Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Welcome to the World of Tomorrow

Thanks for coming! When we left my old blog, I promised details about my upcoming second book, Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?, which I've been stealthily working on for quite a while. That's part of the cover above, just finalized last week. "Part?" Yep. More about that later.

I think this'll be fun. One of the reasons I started the "Mom's Cancer Blog" was to write about the process of getting a book written and published. I enjoyed that, and now I get to do it again. But why so secretive?
My publisher's main reason was that they wanted World of Tomorrow to anchor the first slate of books published under their new imprint, Abrams ComicArts, and wanted to announce both the books and the imprint together. That happened at a Comic-Con panel on Saturday afternoon. Also on the panel--artfully moderated by Publishers Weekly's Calvin Reid, who was a real champion of Mom's Cancer--were Denis Kitchen, Craig Yoe, Jaime Hernandez, Jordan Crane, and Editor Charlie Kochman. There's a press release about all our projects below.

This is what it looks like to be on a panel at Comic-Con. This was half the room and we pretty much filled the whole place, to at least my surprise. That Joker dude toward the back left was creepy: he was a really big guy and he was asleep, which made him look mostly dead. Wish I had a photo of the panel itself but, well, I was on it. Maybe someone else will send me one.

My main reason for keeping mum was that it took a long time to get a contract in place, and I'm insecure enough that I expected my publisher to realize they'd made a horrible mistake and cancel the whole thing at any moment. In my mind, I didn't have a book until I had a book deal, and I couldn't think of much greater humiliation than blabbing about writing a book for a year and then watching it evaporate.

I'll give more details about the book in posts to come. Here's the basics: it's a 208-page graphic novel that'll be released in hardcover next spring. I'd classify it as "historical fiction" with a smattering of "magical realism." If I saw this book in a bookstore I would absolutely have to buy it, and we think there are a lot more where I came from. I'm not done writing and drawing it yet. I've got about a month to go, I'm working on it around the clock seven days a week, and Editor Charlie and I are still doing extensive shaping and polishing.

Here's what Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? boils down to for me. Mom's Cancer was and is an amazing experience. It was a comic I was compelled to create, it got a response I never could have anticipated, and I don't expect to ever again write something with that impact. Some very nice things came from Mom's Cancer, including new friends, awards, and a second career I've sought since I was a child. However, I never forgot for a moment that whatever success I had with Mom's Cancer was built on my family's misery. To put it mildly, that made it tough to enjoy.

In contrast, no matter how well or poorly it sells, no matter how celebrated or neglected it is, Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? is nothing but an unambivalent joy. No one got hurt in the making of this book. And I think it's going to be great!

Here's that press release. Much more later, and thanks again.


Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Announces New Imprint: Abrams ComicArts

Harry N. Abrams, Inc., the preeminent publisher of illustrated books, announced the launch of Abrams ComicArts at a panel at the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, July 26. Abrams ComicArts will debut in spring 2009. The new list will focus on books about the legends and history of comic arts as well as new graphic novels and other cartoon-based material, and will be a sub-imprint of Abrams, known for high quality art, design, photography, fashion, nature, and architecture books.

This exciting new line will be overseen by Abrams senior vice president and publisher Steve Tager and executive editor Charles Kochman, who will acquire and edit new books, develop talent, and strategically shape the list, including the backlist. Initially ten to fifteen select new books a year are planned.

“Given our tradition of publishing the best visual material in book form, it seemed both logical and the right time for us—on the eve of our 60th anniversary—to again add to the definition of art in our program. Both Charlie’s editorial eye and Steve’s publishing sense make me confident that we’re well positioned to break new ground in categories that continue to grow in the channels we serve and those that are yet emerging. Abrams ComicArts will become one of the ways we reach both new audiences and our core constituencies while celebrating our history and, at the same time, creating a brave new world for readers, artists, and illustrators,” commented Michael Jacobs, Harry N. Abrams president and CEO.

Since the company’s inception in 1949, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., has identified and celebrated contemporary and groundbreaking art, championing burgeoning creative forms and presenting them to the public in beautifully produced, and authoritatively written illustrated books.

Steve Tager, senior vice president and publisher of Abrams, sees comics as a medium in line with photography, sculpture, and painting. “In 1973, Abrams published The Art of Walt Disney by Christopher Finch—which has sold over half a million copies and defined animation as fine art—presenting this work to the public and media as art. Since then, Abrams has published many important books on comics art, such as The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics by Bill Blackbeard, Krazy Kat: The Comic Art of George Herriman, and Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World’s Greatest Comics by Les Daniels. Between our growing comics art backlist and the exciting new authors, artists, and books being developed, now is the right time to start an imprint and put them all under one roof in order to maximize the sales and marketing of this highly saleable category of books. Charlie’s editorial acumen and vision combined with Abrams’ phenomenal design and production capabilities positions Abrams ComicArts to be an industry leader.”

