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School Library Journal: Pippi Moves In is "quietly profound"

Updated May 2, 2013


From "Recommended Comics for Schools: Pippi Moves In, An Inspector Calls, District Comics, A Chinese Life"

Peter Gutierrez
School Library Journal, 8 October 2012

Yep, this is part four of this series. Sorry if it seems to be dragging on, but can I help it if so many great graphic titles have been published this year?

Pippi Moves In Recommended Comics for Schools: Pippi Moves In, An Inspector Calls, District Comics, A Chinese LifeThe iconoclastic Pippi Longstocking, who doesn’t quite see the purpose of adult institutions and yet remains the “strongest in the world” (that’s right—there’s no qualifier for the phrase), holds undeniable appeal for readers of any age or gender. I recently proved this by sharing some of these stories with boys nine and twelve years old and hearing them crack up… and of course it gave me a great excuse to re-read them myself. The truly amazing thing about these comics from more than half a century ago is that if they appeared on the indie scene today they’d be praised for their delightful simplicity, bold colors and design, and quirky narratives with quietly profound themes. (...)
 
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Featured artist

Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

           Featured product

Pippi Moves In




  Pippi Moves In "good comics for kids": SLJ

Updated May 2, 2013


From "Links: Pippi moves in"

Katherine Dacey
School Library Journal, 25 June 2012

In November, Drawn & Quarterly will be releasing Pippi Moves In, a collection of Pippi Longstocking comics written by Astrid Lindgren and illustrated by Ingrid Vang Nyman. The comics originally appeared in Swedish magazine Humpty Dumpty in the late 1950s, ten years after Lindgren and Nyman collaborated on the original books. Readers curious to see what Pippi looks like in comic-strip form can read a short preview at the D&Q site. (...)
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Featured artist

Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

           Featured product

Pippi Moves In




Booklist Online reccommends Pippi Moves In for kids and adults alike

Updated May 2, 2013


Kat Kan
Booklist Online, 19 December 2012

Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking books have been published in many languages since the 1940s and adapted into television and movies in Europe and the U.S. Yet the comic books, first published in 1957, have never been translated into English until now. In this volume, Pippi, the strongest little girl in the world, has moved into the Villa Villekulla in a small Scandinavian village, where she lives with a monkey, Mr. Nilsson, and her horse but no adults. Pippi makes friends with next-door neighbors Tommy and Annika, but she doesn’t get along with most adults, especially any who behave unkindly toward children and animals. The comics reimagine Lindgren’s famous novels with bright, colorful art by Vang Nyman. The episodic stories are told entirely in the word balloons. The minimal backgrounds and simple art make the story easy for younger readers to understand. This book will appeal to young Pippi Longstocking fans as well as adults who grew up reading her books.
 
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Featured artist

Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

           Featured product

Pippi Moves In




  Pippi Moves In among "books my kid loves"

Updated May 2, 2013


"Great Holiday Give: Day Two ~ Pippi Moves In!"

Burgin Streetman
Vintage Books My Kid Loves, 4 December 2012

It's Tuesday kids! Welcome to day two of the Great Holiday Give! We have a copy of the wonderful Pippi Moves In! generously donated by Drawn & Quarterly.

"Pippi Moves In marks the first time that the legendary Pippi Longstocking comics by famed children’s author and creator Astrid Lindgren and Danish illustrator Ingrid Vang Nyman will be published outside of Scandinavia in thirty years, as well as their first ever publication in English."

This book is fabulous, and even if you don't win you should go out and buy a copy for every little girl (and boy) you know. (...)
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Featured artist

Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

           Featured product

Pippi Moves In




Publishers Weekly: Pippi Moves In is "sweet and strange"

Updated May 2, 2013


"Reviews: Pippi Moves In"
Publishers Weekly, 6 August 2012

In 1957, Pippi Longstocking’s creator teamed up with artist Vang Nyman to reimagine Pippi in comics form. Now the tales have been translated into English for the first time. When Pippi moves into Villa Villekulla, quiet and orderly Sweden will never be the same. Pippi has no respect for the adult world, and the children around her delight as she tramples on the rules and expectations meant to keep children in line. She is a kind of superhero, lifting strong men in the air and buying mountains of sweets and toys on a whim. When she is about to step off a cliff and her friend warns her she’s going to fall. Pippi insists: “I’m not going to fall, I’m going to fly!” The stories in this first collection are sweet and strange, with Pippi fearlessly leading the way toward a world free of adult oppression, or at least one where it’s okay to be a little weird. Vang Nyman’s illustrations are sharp and clear, and Pippi’s surreal actions are rendered all the more acceptable by the warm and bright colors. All ages.
 
