Sunday, November 08, 2009

New Book: Naissances de la bande dessinée - De William Hogarth à Winsor McCay

This newly published book sounds fascinating! I've reproduced the English version of the book announcement below, but be sure to visit the book's official webpage for the French version, a peek at some pages, and a video narrated by Thierry Smolderen which includes lots of early comics.

Naissances de la bande dessinée
De William Hogarth à
Winsor McCay

Thierry Smolderen

24 x 33 cm / 144 pages
Nombreuses ill. en couleur
ISBN : 978-2-87449-082-8
EAN : 9782874490828
29,50 €

The Many Births of Comics

Around 1900 the American newspapers started publishing a new genre full of humour and action that we have no problems in identifying as the comics. And we also know that this comic strip appeared in the same years as the film and the phonograph. Yet what Thierry Smolderen convincingly demonstrates in this wonderful book is that the origins of this new genre are in fact much older, and that one can only understand the comic strip by linking it to the birth of a totally different genre, that of the modern novel, which appears in England during the the 18th Century. It was the satirical work of the painter and engraver William Hogarth that bridged the gap between image and novel and it was Hogarth who made a seminal contribution to a new narrative environment, enabling totally new forms of interaction between the image and the media of the modern era.

During the 19th Century, the new impulse given by Hogarth did not exceed the limits of a particular group of draughtsmen, the so-called humorist-illustrators who devote their immense visual culture to the mere goals of parody. Fascinated by the world of graffiti, children’s drawings and marginal productions, these artists were the very first to seize the opportunities given by the emerging media, schematized and combined by them in a spirit of irony. Since Rodolphe Töpffer, they also enjoyed themselves by criticizing the representations of the industrial world, which they questioned through their reuse of the naïve past of popular visual narratives. The comic strip will be the future emanation of these first experiments.

The Many Births of Comics proposes a new and fresh vision of what we thought we knew already. The book argues that instead of being a new medium that suddenly emerged at the turn of the century, the comic strip is indebted to a much older culture, that of the image to be read, a culture as old as that of the printed image. Seminal elements such as the speech balloon, the clear line and the visual storytelling are part of a genealogy that is much older and richer than event their authors themselves tended to believe. The initial dialogue of the comic strip with the experimental novel of the 18th Century as well as with the book culture of the romantic era, its long lasting cohabitation with the various kinds of illustrated press, its symbiosis with the world of the film, all these elements make the comics the potential workshop par excellence of today’s images.

Thierry Smolderen
Scriptwriter, theorist and Professor at the European School of Visual Arts, Thierry Smolderen is one of today’s top experts in the history of the comic. He has published numerous articles in French magazines (such as 9e Art) as well as American publications (such as Comic Art). The new theoretical foundations on which his research is based on have allowed him to reveal fascinating documents, which until now were unknown. Among his graphic novel plots, one can point out the imagined biography of McCay (illustrated by J-P. Bramanti, Delcourt publications), and the Ghost Money series (illustrated by D. Bertail, Dargaud publications).

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Assembled! 2: Earth's Mightiest Heroes and Villains

Here's the press release for a new book on the Marvel Comics super-team The Avengers, edited by "Friend of the Blog" Van Allen Plexico. ASSEMBLED! 2
Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Villains

The Jarvis Heads are back with another humorous and insightful look at Marvel Comics’ Avengers and their foes in ASSEMBLED! 2 – Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Villains.

Sequel to the very successful ASSEMBLED! and an intensive examination of all things Avengers, this book focuses on the "Big Three"-- Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America-- plus the "Big Two" villains, Ultron and Kang! What makes each of them tick? How have their relationships toward one another evolved over the years, through events such as the Kree-Skrull War or Civil War? What might become of the Big Three in the future?

Additional chapters look at the recent IRON MAN movie plus YOUNG AVENGERS, AVENGERS FOREVER and more. And to top it all off, Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort supplies a fascinating and quite surprising introduction.

The Jarvis Heads combine insightful analysis with humor and sometimes surprising opinions for a total package that will both inform and entertain—and the profits go to the HERO Initiative charity for retired comics pros!

