Saturday, February 17, 2007

COMICS INTROSPECTIVE - awful name, interesting sounding book.

Being Ireland's premier blogger about these sorts of things, I get a lot of press releases. But, being someone who worked in the saltmines of local journalism, I electronically bin them all out of spite. But here's one that slapped into the aul' inbox today that actually tickled my fancy.

TwoMorrows Publishing adds a new book series to their ranks this Summer with COMICS INTROSPECTIVE, editor Christopher IRVINGs outside-the-box approach to non-mainstream comics talent.

COMICS INTROSPECTIVE conveys what its like to hang out with an indy comics talent, Irving states. Its done with a combination of original photography, multiple art gallery sections, and an introspective dialogue with each subject. Dont expect a standard retrospective interview with these folks: these are in-depth, casual, yet often hard-hitting conversations that just happen to be documented in book form.

Inspired by the energy of 2006s Small Press Expo, Irving decided to take his experience as a historian and journalist (on publications like The Blue Beetle Companion and Comic Book Artist magazine, among others) to produce a series unlike anything being published.

Too often, people are interviewed about what theyve done, as opposed to who they are and why theyve approached their careers and craft the way they have... as well as their theories about the comic book artform, said Irving. What Im going for with COMICS INTROSPECTIVE is a real look inside the minds of these creators so that we can better understand where theyre coming from. Think of it as the book equivalent of kickin it at a bar with the likes of Peter BAGGE or Dean HASPIEL for a few hours.

In fact, Volume One, to be released this July, spotlights Hate! comics mastermind Peter Bagge in his Seattle studio, and will debut at Comicon International: San Diego, to be followed by Volume Two on Billy Dogma creator Dean Haspiel in January. Cartoonist and animator Jay STEPHENS is set for the third volume, with more to come. Initial plans are for new volumes to be released at least every six months, and printed on glossy stock to maximize the impact of the art and photography. The US cover price for each 128-page volume is expected to be $16.95.

Publisher John MORROW noted, Were largely known for the mainstream talent we cover in our publications, but theres a whole world of fabulous creators whose work goes beyond spandex-clad super-heroes. We really want to get to the core of each talents beliefs, and I cant think of another journalist who could tackle this fresh approach better than Christopher Irving. We want this series to be as breakthrough as the innovators it covers.

Since 1994, TwoMorrows Publishing has been celebrating the art and history of comics, with an independent spirit.

I was there at the birth of Twomorrows, sorta - I bought the first couple of photocopied issues of THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR from Conquistador, and have been buying their product ever since. They're a great niche publisher - since the death of the fanzine in the internet age, they've exploited that gap in the market with some decent magazines and books. Good to see them widening their horizons to include comic book readers who don't all harbour a desire to see Neal Adams return to drawing Batman. Hey, that's what their old title COMIC BOOK ARTIST shoulda been called. NOSTALGIC OLD GIT.

That said there's two things about this press release that kinda get my goat. The capitalisation of all the surnames, and the phrase "kickin' it at a bar".

Kicking what? The cat?