Abrams ComicArts spotlights its Fall 2022 catalog

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The Abrams ComicArts publishing panel offered a peak at its upcoming Fall 2022 catalog while also briefly honoring Eisner-nominated titles that got short shrift while Comic Con was on its pandemic-induced hiatus. Editorial director Charles Kochman was joined onstage by panelists Charlotte Greenbaum (Abram ComicArts senior director), Brian Fries (Mom’s Cancer, Fire Story), Brian Michael Bendis (Miles Morales, Jessica Jones) and Chip Kidd (Eisner Award-winning author and editor-at-large at Pantheon) to discuss their forthcoming books.

In adult graphic novels, Kochman touched on Silver: Of Treasures and Thieves (Stephan Frank), Fantastic Four: Full Circle (Alex Ross) and the paperback version of Save It For Later (Nate Powell). The paperback version of Save It For Later Includes a bonus essay that contextualizes the events since 2020.

Greenbaum covered Megascope and Surely Books, two new imprints that arose during the pandemic. Curated by John Jennings (Kindred, Parable of the Sower), Megascope released Across the Tracks (Alverne Ball), After the Rain (Nnedi Okorafor/John Jennings), Hardears (Matthew Clarke, Nigel Lynch) and Black Star (Eric A. Glover) in 2021 and big hitter The Eightfold Path (Steven Barnes, Charles Johnson, Bryan Christopher Moss) in spring 2022. Megascope’s Fall 2022 catalog will include The Keeper by the husband-wife duo Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due and Queenie (Elizabeth Colomba, Aurelie Levy).

Surely Books released M Is For Monster (Talia Dalton) and Flung Out of Space (Grace Ellis, Hannah Templar) in 2022 Mariko Tamaki-curated imprint has Mimosa (Archie Bongiovanni) and Homecoming (Kaitlin Chan) launching in Fall 2022.

SDCC22 Abrams ComicArts Surely Books

Fies next spoke about THE LAST MECHANICAL MONSTER, a book that originated as a serialized comic and that earned Eisner Award nominations for Best Digital Comic Book in 2014 and 2015. LAST MECHANICAL MONSTER asks what would happen when an evil invader, who attempted to take over A city with an army of giant robots, is paroled 60 years later and thrust into the 21st century amidst a drastically changed world? According to Fies, the heart of the story attempts to answer what is the purpose of life and what does one need to survive.

SDCC22 Abrams ComicArts Fall 2022 Catalog Fies Cover

LAST MECHANICAL MONSTER will include four pages of cardstock that readers can glue together and create a replica giant robot.

Interior pages from Brian Fies’ THE LAST MECHANICAL ROBOT.

Fies reflected on the nature of the book as compared to the more serious subject matter of Mom’s Cancer and Fire Story:

“I did LAST MECHANICAL MECAHINICAL MONSTER to remind myself that sometimes comics should just be fun. Comics can be for adults and comics can be serious, but maybe what the world could use right now is a book that’s fun.”

Kidd spoke next about FANTASTIC FOUR: PANEL-BY-PANEL. He and Kochman wanted to honor the sixtieth anniversary of Fantastic Four. Kidd admired Walter Mosley’s concept of taking the first issue of a comic and breaking it down panel-by-panel so that each panel would get paged. And so, Kidd and his team started the project used computer scans of the original 1961 comic, but the scans threw the images and colors off. Kidd and Kochman eventually found a collector willing to loan them a copy of Fantastic Four #1. But then the layouts of the original comic presented another dilemma.

Kidd described the process:

“It was sort of a puzzle to figure out because it’s not like [Jack] Kirby threw in these little squares that would fit one to our page size. The proportions were all over the place. And I didn’t want there to be white space. In the original, there’s a of white space which I felt stopped the action. What we did in figuring it out was use the advertisements as my failsafe, like a certain page breaking on the left instead of the right, where I put a detail of the ad. We included some historical stuff and some essays that broke down in summary what Marvel did. We deconstructed the panel.”

Kidd spoke next about FANTASTIC FOUR: PANEL-BY-PANEL. He and Kochman wanted to honor the sixtieth anniversary of Fantastic Four. Kidd admired Walter Mosley’s concept of taking the first issue of a comic and breaking it down panel-by-panel so that each panel would get paged. And so, Kidd and his team started the project used computer scans of the original 1961 comic, but the scans threw the images and colors off. Kidd and Kochman eventually found a collector willing to loan them a copy of Fantastic Four #1. But then the layouts of the original comic presented another dilemma.

Kidd described the process:

“It was sort of a puzzle to figure out because it’s not like [Jack] Kirby threw in these little squares that would fit one to our page size. The proportions were all over the place. And I didn’t want there to be white space. In the original, there’s a of white space which I felt stopped the action. What we did in figuring it out was use the advertisements as my failsafe, like a certain page breaking on the left instead of the right, where I put a detail of the ad. We included some historical stuff and some essays that broke down in summary what Marvel did. We deconstructed the panel.”

Kidd and Kochman took a similar process in creating SPIDER-MAN: PANEL-BY-PANEL. The team was able to use fifteen pages of original art that donated to the Library of Congress to drive the project forward.

SDCC22 Abrams ComicArts Fall 2022 catalog Spiderman Chip Kid
Comparison of original artwork for Spider-man vs. the print copy of the comic.

The final book on in the Fall 2022 catalog the panel discussed was Bendis’ PHENOMENA: THE GOLDEN CITY OF EYES. What drew Bendis to PHENOMENA was André Lima Araújo’s artwork, which Bendis called fun. Araújo approached Bendis with a bunch of artwork, not knowing what to do with it. Araújo and Bendis decided to cooperate and engage in some ambitious world-building.

“When you see artwork like this, you realize you have an obligation to write towards it, to write into it. I found my scripts to be more writing prompts than they were like scripts.”

The story follows Boldon and Spike, two travelers in an Earth taken over by phenomena. They meet up with Matilde, who Bendis described as a Robin Hood like character, and the three have a grand adventure that takes them across the European countryside to a place called the Golden City of Eyes, which is filled with dark forces.

The book was very personal to Bendis, having been based on their children and the feelings of putting them through this fantastical world. The book is available at the Abrams ComicArts booth (#1217) ahead of its September release date. THE GOLDEN CITY OF EYES is the first of a planned trilogy, with the second book due in 2023.

SDCC22 Abrams ComicArts Phenomenas Fall 2022 Catalog

That wrapped Abrams run-down of its Fall 2022 catalog. Samplers describing each of the books are available at the publisher’s booth in the exhibit hall.


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