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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Miriam Katin's LETTING IT GO Tour Dates

Miriam Katin's LETTING IT GO hits stores next month. We are delighted to announce that she'll be touring the Northeastern US & Canada in March and April to support the book, which is a triumph of colored pencil and hilarious narration.

Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard St.
Tuesday March 19

Book Culture, 536 West 112th St.
Thursday March 21

MoCCA Arts Fest, The 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Ave.
Saturday April 6 and Sunday April 7

Ottawa Writers Fest
Friday April 26

Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival
Sunday April 28

Hype is already building for this book, which is the most gorgeous, laugh-out-loud funny story about coming to terms with the trauma of surviving the Holocaust you will ever read. I know that combination of words sounds odd at the very least, but you're going to want to learn what Miriam's masterful storytelling has to teach you.

Or listen to someone more gifted with prose than I:

"Miriam Katin’s “Letting It Go”... is my kind of graphic memoir: loose, impressionistic, a portrait of the artist’s inner life. Keyed by the decision of her adult son Ilan to take up permanent residence in Berlin, it is, in part, the story of her coming to terms, at long last, with her legacy as a survivor of the Holocaust.  But without minimizing this part of the story, “Letting It Go” is much more than that — a meditation on love, on family, and an inquiry into art."--David Ulin, Los Angeles Times

Okay, Boston, NYC, Ottawa, and Montreal, get ready!
Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Heads up, West Coast: Geneviève Castrée's Coming!

With the East Coast leg of her SUSCEPTIBLE tour successfully under her belt, Geneviève Castrée has returned to the Pacific Northwest to rest on her laurels curate an art show. This weekend, why not take a little road trip to Anacortes, WA? If you make it there by Friday, achievable in just 44 hours (from Montreal) according to my google mapping, you can attend the opening of this fine exhibit:

When else are you going to see the art of such fine people as Julie Doucet, Geneviève Castrée, Nadia Moss, and Nikki McClure all in one room? Here's what they have to say about the exhibit:

"OURS is about people taking up their space, staking their claim, and making themselves heard. In drawings, collages, sculptures, video and photographs, these artists strive to keep the conversation going."

The exhibit is up from March 1 to April 14 at Anchor Art Space, 216 Commercial Avenue in Anacortes, Washington. It's part of the Anacortes Unknown Music Series Vol II, a one-day music festival which takes place on March 23.

But also, don't forget that if you are a resident of the fine cities of Portland or Seattle, Geneviève will be coming to you for book launches next week!

Thursday March 7th, as part of the First Thursdays initiative in Portland, OR, Genevieve Castree will be giving a slideshow and talking about SUSCEPTIBLE at the great  Floating World Comics. That's 6 to 9 pm on March 7 at 400 NW Couch St. in Portland.

Two days later, on Saturday March 9th, you'll be able to find her at the fabulous Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery. She'll be presenting the book, answering questions, and signing from 6 to 9 pm on March 9 at 1201 S. Vale in Seattle's Georgetown district.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Oh, how about I get a bunch of strangers to make some fumetti!

This past Sunday, I took my daughter Georgina downtown to the Canadian Centre for Architecture. The CCA is a great local museum dedicated to celebrating Canadian architecture and often the city of Montreal is used as a focal point. {Pictured: the Librairie Drawn & Quarterly store manager Jason, his daughter Addie, Georgina, and me.}

Late last year, the CCA had asked Chris to lead a couple of family workshops and he enlisted Pascal Girard and myself to try something. Chris and Pascal had done drawing exercises that went off without a hitch and I saw the opportunity to make a museum build an elaborate comics related something or other that I could never pull off by myself like a 20-foot Charlie Brown statue or whatever. 

Eventually I settled on the idea of having the museum construct comics panels and I could get the families to act out a comic inside them. We would photograph the action and compile those photos into a comic. I'd give the families empty word balloons and narration boxes so they wouldn't have to try and create legible lettering and I would put the lettering in myself later. Simple, right? NO! Well, actually, it was pretty simple.

I instructed the kids to come up with a sentence (like "My mom and I like to go hiking on the mountain every Sunday.") They then needed to expand on that sentence. Turn it into a paragraph, add some detail. Once they did that, they then had to figure out how to tell that story in four comics panels. And then we shoot!

