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JOIN US to celebrate THOMAS GIRTIN: The Forgotten Painter

19 May 2023

💥 JOIN US to celebrate the launch of our graphic novel THOMAS GIRTIN: The Forgotten Painter by Oscar Zarate at Camden Image Gallery (174 Royal College Street, NW1 0SP, London) FRIDAY 2nd JUNE, 6-8pm! Please RSVP via email [email protected]by MAY 26th. See you there!

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Part historical narrative, part modern fiction, the book consists of two interlinked stories: the first focuses on the 18th-century painter Thomas Girtin and his relationship with his friend and rival J.M.W. Turner; the second tells the tale of three amateur artists in the present day, united by a shared interest in Girtin’s art.

Using this dual narrative to draw parallels between two eras of rapid technological advancement and socio-political turbulence, Oscar Zarate’s long-awaited new graphic novel restores to modern eyes this unjustly forgotten figure, whose work has been almost entirely ignored despite his huge influence in British painting.

At the time of death, aged just 27, Girtin had already established himself as a pioneer and a master: his expressionist approach was a significant turning point in the British watercolour tradition. But the brevity of his career, coupled with his chosen medium (compared to oils, watercolours were a humbler and less easily exhibited form) meant that his work came to be overshadowed by that of Turner. As Turner himself famously remarked, “If Tom had lived, I should have starved.”


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The SelfMadeHero team


5 May 2023

We planned THREE different events for the month of May. Two events to celebrate our latest book Armed with Madness: The Surreal Leonora Carrington, and a third event to discuss our Spring 2020 release Siberian Haiku.

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Join Mary & Bryan Talbot at the Cartoon Museum (63 Wells St, London W1A 3AE) as they discuss their latest graphic novel looking at the life of Surrealist Leonora Carrington! Make sure to purchase the tickets for the event here! 💬💬

SATURDAY 13TH MAY - 1PM to 2PM @ GOSH Comics
Mary M. Talbot and Bryan Talbot will be at GOSH comics (1 Berwick St, London W1F 0DR) signing copies of our new book Armed with Madness: The Surreal Leonora Carrington! But don't worry, If you can't make the event, you can pick up a signed copy of the book from this link!

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Join Jurga Vilé in conversation with Rachael Ball from LDComics at the Cartoon Museum (63 Wells St, London W1A 3AE) as they talk about Siberian Haiku! Get the tix for the event here!

STARMAN launch @ Gosh Comics

2 March 2023

SelfMadeHero invites you to celebrate the launch of our new graphic novel STARMAN: Bowie’s Stardust Years, by Reinhard Kleist, at Gosh Comics on Thursday 6th of April from 7pm, supported by Goethe-Institut London. Join us and Reinhard Kleist and get your signed copy of the book! ⚡️🎤🚀

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In 1972, the rock’n’roll messiah ZIGGY STARDUST was born. His provocative play on sexual identity and gender roles laid the foundation for David Bowie’s ascent to becoming one of the most successful pop musicians of all time. Reinhard Kleist’s STARMAN weaves the gripping tale of this outrageous character’s genesis, rise, and fall, as well as of David Bowie’s hapless efforts in the London music scene before Ziggy’s arrival, and of the struggles he experienced with his own creation at the height of his fame. As Bowie transforms himself, ever more frenetically, into the egocentric rock star he first conceived, the extravagant lifestyle he had only ever imagined threatens to engulf him, and bring everything down before his eyes…

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Kleist is a Berlin based illustrator and comic artist who has previously delved into the illustrated biopics of other musicans such as Nick Cave (Nick Cave: Mercy on Me) and Johnny Cash (Cash: I See a Darkness), cementing him as the man for the job when it comes to tackling the influential pop god, Bowie.



23 January 2023

“I like Caravaggio, you like Basquiat. We both like Frida Kahlo, and Warhol leaves us cold. Art thrives with such spirited sparring.” Here at SelfMadeHero we’ve always agreed with those words of Bob Dylan’s – or at least felt free to disagree. Our own spirited Spring 2023 list accordingly celebrates the long tradition of groundbreaking artistic dissent, and includes a brilliantly vivid biography of Frida Kahlo herself.

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Released in March, Francisco de la Mora’s Frida Kahlo: Her Life, Her Work, Her Home explores the public and private faces of this iconic artist, whose transformation of personal pain and political vision into unforgettable art has made her one of the most inspiring personalities of the 20th century. This latest addition to our ART MASTERS series depicts and defines the astonishing context against which her paintings struggled to be seen, her emergence from the shadow cast by her on-off life-partner Diego Rivera, and the beautiful home she created in Mexico City.