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Featured artist

Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

           Featured product

Pippi Moves In




  Unshelved recommends Pippi Moves In! for young readers

Updated April 4, 2013


Gene Ambaum
Unshelved, 15 February 2013

The irrepressible Pippi Longstocking tumbles back onto the bookshelf in these vibrantly recolored comics originally penned and published in Sweden in 1957 and 1958.

Why I picked it up: Pippi cartwheeling across the cover called to me across the bookstore aisles like the Sunday funny pages from my childhood.

Why I finished it: In each episode (there’s a dozen in all), this strong-minded redhead defies adults. Grown-ups are the foils in most of the adventures, like when the strongest man in the world gets manhandled by Pippi, the strongest girl in classic children’s literature. Most stories are just plain fun. The closest one comes to making a moral point is when Pippi stops a man from beating a horse and makes him pull the loaded wagon instead. (Pippi carries the tired horse.)

I'd give it to: Liam and Ridley, whose trampolining, superhero-inspired play fills our neighborhood with laughter and matter of fact declarations much like Pippi’s, “I’M PIPPI LONGSTOCKING...I LOOK AFTER MYSELF. AND THAT’S THAT.”

Featured artist

Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

           Featured product

Pippi Moves In




Pippi Moves In! comes highly recommended by CM

Updated April 3, 2013


Barb Taylor
CM, Vol. 19 No. 20, 25 January 2013

Sweden's favourite daughter Pippi Longstocking makes her English language debut in a graphic novel illustrated by Danish artist Ingrid Vang Nyman. The cartoons were originally published in the Swedish magazine Humpty Dumpty from 1957-1959.

Despite being over five decades old, the comics, like their character, are ageless in their appeal. The illustrations are bright, simply drawn, but full of action, and will appeal to most elementary aged school children. The simple but direct dialogue is easy to read, making this book a good choice as a high interest, simple vocabulary novel for struggling readers.

Pippi is a friendly, independent girl who cares little for social mores, but she has a kind heart and leads her friends on wild adventures. In this story, she charms her friends with her carefree life, no school, sleeping upside down in her bed, playing with circus animals and eating all the candy she wants. She is also the strongest girl in the world and shows how "everyone should be nice to animals... and carry them when they get tired", advice which she demonstrates by giving an abused horse a ride by holding it over her head.

Pippi Moves In! is a must-have for people young and old who have enjoyed Pippi Longstocking's adventures in chapter books, and it is a great introduction to this delightful character for those readers meeting Pippi for the first time.

Highly Recommended.

***½ /4
 
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Featured artist

Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

           Featured product

Pippi Moves In




  No Flying No Tights praises Pippi Moves In

Updated April 3, 2013


Pippi Longstocking Comics: Pippi Moves In

JenniferW
No Flying No Tights, 28 January 2013

I’m always a little tentative about reprints of vintage comics for kids. So often they seem designed more for nostalgic adults than any real, contemporary child. So I was on tenterhooks when I decided to take a risk and purchase Pippi Moves In! for my library before I was able to preview it. I am happy to say that this is one vintage reprint that I am confident will be flying off the shelf, delighting both children and parents.

This is the first English translation of the Pippi Longstocking comic strips originally published in Sweden in the 1950s. They retell several episodes from the classic children’s book and are illustrated by the original Pippi Longstocking artist, Ingrid Vang Nyman, in her trademark brilliant colors. Each four-page story recreates one of Pippi’s adventures, starting with her arrival at Villa Villekulla and continuing with her exploits with Tommy and Annika. They have a run-in with the police, who want to take Pippi to a children’s home; Pippi visits school for the first time; and goes to a circus, where she shows off her amazing acrobatic skills and strength. There are picnics and walks, visits to the candy store; and a trip to the doctor (after all that candy, Pippi needs some medicine – just in case!). They finish up with a shipwreck on an island. The dialogue is simple but captures all the classic elements; Pippi’s cheerful refusal to fall in step with authority, her gold coins, wild stories, and amazing strength.