The results were pretty surprising. Even when the kids stayed in their comfort zones (fistfights, aliens, hockey, hot chocolate parties) the act of having to break the story down into parts created some hilarious results. 

What follows are some of my favorite panels from the comics. Eventually, the strips will be on the CCA site so I'll wait a little bit to post more here.

{Special thanks to everyone who came and especially Nicole Lattuca, Jessica Charbonneau, and Monique MacLeod at the CCA who made this actually happen. They are the best.}
Tuesday, February 19, 2013

All hail Geneviève Castrée!

Geneviève Castrée is one of those rare people who emerge with a fully developed talent and artistic sensibility. By age 18 her first book, Lait Frappé, debuted from the Montreal publisher L'Oie de Cravan. Already at that point her drawings were breathtaking: there was some degree of a Julie Doucet influence, perhaps even Tove Jansson, but altogether as a whole Geneviève had created something uniquely her own. And I repeat: she was only 18 when she accomplished this, and she did it without any "formal" art training.

There hasn't been a whole lot of books by Geneviève in the dozen or so years since then (she also divides her time with musical pursuits), but the few projects she has been involved with have all been notable for their singular artistic vision.

There was a second book, Roulathèque Roulathèque Nicolore,  also published by L'Oie de Cravan.

And there were a couple of "book-records," merging Geneviève main interests of music and art.

Until now, one of her longest comics-pieces was this one, from Drawn & Quarterly Showcase #3 in 2005.

And now, at long last, Geneviève has completed her first graphic novel, Susceptible. It's at times beautiful, haunting, and heartbreaking, and will no doubt be considered one of the best books of the year. Here's a brief excerpt (arranged vertically for legibility)…

Tonight in Montreal. Tomorrow, February 20 at Desert Island, in Brooklyn.

Oh Lookee Here!

Oh, in France, this book doing insanely well right now (well, the French version, peeps!), like top ten or something! Here in North America, you can get your hot little hands on it right in time for Father's Day.

Marc Bell Is Too Sexy For Your Love

Ok not exactly but this is high fashion people! A Marc Bell drawing with a Prada bag in Esquire UK. Next we'll see old Marc on the catwalk, yeah on the catwalk! {No one else in the office will get this joke} Also, featured Rick Griffin and Basil Wolverton?!
Monday, February 18, 2013

Geneviève Castrée on tour: the evidence

It was a delightful surprise to check my email this weekend and find a write-up of Geneviève Castrée's Quimby's book launch from our dear departed former D+Qer Jessica Campbell. Better still, she included photos! Here's what a Susceptible book launch with Geneviève Castrée looks like:

If you want in on a little of this, and you're in Toronto, Montreal, or New York, your day has come! Portland and Seattle, just hold on for a few more days!
Friday, February 15, 2013

Genevieve Castree on tour TODAY!

It's Susceptible day, y'all! Genevieve will be in Los Angeles tonight, Friday Feb 15th at the wonderful Skylight Books. Be there! 7:30 pm at 1818 N. Vermont Ave!  And for a little sense of why...

Time Out Chicago spotlights Saturday's event at Quimby's as a critics' pick!

Alex Dueben interviews Genevieve at Comic Book Resources, and says:
"[Susceptible] is a collection of the indelible moments of childhood that haunt or inspire long into adulthood. Artistically polished but emotionally raw, Susceptible is a heartbreaking book with a perfect ending."

Tara-Michelle Ziniuk gets Genevieve to annotate a page from Susceptible for The Grid ahead of her Monday night launch at The Beguiling in Toronto: 

And last but certainly not least, Ian McGillis from the Montreal Gazette has a sweeping review on Susceptible in Saturday's print edition, ahead of Tuesday's book launch at the Librairie D+Q:
"Susceptible charts the thorny path from confusion to hard-won wisdom as only the best fiction can, building up to an ending that’s genuinely moving. The world would be a richer place if even a fraction of the Twilight masses tuned in to books like this one..."

Spiegelman exhibition opens in Vancouver

The massive Art Spiegelman retrospective was the talk of the 2012 Angouleme festival, where it debuted last year. It has since traveled to the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany. And now C0-MIX: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps makes its way to North America with its first stop at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The show officially opens on Saturday, with a discussion between Spiegelman and curator Bruce Grenville, and runs through June 9.

