Sunday, January 14, 2007


New Statesman

Great new article by Amil Khan on AK in this week's 'New Statesman' - the UK's leading political and cultural weekly.

You can catch up with it here:

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Jessica Blandy

Jessica is one of my favourite of the new wave of French BD graphic novel series, started in 1987 by Belgian creators Renaud and Dufaux. She is published by Dupuis, one of the two biggest French-Belgian comic book empires.

Jessica is a novelist/journalist/adventurer who travels the length and breadth of the US moving through a demi-monde of gangsters, pimps, alien artefacts and the supernatural. The writing is sharp and clear and there is a gallic ennui about her life, her courage and bravery stemming from a tragic past.

There are already 24 episodes of Jessica - sold throughout France, Belgium and Quebec - and an English-language can't be far behind now that Dupuis has started translating its work in bulk and selling it through the Humanoids imprint in the US.

You can find out more and order copies of Jessica here:

And Jessica has her own fan page here:

You can see more of the artist Jean Dufaux here:

and the writer Renaud Denauuw here:

Saturday, December 23, 2006


New Team for AK

AK Comics has appointed a new team of superstars to guide the company through its first wave of graphic novels in the spring and to build on the excellent work of the monthly squad.

So stand up and applaud:

Kathy Yom - Director of Business Affairs
Tanious Matta - Creative Director
Colin Barton - Creative Development
Lydie Lyons - Administration Overlord

Kathy is just beginning to make her way in the business and was recently involved in the Disney animated movie, 'Home on the Range'.

Meanwhile, 29-year-old Savannah college graduate, Tanious Matta has been linked to AK for a couple of years having worked on the excellent Rakan adventure - the Sword of Majido.

Graphic novels are clearly the best way forward for AK and it looks like the right team has been chosen to make this a reality in 2007.

Good luck guys!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


German Comic Books

It's tough being a German comic book writer!

For one thing, the market has been traditionally very small - only 4% of all printed matter in Germany is in comic book form. On top of this, 70% of this miniscule market share is dominated by Japanese manga and nearly all the rest by American reprints of Spiderman or by the iconoclastic Dutch series, 'Storm'.

But there have been some great successes - I remember reading an excellent graphic novel a few years ago called 'Vampire' for example.

Looking on the bright side, however, it does mean that there are great opportunities for developing the market and increasing market share. Carlsen comics are doing great work in this area. You can find out more here:

I think you'll agree reading through this list that there is some fascinating stuff here - some very mature reading. I've ordered a batch and will be reporting back to you on it soon.

In particular, I've heard good things about Isabel Kreitz and her book, 'The Discovery of the Curried Sausage'. I'm particularly looking forward to that as I am a great fan of the curried sausage and I've often eaten them on my visits to Hamburg - the culinary capital of the north in my opinion.

Another that comes with rave reviews is Nam and Tram Nguyen's 'Delilah' a translation from the Daisuko studios. This Vietnamese written manga is said to have a delicate touch which still manages to be funny and bittersweet at the same time in the best Asian tradition.

Oh - and they also have a character called Aya!!

This Aya is a 19-year-old who lives in Africa in the late 1970s and faces a whole series of teenage-angst problems with her friends and family. It's another bittersweet French-written romantic comedy which premiered at the Angouleme festival last year. How does the Carlsen Aya compare to AK's Aya? - why not buy both and decide for yourself !!!

You can read more about Carlsen's Aya here:

Monday, November 20, 2006


AK Comics - Graphic Novels!

At last, AK Comics have taken the very positive decision of shifting to graphic novel format. There are several problems with producing the characters in monthly comic book form:

Firstly, communications and distribution become strained when the artists are in Brazil, production is in Egypt and distribution is throughout the Middle East, North Africa, the USA and Europe - you try juggling with six balls and you'll get the message.

Secondly, the comic book market is so, so crowded. It is - as we know - essentially a duopoly so this is where most people spend their money. But then, we have a whole gaggle of smaller publishers fighting for the final few pence. There's no way that the consumer has the time or energy to explore this fully - to separate the quality stuff from the dross.

Thirdly, there's the declining distribution outlet - fewer and fewer comic book stores, offering less and less space to comic books - and who are only able to operate on a paid-order basis - thereby ensuring they won't take any risks.

Finally, there's the extremely short shelf-life - one month to sell all your product or die in the attempt - and then you have to do it all over again the next month!

The graphic novel format on the other hand offers a shelf-life of up to TEN YEARS for a book. Also, there are many more outlets - bookshops, airports and so on. The profit margins are higher, people will look for back titles of characters they enjoyed, deadlines are less crucial. This is why the Japanese keep all the issues of their titles on sale all the time - and even the Italians are moving in that direction - what possible reason could you have for taking a title off th shelf after a month - isn't that crazy?

And then of course, with over 100 pages, you can develop richer plots, characterisation, artwork and so on - you end up with a much better product all round.

So this is the start of a new era for AK Comics - the first graphic novels should start appearing in the spring of 2007. I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Download AK

You can now download AK Comics to your desktop at a 33% discount - what could be a better bargain than that?

This innovative new approach to comic book sales is available from Drive-Thru Comics, one of the leaders in this new field. You can find them here:

Happy Reading Guys!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006



There's an excellent Bloomberg business article on AK Comics here:

It raises an interesting question that the AK staff are struggling with at the moment:

On the one hand, the aim of AK Comics is to show that the Middle East can accommodate modern, US-style superheroes as part of its cultural mix and as positive role models for its children.

On the other hand, if they are simply clones of American superheroes, why not just buy Spiderman instead? How can AK appeal to a western audience if the heroes lack any Middle Eastern identifiers?

It's a difficult puzzle and I would personally welcome your comments on it. Perhaps the solution would be to have two different strains of MEH - one published for the Middle East and leaning towards western imagery; and one published for the west and leaning towards Middle Eastern imagery?

It's just a thought

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