Nyman’s art is brilliant, combining bold colors and simple lines to capture the essence of Pippi’s world. The children look almost like paper dolls, giving the stories the perfect fillip of fantasy that makes Pippi’s adventures so entrancing. The illustrations and dialogue complement each other, giving the right amount of information to the reader without being so subtle that a beginning reader can’t grasp the storyline.

Beginning to intermediate readers are the best audience for this collection of stories. Each chapter is short enough not to be discouraging, telling a complete story that a child can read through in one sitting without losing interest or the plot. The typescript is bold and easily readable, adding just enough dialogue to the action shown in the art. Add these to the Toon Books series to introduce beginning readers to graphic novels and stock extra copies of the original story, as they will be sure to want to read more about Pippi’s classic adventures.

Featured artist

Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

           Featured product

Pippi Moves In




Canadian Review of Materials reviews "ageless" Pippi comics

Updated February 25, 2013


Pippi Moves In! (Pippi Longstocking Comics).
Review by Barb Taylor
***½ /4

Sweden's favourite daughter Pippi Longstocking makes her English language debut in a graphic novel illustrated by Danish artist Ingrid Vang Nyman. The cartoons were originally published in the Swedish magazine Humpty Dumpty from 1957-1959.

Despite being over five decades old, the comics, like their character, are ageless in their appeal. The illustrations are bright, simply drawn, but full of action, and will appeal to most elementary aged school children. The simple but direct dialogue is easy to read, making this book a good choice as a high interest, simple vocabulary novel for struggling readers.

Pippi is a friendly, independent girl who cares little for social mores, but she has a kind heart and leads her friends on wild adventures. In this story, she charms her friends with her carefree life, no school, sleeping upside down in her bed, playing with circus animals and eating all the candy she wants. She is also the strongest girl in the world and shows how "everyone should be nice to animals... and carry them when they get tired", advice which she demonstrates by giving an abused horse a ride by holding it over her head.

Pippi Moves In! is a must-have for people young and old who have enjoyed Pippi Longstocking's adventures in chapter books, and it is a great introduction to this delightful character for those readers meeting Pippi for the first time.
Highly Recommended.
 
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Featured artist

Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

           Featured product

Pippi Moves In




  North Adams Transcript says "Pippi positively bursts from the pages"

Updated February 25, 2013


The Kiosk: Scandinavian children’s classics get a new life

By John Seven, North Adams Transcript
Posted: 11/02/2012 01:26:21 AM EDT

"Pippi Moves In" by Astrid Lindgren and Ingrid Van Ny man (Drawn and Quarterly)
The homeschool movement, particularly the unschooling sector, could do worse than to officially choose Pippi Long stocking as their figurehead. The young Swedish upstart has never truly been unseated as the ultimate anti-hero kid, a real rebellious wunderkind who makes mincemeat out of adults with her own whirligig style of logic.
Though mostly remembered in chapter books -- and, to a lesser degree, some oddball movies -- this book is the first volume of three to collect Pippi comics, which featured stories adapted from the books and appearing in the Swedish children’s magazine Humpty Dump ty in the late 1950s. Writ er Lindgren was famously Pip pi’s creator, and cartoonist Van Nyman was also the original illustrator on the book series.
The comic version has a surprising effect -- it strips down the Pippi stories to their es sence, an almost slapstick tornado of absurdism on par with the Marx Brothers. Pippi is con stant ly disarming the establishment as she mangles their words -- who could forget "plutification" -- and talks circles around authority figures like teachers, policemen, shop owners and more. Pippi positively bursts from the pages and gears up to demonstrate to your daughters what the exercising of girl power really looks like -- complete with pointy pigtails.
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Featured artist

Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

           Featured product

Pippi Moves In




Edmonton Journal praises Pippi Moves in's "exotic but infectious sense of humour'

Updated January 15, 2013


Michael Hingston: Young expert discusses some favourite kids’ picture books
BY MICHAEL HINGSTON, EDMONTON JOURNAL DECEMBER 7, 2012

Astrid Lindgren, Ingrid Vang Nyman, and Tiina Nunnally (translator), Pippi Moves In (Enfant)

Like Hayao Miyazaki movies, or songs by the Magnetic Fields, I’m treating Pippi Moves In as a welcome horizon-broadener.

