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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

What we've all been waiting for: Drawn & Quarterly: Twenty-Five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels!!

Today is the day, everyone! The day you have awaited, without knowing it, for the past twenty-five years! Finally you will be able to purchase and cherish Drawn & Quarterly: Twenty-Five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels! This tome of treasures, mine of memories, cornucopia of cartoons, is on shelves and tables, in window displays—and in your hands, if you come by the Librairie...

First of all, let us appreciate this book as a wondrous object in and of itself! The gorgeous cover and spine are drawn by none other than Tom Gauld. Excellently weird back cover drawing by Michael Deforge. Hardcover, full colour, with a handy orange ribbon bookmark (because although you will want to read this in one sitting, chances are you will need to take at least a few eating/sleeping/bathroom breaks). The layout work inside is, of course, exquisite.

The whole glorious package is edited by Tom Devlin, with Chris Oliveros, Peggy Burns, Tracy Hurren and Julia Pohl-Miranda; designed by Tom Devlin and Tracy Hurren; and produced by Marie-Jade Menni, Tracy Hurren, Kathleen Fraser, Alexandra Auger and Marcela Huerta, with translations by Helge Dascher. What a dream team!

Title page by Dan Zettwoch
In its pages you will find a incredible array of comics and essays by Drawn & Quarterly artists (everyone is in here, seriously!); appreciations by a host of literary luminaries (Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Lethem, Heather O'Neill and Lemony Snicket, to name a few!); and of course, reflections and reminiscences from the triumvirate that makes it all happen: Chris Oliveros, Peggy Burns and Tom Devlin.

Above is Chester Brown's deliciously deadpan comic history of D&Q, featuring founder, publishing-magician, and soon-to-be full-time cartoonist Chris Oliveros! If you didn't fully understand just how amazing Chris and his vision for Drawn & Quarterly are, this book will convince you. Each page showcases the unflagging dedication to contemporary comics that began with Chris and has grown and been shaped by the astounding roster of artists and staff, who have poured themselves into what has become one of the world's leading graphic novel publishers.

Illustration by Seth
It is so heartening to glimpse the relationships between such a dedicated publisher and these equally dedicated artists. The 25th Anniversay book is, among other things, a thorough and inspiring exposé of the particularly vibrant artistic community that grew up and around Drawn & Quarterly over the past two-and-a-half decades. Expect historical correspondence written on receipts, tales of contracts signed on sidewalks, the story of Peggy and Tom's spontaneous move to Montreal, old photos, and pages of interviews.

A photo of the very first of the mentioned dedicated artists!
Adrian Tomine, Julie Doucet, Chester Brown, Seth, and Joe Matt.
Lisa Hanawalt's whimsical (or realistic??) portrait of the Drawn & Quarterly publishing office: complete with meditation cube, hottub, trampoline, stage, and farm animals!
Did I mention that much of the comics content has never before been published? This means that this book gives you access to new work by Kate Beaton, Chester Brown, Michael DeForge, Tom Gauld, Miriam Katin, Rutu Modan, James Sturm, Jillian Tamaki, andYoshihiro Tatsumi alongside rare and never-before-seen work from Guy Delisle, Debbie Drechsler, Julie Doucet, John Porcellino, Art Spiegelman, and Adrian Tomine! And more besides!

Above is "@trubunny", a daring (!) comic by Jillian Tamaki (whose SuperMutant Magic Academy just came out!) about a D&Q intern who goes rogue with the help of The Internet. Some of us read it in the store and laughed uncontrollably and embarrassingly in front of various customers.

Michael Deforge's contribution, "Development Hell" (above), also brings the worlds of mainstream celebrity and D&Q comics uncomfortably close together. A celebrity successfully transitions to the world of comics but is continually rejected by a certain publisher...

Obom enters the world of Greek mythology with the story of the nymph Callisto. I for one am now hoping that Obom will do a whole book of Greek myth retellings! If this one's anything to go by, it would be amazing.

And what's this? New Drifting Life material from the late great Yoshihiro Tatsumi! (Translated from the Japanese by Zach Davisson.)

Miriam Katin's "A Particular Hunger" brings us back in time to a certain 1965 New York blackout, in which our intrepid narrator encounters the forces of evil in an unexpected place.


Rutu Modan explores the (rather macabre) forensic attempts to identify the real body of socialist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg in "The Rosa Luxemburg Mystery".

I got a real coup de coeur for Geneviève Castrées bed drawings! The above are just two of a series of eight published here.

We are lucky enough to get these beautiful colour pages from Japanese comics genius Shigeru Mizuki's 1992 Yōkai Encyclopedia! The page pictured above tells us about the non-human dwellers of the Iyadani-ji temple in Kagawa Prefecture.

The Librairie got its portrait drawn by Pascal Girard (who had some practice already from 2014's Petty Theft!). Montreal writer Heather O'Neill (The Girl Who Was Saturday NightDaydreams of Angels) did a lovely write-up about us, too! Thanks for the love, Heather!

I could go on and on until this blog post was a mile long and froze your browser (or maybe that only happens if you, like me, have neglected technological upgrades for too long), but it would be best if you just came and had a look at this beauty IRL! See you soon!

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