Written by the Jarvis Heads of, created and edited by Van Allen Plexico, and with an introduction by Marvel Comics Executive Editor Tom Brevoort.

Cover by Anthony Schiavino
Book design by Danny Wall
Asst. Editor Joe Crowe.

Diamond Previews order number:

A White Rocket Book. For more information, visit

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

D+Q to Publish Dan Clowes' WILSON in May 2010

Even though I had some problems with his book David Boring, I think Dan Clowes is by far one of the best cartoonists working today. I'm curious to see what his work is like when it can afford to skip serialization and jump straight into OGN ("original graphic novel") territory. Thus my interest in this press release...For Immediate Release:

Drawn & Quarterly has acquired world rights to the original graphic novel WILSON by award-winning cartoonist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter and NEW YORKER illustrator Daniel Clowes. WILSON is the author's first novel not to be originally serialized in his seminal comic book series, EIGHTBALL, and his first book with D+Q.

"As a long-time fan of Eightball, it is thrilling to be able to publish Dan," said Chris Oliveros, Drawn & Quarterly Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. "WILSON is signature Clowes as the cartooning is seamless. It is funny, poignant and leaves an indelible impression on the reader. Wilson will take his place right alongside Enid Coleslaw, David Boring, and Dan Pussey."

One of the most important cartoonists of our time, Clowes has been hailed as a "bona-fide cult hero" by THE NEW YORKER and the "country's premier underground cartoonist" by NEWSWEEK. In WILSON, Clowes creates a thoroughly engaging, complex and fascinating portrait of the modern egoist-outspoken and oblivious to those around him, but who sincerely wants to find his place in the world. Working in a single-page gag format and drawn in a spectrum of styles, the cartoonist of GHOST WORLD, ICE HAVEN and DAVID BORING gives us his funniest and most deeply affecting novel to date. The full color graphic novel will be published in North America by D+Q in May 2010 and distributed in the U.S. by Farrar, Straus & Giroux and in Canada by Raincoast Books. International rights will be represented by Samantha Haywood of the Transatlantic Literary Agency.


For more information contact:
Peggy Burns
Drawn & Quarterly, Associate Publisher
publicity [at]

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Monday, June 29, 2009

CANCELLED: "Secret Origins of the Graphic Novel" at East Line Books, Clifton Park NY

Due to circumstances beyond my or East Line Books' control, this event has been cancelled. We hope to re-schedule it for sometime in late July or August. As soon as we find a new date, I'll be sure to post it here.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

"Secret Origins of the Graphic Novel" at East Line Books, Clifton Park NY

Due to circumstances beyond my or East Line Books' control,
this event has been CANCELLED. See above for more information.
For those of you who might find yourself in or around New York's Capital Region next week and are looking for something to do, might I suggest this presentation? Big, big "Thank You!" to Robyn Ringler of East Line Books for the invitation!

"Secret Origins of the Graphic Novel"
A presentation by Gene Kannenberg, Jr.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 6:30pm
East Line Books, Clifton Park, New York

Graphic novels are everywhere, from libraries to bookstores to the New York Times Book Review, and with good reason. There's something for everyone's taste, including history, memoir, humor, politics, science fiction & fantasy, and yes, superheroes. But how did we get from Superman to Maus, from Little Lulu to Persepolis, from Crime Does Not Pay to Road to Perdition?

Gene Kannenberg, Jr. traces the path from pulp to Pulitzer in this heavily illustrated talk. With stops in the U.S. Senate in the 1950s, Berkeley in the 1960s, New York in the 1980s, and more, "Secret origins of the Graphic Novel" opens the world of drawn books to readers of all ages.

A respected comics historian, Gene Kannenberg, Jr. is the director of and the author of 500 Essential Graphic Novels (Collins Design, 2008). He has lectured and written widely about comic art, with essays appearing in publications including The Comics Journal, Studies in American Humor, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Hogan's Alley. He lives in Albany, New York.

East Line Books is located in Old Village Plaza, 1714 Route 9, Clifton Park, NY 12065 (one block north of Rt. 146 on Rt. 9 across from Snyder's Restaurant, between Clifton Park Pizza and Captain's Treasures). For further information, call Robyn Ringler at East Line Books: 518 371-4151.

