566 Frames is out. Dennis Wojda's wonderful story of his family through the years is now available and it's been a frantic week since it arrived.
I don't do things by halves. My planning (or lack of it) meant that Dennis's book was arriving just as I was putting the finishing touches to Zombre's InDesign document and sending it off to Stevenage for job #2.
Honestly, you would think that only bringing these two books out so far in 2013 would have been something of a stroll in the park, but no, I had to ensure that it happened at the same time, putting extra pressure on the team behind the zombie anthology. It did, however, make for some really exciting news releases - the kind that made us a proper publisher and not just someone saying we were going to be.
I met up with Will Vigar on an industrial estate on the south side of Northampton last Monday. he was on his way back from The Lakes Convention in Kendal, I was trying to stay awake after about 2 hours sleep the night before - up till 3am doing Zombre tweaks and then struggling to sleep at all because of the pallet of books scheduled to arrive at 10am. By the time I met Will, I had copies of 566 Frames in my possession and while the paper is slightly different from the Polish edition, just holding it had a calming effect.
Linus may have had his security blanket, but if the paying customers of Costa Coffee had paid any attention to Will and I hugging this handy sized blue graphic novel they probably would have thought we were a bit weird...
Obviously there's a Polish connection with 566 Frames, but the strange thing is Dennis was born in Stockholm, Sweden and if you read the book you will discover that and many other things. Now I mention this because a few months ago when we were discussing publishing the book, one of my 'associates' (not Will because I know he'll panic thinking you'll be thinking it was him) said, "Do you really want to be labelled the bloke who publishes Polish books?" I should quantify this by telling you that we were looking at another potential Polish graphic novel to publish at the time.
The Sweden connection with Dennis's book is obvious; the fact that we've just signed up The Hunger House, a Swedish haunted house story and I'm in discussion with Knut Larsson over his wonderful The City of Crocodiles suggests to me that perhaps I'm likely to get labelled 'that bloke who publishes Scandinavian stuff...' I wouldn't mind any label as long as it symbolises quality comics stories.
Some wag suggested Ben Dickson and Gavin Mitchell's Santa Claus versus the Nazis with its Lapland setting also fits into the Scandinavian theme, but, you know, that's stretching things a bit thin.
Things you should be looking at - this: http://youtu.be/Us0azjg3V1M
Obviously Dennis and I go back a few years, him having helped on Borderline and finding me lots of European talent to shine a light on. He's done that with our Swedish books and if you like them, it's his fault and if you like them (when they come out, obviously) and you've not been tempted by 566 Frames then shame on you; someone who has such good taste in comics is obviously a talented guy.
Dennis also makes me laugh (and English is only his 3rd or 4th language). A few weeks ago he sent me a genuinely lovely email that made me smile - "You need to employ some people to do all the jobs you forget," was essentially the gist of it. I like to think of Borderline Press being this fantastic publishing house, but the reality is it does operate out of my house and we do have a limited budget, which is really geared towards bringing out as many high quality books as we can; installing some faith and desire in punters and shops, who will buy the books, paying us and our creators and allowing us to produce more fantastic books. It's a simple idea, lets hope it's an effective one.
The irony is that I procrastinate. Instead of dealing with some things as and when they happen as the diagram of 'Getting Things Done' above my head tells me to do everyday, I put them off until there's so many that the only way to deal is to sit somewhere nice and quiet and work it out between us. My emails are a perfect example - there's about 566 to get through. So I'm going to stop this frivolity and go and do something more useful, instead...