It is important to show kids that the formulas of many children’s books are not the world. And these old Pippi Longstocking comic strips, printed in Sweden in the ’50s but never before translated into English, fit that bill perfectly: they’ve got an exotic but infectious sense of humour, vivid illustrations, and — bonus — a confident female lead who has zero interest in becoming a princess.

Bridget’s review: “This is very silly. But I like it. I also think this book is one of my favourites, because Pippi has her own way of doing things. She takes care of herself. No one’s there to supervise her. For example, she plays tag with the police.”
 
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Featured artist

Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

           Featured product

Pippi Moves In




  AV Club praises D+Q's Enfant line

Updated January 14, 2013


By Noel Murray October 17, 2012

The prestigious comics publisher Drawn & Quarterly has in recent years been in the business of making the kinds of kid-friendly books that become family keepsakes. In sort of a reverse of what Fantagraphics did back in the ’90s when it started the pornographic Eros Comix to keep the bills paid, D&Q established the Enfant imprint for its archival collections of classic kids’ comics, like the recent color repackaging of selected Tove Jansson Moomin storylines and D&Q’s strange, wonderful collection of 1950s Pippi Longstocking comics, appearing in English for the first time. These are books that young kids read and re-read, then pass along to their kids someday—or at least leave on a shelf in the den for their children and grandchildren to stumble across, the way I remember doing with my grandmother’s collection of crumbling-but-still-gorgeous children’s books.

And this matters, because books like D&Q’s Nipper collections or Fantagraphics’ Mickey Mouse archives are a better gateway to comics than anything DC or Marvel is publishing now. That’s not a knock against those companies, or against the superhero genre, which I still love. But the major comics artists of today—like Dan Clowes, Chris Ware, Marjane Satrapi, and Lynda Barry—tap into that feeling of being 8 years old and poring over the Sunday funnies or a Golden Book. They connect that feeling to adult concerns and emotions, but still, they rely on an inherent affection and nostalgia for the medium. Five years ago, I worried that those cartoonists were a dying breed, writing and drawing for a dwindling audience. Now I look at the stack of comics next to my daughter’s bed, and I see hope.
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Featured artists

Tove Jansson
Doug Wright
Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

           Featured product

Pippi Moves In




School Library Journal recommends Pippi Moves In

Updated January 14, 2013


All ages comics and manga for 10/10/12
OCTOBER 12, 2012
BY LORI HENDERSON

October is the time for the weird and wacky, and there’s plenty of both on this week’s list. Drawn and Quarterly releases the first volume of long time childhood favorite Pippi Longstocking, making her graphic novel debut in English! Kids Can Press introduces Bigfoot Boy in his first graphic novel, and Papercutz has the next volume in their Monster series, with Monster Turkey!


 
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Featured artist

Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

           Featured product

Pippi Moves In




  Comics Worth Reading promotes Pippi Moves In and the latest from Moomin

Updated January 14, 2013


Good Comics Out October 10, Including Buffy and Stumptown

Posted by Johanna on October 10, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Drawn & Quarterly has three releases in their Enfant line. Two books kick off their re-releases of Tove Jansson’s Moomin comics in color paperbacks. The flexible covers and landscape format are more kid-friendly. Each volume holds one Moomin story. In Moominvalley Turns Jungle ($9.95), the Moomins are trying to cope with unusual heat when a crate of tropical seeds wash ashore, a fast-growing jungle threatens to take over. Then zoo animals appear, and the Moomintrolls risk being mistaken for hippopotamuses. (A clever plot, especially for new readers who might be confused by their appearances.)


Pippi Longstocking
The other book is Moomin’s Winter Follies ($9.95), in which the lovable characters experience the opposite weather extreme. A frozen pond means it’s time for winter sports. But first, the family has to debate whether to follow the tradition of hibernating. I’m not previously familiar with the Moomins, but I was reminded of how much fun I had reading Babar as a child. The animals behave like people but their unusual appearance makes it all otherworldly in a creative way that spurs the young reader’s imagination.

The other Enfant volume is a debut. Pippi Longstocking comes to English comics for the first time in Pippi Moves In ($14.95). The first of a planned three volumes is by creator Astrid Lindgren and illustrator Ingrid Vang Nyman. Originally published in the late 1950s, these comics adapt the chapter book stories in visual form.

