Tillie Walden will be the next cartoonist laureate for Vermont. Announce by the Vermont Arts Council, she will officially take on that role April 13 at a ceremony at the Vermont Statehouse.
Walden is the author and artist behind such comics and graphic novels like Spinning, which she won an Eisner, the Walking Dead spinoff series Clementine, On a Sunbeam, My Parents Won’t Stop Talking, Are You Listening?, and the upcoming Junior High which is written by the pop duo of Tegan and Sara.
Walden will the the fifth person to be appointed cartoonist laureate for Vermont. Vermont is the only state that regularly appoints a cartoonist laureate, a term that lasts three years. James Kolchalka, Ed Koren, Alison Bechdel, and Rick Veitch were teh first four to be appointed to the position.
In the announce, US Representative Becca Balint said:
I’m so pleased Tillie Walden will serve as Vermont’s next cartoonist laureate. She creates richly imagined worlds that transport readers on emotional and fantastical journeys and reminds us all of the importance of having a deep sense of self. Congratulations for this special accomplishment, and thank you for being part of a unique tradition that sets Vermont apart.
Launched in 2012, Avery Hill has become known for publishing some amazing graphic novels and finding talent before they break big. Tillie Walden and Zoe Thorogood are just two of the names you’ll have found published by them.
Coming off of celebrating 10 years in publishing we got a chance to chat with one of the founders and copublisher Ricky Miller looking at the past ten years and looking forward to what 2023 brings!
Graphic Policy: First, I want to say congrats on ten years. How does it feel to make it to a decade in the comic industry?
Ricky Miller: Unexpected!
When we started the company, we thought we’d be doing it for a couple of years at most. So to reach ten years is pretty mind-blowing.
The longevity can be put down to some of the amazing authors we’ve met along the way who have made us want to keep things going. Discovering Tillie Walden was a big factor, and then other fantastic creators like Charlot Kristensen, Zoe Thorogood, and George Wylesol helped us keep up that momentum. Additionally, seeing our other authors, like Tim Bird, Katriona Chapman, B. Mure, and Owen Pomery develop into outstanding graphic novelists gives us so much energy and excitement.
We’ve also had the opportunity to travel around, go to some brilliant comics shows in various countries and meet people, see cities, and have experiences that we probably would never have had if not for comics! Really, it’s been life changing.
Also you saying “in the comics industry” made my heart do a little flutter there, as I don’t often think about us being in the comics industry. But I guess we are, and the me in my early teens would have very much been amazed at that.
GP: Before we get to the future, I want to focus a bit on the recent past. The comic industry is absolutely in an interesting space with so much shifting, how has Avery Hill fared during everything that’s been going on?
RM: Yes there we are definitely living in “interesting times!”
Some of the things going on have impacted the UK, and some haven’t. Obviously, the pandemic affected everybody, and while it was going on we were quite successful in pivoting our focus to sales through our online store while sales from online retailers also remained strong. In fact, 2020 was one of our best ever years in terms of sales. However, there was definitely a fall-off the following year and it was a massive shame not to be able to give proper launches to the books that came out during that time.
Some of the digital developments, such as the growth of Webtoon and Tapas, haven’t really featured on our radar as yet. Any digital sales we have are a very small part of our overall sales and I’ve yet to be convinced that the adult GN market has much of a future digitally, at least not until there’s a really good reader that can handle things like double page spreads nicely!
I think the thing we’re most waiting to see the effect of is some of the antipathy towards the traditional social media platforms impacting our sales. There was a time when we would find new creators through Twitter (such as Tillie Walden and Zoe Thorogood), but I think that is getting increasingly hard due to the amount of noise on that platform making it almost impossible to spot anything new or worthwhile. Sales through our online store that we used to be able to directly attribute to social media posts have definitely been decreasing as well.
GP: What challenges have you felt as a publisher?
RM: There are lots of logistical issues, especially around how long international shipping takes and the associated costs. We have UK and US distribution, so getting the books out to the US in time for launch dates has definitely been a problem. Issues with EU VAT have meant selling and shipping books into the EU has become a lot harder.
And then there are print costs going through the roof and the retail sector figuring out new/altered models of business. . . .