The show will then move onto its only U.S. stop later this year (November 8) at The Jewish Museum in New York. And don't forget that in the next few months Drawn & Quarterly will premiere CO-MIX, the first major retrospective in book form of Spiegelman's career to be published in English in North America. More news on that soon.
Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day, I guess.

Normally I wouldn't publicly acknowledge this holiday because I'm bitter and alone, but this is one of my all time favourite Moomin panels and I've been saving it for a special occasion. Today's that day. Hooray.

And here's new intern Elaine holding the first four books in our colour Moomin series. I'd love to say "buy them all today, and if you've got a special QT in your life, grab an extra copy of Moomin Falls in Love to warm her/his heart on Valentines day," but dang it, it's just not in stores yet. Moomin Valley Turns Jungle and Moomin's Winter Follies are available now; Moomin Builds a House and Moomin Falls in Love will be available mid-March.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Angouleme 2013! Or: Julia and Tracy go to Angouleme and stay in a romantic fifteenth century farmhouse and fall in love.

Once a year this magical thing happens in a far away place. I suppose at its core it's essentially the same as what goes on here at North American comics festivals, but, people, there are some very key differences, the most important of these being that everyone smells fine (good even!) and is well dressed. Oh, and you're in a historic French town surrounded by idyllic countryside—beauty that cannot really be rivalled by Bethesda (sorry, Warren!). So, in the most succinct way possible (yes, this will be very, very long), here's what Julia and I got up to the past two weeks in France. I'll try to leave the vacation blogging to a minimum, but I can't promise anything.

Above is a shot of the main drag of this stunning little town at the peak of the fest on Saturday afternoon.

But before I get too deep into the festival proper, I just need to talk for a sec about this majestic little fifteenth century farmhouse that Julia and I stayed at. As soon as we found out we were staying at the Logis de Puygaty, it seemed inevitable that our little French work trip was going to turn into a grand romantic adventure. How could Julia and I not fall in love while sharing a cognac on a sheepskin rug by the fire? Would I tame a horse and teach Julia to ride side-saddle with me into the sunset? Questions like this filled our minds as the trip approached.

In the end Julia resisted all of my advances, and we ended up just having a really nice time. But mostly breakfast. A lot of breakfast. This might have been my favourite part of the festival. Homemade yogurt, jams, fresh fruit, and baked goods, all waiting for the sleeping beauties when they rolled out of bed. I've never felt more like a princess, and I generally feel like a princess.

Okay, festival time. It was less of a fairytale and more of just a really good comics show. We started things off on Wednesday night with the jetlag dinner. Hosted by the lovely Ivanka Hahnenberger, who takes care of all us foreign publishers who come in seeking European titles to publish. Starting on the left and looping around, Jenny, James's very lovely hubby (I'm sorry Jenny! This is the best photo I have!), James Lucas Jones from Oni Press, our Canadian brother Andy Brown from Conundrum, Emma Hayley from SelfMadeHero, Ivanka, heading the table, Carol Burrel from Abrams, Chris Ryall from IDW, and Chris Teather from Titan. Not pictured was Mark Smylie from Archaia and his hubby Monika Broz. Thank you, Ivanka, for organizing this really nice dinner, and also for everything over the past few months leading up to the festival/during the festival. You did an impeccable job!

The next morning the festival began, and we were dropped off in town right in front of this movie theatre. I was pretty thrilled to see the signs for the Aya movie, and it immediately became very clear that comics are something very different in France than they are in North America.

And then it was straight into the Rights and Licensing Market, where we spent the majority of our days, making deals, wheeling, dealing, numbers, business, etc, etc.

And here's Julia and Ivanka at our tiny little stand. Boy was it a nice change not to be tabling.

Later that day was the vernissage for the Flemish show, La Boite a Gand, curated by Brecht Evens and featuring himself, Brecht Vandenbroucke, Hannelore van Dijck, Sarah Yu Zeebroek, and Lotte Van de Walle. Above are bosom buddies Red Brecht and Brown Brecht, celebrating the success of the show. Later Brecht Vandenbroucke would be celebrating the success of his debut book White Cube, which really was the talk of the show, selling over 160 copies by mid-day on Saturday.