The driving force behind Abrams’ most recent comics and graphic novel acquisitions is executive editor Charles Kochman, editor of the #1 New York Times bestselling series Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, Mark Evanier’s Kirby: King of Comics, Mom’s Cancer by Brian Fies, Jon J Muth’s M, Nat Turner by Kyle Baker, and Wacky Packages with an introduction by Art Spiegelman.

“Abrams has a reputation that is synonymous with quality. I am excited to take my background in comics and combine it with Abrams’s ability to produce the best, most distinctive books in the market. Our debut list features comics legends and legendary contemporary artists, and also includes an amazing original graphic novel—each book produced in a format and package that is unique and appropriate for the project. But this list is only just the beginning of what we have in the works.”

The lead titles on Abrams ComicArts’ debut list include: The Art of Harvey Kurtzman: The Mad Genius of Comics by Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle, designed by Jonathan Bennett; The Art of Jaime Hernandez: Secrets of Life and Death by Todd Hignite, designed by Jordan Crane; Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-creator Joe Shuster by Craig Yoe; and Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? by Brian Fies. Other authors, artists, and future projects signed on include those by and about Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, Jules Feiffer, Rube Goldberg, Will Eisner, Jerry Robinson, Dan Nadel, Eric P. Nash, Fran├žoise Mouly, Art Spiegelman, Jim Trombetta, Stuart Hample, and Woody Allen.

Abrams ComicArts and its debut list was a featured panel at the San Diego Comic-Con on July 26. Panel participants included Jordan Crane, Brian Fies, Jaime Hernandez, Denis Kitchen, Charles Kochman, and Craig Yoe.


Sherwood Harrington said...

OutSTANDING cover! And I can't wait to see what's on all 288 of the pages behind it, especially how the "magical realism" is handled.

Congratulations, Brian! Or, as the kids would say, "sweeeeeet!"

Brian said...

CONGRATULATIONS, Brian! Charlie had been raving about this project to me for quite some time, so I was able to pick up on the hints you'd been dropping in your blog. I'm very happy for the both of you, and the publication-related "symmetry" that you'd noted is a nice wink from the universe. Best of luck with this new project, and hope to see you next time in you're in town.

Unknown said...

"Historical fiction"? Looks futuristic to me. Uh, retro futuristic?
Anyway I'm joining in the others in congratulating you, and congratulations to me too - I've got new Fies comics comin' at me!
But I have to wait through three seasons? No! As I see it you can post a page a day five days a week 'til next spring. If that's not going to happen how about posting that (partial?) cover so I can supersize it?
Again cheers to Brian.

Ronnie said...

If you're counting how many of your six regular readers have followed you, this is the other Ronnie checking in, the one without a cat. This is very exciting - I am so glad there will be more of your work to see, and more interesting blogging about it!

Mike said...

I'm in. Let'er rip.

Sandra said...

Exciting news, Brian! Congratulations, can't wait to see it!

sligo said...

you won't recognize me from my blogger name (and i've essentially closed that old blog down ... 'nother one's coming soon) but it's mike (ex-NBBiz); love your evolution, buddy. looking forward to the future (lawddy, lawddy, you're a pun enabler!).

Bibliophile said...

Congratulations!!!! Thank you for sharing your new blog with us.

Always loved comics myself. I learned how to read from reading the comics in the daily paper before I started Catholic school.

Wondered if you and your kids learned how to read via the comic papers?

Brian Fies said...

Thanks, Sherwood. I know it's a typo, but I'm only doing 208 pages. Don't put an extra 80 on me now. And you don't have to be so coy.

Brian, it's great to hear from you! I check your blog from time to time, and look forward to seeing you again in New York soon.

DD, thanks. You've got a good point, but I'm thinking I should post a page per week and take the next four years off. I'm glad you're looking forward to it and hope not to disappoint.

Other Ronnie, Mike, Sandra and Sligo, great to hear from you as well, and thanks.

Freckles, I don't think comics were very important to my own kids' reading development, but I know they were critical to mine. Word balloons awash in seas of primary colors burned into my brain before I knew what hit me.

Namowal (Jennifer Bourne) said...

Congrats on the new book and the new blog. I'm looking forward to Whatever happened to the world of Tomorrow?
I found your (previous) blog by accident a few years ago and have been snooping around ever since. It inspired me to start adding drawings to my blog. So I owe you one.

Sherwood Harrington said...

Actually, I wasn't being coy about being anxious to see what's on the book's pages. After all, I've only seen draft pages so far, and it will be fascinating to see how the finished work differs from what I have in general, and especially how you work out the last few chapters.

And how you work out the issue of time flow, of course.

Brian Fies said...

Namowal, I appreciate your occasional posts, it's good to hear from you. Thanks for following me to the new digs.

Sherwood, I was just pulling your leg. Thanks again for everything. As for the rest, two words: Lorentz Transformation. Although I may be pulling your leg again.