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Spring 2021 Crazy Times… Crazy Books

14 January 2021


Crazy Times… Crazy Books

 
“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

No, we’re not about to release a graphic novel of the 1976 film Network in which Peter Finch, as the news anchor Howard Beale, gets mad – and goes madder – live on air, but the sentiment of his famous rant is a theme that runs through almost all of our Spring 2021 releases. So if you’re feeling as mad as a March hare during this pandemic, why not let our own crazy offerings reassure you that you’re not alone? Let’s start with love…

“In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love” – but this April Fool’s Day, how about exploring its seamier, darker, twisted underbelly? I Feel Love, the brainchild (if not the love child) of Julian Hanshaw and Krent Able, offers a much-needed antidote to everything that is sweet, cloying, and conventional.

Also in April, prepare to get suitably surreal. Salvador Dalí may have once announced, “I am surrealism,” but let’s not forget he arrived slightly late at the party, and that some of his most memorable work for the movement was done in close collaboration with the filmmaker Luis Buñuel. Buñuel: In the Labyrinth of the Turtles by Fermín Solís, zooms in on a period in Buñuel’s life when he gravitated from surrealism towards a more socially responsible form of cinema.

From the surreal to the truly bizarre, The Dancing Plague by Gareth Brookes tells the true story of the hundreds of inhabitants of 16th-century Strasbourg who were suddenly seized by “choreomania” – in other words the strange and unstoppable compulsion to dance. Or perhaps after so many months of lockdown, such a need doesn’t sound too fantastic…

Publishing in May, what could be timelier in our age of state intervention and “tracker-systems” than a biography of the great novelist and political essayist George Orwell, whose vision of Big Brother in 1984 pre-dates our own by over 70 years. In Orwell, Pierre Christin and Sébastian Verdier explore the life of a prophet of oppression – and champion of freedom.

If you’re not already on the psychoanalyst’s couch, then try reading Frink and Freud by Pierre Péju and Lionel Richerand. Two divorces, three deaths, and the ménage à quatre that came close to destroying Freud’s reputation might be enough to have you shouting “I’m mad as hell!”…

But let’s lead and leave on the front foot. Our June release is Knock Out! by Reinhard Kleist. This biography tells the true story of American welterweight boxer Emile Griffith, who, from delivery boy to hat designer to middleweight champion, gained notoriety in 1962 after a knock-out blow to his opponent, Benny Paret. A powerful, emotive portrait of a bisexual Black athlete who, battling racism and homophobia in 1960s America, became one of the most iconic boxing champions of all time.

Seconds out… And that’s it for now, folks…
We miss you like crazy and wish you well in these mad times.

SelfMadeHero
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A Little Bit More...

9 December 2020

“What if Christmas doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more?” The Grinch has repeated this to kids around the world every year since 1957, but no-one really listens, given that Christmas comes from a warehouse for most. This December, we wanted to show “a little bit more” still exists for all of us book-lovers, as long as we focus our energy and skills on what matters.

#DrawYourBookshop

We have had an amazing few weeks with our hugely successful social media campaign. Launched on 18 November 2020, #DrawYourBookshop was a call-out to all artists and book-lovers to support their bookshops during lockdown with a quick sketch, drawing, or masterpiece of their favourite local shop. Hear all about it on BBC Radio London (from 2:30:29 until the end). The response was overwhelming, and we look forward to continuing our campaign next year. If you haven’t already participated, then get drawing your local bookshop, or share the campaign, and help indies during these crazy times!

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To wrap up the year, we couldn't be happier to find Olivier Bocquet and Jean-Marc Rochette's Altitude on The Guardian Best Comics and Graphic Novels of 2020 round-up! James Smart writes “Propelled by bravado and undercut by the very real risk of death, Jean-Marc’s story carries serious emotional clout, while its colourful panels capture the stark geometry of cliff faces and dangling ropes.” Released in April during the first lockdown, we think it is very much the perfect book for those desperately ice-cold months of winter.

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Our books faced various challenges this year (a pandemic, to say the least), and in case you missed any of our brilliant authors and artists and want to get interested in what we do – the books we publish, the craft we promote and the activities we engage in – our 2020 Samplers are available here, and you can follow our story on social media.

