I’m on my way to Toronto, where I will visit a couple of schools (yay!), hang out with some relatives, and attend the Toronto Comics Arts Fest. If you’re going to be in Toronto, please come by and say hi — the Fest, located in the Toronto Reference Library, is free to the public.
The National Post sent out a survey to all the cartoonists attending TCAF who haven’t attended before. Here’s their questions and my answers:
Who are you? Why are you here?
I’m Barry Deutsch, a cartoonist from Portland, Oregon, USA (one of several Portlanders attending this year). I’m here to introduce people to my first graphic novel, Hereville, a fantasy adventure about a troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl.
Why have you never been to TCAF before? What’s wrong with you!
If you folks would hold TCAF in Portland, I’d attend every year! That’s not asking too much, now is it?
What kind of stories have you heard about TCAF?
No lie: I’ve heard it’s the best-run comic book convention on the continent.
Do you attend many comic festivals and conventions? Why are they so important?
They’re not important! Important stuff involves getting work done and paying bills and dressing in brown and very probably sitting in a room where the only sound is pens scraping across tedious government forms. Comic book festivals are for fun.
If you’re not from Toronto, what do you know about the city? If you are from Toronto, what should out-of-town guests do in their free time?
I regularly listen to Stuart McLean’s “Vinyl Cafe” while I draw. So I’m looking forward to meeting the cute and folksy types that I believe comprise 100% of Canada’s population.
What part of TCAF are you most excited about?
I’m excited that TCAF is held in a public library and is free for the public to attend. Hopefully this means that some folks who aren’t comic book fanatics like I am, but who might nonetheless enjoy reading a good graphic novel, will come see the show.
There’s a lot to see and I don’t have a lot of time, so why should I come to your table on Saturday or Sunday?
When I go to conventions, people always tell me that I have the best pitch they’ve seen at the entire show. Seriously, people often hear my pitch, and then return later dragging their friends so their friends can hear the pitch too. Even if you don’t like my comic at all, you’ll enjoy hearing my pitch.
(My publisher would appreciate it if I just casually mentioned here that a School Library Journal reviewer called Hereville “the best kid’s graphic novel of 2010, bar none” Hereville is nominated for an Eisner Award, a Nebula Award, and is the first comic book ever to win the Sydney Taylor Book Award. So if you want to read a funny, exciting, and extremely unique comic that both kids and adults will enjoy, that’s another reason to stop by my table.)
The festival is kicking-off with a panel discussion featuring Chester Brown, Seth, Adrian Tomine, and Chris Ware. I have to ask: who’s your favourite and why?
It’s impossible to say who’s the best cartoonist of that lot; they’re each beyond incredible. But of those four, I get the most enjoyment out of Seth’s comics. Seth’s work contains the precise mix of playful whimsy and mind-numbing depression that most appeals to me.
If you could spend a day with another artist attending this year’s TCAF, who would it be and why?
Aaarrgh! Too hard. It’s 2:49am and my brain can’t process a question this difficult.
What’s your most anticipated comic of the year?
The advance word on Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol is incredible, and I can’t wait to read it. But the graphic novel I’m most looking forward to is Dicebox, by Jenn Lee, a 350-page graphic novel collecting her webcomic of the same name. Lee is one of very few cartoonists creating intelligent, grown-up science fiction comics, and her drawing is exquisite. Plus I love that Dicebox isn’t about some starship Captain or galactic rebels; it’s about ordinary blue-collar workers trying to get along in the universe.
This summer we’ll see Captain America, Thor, and the Green Lantern on the big screen. What comic should next make the leap to film? Who should direct it?
Chris Ware’s “Jimmy Corrigan” should become a big-budget blockbuster directed by Chris Columbus of “Home Alone” fame. It can’t miss!
What will have to happen this weekend for you to consider TCAF a success?
I’d like to sell a bunch of books, have some great conversations with fans and other cartoonists, meet the girl and or boy of my dreams, have a passionate yet tragic and ultimately doomed love affair, invent a time travel machine and have tea with Oscar Wilde, reconnect with my estranged best friend from the sixth grade, fight a duel with my mortal enemy Skelator, each of us are armed only with broken umbrellas from bad takes of “Singin’ In The Rain,” win six billion dollars and use it to buy the rights to more seasons of “Firefly,” and eat a really delicious sandwich.
Stumptown went great! I sold all 60 copies of Hereville I had with me, chatted with many readers and cartoonists, and just generally had a swell time.
From The Beat, here’s a photo of me at my booth at Stumptown.
