateful life.

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Originally slated for June this year, Stardust Nation by Deborah Levy and Andrzej Klimowski will now hit the shelves in September – and it’s worth the wait. 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. Written by the Booker-shortlisted author of Swimming HomeStardust 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 October, the latest addition to our Art Masters series: Dalí by Edmond Baudoin. The veteran French comics artist asks, who was Salvador Dalí? A madman? A genius? An exhibitionist? There is no shortage of labels for the Surrealist painter, who was as well known for his acts of public bravado as for his extraordinary work. Commissioned by the Pompidou Centre, Dalí is a rigorously researched and absorbing portrait of a singular artist and an enigmatic man.

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We celebrate Halloween with the release of Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, Vol. 1., which collects graphic retellings of four spine-chilling tales by the renowned medievalist and writer M.R. James. Adapted by Leah Moore and John Reppion, and illustrated by four outstanding comics artists, Ghost Stories gives a new lease of life to some of James’s best-known works: “Canon Alberic’s Scrap-book” (illus. Aneke), “Lost Hearts” (illus. Kit Buss),  “The Mezzotint” (illus. Fouad Mezher) and “The Ash-tree” (illus. Alisdair Wood). Vanishing children, spectral works of art, vengeance from beyond the grave: these tales have it all.

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Return of the Honey Buzzard by Aimée de Jongh (October) tells the story of Simon, the third-generation owner of the struggling Antoinisse Book Shop. When he witnesses a suicide, old memories intrude, guilt bubbles up and his grip on reality loosens. Haunted by the past, Simon struggles to face the future. It is only in the tender, ethereal presence of Regina that he is able to open up – and, finally, to look ahead. Powerful, perceptive and beautifully drawn, The Return of the Honey Buzzard is a compelling graphic novel about grief, love, our actions and their consequences.

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As previously announced, October also sees the release of Tetris: The Games People Play by Box Brown. 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. I follows the story of Tetris’s Russian creator Alexey Pajitnov, who created the game in his spare time, and spotlights the innumerable businessmen who were desperate to monetise it. Box Brown untangles Tetris’s complex history – the bidding wars, clandestine trips to Moscow, backroom deals and miscommunications – and while doing so delves deep into the role games play in art, culture and commerce.

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Finally, November brings us a brand new graphic novel from Rob Davis. In his British Comic Award-winning The Motherless Oven, Scarper Lee asked: “Who the hell is Vera Pike?” The Can Opener’s Daughter gives us a chance to find out. Charting Vera’s unsettling childhood, the book takes us from her home in Parliament to suicide school, and from the Bear Park to the black woods that lie beyond. In the present day, Vera and Castro Smith are determined to see their friend Scarper again – but is he still alive? And if so, can they save him? Can anyone outlive their deathday? Both a sequel and a darkly inventive standalone graphic novel, The Can Opener’s Daughter answers many of the questions posed in The Motherless Oven, while asking plenty more of its own.

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So, even if it doesn’t seem like it right now, there are things to look forward to, a couple of them European.

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The East London Comics & Arts Festival 2016

This weekend, 10th-12th June, ELCAF celebrates its 5th birthday – and it promises to be the best show yet. Richard McGuire? Check. Adrian Tomine? Check. Fabulous tote bags? Check. What’s more, we’ll be installed in Hackney’s beautiful Round Chapel throughout the weekend (Fri: 12-7; Sat & Sun: 11-7).

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As well as touting our selection of graphic masterpieces at better-than-Amazon discounts, we’ll be joined by guest Mike Medaglia, who’ll be signing and sketching copies of his bestselling One Year Wiser books on Sunday.

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We’ll have with us all of our spring releases: Irmina by Barbara Yelin, An Olympic Dream by Reinhard Kleist, Agatha  by Anne Martinetti, Guillaume Lebeau and Alexandre Franc and the Observer‘s Graphic Novel of the Month for May, Munch by Steffen Kverneland.

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The Round Chapel is easily accessible via the London Overground (nearest stations: Hackney Downs and Hackney Central). Full details of the ELCAF programme can be found on the festival’s website.

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TCAF 2016: Barbara Yelin, Edward Ross and Mike Medaglia join SelfMadeHero in Toronto

It’s our favourite time of year. We’ll soon be packing up our bags and heading to Toronto for Canada’s foremost comic book extravaganza. TCAF takes place on 13th, 14th and 15th May, with exhibitors laying out their wares in the Toronto Reference Library on the Saturday and Sunday.

Joining us at the festival this year will be Barbara Yelin (Irmina), Edward Ross (Filmish) and Mike Medaglia (One Year Wiser). They’ll be signing on SelfMadeHero’s stand throughout the weekend, as well as taking part in events (of which more next week).

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Set for the most part in the Berlin of Hitler’s Germany, Barbara Yelin’s award-winning graphic novel 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.

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Barbara Yelin is a Munich-based comics artist. She received the Bavarian Art Award for Literature for Irmina, which also won the Best German Graphic Novel prize at the PENG Awards. She’s also the author of Gift (with Peter Meter) and Riekes Notizen.

On Thursday evening, Yelin will speak alongside Balak, Manuele Fior, Francisco Sousa Lobo and Bastien Vivès at the Alliance Française Toronto (“Comics Around the World”, 19:00-21:00).

On Friday, she leads a workshop as part of TCAF’s creator-focussed “Word Balloon Academy” (“Drawing as Exploring”, 11:30-13:00, Mariott Bloor-Yorkville)

And on Saturday, Yelin again joins Manuele Fior for a free-to-attend festival event (“Lost Loves”, 14:45-15:45, Marriott Bloor-Yorkville).

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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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Edward Ross will be discussing Filmish with Nathalie Atkinson on Saturday morning (“Spotlight: Edward Ross”, 10:00-11:00, 11:30-13:00, Mariott Bloor-Yorkville).

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Mike Medaglia is the creator of oneyearwiser.com, where he posts regular illustrated meditations. A practicing Zen Buddhist, Medaglia also tackles subjects from presentness to self-doubt in a Meditation Comic for The Huffington Post and a weekly strip, “The Mindful Life”, for The Elephant Journal.

One Year Wiser collects 365 of Medaglia’s illustrated meditations, bringing the wisdom of the world’s great thinkers to life through beautiful hand-drawn illustrations. From Rumi to Roosevelt, the Buddha to Martin Luther King Jr., the meditations that fill this book will help you beat stress, be positive and appreciate the moment. Plus, for readers who like a more hands-on experience, there’s One Year Wiser: The Coloring Book.

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Mike Medaglia will lead a hands-on workshop on Saturday afternoon (“Draw Your Favourite Quote”, 12:00-13:30, Toronto Reference Library), which is free to attend.

As if that weren’t enough, Steffen Kverneland’s Munch and Anne Martinetti, Guillaume Lebeau and Alexadre Franc’s Agatha will make their Canadian debuts at the festival. What’s more, we’ll be giving away signed, limited-edition prints with a bunch of new titles and backlist favourites, including Frederik Peeters’ Aama, Reinhard Kleist’s An Olympic Dream, Rob Davis’s The Motherless Oven.

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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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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