As you’d expect, the art is unusual and distinctive, dating from another era but looking fresh as a result. The chapters are short — four pages each — and so the storytelling is stilted, but it’s fun to see Pippi’s ridiculous way of living illustrated.
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Featured artists

Tove Jansson
Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

           Featured products

Pippi Moves In
Moomin's Winter Follies
Moominvalley Turns Jungle




The Paris Review calls Pippi Moves In, "children’s art at its finest"

Updated January 14, 2013


What We’re Loving: Pippi, Airports, Purses
October 5, 2012 | by The Paris Review
by Nicole Rudick

If you’ve only ever seen the awkwardly acted 1969 film Pippi Longstocking, in which Pippi tokes up with her young friends (not to mention Peppi Dlinnyychulok, the very weird Soviet version), you’re in for a treat. In the late fifties, Pippi author Astrid Lindgren published a comic strip about her precocious young heroine in the Swedish children’s magazine Humpty Dumpty. Drawn & Quarterly is bringing these strips to the U.S. for the first time ever, and while they’re fun to read, the best part—hands down—is Ingrid Vang Nyman's art. Relying on bold blocks of color and bright, simple designs, the panels are midcentury children’s art at its finest.

 
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Featured artist

Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

           Featured product

Pippi Moves In




  The New Yorker says, "watch out for" Pippi Moves In

Updated January 14, 2013


October 1, 2012
BOOKS TO WATCH OUT FOR: OCTOBER
Posted by The New Yorker


A decade after the original Pippi Longstocking books were published, the author Astrid Lindgren and Ingrid Vang Nyman, who did the original illustrations for the books, collaborated on a comic-strip version of the pigtailed orphan that first appeared in the Swedish magazine Humpty Dumpty in 1957. “Pippi Moves In,” the first book in a three-volume set from the children’s imprint of Montreal-based comics publisher Drawn & Quarterly, marks the first time these Pippi comics have been published in English.

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Featured artist

Astrid Lindgren & Ingrid Vang Nyman

           Featured product

Pippi Moves In




Comic Book Resources talks with D&Q Creative Director Tom Devlin about D&Q's Enfant line

Updated January 14, 2013


D&Q'S DEVLIN BRINGS "THE MOOMINS," "PIPPI LONGSTOCKING" TO THE STATES
Wed, September 26th, 2012 at 12:58pm

Tom Devlin worked at comic book stores before founding Highwater Books in 1997. The publisher made a splash at Comic-Con International in San Diego that year when they distributed -- for free -- "Coober Skeber" #2, which was promoted as "The Marvel Comics Benefit Issue" and featured many independent cartoonist tackling Marvel heroes, including, most famously, the "Hulk vs. Rain" short story by James Kolchalka, which the cartoonist later redrew for Marvel.

Highwater went on to publish books, comics and prints from cartoonists including Megan Kelso, Brian Ralph, John Porcellino, James Kolchalka and Matt Madden before closing up shop in 2004. Devlin later joined Drawn and Quarterly where he currently acts as their Creative Director. This month, D&Q releases two new projects Devlin is overseeing, "Pippi Longstocking" and "The Moomins," both of which are part of D&Q's Enfant line for children of all ages.

CBR News spoke with Devlin via e-mail to discuss the new titles, the fifteenth anniversary of Highwater Books, and look ahead to the other books he's overseeing at D&Q in the coming months.CBR News: Tom, let's start by talking about the Pippi Longstocking comics D&Q is publishing. This is the first time these three books have been published in English. When were they made and who was behind them?


Drawn and Quarterly Creative Director Tom Devlin oversees the "Pippi Longstocking" titles for the publisher, including this month's "Pippi Moves In"
Tom Devlin: They were initially published in the late 1950s in a Swedish children's magazine called "Klumpe Dumpe" (Humpty Dumpty). I'm unsure how long they might have been out of print but recently the rights holders, Rabén & Sjögren, issued reprints and I spotted the Finnish version while attending a comic convention in Helsinki. That's my favorite thing about traveling to these other conventions -- you get a chance to dig through piles of comics, you meet the cartoonists that you've maybe just seen a few images from on the internet, you just get a chance to see things you wouldn't normally see.

Who was Pippi, because I'll be honest I have only the vague image of a redhead with pigtails and I know that "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" author Stieg Larsson described Lisbeth as a grown up version of Pippi.

