Wojnarowicz’s ‘7 Miles A Second’ Graphic Memoir Is Back in Print
James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook’s 7 Miles A Second, the acclaimed 2013 graphic memoir of the late East Village artist and AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz—the subject of a career retrospective at the Whitney Museum—is now back in print and for sale in the Whitney bookstore in a self-published edition.
First published in 1996 by DC/Vertigo, 7 Miles A Second was reprinted in a revised edition in 2013 by Fantagraphics. But demand for the book spiked in recent months after the opening in July of the Whitney Museum’s exhibition David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night, and final copies of the 2013 printing sold out. The Wojnarowicz exhibition is on display until September 30.
The artists worked with Fantagraphics to retrieve the rights to the book and have now set up a publishing house called Ground Zero Books—the name is a reference to their longrunning Lower East Side comics series—as well as an e-commerce site to sell the book. The two artists used Stueben Press, a short run POD printer in Colorado, to quickly deliver an initial order of 200 copies of the book to the Whitney Museum bookstore. The Ground Zero Books site also offers wholesale terms.
Romberger, who drew 7 Miles A Second, and Van Cook, the colorist, told PW that the Whitney bookstore sold out the final copies of the Fantagraphics printing on the opening night of the exhibition. Plus, Romberger said, the book is in demand from academics and is used in college courses on popular culture and LGBTQ/cultural studies programs.
7 Miles A Second is a groundbreaking comics memoir by Wojnarowicz, completed after his death by Romberger and Van Cook. Wojnarowicz came to prominence during the 1980s East Village art scene for creating arresting, socially-focused works in multiple mediums, and for his outspoken advocacy of the victims of AIDs. Wojnarowicz, who died of AIDS related causes in 1992, created a body of powerful works in photography, painting, sculpture, writing and film; at the same time he began to publicly confront government and social indifference to the mounting deaths and suffering of AIDS victims.
“This book was never just about money, it’s a mission,” Van Cook said. “We always thought it would be in print and we’re excited to be launching a publishing house to make sure that it is.”