The Wrong Place originals. Boy were they stunning.

And because one has never seen enough pictures of Brecht signing, here's another. Though I think Asaf Hanuka's rendering really captures what's really going on here more accurately.

This jam drawing puts all other jam drawings to shame (sorry every other artist who's ever done a jam drawing). This Flemish crew has serious chops!

That night we had a quiet dinner with Anders Nilsen and Genevieve Castree. It was my first time getting to hang out with Genevieve, and it was a real treat. And of course getting to spend time with knock-out Anders was a pleasure as always. (Just look at Julia's smile! I've certainly never put that expression on her face... sigh. You win this time, Anders, you heartthrob.)

And after our quiet dinner/break from it all, we slapped ourselves together and headed to the Chat Noir, where we very quickly found some familiar faces. Pictured above is everyone involved in British comics. Starting on the left (and skipping a few along the way...sorry) is Tom Oldham from London's great comic shop, Gosh Comics, Simon Hacking from the Nobrow shop (who, with Tom, makes up Breakdown Press), Philippa Rice, Sebastian Oehler from Reprodukt talking to Luke Pearson, with Sam Arthur of Nobrow in the back, and Alex Spiro of Nobrow talking to the incredibly warm/kind/charming Jon McNaught. And then me looking very lonely up front.

The next day we had many many more meetings with foreign publishers, but I managed to sneak away to catch Genevieve Castree talking about her new book, Susceptible, which is already out in France and due out in North America very shortly. (Peep her tour schedule here!). My French is atrocious, but I managed to understand the part where she praised our dear publisher Chris Oliveros, and my cold heart warmed.

And boy was this a familiar sight! Seeing Chester Brown signing on top of a stack of boxes somehow always makes me feel at home. Chester was received very warmly at the festival, with long lines for the signings of both the French editions of Louis Riel (La Pasteque) and Paying for It (Cornelius).

And here's Sarah Glidden eating a sandwich. You know when you meet someone and it feels like you've known each other for years? Sarah is the best. THE BEST.

And here's Andy Brown taking a much needed break, reading a Till Daniel Thomas comic and looking very fine. I'm thinking about leaving comics to start taking professional head shots. There's money in that, yes?

And here's Caroline Brasseur from the festival with her very helpful team of refreshment providers. North America, free beverages make every festival ten percent better. Caroline: Thank you thank you thank you for all your hard work!

And here's Sarah again eating some free meat. That's right: FREE MEAT. We were booth hopping this night, first to the Finnish stand to stuff reindeer down our gullets, then over to Les Requins Marteaux for some very tasty sausage and...

Strippers? No, just dancing cops. FRANCE. We kept waiting for them to strip but it never happened so we made our way over the the L'Association booth where there was rumoured to be free wine. (Photo swiped from Andy Brown's Angouleme wrap up. THANKS ANDY!)

But on the way we had to stop to marvel at the Cornelius booth. We usually just throw scraps of garbage over our booth to protect our books at night, but I guess this does the trick, too. Then again, we also don't have ironed tablecloths and lamps. Well done, Cornelius, well done.

And here's Étienne Lécroart, Anouk Ricard, and Guy Delisle at the L'Association booth. Shortly after this Guy tried to talk business but I was having none of it.

Beautiful Julia and Anouk, catching up.

And then we popped into the Cornelius flop house (read: very nice apartment in the center of town) on the way to dinner, picking up Chester on the way. Cornelius has some sort of giant Epson printer that makes very nice things, so they printed off this poster for Chet's book (Twenty-Three Prostitutes!). They also had some beautiful prints of Anouk's work, and I'm regretting not buying one.

And then it was dinner with Cornelius. Basically Cornelius does a really good job of everything, and dinner was no exception. Thanks, Jean-Louis, for letting us tag along. Here's Guillaume Traisnel (money-man) on the left, Hughes Bernard (production), and Benoît Preteseille (artist); all kings amongst men.

Chester, Ancco, and Emilie Le Hin. Emilie is the publicist at Cornelius, but she also translates from English to French, so she did the work on Paying for It. We've said it on this blog before but I don't think it can be said enough: Emilie! We adore you!

