Despite the bombast of Hollywood studio hype, indie comics publishers still made some noise with their own announcements at last weekend's San Diego Comic-Con, with a mix of old classics and new work from top creators. Fantagraphics, D&Q and Top Shelf all had major news.
Fantagraphics delighted classic comic strip fans with the news that they were teaming with Disney to bring Floyd Gottfredson’s Mickey Mouse strip back in a series of deluxe reprints. Considered the definitive version of the Mouse, Gottfredson’s Mickey is a bold adventurer with a temper and a tart tongue. In his 45-year run on the strip, Gottfredson introduced such characters as the Phantom Blot and Mickey’s nephews, Morty and Ferdie. The multi volume series begins in May 2011 and will be designed by Jacob Covey.
In addition to taking home two Eisners for A Drifting Life, Drawn & Quarterly made news by announcing several notable projects. Mimi Pond, a cartoonist illustrator and writer perhaps best known for writing the first episode of The Simpsons, will produce her memoir Over Easy, a tale of her youth in the growing punk rock scene of 70s Oakland.
"In this day and age of the graphic novel, it's astonishing to come across a fully-realized and seasoned cartoonist who has yet to release comics in long-form," said acquiring editor Tom Devlin.
D&Q also added to its growing library of “gekiga” manga with the announcement of two books from manga legend Shigeru Mizuki, perhaps the most famous living cartoonist in Japan. Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths is a semi-autobiographical account of the final weeks of WWII, as Japanese soldiers deal with orders to die for their country. (Mizuki served in the war and lost an arm.) NonNonBa is a less horrific story set in Mizuki’s youth in the ‘30s, as he dreams of creating his own worlds with the help of an old neighbor woman.
Top Shelf announced a slew of new projects, including The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century #2: "1969 the latest in the series by Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill, and new works by their regular stable of cartoonists: The Homeland Directive by Robert Venditti and Mike Huddleston, Any Empire by Nate Powell, Super Natural by Matt Kindt; The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire; and a new volume of Incredible Change-Bots by Jeffrey Brown. The publisher also has new works by Jess Fink and Jennifer Hayden on tap as well as a reprinting of Kagen McLeod’s stylish Infinite Kung Fu.
The growing literary manga movement moves on with Masahiko Matsumoto’s Cigarette Girl (above), a collection of short stories by another founding father of gekiga who worked alongside Tatsumi. Finally Top Shelf will bring to English Lucille by Ludovic Debeurme, a recent prizewinner at Angouleme.