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In May we celebrate another reluctant muse and feminist champion. Armed with Madness: The Surreal Leonora Carrington, from the acclaimed team of Mary M. Talbot and Bryan Talbot, tells the astonishing story of another hidden genius. Only ten years younger than Frida Kahlo, the no less troubled life and art of Leonora Carrington – painter, writer, activist – tracked and traced the surreal turmoil of the 20th century. Born to the purple of an English elite, Leonora came to keep company with Paris’s 1930s avant-garde, escaped the brutalities of Nazi Occupation and psychiatric confinement, and found contented exile in (where else but?) Mexico City…

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… AKA “Suffragette City”? David Bowie famously visited the Frida Kahlo Museum in 1997, and it was one of Leonora Carrington’s short stories that inspired his final single, “Lazarus”, in 2016. But that was long after the appearance of his most original chameleon creation – now the subject of the multi-award-winning Reinhard Kleist’s stunning new graphic novel, launching this April. Starman: Bowie’s Stardust Years relates the genius of that slow genesis, and the enduring impact it made on cultural history – as well as the toll its performance took on Bowie himself.

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And talking of visionary South Londoners, we are proud to confirm the publication in June of Thomas Girtin: The Forgotten Painter – the long-awaited new work by veteran graphic novelist Oscar Zarate. A friend and rival of the great J.M.W. Turner, by the time of his early death in 1802, Girtin had already transformed the humble art of watercolour into a transcendent medium. Interweaving historical narrative with modern fiction, Zarate’s own masterpiece pays unique homage to this neglected pioneer.

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STOP PRESS! Ahead of our new King’s coronation in May, we are proud to be publishing The Comical Eye’s British Monarchy: From Alfred the Great to Charles III, Teresa Robertson and Leo Schulz’s quirky chronicle of the Royal Family. From Anglo-Saxon and medieval times, when princely brothers violently squabbled and ambitious stepmothers were suspected of plots, to these our more enlightened times, this unique booklet unfolds our thousand-year history into a double-sided, single-sheet poster – an alternative strip-cartoon Bayeux Tapestry for the 21st-century.

We like Frida Kahlo, Leonora Carrington, Thomas Girtin, and David Bowie… and we hope you agree.


29 July 2022

Contemplating the global events of 2022, we might remember the words of the old song: “We’re living in a changing world, my dear” – but also realise that everyone always has; and that, whatever happens, “New dreams are dreamed, new dawns appear”. So what better time to celebrate the bright and vital things of life? Like human solidarity; artistic creativity and freedom; political equality; beauty… SelfMadeHero’s philosophy in a nutshell!

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Following on from the success of their Eisner-nominated graphic novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, the Rickard sisters are back with another sumptuously faithful adaptation, this time of Constance Maud’s pioneering novel from 1911, No Surrender. Maud once stood tall at the heart of the British campaign for Votes For Women, and her book at once explained, reflected, and crucially advanced the Suffragist cause. Now brilliantly realized as a graphic novel, this stunning new release embodies both elements of that rallying call that has echoed down the years: “Deeds Not Words!”

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SelfMadeHero’s own rallying cry to promote the heroines of history also comes in the form of acclaimed graphic artist Barbara Stok’s new book The Philosopher, the Dog and the Wedding, which tells the true story of Hipparchia, one of the earliest known female philosophers. The enlightened teachings and contrarian ideas of this brave 4th-century BC devotee of the so-called ‘Cynical’ movement in Ancient Greece, rejecting established hierarchies of patriarchal wealth or social position, continue to resonate in the 230 centuries since her death.

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Philosophy is, literally, the love (philo-) of wisdom (sophia) – which is where the heroine of Jostein Gaarder’s cult 1990s novel Sophie’s World gets her name. Receiving an anonymous letter one day, asking simply “Who are you?”, her search for an answer takes her – and us – on a voyage of discovery.  We are proud to announce Sophie’s World: A Graphic Novel About the History of Philosophy. With this first volume, From Socrates to Galileo, French creative duo Vincent Zabus and Nicoby’s adaptation of this classic translate the quest for fundamental meaning into a whole new medium.

Welcome to SelfMadeHero’s exciting Autumn list, where, as always, “New songs are sung… new stars appear”.