Abrams ComicArts Highlights Its Fall 2022 Catalog

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The Abrams ComicArts publishing panel offered a peak during its upcoming Fall 2022 catalog while briefly honoring Eisner-nominated titles that were overlooked while Comic Con was on a pandemic-induced hiatus. Managing Editor Charles Kochman was joined on stage by panelists Charlotte Greenbaum (Senior Director of Abram ComicArts), Brian Fries (mom’s cancer, story of fire), Brian Michael Bendis (Miles Morales, Jessica Jones) and Chip Kidd (Eisner Award-winning author and Hall of Fame editor) to discuss their upcoming books.

In adult graphic novels, Kochman has addressed Money: treasures and thieves (Stephane Franck), Fantastic Four: Full Circle (Alex Ross) and the paperback version of Save it for later (Nate Powell). The pocket version of Save it for later includes a bonus essay that contextualizes events since 2020.

Greenbaum covered Megascope and Surely Books, two new imprints that emerged during the pandemic. Organized by John Jennings (Kinship, parable of the sower), Megascope came out Through 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 Guardian by husband-wife duo Steven Barnes and Antananarivo Due and Queen (Elizabeth Colomba, Aurelie Levy).

Surely released books M is for monster (Talia Dalton) and Thrown out of space (Grace Ellis, Hannah Templar) in 2022. The Mariko Tamaki-organized footprint has Mimosa (Archie Bongiovanni) and Back home (Kaitlin Chan) launching in the fall of 2022.

SDCC22 Abrams ComicArts Safe Books

Fies then talked about THE LAST MECHANICAL MONSTER, a book that originated as a serialized comic and earned Eisner Award nominations for Best Digital Comic in 2014 and 2015. LAST MECHANICAL MONSTER asks what would happen when an evil invader, who tried to take over a city with an army of giant robots, is paroled 60 years later and thrust into the 21st century in the midst of a radically changed world? According to Fies, the heart of the story tries to answer what is the purpose of life and what do we need to survive.

SDCC22 Abrams ComicArts Fall 2022 Catalog Fies Cover

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

Inside pages of Brian Fies’ LAST MECHANICAL ROBOT.

Fies reflected on the nature of the book in relation to the more serious subject of mom’s cancer and story of fire:

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

Kidd then talked about FANTASTIC FOUR: PANEL-BY-PANEL. He and Kochman wanted to honor the sixtieth anniversary of The Fantastic Four. Kidd admired Walter Mosley’s concept of taking the first issue of a comic book and breaking it down panel by panel so that each panel was paginated. So Kidd and his team started the project using computer scans of the original 1961 comic, but the scans destroyed the images and colors. Kidd and Kochman finally found a collector willing to lend them a copy of Fantastic Four #1. But then the original comic book layouts presented another dilemma.

Kidd described the process:

“It was kind of a riddle to solve because it’s not like [Jack] Kirby added these little squares that would match the size of our page. The proportions were everywhere. And I didn’t want there to be any white space. In the original there is a blank space which I believe stopped the action. What we did to figure it out was to use the ads as my failsafe, like a certain page that breaks on the left instead of the right, where I put an ad detail. We’ve included historical material and essays that summarize what Marvel has been up to. We deconstructed the panel.

Kidd then talked about FANTASTIC FOUR: PANEL-BY-PANEL. He and Kochman wanted to honor the sixtieth anniversary of The Fantastic Four. Kidd admired Walter Mosley’s concept of taking the first issue of a comic book and breaking it down panel by panel so that each panel was paginated. So Kidd and his team started the project using computer scans of the original 1961 comic, but the scans destroyed the images and colors. Kidd and Kochman finally found a collector willing to lend them a copy of Fantastic Four #1. But then the original comic book layouts presented another dilemma.

Kidd described the process:

“It was kind of a riddle to solve because it’s not like [Jack] Kirby added these little squares that would match the size of our page. The proportions were everywhere. And I didn’t want there to be any white space. In the original there is a white space which I thought stopped the action. What we did to figure it out was to use the ads as my failsafe, like a certain page that breaks on the left instead of the right, where I put an ad detail. We’ve included historical material and essays that summarize what Marvel has been up to. We deconstructed the panel.

Kidd and Kochman adopted a similar process to create SPIDER-MAN: PANEL-BY-PANEL. The team was able to use fifteen pages of original artwork that was donated to the Library of Congress to move the project forward.

SDCC22 Abrams ComicArts Fall 2022 Spiderman Chip Kid catalog
Comparison of the original Spider-man artwork versus the printed copy of the comic book.

The final book on the Fall 2022 catalog that the panel discussed was Bendis’ PHENOMENA: THE GOLDEN CITY OF THE EYES. What drew Bendis to PHENOMENA was the work of André Lima Araújo, which Bendis described as amusing. Araújo approached Bendis with a bunch of artwork, not knowing what to do with it. Araújo and Bendis have decided to collaborate and commit to an ambitious global construction.

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

The story follows Boldon and Spike, two travelers to an Earth overrun by phenomena. They meet Matilde, who Bendis described as a Robin Hood-like character, and the three have a grand adventure that takes them through 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 taking them through this fantasy 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 out in 2023.

SDCC22 Abrams ComicArts Phenomenas Catalog Fall 2022

This wrapped up Abrams’ recap of its fall 2022 catalog. Samples describing each of the books are available at the publisher’s booth in the exhibit hall.


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Robert M. Larson