PS: You can download a PDF of the flyer pictured above by making the clicky here.

Image credit: Abdazign.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Press Release: India's Immortal Comic Books: Gods, Kings, and Other Heroes, by Karline McLain

[Note: For more information on this book, see's information page for India's Immortal Comic Books.]
A pioneering study of Indian comic book culture.

Combining entertainment and education, India's most beloved comic book series, Amar Chitra Katha, or "Immortal Picture Stories," is also an important cultural institution that has helped define, for several generations of readers, what it means to be Hindu and Indian. Karline McLain worked in the ACK production offices and had many conversations with Anant Rai, founder and publisher, and with artists, writers, and readers about why the comics are so popular and what messages they convey. In this intriguing study, she explores the making of the comic books and the kinds of editorial and ideological choices that go into their production.

"The Rama comic book features a muscular, bare-chested, blue-tinged hero on its cover, posed with bow and arrow drawn. A beautiful, fair-skinned woman with long dark tresses watches with wonder as Rama, the hero, takes aim. ... [Although] in many ways akin to American comic book superheroes such as Superman and Captain America, Rama is not your average fictitious superhero. He is a god in human form, and the Rama comic book is a Hindu devotional story told through the comic book medium." - from the Introduction
"[O]riginal both in content and in the kinds of sources that are brought to bear on the subject ... Students of popular culture, contemporary religion, and anthropology will all learn a great deal from McLain's study." - Lisa Trivedi, Hamilton College
"I’ve never taught an introductory Hinduism class without finding that for many Hindu students, Amar Chitra Katha had taught the course long before me. It’s a formidable canon, and like every 'Bible' it’s not just inspirational but, on reflection, controversial. In this absorbing study, Karline McLain takes the comics seriously, showing us the faces behind the pages and tracing the global impact of this culturally crucial medium and text." - John Stratton Hawley, Barnard College, Columbia University
Karline McLain is Assistant Professor of Religion at Bucknell University.
India's Immortal Comic Books is published in association with the American Institute of Indian Studies.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Press Release: Erotic Comics: A Graphic History (Volume 2) - From The 1970s to the Present Day

Shameless Self-Promotion Dep't: Here's a press release for the latest book I assisted on. It's pretty self-explanatory...
Erotic Comics: A Graphic History (Volume 2)
From The 1970s to the Present Day

By Tim Pilcher
(Foreword by Alan Moore)

Picking up from where the international best-selling Erotic Comics: A Graphic History (Volume 1) left off, Volume 2 reveals how European, American and Asian artists have explored the possibility of the form in the years since the explosion of the Sixties' underground comix.

Erotic Comics: A Graphic History - Volume 2 examines how the form has become an international publishing phenomenon by showcasing artwork that has inflamed desires, incensed censors, and caused controversy.

This provocative title covers everything: the erotic comics explosion in America in the mid-’80s; the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender comics scene; UK and European erotic comic creators since the '70s; and the Japanese hentai phenomenon. The future of erotic comics online is also explored in this fascinating and surprising volume.

In the first survey of its kind in over 20 years, Erotic Comics: A Graphic History (Volume 2) completes this fascinating two-part chronicle with previously unpublished, rare and out-of-print material, featuring insights from key artists, editors, and publishers. Fully illustrated with stunning, rare, and seldom-seen art by Howard Cruse, Gengoroh Tagame, Melinda Gebbie, Hunt Emerson, Howard Chaykin, Giovanna Casotto (whose work graces the cover), Tom of Finland, Milo Manara, Junko Mizuno, and many other top erotic cartoonists. The informative text provides a sexy, intriguing, and entertaining tour through the origins of an often-overlooked art form and comic book genre.

The book is written by Tim Pilcher, with additional research by Gene Kannenberg, Jr, and a witty and insightful foreword by Alan Moore.

