We’re just back from our American signing tour and are feeling completely recharged and revitalised! What an absolutely FANTASTIC time! We met some truly wonderful people, all passionate about books and comics, and saw lots of amazing things. A massive thanks to Creative Scotland who provided funding – without their support this tour would not have been possible. Here are some highlights and photos!
The trip started with several events at TCAF, The Toronto Comic Arts Festival. The library venue was busy with people and buzzing with energy!
As well as doing several signings at the Papercutz/NBM table we took part in two panels and held a workshop for kids. First up was Comics and Collaboration with Nate Powell, John Ira Jennings, Molly Ostertag, Fanny Britt and moderator Erica Friedman. This panel proved popular with standing room only and the audience were keen, asking lots of questions. Jamie Coville recorded the event for a podcast so interested parties may listen here: http://www.torontocomics.com/2017/05/25/tcaf-in-pictures-and-podcasts/
John Jennings, Molly Ostertag, Fanny Britt and us!
Next up was NBM Publishing 40th Anniversary Celebration!, a panel with NBM founder Terry Nantier, Rick Geary, Larry Hancock, ourselves and Michael Cherkas. The panel was moderated by Mark Askwith and covered NBM’s history as well as providing a glimpse of their exciting future projects.
Thanks Papercutz for a wonderful dinner in Toronto! Clockwise from top of table: Terry Nantier, Larry Hancock, Sandrine Revel, Sandra and John, Sven Larsen, Catherine Marjoribanks, Marc Askwith, Anima and Rick Geary
Finally, we were invited to host a special spotlight event for kids, which was great fun and entertained parents too. And, it was wonderful to meet so many creators over the weekend and we had the pleasure of chatting at length with Aimee de Jongh (The Return of the Honey Buzzard), Jason (I Killed Adolf Hitler), Sandrine Revel (Glenn Gould), Gabrielle Bell (Everything is Flammable) Neil Slorance (Dungeon Fun) and Dave McKean (Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash). We also caught up with comic luminaries Heidi MacDonald, Calvin Reid and Tom Spurgeon and publishers Chris Pitzer (AdHouse Books) and Chris Staros (Top Shelf).
Sandra with Sandrine Revel and Jason
John talking to Dave McKean
With Sven Larsen from Papercutz and Gabrielle Bell
We even popped in for a visit to say hello to the great folk at The Beguiling comic store in Toronto where we were delighted to see our graphic novels on the shelf beside Tintin!
Straight after TCAF we were flying to Washington DC for a signing at Big Planet Comics in Bethesda.
On we went to Boston, for a signing at The Million Year Picnic, another legendary comic shop, situated right beside Harvard Square. A big thank you to Tony, Mike and Craig for hosting our signing!
Another plane journey and we were arriving in New York City amidst a sudden and unexpected heat wave.
We headed straight to our publisher’s office for a visit. Although we have known Terry Nantier for many years, it was fantastic to finally meet the rest of the team: Jim Salicrup, Jeff Whitman and Michelle Hart.
With Terry Nantier
With Jim Salicrup
The next day and a short subway ride away from Manhattan, Word Bookstore Jersey City was hosting our event.
We delivered a short presentation and signed and sketched The Little Mermaid for eager young readers. Thanks to Aubrey Nolan, Parish, Hannah and Lydia and all the lovely staff at Word!
Just 24 hour later we were setting up for an event at the fantastic Bank Street Bookstore in Manhattan. Our presentation and signing took place directly after the store’s regular puppet show, a performance, where free jazz meets dada and experimental improvised theatre for kids, created by store manager Andy Laties and Rebecca Migdal. Andy played the garden hose and several other surreal musical instruments. It was also great to have dinner with both Andy and Rebecca afterwards. It gave us all a chance to relax and exchange cultural ideas.
Another day in NYC, another enjoyable event: this time at Battery Park City School where we delivered two presentations to 4th grade pupils.
Outside was pouring with rain by this point, but we had great fun with the kids! They were really enthusiastic and had really smart questions. Having done hundreds of events in the UK, we were really delighted to have the opportunity to visit a US school. Big thanks to Thomas Knowlton at NYPL for making this visit possible, and to librarian Basia Tov at Battery Park City School for making us feel so welcome! Thanks Thomas also for taking pictures, some of these are below!
We even got a view of the statue of liberty through the fog and rain from the school library window!
By the next morning the rain had subsided, and we felt rather sad to be leaving NYC, we love the city so much! But we were heading for another exciting adventure, this time to Florida.
Gainesville was the antithesis of NYC (in a good way), and there we stayed in a converted shipping container near a swampy pond and showered outdoors under a palm tree. It was wonderful to see our hosts and cartoonist friends Tom Hart (author of Eisner-nominated Rosalie Lightning, pictured here under the umbrella) and Leela Corman (Unterzakhn) after nearly 14 years, and to meet their wonderful daughter Molly Rose. Tom even took us see alligators in a nearby park on our way to airport!
We delivered an illustrated talk at Millhopper Library for the students of SAW, Tom and Leela’s Sequential Artists Workshop, a school of cartooning. We had a great time and it was fantastic to talk comics with comic students. Huge thanks to Tom and Leela!
With Tom Hart and some of the students of SAW
And then, 16 days on, it was finally time to come home, and we wished we could have stayed longer, but also felt ready for the next round of events in the UK (take a look at our website for updates). Most importantly we feel inspired and excited about creative work and the prospect of getting on with making our next graphic novel.
Thanks to Papercutz, especially Sven Larsen who helped us put this tour together, and Terry Nantier for his support (and for dinner and breakfast in Toronto!). Also thanks to all the store managers and staff. And a huge thanks to our good friends David and Betsy Bennett for their hospitality in Bethesda!