The next day Julia and I wrapped all our meetings early, so we got to explore the festival and take in some of the panels. Here are Anders Nilsen and Adam Hines in discussion with Bill Kartalopoulos.

And Anders again, signing at the L'Association booth, adopting Chester's signature box-signing setup, with Marie Chesnais in the fore.

And then we were off to spend the rest of the afternoon at the F OFF fest, a renegade zine fair that takes place outside of the fest proper. I grabbed this picture (and the two to follow) from Sarah Glidden and she must have arrived early because they've got all the beer cans from the night before piled up outside. There was noisy music/many many drinks consumed here. Everyone was very hip and young and beautiful and Europe, I love you.

The day closed with a party in what was rumoured to be someone's house, and if it was in fact a house party, it was certainly not a house party like we have here in Canada. I didn't take any pictures and any that I could find on the internet were a blurry mess, and I guess that says it all now doesn't it?

I'm short of pics from the last day of the festival because I was struck down by the flu and spent most of the day drinking mini-bar orange juice while feeling very sorry for myself. But I made it into town for the closing ceremonies. Pictured here is Jean-Louis Gauthey of Cornelius giving a very hammy acceptance speech on behalf of Willem, who won the Grand Prize. Hallelujah! (Please note the live band present during the ceremony. FRANCE!)

And then we were off to Paris. This is not related to comics at all, but we went to a hunting museum, La Musee de la Chasse, and it was incredible. I'll leave the vacation blogging to Anders. He went previously and recommended that we check it out and now I'm going to start a gun collection and my great-uncle Jack is going to be very proud.

I don't really know the order of anything that follows, but I don't think anyone's reading this anymore anyway so that seems okay. But Julia and I did the following comics related things in Paris and it was pretty fun:

Drinks with L'Association! Louis Lauliac is a true gentlemen and kept us entertained while in his fair city. We went to a different bar first where there was a resident cat that came and slept on our laps while we drank wine and ate cheese and I could not have been happier. We switched bars after and Philippe Piard and Marie joined us. Past beloved intern Julie Morrissy was also along for the ride. (She lives in Dublin so I made her come visit me, because the bossing doesn't end with the internship.)

We felt extremely lucky to be invited to lunch at the Cornelius office. Peggy blogged about visiting the office a few years back and Julia and I have been dying to check it out ever since. They're in a new space now, but everything was just as perfect. We try really hard around here to keep a nice office, have lunches together, but somehow after a visit to the Cornelius office I feel like we might be doing it wrong.

Giant Kitaro statue shipped from Japan: check.

Little Paul figurine made by Guillaume? Check.

Beautiful vintage cabinet filled with very cool shit? Check.

Floor to ceiling shelves packed with their always immaculately designed titles? Check.

Collection of vintage needle-point? Check.

From left: Hughes, Julia, artist Hugues Micol, Guillaume, Jean-Louis, and Emilie. Thank you, Cornelius, for making Julia and I feel very welcome both in Paris and in Angouleme. Again, I know we've talked before on the blog about how crazy it is to hang out with Cornelius because we have so much in common, but when talking with them after lunch this really hit home again. They are a company that loves their artists and always puts them first, and this was really nice to witness firsthand.

And of course, while in Paris, we visited many many bookstores. It's always exciting to see D+Q books in the wild, but somehow seeing them in famous French bookstores was extra special. Pictured above are the first three editions of Nipper, all together, so I suppose there is some organization at Regard Moderne after all. Pro tip: If you're hormonal and struggling to get over the flu and don't want to cry, don't try to take photos of books you've designed at this book shop. You will get yelled at and then tisk, tisk, tisked out the door and then you will be very sad for the rest of the day because you're a baby. BE WARNED. The jerk fellow who owns the place did have a great collection of D+Q titles though, everything from Summer of Love to Rookie.

And I'll leave you with this photo of Julia and I (swiped from Sarah) because it seems appropriate. We make a really lovely couple, don't we? (Hi, Julia!)

Thanks again to everyone in France who was so so nice to us. You really made the trip even more magical than it already was. And thanks again to everyone at the festival for organizing such an incredible event. I'm already looking forward to next year!


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