In what appears to be an odd mix, acclaimed Montreal graphic novel publisher Drawn & Quarterly is teaming up with Tavi Gevinson, the precociously talented teen founder of Rookie, a popular online magazine for teen girls, to publish Rookie Yearbook One edited by Gevinson, a new book collecting content from the magazine’s first year of publication. The book will be released in September with a 40,000 copy first printing, easily the biggest first printing ever by D&Q.
Drawn and Quarterly is a noted comics and graphic novel publisher based in Montreal and hailed for its literary cachet and a list featuring such critically acclaimed comics creators as Adrian Tomine, Chester Brown, Anders Nilsen, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Dan Clowes, and Kate Beaton. Rookie is an online magazine for teen girls founded by its editor-in-chief Gevinson and hailed for its wide ranging overview of hip teen fashion trends and thoughtful teen-focused editorial content that includes everyting from interviews, articles and essays to edgy fashion photo spreads. The site is also noted for Gevinson’s ability to attract an eyebrow raising list of such not-teenage contributor/admirers as Lena Dunham, Sarah Silverman, Zooey Deschanel, Dan Savage, Jack Black, Paton Oswalt, Miranda July and many more.
Rookie launched in September 2011 and the 350-page book collection (including a flexi-disc with music by the Dum Dum Girls) will collect content published between 2011 and May of this year. The book will be published September 4 during Fashion Week in New York City and launch with a party at the Housing Works Bookstore in downtown New York. D&Q books are distributed by Macmillan/FSG and D&Q associate publisher Peggy Burns said “Macmillan really jumped on board, and got great orders from B&N, Amazon, Ingram, Baker & Tyalor, and Urban Outfitters.” Burns said to look for advertising in publications like BUST, The Believer, Worn Journal, The Hairpin and others. Since the content is already online, Burns said there are no plans for an e-book.
While D&Q can be pretty cool, publishing a non-comics book collection on the cutting edge teen fashion/culture market seems like a stretch for a publisher known for an uncompromising focus on hardcover literary comics and high quality design and production. But in a phone interview Burns said the reason they’re publishing the Gevinson book is simple, “Rookie is the smartest magazine ever created for teenagers.” She described Rookie as, “The New Yorker crossed with Vogue and a teen magazine for girls,” and noted that D&Q publisher/founder Chris Oliveros was “totally on board from the beginning. There was no hesitation to do this book at all. We’re all fans.”
Rookie editorial director Anaheed Alani told PW that she and Gevinson didn’t just discover D&Q. “I’ve been reading their stuff for years,” she said, during a phone interview. “I’m a big fan of Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, their whole list, so I’ve always associated them with publishing the best. D&Q was always on a very short list of publishers we were considering for the book.”
D&Q got involved in the project when Eisner award-winning comics artist Chris Ware (published by D&Q and Pantheon) recommended the publisher to Alani (also wife of This American Life producer Ira Glass), Burns said, and another D&Q artist, Sonja Ahlers, a contributing artist at Rookie, added her support to the team up. By May D&Q/Rookie were making plans to produce the book. Ahlers worked on the design along with D&Q production manager & designer Tracy Hurren, Burns said, turning around the 350 page book in a month.
While Rookie Yearbook One isn’t focused on comics necessarily (there is a typically focused interview with cartoonist Dan Clowes), Burns said this was a perfect publishing match. “We deal with people who have an intense focus on their work,” Burns explained, “and Tavi knows what she likes. She art directed the book while finishing up her high school final exams. She knows just what she wants.”