We’re thrilled that The Little Mermaid is shortlisted for The Excelsior Award Junior 2018! You can see the full shortlist here:
We’re thrilled that The Little Mermaid is shortlisted for The Excelsior Award Junior 2018! You can see the full shortlist here:
Great news! The first printing of the Little Mermaid graphic novel has rapidly sold out and our publisher Papercutz are rushing into a 2nd printing before Christmas.
The quarter-bound title was released in April 2017 to great acclaim. Promotion included a north American tour and several high profile UK events, including The Edinburgh International Book Festival, Thought Bubble and The Lakes International Comic Art Festival. November will see The Dark Side of Fairy Tales exhibition at the award-winning Glad Café in Glasgow, Scotland, where prints from the graphic novels will be on show.
Praise for The Little Mermaid:
“Profound and moving… Andersen fans will be mesmerized, and newcomers will want to see what they’ve been missing.”
— School Library Journal ★ Starred Review
“A graceful, lyrical adaptation.”
“An arresting graphic novel… a beguiling sense of wonder permeate this radiant little book.”
— The Guardian
“A haunting story, magical and tinged with sadness, beautifully illustrated and lovingly retold in graphic novel form by the ever-brilliant Metaphrog.”
— Bryan and Mary Talbot, Costa Book Award winners
We had an absolutely wonderful time at The Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2017 and it was an honour to be guests once again this year. We kicked off on Saturday morning with a talk about our new graphic novel The Little Mermaid, chaired by Costa award-winning Mary Talbot, followed by a signing in the Page 45 room (huge thanks to Stephen Holland and Jonathan Rigby for making us so very welcome!). You can read Mary Talbot’s blog about the festival here and Page 45’s report here.
The day involved a fair bit of cloning, because we were also looking after our publisher’s table, NBM/Papercutz, who were exhibiting at The Lakes for the first time this year. A big thanks to our very kind and generous neigbours Jenny Winetrobe and Welsh Eldorado Press for looking after things while we were away multitasking. In the afternoon we also had great fun doing a kid’s event in Kendal library, chaired by the lovely Mel Gibson. By Sunday lunchtime, we had already sold out of The Little Mermaid. So thank you to everyone who picked up a copy and apologies to people who came in the afternoon looking for the book (it is of course available on our website).
With all this, we missed quite a lot of of the numerous events and exhibitions over the weekend – there was so much going on – but we did manage to catch a few things: Sandra saw the fascinating talk on the birth of the graphic novel by Benoît Peeters, chaired by John McShane, which centered on the work of Rodolphe Töpffer. Töpffer (1799-1946) is believed to be the father of the modern graphic novel, and to have written the first ever book on the subject: “How to Create Graphic Novels”. The Lakes festival have published the book, translated, edited and introduced by John McShane. John McShane was also responsible for curating the excellent Will Eisner exhibition upstairs in the Brewery Arts Center. Downstairs we also saw Fumio Obata‘s exhibition on Fukushima, but we kicked ourselves for missing the Archipelagogo exhibition, which looked fantastic.
Artwork for The Little Mermaid was also part of the windows trail, at Scratch Creative/Cordwainer’s Studio, right between the train station and The Town Hall.
A really massive thanks to Julie , Sharon and Carole Tait, Jonathan Valelly and the whole team and volunteers at The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, who not only looked after us wonderfully, but made this year’s festival such a success! Their work is so important, it’s what the UK comic scene has been waiting for for decades. Being integrated right into the heart of the Kendal community, it attracts people and families from the whole surrounding region, and not just people who already like comics. In the Clock Tower and at our events we met a lot of people who were not the usual readers of graphic novels but had come to see what the festival was all about, out of curiousity and interest, and these people even bought comics. The festival also works extremely hard to build bridges with the international comic community – this year there were guests from 9 different countries, and the festival is partnered with several organisations internationally (including Toronto Comic Arts Festival). This year they announced a whole bunch of exciting new partnerships, one of which is the Myriad Edition First Graphic Novel Competition which will help launch new talents. The announcements were made at a special reception on Saturday night, to which exhibitors and guests were invited – and at which everyone could help themselves to drinks and pizza. (It was very thoughtful of the festival to do this: after a long day exhibiting, it was well extremely well received!)
Our very best and warmest wishes to the festival. We look forward to being involved in its continued growth in the coming years!
Creative Scotland announced this month’s open project fund awards today. We are honoured and delighted to have been awarded £32,000 towards creating our next graphic novel. This new fairy tale adaptation will follow on from the success of The Red Shoes and Other Tales and The Little Mermaid. The book will be published by Papercutz as the third volume in the collection, its title to be revealed at a later date. Having recently returned from an American tour, also supported by Creative Scotland, and several high profile UK public appearances to promote the release of The Little Mermaid, we are thrilled to be getting started on a third fairy tale volume.
