SDCC Interviews Tracy Hurren and Julia Pohl-Miranda

“SDCC: DRAWN & QUARTERLY PLAY "JEOPARDY," ANNOUNCE NEW PROJECTS” / Comic Book Resources / J.K. Parkin / July 28, 2014

Answer: This publisher will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2015 with a 500-page hardcover featuring new and rare comics from many of the cartoonists they've published over the years.

Question: Who is Drawn & Quarterly?

With its silver anniversary coming up next year, Drawn & Quarterly announced five new projects at their panel Saturday morning at Comic-Con International in San Diego, including a massive retrospective volume, newly translated manga projects and a collection of comics by a Canadian stripper.

Managing Editor Tracy Hurren and Editorial and Marketing Manager Julia Pohl-Miranda hosted the panel, titled "Drawn & Quarterly Jeopardy." As the title suggests, in addition to announcements and information on their publishing schedule, the session also included a trivia contest for attendees with graphic novels as the prize.

To celebrate their anniversary, the Montreal-based publisher will release Drawn & Quarterly: 25 Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics and Graphic Novels, which will be will be "encyclopedic in content but not format," according to Hurren. "It will be a lot more fluid and fun to read than an encyclopedia."

It will include an interview with founder Chris Oliveros, a timeline and history of the company, photos, biographies of every cartoonist the company has published and a whole bunch of comics by Lisa Hanawalt, Michael DeForge, Jillian Tamaki and many others. It will also include essays selected cartoonists by authors like Margaret Atwood and Jonathan Lethem. The book will debut at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival next spring.

Also due next spring from the publisher is Tamaki's award-winning SuperMutant Magic Academy, which will collect the webcomic that's been running since 2010. It will include new material and concludes the storyline Tamaki has been telling about the academy.

"It's really just hilarious, weird, beautiful comics about being a teenager," Pohl-Miranda said. She explained the story involves young mutants, witches and wizards in high school. "They have crushes on each other, and they skip class, and they smoke weed, and just do whatever they feel like."

Another new project, Trash Market, will collect six short stories by Tadao Tsuge that will be translated by scholar Ryan Holmberg. The stories were originally published in Garo magazine in the 1960s and ‘70s. Pohl-Miranda said Tsuge "is known for his dark portraits of post-war Japan and his journalistic interests," noting that the cartoonist had experienced the city's "seedy underbelly" firsthand.

"Tsuge is also really interesting because he spent a lot of his formative years working in the notorious for-profit blood banks in Tokyo," Pohl-Miranda said. "He's had a long career of not only writing about the seedy underbelly of city, but also engaging with the seedy underbelly of city."

The 270-page volume is due in February.

Drawn & Quarterly will also continue their line of books by Shigeru Mizuki, with plans to publish Hitler sometime in 2015 or 2016. Translated by Zack Davisson, the comic is Mizuki's historical account of Adolf Hitler's life.

"It's quite factual, and he really did a ton of research on it," Pohl-Miranda said. "This will be one volume, and it's going to be the same style as all the other Mizuki books, and we're just thrilled to be publishing all of Mizuki's titles that we've done so far."

Drawn & Quarterly also announced Melody by Sylvie Rancourt and translated by Helge Dascher. Pohl-Miranda said it is considered the first Canadian autobiographical comic, which Rancourt originally self-published beginning in 1985 to tell the story of her life as she moved from small-town Quebec to Montreal.

"She is unable to find a job," Pohl-Miranda said. "So her boyfriend, who kind of sucks -- he's a lazy jerk, and he's always scheming ways to get money without having to work -- convinces her to start dancing in strip clubs. After a couple of years of doing this she started drawing this comic and she started selling it in strip clubs where she worked."

While some of her comics were translated and redrawn by artist Jacques Boivin, and published by Kitchen Sink Press in the late ‘80s, Rancourt's original strips were in French and have never been seen in English before. The collection, due out in May 2015, will include an introduction by Chris Ware.

In addition to the newly announced titles, Pohl-Miranda and Hurren also discussed several titles that debuted in San Diego or had been previously announced. These included Hospital Suite by John Porcellino, the minicomic artist's first full-length graphic novel; Moomin: The Deluxe Anniversary Edition by Tove Jansson; Syllabus by Lynda Barry, which is an actual course syllabus for a class that Barry teaches on writing for non-writers; Bumperhead by newly minted Eisner Award winner Gilbert Hernandez; and First Year Healthy by Michael DeForge, a 30-page "adorable, creepy, terrifying" short story in hardcover format.

The duo also announced that Drawn & Quarterly's new website will launch Aug. 4, which will include new content, the ability to purchase ebooks and a "Buzzfeed style" survey that asks, "Which Drawn & Quarterly cartoonist are you?"

"That's what I'm most excited about," Hurren joked.

During the Q&A session, an audience member asked if any more issues of Jason Lutes Berlin were on the schedule. "There's none scheduled, but we suspect the series will conclude at some point, and we're very excited for that," Hurren said. "We're all just as eager as you are." They said they anticipate a "couple more pamphlets" before the series concludes.

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