Thanks to Jen Vaughn, who took that photo and is also an excellent cartoonist with a series of comics about menstruation.
I also had the good fortune to be on a panel about world-building, moderated by Evan Dahm; the other panelists were Carla Speed McNeil, Jenn Manley Lee, Kel McDonald, and Larry Marder. So that was pretty awesome.
Happily, Evan made an audio recording of the panel, which you can listen to here.
I’ll be at Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland, Oregon this weekend; look for me at table C-26 (see map below). I’ll be signing and selling copies of “Hereville” and just basically hanging out. If you’re there, please come say hi.
I’ll also be appearing on a panel on Sunday:
Worldbuilding • Sunday, April 17th • 2:00-2:45pm in Room A106
Evan Dahm moderates a discussion featuring Carla Speed McNeil, Barry Deutsch, Jenn Manley Lee, Larry Marder, and Kel McDonald, as they share the challenges and rewards of intricate, in-depth world-building for your own fictional settings.
Hope to see you there!
The Miami Book Fair was terrific! I’ve been to a fair number of comic book conventions over the years, but this was my first book fair. Naturally, I hung out with other cartoonists virtually the whole time.
Still, it wasn’t really like a comic book con. At comic book cons, there are so many cartoonists that we tend to divide ourselves by brow height — the allegedly “lowbrow” superhero cartoonists hang out mainly with other superhero folks, the highbrow Fantagraphics and Drawn and Quarterly people hang out mainly with each other, and I mainly hang out with other “middlebrow” cartoonists. But because there were relatively few cartoonists at the Miami Book Fair, I hung out with all sorts of cartoonist. and it was loads of fun!
I have the world’s worst memory for names (really, it’s amazing), so I can’t list every cartoonist I hung out with. But I spent lots of time kicking with Amy Ignatow whose very funny graphic novel is The Popularity Papers. Amy and I did a panel with Chris Schweizer (the cartoonist behind Crogan’s Vengeance and Crogan’s March, both of which are super fun adventures) and Raina Telgemeier (whose amazing graphic novel Smile is on everyone’s “year’s best” list).
I also got to talk with Vanessa Davis (Make Me A Woman, another frequent resident of “years best” lists) and her gentleman friend whose name I can’t remember (I suck!), but I hope they’re serious about moving to Portland; Dave Roman (Astronaut Elementary); big-time superhero cartoonist Amanda Conner, who recommended I read her comic book The Pro; I did read it, and thought it was utterly hilarious and very well-drawn (although definitely for grown-ups only). Jimmy Palmiotti (writer of Power Girl, Jonah Hex, and about a zillion other comics); Lars Martinson, whose graphic novel series Tonoharu is almost painfully gorgeous; and other folks whose names I’m blanking on.
Plus, a wonderful breakfast with Abrams editor Charlie Kochman, where we sort of discussed business (he told me about an upcoming Abrams book that I’m just drooling to see) but mainly just geeked out about comics together. Charlie later snapped this pic of me and Amanda discovering we attended the same high school:
Last and not at all least, I was interviewed by my fellow Oberlin alumni Heidi Estrin, who interviewed me for her podcast The Book of Life; it was a really fun interview, and I can’t wait to hear it.
After Miami, I went off to Orlando for the ALAN workshop! I’ll post about that later.
I’ve been neglecting the Hereville blogging for the last few weeks, and I have a bunch of articles to link to!
Today, I’ll link to a series of four (!) articles by Christian Lipski in The Portland Examiner. First, there’s Christian’s detailed report of the Premiereville event at Powell’s on Hawthorne. (I posted some photos of the event here.)
Although he got 100 details right, Christian did get one small fact wrong — my friend Jenn Frederick, who read the part of Gittel at Premiereville, isn’t my sister. But Christian’s article has made me realize that when I eventually do a reading in Ithaca, New York, I have got to make my real-life older sister Allison Andersen read the part of Mirka’s older sister Gittel!
The Portland Examiner also published a three-part interview Christian conducted with me. Unlike most interviewers, who interview me by email (thus saving themselves the transcribing work), Christian interviewed me by phone — he says that the results of phone interviews are extra-lively enough to justify the extra work.
Part one of the interview (entitled “An Unfinished End“), in which we discuss how Hereville was sold, can be found here. Part two, about Hereville and sexism, and also about the joy of huge open mouths, can be found here. And part three, about the perils of using photo reference when drawing, and about the next Hereville book, can be found here.
