Thursday, 1 June 2017

American Signing Tour

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
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).
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.
 
Thanks to Greg Bennett and Joel Pollack for having us at their store! We first got to know them when they were involved with running SPX, another great comic show we have been to many times. And thanks Eden Miller for blogging about our visit! http://www.comicsgirl.com/2017/05/18/metaphrogs-north-american-tour/
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!


We documented the trip on instagram and all photos can be view here: https://www.instagram.com/Metaphrog_Graphic_Novels/















Thursday, 6 April 2017

American Signing Tour

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
http://www.wordbookstores.com/event/jc-metaphrog-presents-little-mermaid-graphic-novel
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.




Thursday, 30 March 2017

On BBC Radio Scotland's The Janice Forsyth Show

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







Monday, 6 February 2017

Server and email problems

We have been experiencing severe problems with receiving emails.


Please email metaphrog1@hotmail.com ccing metaphrog@metaphrog.com (our usual email address).


If you have not received a reply from us these past few weeks/months, most likely your email was lost. Apologies for the inconvenience.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

20 Years Since Our First Comic!

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
Graphic Novel














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
i-D 2000
The Scotsman 1999
The Herald 2004
In 2002 Louis - The Clown's Last Words was the first graphic novel ever to receive funding from the Scottish Arts Council. The Scottish Arts Council became Creative Scotland and they have continued to be very supportive of our work.
The Louis graphic novels (2000-2011)
Looking back now it is truly hard to believe that it's been 20 years already! Since then we've devoted all our waking hours to making graphic novels and comics. Naturally, there have been ups and down, disappointments, rejections and moments of elation. When we started we were both determined to make a living from our work, from being a writer and artist, but had absolutely no idea if this was even possible or indeed how we'd go about it. Comics weren't even respected back then, and many people thought they were just for kids, or just trash. Initially in the UK and US, we kept on being told that our work was too European, while in Europe, and in France particularly (even though Sandra is French) we were told that our comics were too Scottish. This is possibly because we were feeding them potato scones. Now things have changed and more people see comic and graphic novels as art.

This year saw us win the Sunday Herald Scottish Culture Awards 2016 for Best Visual Artist. It felt like a real achievement and a great way to celebrate the anniversary of our first publication. And we still don't take anything for granted.


We're delighted to be creating new work with support from Creative Scotland and are working with Papercutz, who published The Red Shoes and Other Tales in late 2015, and who will be publishing our graphic novel adaptation of The Little Mermaid in April 2017.