I hadn't heard that Stieg Larsson quote but Pippi is certainly a household name in Scandinavia, so that makes sense. She's a headstrong -- and body strong -- 9 year-old who lives in a house alone and pretty much does what she wants much to the consternation of the very square neighbor children, Tommy and Annika. She's definitely one of those great proto-feminist characters from children's literature. Pippi has a great kind of rugged individualist approach to everything she does. She doesn't have an ounce of fear. And yes, she has red hair which she wears in pigtails, as well as prominent freckles, and mismatched socks.

Your other project right now is publishing new editions of "The Moomins" comic strip in color. I know we're both fans, but for people who don't know, who are the Moomins?

We've joked that we'll just keep sending me to different countries and I'll find the comics for the most famous children's character available and bring them back here to North America. While Pippi's kind of the most famous character in Sweden, the Moomins are the most popular in Finland. Tove Jansson wrote a series of chapter books in her native Swedish (there's a population of Swedish speaking Finns) which slowly gained in popularity in Finnish and English as well. Enough so that a British newspaper approached Tove about doing a comic strip. That's the short version of the story -- the full version will be in a book we're publishing later this year called "Moomin Every Day."

So, the Moomins themselves are a family of hippo-like trolls who live in a country home and lead a kind of free-spirited, relaxed lifestyle. Tove came form a family of artists (Mom was an illustrator and Dad was a sculptor) and there's a real sense that they lived a kind of bohemian lifestyle. This worldview clearly influenced the creation of the Moomins. The Moominpoppa is kind of a dreamer who spins yarns about his globe-trotting adventures and Moominmomma is a loving but pragmatic woman and Moomintroll or Moomin is their son. They're the focal point for a whole community of off-the-wall characters who live in Moomin Valley. They're surrounded by a bunch of schemers, hangers-on, dreamers, and dedicated friends. The stories have a kind of sardonic wit, not quite out and out satire, but there's a dark edge in this otherwise idyllic world.


After success publishing "The Moomins" in hardcover, Devlin wanted to expand the audience with color TPBs
You've been publishing "The Moomins" in oversize hardcover volumes for a few years now. Why did you want to publish them in a new format?

I would say that I wanted to expand the audience for these comics. We did really well with them here in North America and the UK and we sold our version to a number of European countries and I just started to think "how can we get more of these books in people's (kids') hands." I had heard from a number of people who said that their children MUCH preferred color comics to black and white comics and it dawned on me that we should try coloring these strips and make a less expensive softcover version that kids could carry around in their backpacks. So we colored a few strips and presented them to Tove's niece, Sophia, who runs the licensing of the Moomin Characters, and she loved it so we moved forward. Those books are just hitting stores now but I'm really excited because the strips really hold color well. I think people will be shocked how beautifully they turned out.

Are there other books aimed at kids, or at least a younger audience, in the works for the D&Q Enfant line?

Well, we are taking it slow. We have the collections of the Moomin strips, the two Moomin picture books ("The Book About Moomin, Mymble, and Little My" and "Who Will Comfort Toffle?"), the forthcoming three book Pippi series, a reprint of Brian Ralph's "Cave-In," and the Doug Wright "Nipper" paperbacks for now and there are plans for things we can't talk about yet. All along we've thought that we'll just take our time and build the line up and not rush. Recently, we published the first volume of Anouk Ricard's "Anna & Froga," "Want a Gumball?", and we'll continue to release that series. Finding Anouk Ricard's work was another lucky discovery -- I was at the local library and my kids were playing with some neighbors and I wandered away into the stacks and found these amazing French kids comics. The stories concern a group of friends who prank and needle each other but are still friends and the situations are just hilarious.

Just to go back in time, fifteen years ago you started a small publisher, Highwater Books, and you made a splash at San Diego in 1997 with "Coober Skeber" #2 -- the Marvel Comics benefit book. What were you trying to do? What made you want to be a publisher?

At that time I was working at the Million Year Picnic in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was deeply entrenched in the small press and mini-comics movement. I loved seeing all this new work that wasn't getting a wide audience and I just wanted to find ways to get it out there. I tried creating a distribution system that never got any real traction because people made such small quantities and you had to do everything by phone or more likely through writing letters to the person's P.O. Box. By the time I got new comics in I would have sold out of them at the Million Year Picnic so I would just sell them to the store for no profit. But meeting all these cartoonists got me thinking about other ways to promote their work and eventually the Marvel Benefit edition of "Coober Skeber" came out of that. It was a really aggravating undertaking but when I opened up those cases of the freshly printed books, I was done for. There was no turning back. I was going to be a publisher. And after the success of that book, people started approaching me to publish their comics and well I figured I better step up.