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Finally, we can’t wait to get back to face-to-face time in 2021. A year that will start with a whole lot of LOVE ❤️

Looking forward to it,
and happy holidays!

SelfMadeHero


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Overwhelming Support for SelfMadehero’s National #DrawYourBookshop Challenge

30 November 2020

When graphic-novel publisher SelfMadeHero launched their #DrawYourBookshop social media campaign via Twitter on 18th November they never imagined the phenomenal response it would receive. Avid book readers across the UK have shown enthusiastic support for their local bookshops and it is an excitement that has spread overseas too. 

“We have been delighted and overwhelmed, to say the least, at everyone’s enthusiasm to participate in our activist hashtag #DrawYourBookshop”, says SelfMadeHero’s Editorial and Production Director Guillaume Rater, who initiated the campaign. “We hope that it provides some emotional support to bookshops and book-lovers doomscrolling during lockdown”. 

Intended as a fun callout for all artists to support our bookshops during lockdown with a quick sketch, drawing, or masterpiece of their local favourite store, the challenge has inspired professional illustrators along with members of the book-buying public. Organisations such as the Booksellers Association and institutions such as British Library and the Tate have also encouraged people to join in. 

Independent shops have been represented from all parts of the UK. Book lovers have been especially keen to show support for their favourite booksellers in cities as far afield as London, York, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Barrow-in-Furness, Norwich, Lake District, Liverpool, Leeds, Bristol, Penarth, Oxford, and even Isle of Man. Internationally, there has been posts from America, Spain, Sweden, France, Canada, Denmark, and Germany. 

“We have been delighted to make contact with new indie shops and artists through this campaign,” continues Rater. “We hope we can continue to sustain this support throughout the year and repeat the #DrawYourBookshop call-out annually ahead of Christmas.” 

The #DrawYourBookshop campaign continues throughout the UK’s national lockdown/Tier restrictions.

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#DrawYourBookshop

16 November 2020

CALLING ALL ARTISTS! CALLING ALL BOOK-LOVERS! 

Graphic-novel publisher SelfMadeHero is proud to announce a new social media campaign via Twitter on Wednesday 18 November! #DrawYourBookshop is a call- out for all artists to support our bookshops during lockdown with a quick sketch, drawing, or masterpiece of their local favourite store. 

With theatres dark, concert venues closed, cinemas silenced, and galleries shut during lockdown, it is time to re-brand our bookshops as an essential service, and recognise the existential crisis they are facing. Now more than ever before, in the delayed run- up to Christmas, bookshops need to be seen and celebrated on social media, through all possible means – and the most possible means is through the unique combination of word, image, and print that is comics art. 

At the same time, #DrawYourBookshop also gives the chance for artists to make their work known to the people who might one day publish it, for a reader who doesn’t yet know they love it, and who will one day find it in one of the bookshops we must now do everything we can to save. 

So if you’re a first-time doodler-cartoonist or a dedicated artist – whether it’s a quaint second-hand bookshop or part of a coffee-fragrant chain you want to celebrate – Draw Your Bookshop – and help save the greatest ever human invention: The Book!
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Things That Go Bump in the Night

21 October 2020

Nights are drawing in, and there may be a bumpy winter ahead of us, we’re told, but with Halloween approaching, if you’re looking for another kind of bumpy ride altogether, then look no further than our forthcoming re-issues of I.N.J. Culbard’s classics. To mark the spooky season, this November we release our compact re-mastered editions that are as sweet and pulpy as a pumpkin, and as trick-or-treatsy as a bugaboo.

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“These are powerful works and will hit you in a very visceral way,” comments the famed Canadian cartoonist Jeff Lemire, in one of the new Forewords we’ve commissioned for the series. But “Don’t be scared: I.N.J. Culbard is an able guide.” Comic book writer Dan Abnett agrees, describing The King in Yellow as “ingenious, superbly rendered, and entirely unsettling”.

The Shadow Out of Time
The King in Yellow
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
Stay safe and don’t be scared by goosebumps.