Here’s a little bit from part two:
…in Hasidic culture, the boys and girls are so separated there are so many years where essentially, other than their immediate male family, they’re growing up in an all-girl society. Everyone they socialize with other than their brothers and their father is female. Stephanie Levine, an anthropologist, wrote a book about the lives of teen Hasidic girls, and argues that kind of as a result of this separation they are incredibly spirited and in some ways more free than girls growing up in mainstream society. The point where having a boyfriend becomes important and you’re dressing and acting in a certain way so that the boys like you gets stalled for years in Hasidic culture.
A big thank you for Christian Lipski for all this writing about Hereville!
I will be appearing at Mockingbird Books in Seattle tomorrow (Thursday the 11th) at 6:30pm. I’ll be presenting a slideshow about Hereville (including a reading), answering questions, and signing books. If you’re in Seattle, please come out and see me.
The Hereville premiere at Powell’s — or “Premiereville,” as Sara Ryan dubbed it on twitter — went very well. Almost 40 people came (which the Powell’s employees told me was very good for a first-time author), people seemed to enjoy the slideshow, and happily my head did not explode at any point during the proceedings.
Jennifer Frederick and Dan Pooley were nice enough to take photos, which Jenn has posted on Facebook. Here are some of the pictures!
Here I am, talking to a whole bunch of people. Notice, again, that my head has not exploded. This was a matter of some concern before the event.
Being very lazy, I asked a few of my friends to play parts during the reading portion of the show. (It’s hard to see in this photo, but panels were being projected on screen to go with the reading). Sydney (nearly 7 years old) read Zindel’s lines, Jenn (aka Bean, somewhat over 7 years old) read Gittel’s lines, and Flora, who volunteered from the audience to read Rochel’s lines (9 years old). Not in this photo: Brad Rosman (wise beyond his years) read the part of the pig with panache, and I (barely 18 years old! Really!) read Mirka’s lines. All the guest readers did a great job!
Sydney prepared for the reading by memorizing all her lines! We were all very impressed. She also contributed a crackerjack impression of a squeaking gate. Flora did a wonderful job reading, and only stumbled over one word, “gentile.” Her mom quipped from the audience “she’s never heard that word before because we’re Jewish.”
More pics — including photos of the cosplayers — after the jump!
When: Thursday, November 4th, 7:30pm
What: The official premiere of the Hereville graphic novel. Cartoonist Barry Deutsch will narrate a slideshow about Hereville, to be followed by a book signing. Colorist Jake Richmond will also attend.
Where: Powell’s on Hawthorne in Portland, Oregon.
“What do you get when you cross Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Isaac Bashevis Singer?”
–The Washington Post on Hereville
Hereville, a new hardcover, color graphic novel is officially being released by Abrams on November 1st. The official premier event will take place at Powell’s on Hawthorne on November 4th.
Hereville is the story of Mirka, an 11-year-old girl being raised in an extremely traditional Jewish community. But all Mirka wants to do is fight monsters — which isn’t so traditional for a girl in her community. Hereville is about Mirka’s magical adventures (she meets a witch, a troll, and an extremely grumpy pig), and also about Mirka’s family and community. And reviewers are saying that Hereville is one of the best graphic novels of the year.
Hereville was originally a webcomic, and then a self-published floppy comic, with a first run of 100 copies. When the self-published comic was premiered at Stumptown Comics Fest, Hereville received serious interest from two different publishers and an agent. Two years later, the graphic novel of Hereville – much expanded and redrawn from the earlier comic — is finally in stores.
FOUR STARS for Hereville:
“Mirka is the heroine that girlhood dreams are made of… Hereville is pure enchantment.” —School Library Journal (starred review)
“Undoubtedly one of the cleverest graphic novels of the year.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A terrific story, told with skill and lots of heart, that readers of all ages will enjoy.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“An elegant, subtle examination into the gender roles, deep religious roots, and everyday cultural elements of an Orthodox Jewish society, while also being a witty, enormously clever adventure quest featuring a girl who will happily and firmly inform you that she is, indeed, hero material.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
For further information about Hereville… please explore this website.
I’ll be appearing at APE this weekend, with lots of copies of the Hereville graphic novel to sell! If you’re in San Francisco, please come by and say hi. I’ll be at table #652, along with Jonathan Dalton.
I’ll be appearing at the Stumptown Comics Fest today and tomorrow, sharing a table with Jenn Lee of the wonderful (but grown-up) science-fiction comic Dicebox. If you’re going to be there, please drop by and say hi.
I can’t wait until after November, when I’ll be able to bring the new book with me to cons!