The plan for D&Q's Enfant all-ages line is a slow expansion featuring titles such as "Anna & Froga"
I definitely had a plan. I saw a lot of work that didn't seem to fit in to what I viewed as the professionalism of Fantagraphics or Drawn & Quarterly. I knew that if I didn't publish this stuff then no one would. There were also some other new comics publishers coming out of the minicomics scene like Top Shelf and Alternative–and the very influential Black Eye who pre-dated us all by a little bit–and we were all pretty chummy.

By the time I had started Highwater, I had worked at two comic stores -- Newbury Comics and the Million Year Picnic -- and spent several years working at the Diamond Comics warehouse in Boston. I thought most comic book covers were an ugly muddy mess. There was so much I thought was done wrong in comics that prevented them from reaching the general public and I really wanted to change that. I focused on packaging to make more appealing objects -- I knew the comics inside those books were great but I really wanted everyone else to know.

In 2010 there was an exhibition in Boston, "Right Thing The Wrong Way: The Story of Highwater Books." Was that title a somewhat accurate summation of Highwater?

I did not like that title. I felt like it focused on the financial failure of the company over the artistic success. But when TD Sidell -- who was a former intern and good friend -- came to me with the idea, I told him he could do what he wanted but I wouldn't really be able to help because I had young kids and they were the priority. Besides TD earned a chance to try something like that show. I would have extended that blessing to many of my friends and interns because their support was instrumental in making Highwater work for those years that it worked. TD and the other folks who helped him do the show -- Greg Cook, Jef Czekaj, Brooke Corey, and Randy Chang -- did a great job though. It perfectly embodied the kind of catch-all follow your aesthetic wherever it leads you ideal that I always wanted for Highwater.

You officially announced the end of Highwater in November 2004, though by that point it had been a little while since a book was published. Now that several years have passed, what do you think of what you were able to accomplish?

Is that for me to say? I don't know. I hope Highwater was an influence on cartoonists and other publishers but you would have to ask them. I really did want people to see that anyone could be a distributor or a publisher or a designer or whatever. I'm glad I got to do it as long as I did. I'm glad that I got to promote so many great cartoonists like Ron Regé, Jr, Brian Ralph, Megan Kelso, Matt Madden, Mat Brinkman, Marc Bell, Greg Cook, James Kochalka, and John Porcellino (and others who I distributed like Jordan Crane) and writers like Camden Joy and Dan Buck to the world. I'm glad that Highwater helped me meet my beautiful wife Peggy and helped me land my dream job here at Drawn & Quarterly.


Devlin has other projects outside of his Enfant titles on his plate
You're working on a number of books besides the ones we've talked about. Are there any books coming out this year or early 2013 that you'd like to mention?

The ones that are really occupying my thoughts right now are "Beautiful Darkness" by Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoet and "Kitaro" by Shigeru Mizuki. Both are translated titles and I'm deep into editing them. I think "Beautiful Darkness" will be a bit of a surprise for D&Q fans so I don't want to say too much about it. "Kitaro" is probably the series that Mizuki is best know for. We're pretty excited to be getting around to publishing this work. Just so imaginative and lyrical and funny. Just really amazing adventure comics.

But there are so many. I really think that we've had such a strong five-year run, as good as any publisher in any medium. In just the past couple of months, we've published "Gloriana" by Kevin Huizenga, "Birdseye Bristoe" by Dan Zettwoch, "The Making Of" by Brecht Evens, and re-published "Cave-In" by Brian Ralph and I swear to god these are must have books -- four individual idiosyncratic cartoonists working at the peak of their powers.

We're also republishing (with new material) "Freddie Stories" by Lynda Barry and I think that book is going to blow people's minds. It's the darker Lynda Barry like in her novel "Cruddy" and I think a lot of people weren't ready for her comics to be so dark in 1999. It's just brutal,beautiful stuff.

You're a cartoonist in your own right. Are we ever going to see a Tom Devlin comic one of these years?

I'm working intermittently on something called "Nike Country" that goes back over a decade now. We'll see if I ever finish that. [Publisher] Chris Oliveros is also working on his comic "Envelope Manufacturer" and we kid each other about how long we've been working/not working on these stories.
 
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