“We are honoured to have been awarded funding from Creative Scotland for the creation of our next graphic novel: a new fairy tale adaptation to follow on from The Red Shoes and Other Tales and The Little Mermaid. Fairy tales are extremely powerful, tapping in to the very origins of stories. They tell us about ourselves and others and, in these uncertain times, they can provide us with necessary truths and perhaps even remind us what it means to be human. In reimagining our favourite tales as graphic novels we hope to create an immersive, lasting reading experience.” John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs aka Metaphrog
Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland.
The BBC interviewed us on the news programme Reporting Scotland (23/06/17) about how we feel about our position as a Franco-Scottish couple in the midst of Brexit negotiations, and after the government’s first announcement of how it might treat the 3.5 Million EU nationals living here. Sandra is French and has been established in the UK for 23 years, and Brexit has affected us personally.
Had a fantastic time launching The Little Mermaid graphic novel at Waterstones on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow! Great turn out, and a very enjoyable evening. Special thanks to Paddy who even brought Sandra flowers – what a gentleman! Sandra created colour sketches in every book and we even left a stock of sketched and signed books for people to pick up after our visit.
|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
Mark also created a video of TCAF for Inner Space on Space Channel and interviewed creators, including us both, as we share our views on the festival: http://www.space.ca/show/innerspace/clip/tcaf-wrap/1126376/1027/
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|
Straight after TCAF we were flying to Washington DC for a signing at Big Planet Comics in Bethesda.
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.
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!
|With Tom Hart and some of the students of SAW|
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!
We documented the trip on instagram and all photos can be view here: https://www.instagram.com/Metaphrog_Graphic_Novels/
Very excited to announce that we’ll be touring America this May! The tour will kick off at TCAF – The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, where we’ll be part of their special programming: NBM turns 40 (events to be announced soon). Then we’ll be doing a series of signings and events in:
Bethesda (DC area): Big Planet Comics – May 17
Boston: The Million Year Picnic – May 18
New York City – Jersey City: Word Bookstore – May 20
New York City – Manhattan: Bank Street Bookstore – May 21
New York City – Manhattan: Battery Park City School – May 22
Gainsville: SAW, The Sequential Artists Workshops – May 24
The tour is supported by Creative Scotland.
We were delighted to be on the BBC Radio Scotland’s The Janice Forsyth Show yesterday talking about our new graphic novel The Little Mermaid. You can listen again here – our segment is at 1h40min: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08jf6ll
Unbelievably, this month sees the 20th anniversary of our very first comic. When we met in 1994 we started working on comics together almost right away and, after creating several short comic stories, eventually collected them in our first comic Strange Weather Lately – Martin Nitram #1 in December 1996. We brought this out with limited edition lino prints in silver and the tagline: “Stories from the surreal yet unnervingly real world of Martin Nitram”. We jumped up and down a bit when Diamond Comic Distributors agreed to distribute it through their Previews catalogue.
Thus began our career in comics. At the time we were told our comic was the wrong size (we’d had it printed A4). But we didn’t really care – we hadn’t even thought at the time about comic shops and their coffins or boxes for storing American comic sized titles. Indeed we knew very little about the workings of the comic market. The comic quickly sold out. (There doesn’t even seem to be any copies on ebay now!).
We followed this up with The Maze and then with a longer and more intricate Strange Weather Lately story arc published as bimonthly comics and gathered them all in our first graphic novels in 1998 and 1999. At the time, the Scotsman newspaper ran a “Who to Watch” feature on us and we were interview on the radio for The Brian Morton Show.
|Our first comic,
Strange Weather Lately
|Extract from Strange
Weather Lately #1
|Strange Weather Lately
Between 1999 and 2011 we worked on the Louis series of graphic novels. Louis – Red Letter Day was originally intended to be a one off but we realised how much we loved the character and working with the Louis world that five more books followed. Much to our amazement we received nominations for the Eisner Awards and also the Ignatz Awards and international acclaim. We were delighted to receive coverage in mainstream media as many places didn’t really review comics or graphic novels in the early 2000s. Our Louis books, perhaps because they were so different and a bit strange, found their way into publications like i-D (where Kodwo Eshun described Louis – Red Letter Day as “a seriously spaced enigma”), The Guardian (with a column on our work by Julie Burchill), SFX, Art Review, New Internationalist, The Herald, Creative Review among many others. Our comic/music/animation project with hey and mum and the Fat Cat record label, Louis – Dreams Never Die, was featured on the late, great John Peel’s radio show along with his beloved The Fall and even received a lengthy write-up in Liberation in France.
|The Guardian – Julie Burchill – 2003|
|The Scotsman 1999|
|The Herald 2004|
|The Louis graphic novels (2000-2011)|