What the press have said about Volume 1:
"Clearly, this very tasty-looking coffee-table book has been lovingly put together by a devotee of adult comic art... This reviewer is eagerly anticipating Volume 2... A mighty impressive package all round." - Desire magazine

"Tim Pilcher knows a thing or three about comics... the quality of this latest offering was never really in any doubt... Pilcher's book does not disappoint.… (His) extremely readable copy puts artists and sub-genres into context with a confidence borne of depth of knowledge. This is enthusiast writing at its tightest and best, and your reward for reading the words that run around the pictures will be to discover all kinds of fascinating stuff you never knew about your favourite artists... " -

"...Well written, well researched, and a well considered fun read, with a lightness of touch that had a really neat educational tone." - John Higgins, comic artist and
Watchmen colourist.

"...More than just a visual history, the book reads like a labor of love; images from pre-Depression nudie comics to modern-day Mexican
sensacionales are presented along with insightful essays that make the book perfectly suitable for a coffee-table centerpiece..." - Complex Magazine: The Original Buyer's Guide for Men

"Tim Pilcher's titillating new title… certainly covers the territory." -

"Sexy? Yes. Erotic? Yes. Prurient? Well, yes. And your point? We're all adults here, and this reading material is a delight. It's art, I tell ya, it's art!" - Martin Zimmerman,
About the Author:
Tim Pilcher has worked in and around the comics industry for over twenty years as a writer and editor. He is the author of Erotic Comics: A Graphic History (Volume 1), co-author of The Essential Guide to World Comics and The Complete Cartooning Course, and has contributed to numerous other publications including, Comix: The Underground Revolution, 500 Comicbook Action Heroes, The Slings and Arrows Comic Guide (1st Edition), 500 Essential Graphic Novels and the forthcoming War Comics: A Graphic History. He co-founded Les Cartoonistes Dangereux, a comic-book publishing house that released a range of original graphic novels, including the critically acclaimed White Death by Robbie Morrison and Charlie Adlard. He has worked as assistant editor at DC Comics; Vertigo imprint, and served as associate editor at Comics International, the UK's only comic book industry trade paper. He lives in Brighton, England.

Gene Kannenberg, Jr., is a respected historian of comics and the director of, a centralized directory of comics scholarship that focuses on book-length works and monographs about comic books and strips. He is the author of 500 Essential Graphic Novels. He lives in Albany, New York.

Alan Moore is the world's most famous comic book writer and the author of seminal classics such as Watchmen, V for Vendetta, From Hell and the erotic comic masterpiece Lost Girls. He lives in Northampton, England.

Tim Pilcher is available for interviews, articles and general feedback. You can contact him on:, and on +44 (0)7986 995 938. His blog, Sex, Drugs and Comic Books, is at:

[Stateside inquirers, please feel free also to contact Gene Kannenberg, Jr.]

If you would like to reproduce any images, or require a review copy of either book, please drop Tim a line stating what publication the review is for, and when it will appear.

Tim Pilcher will chairing an Erotic Comics Panel at the ICA in London on Sunday 23 November '08 at 4pm, along with artists Erich Von Gotha, Lynn Paula Russell, Garry Leach and Oh, Wicked Wanda! creator and writer Frederick Mullally.

Tim Pilcher will also be attending the 36th Festival International de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême, France (29 Jan.–1 Feb. ’09) and the New York Comic Con (6-8 Feb. ’09).

Erotic Comics: A Graphic History (Volume 2) is published by Ilex Press in the UK on 8 January 2009 and by Abrams ComicArts in the USA, on 1 March 2009 (192pp Hardcover £20/$29.95)

Erotic Comics: A Graphic History (Volume 1) is published by Ilex Press in the UK, and Abrams in the USA, and is available now (192pp Hardcover £20/$29.95)


Erotic Comics: A Graphic History (Volume 1) has just been banned by Australian customs from entering the country. Customs have demanded that a special large sticker with an "M" on it MUST be placed on the cover -- indicating that the book is for "Mature Readers" -- otherwise the books will be prevented from being sold in Australia. Tim Pilcher said, "I find it ludicrous and risible that the Australian authorities need a big sticker to point out the book is for 'adults only'. Surely the word 'Erotic' in the title gives it away? Perhaps they got confused with the word 'Comics' and couldn't believe that adults read sequential literature!"

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