GP: You had some interesting tweets lately about an initiative for “adult graphic novels” that’s similar to the push for the middle-grade market that’s caused massive growth there. With some “adult” graphic novels that are really well-known in the mainstream, why do you think one has succeeded with such growth and the other hasn’t?
RM: A lot of the issue with adult graphic novels gets blamed on superheroes, and on the fact that grown-ups can be put off because of the broader reputation of comics being just that single genre.
However, I think the kind of adult market we should be aiming for, the kind of adult that regularly reads novels and non-fiction, are well aware that GNs aren’t just for kids. They may even have read Persepolis or Fun Home. But they just have never moved on to read them regularly.
A lot of that is not knowing what else they should be reading. The information sources they have, the non-comics focused media, only tends to latch onto one (or fewer) GN per year and then loses interest. Mostly that GN will be non-fiction and have a topical or relatable angle that can be written about.
These people don’t have friends who regularly read comics, and they‘ve never been in a comics store. Their local bookshop might have stocked a couple of GNs due to being talked into it by a sales rep (possibly something random or boring), but the owner has probably never read them and definitely isn’t actively pushing them. No one is visibly reading them on their commute. So they don’t know what to buy, and they don’t know where to buy it. And worse, they don’t even know that they’re missing anything.
Most of the graphic novel publishers who are putting out adult graphic novels are small indie publishers (as is Avery Hill), so we don’t necessarily have the resources of ‘the big 5’. But I think it’s essential for all of us to think about expanding the market and gaining new readers as we publish every book – raising the profile of adult graphic novels so those booksellers and readers have comics in the front of their minds!
GP: What do you see as being behind the growth of the middle-grade graphic novel market?
RM: The middle-grade market was created in the US by Scholastic and First Second, essentially getting to the kids through schools and libraries. Money and time was spent educating them and publishing great books and authors (like Bone, Raina Telgemeier, Dav Pilkey).
These books are widely available in the UK, but kids of the same age over here aren’t reading them as voraciously because there hasn’t ever been the same sort of initiative targeted towards them by a publisher. Manga sells here, because manga is, firstly, AMAZING, and secondly, there are tons of ways for young people to be introduced to manga titles.
GP: You’re a publisher that has a talent for finding aspiring creators who haven’t broken out yet. How does it feel being able to recognize and find that talent and any secrets to being so good at it?
RM: I’m sure that most people who had seen work by the likes of Tillie Walden and Zoe Thorogood before they were published knew they were looking at good work, we’re not particularly alone in that!
What we’re also looking for is something a little different about the authors we work with, some kind of sensibility or sense of humor or something that makes you stop and think – something that makes them unique. With Tillie, it was her ability to just shine emotion out of every drawing she did, to make you feel something. For Zoe, it was all about attitude and little details in her work that made me feel like there was a great intelligence in what she was doing, that every detail had been thought of – if not consciously, then at least subconsciously, like her mind had been living this stuff for years.
With both of those two, it pretty much just took one drawing for me to make my mind up about them. Then the real trick is in deciding if authors are ready to make a book and being able to help them do that.
Making one piece of art is much different from making a book. We have extensive conversations with authors about the process and time-commitment of making comics before we sign a contract with them, and then work to help them as much as possible throughout the process. We also publish a number of ‘novella-length’ graphic novels – not only are they a satisfying way to read, that means we don’t need to ask first-time authors to make 200 – 300 page books!
GP: Talk to us about what’s coming in 2023. What can readers and fans look forward to? What are you excited to get out there?
RM: We’ve got some exciting titles in store for 2023, with genres ranging from horror to literary to science fiction – some from new authors, and some from returning Avery Hill favorites.
Pet Peeves by Nicole Goux is a horror story about being in your twenties and wanting to be a musician but owning a soul sucking alien dog instead. We’ve been following Nicole’s work for years since we came across it at a couple of comics shows, and we’re very excited to be putting out her first full-length comic that she’s written and drawn.
Then there’s Ellice Weaver’s new book, Big Ugly, which is about sibling rivalry/co-dependency that stretches deep into adulthood. As anyone who has read her first book, Something City, would know, Ellice combines an incredible gift for illustration and design, with a slightly odd worldview that makes everything she does beautiful and just a little strange. No one else could or would have written this book like this, and we find that massively exciting.
Our third book is an adaptation of Macbeth by K. Briggs. We’ve never done any kind of adaptation before and didn’t know we wanted to until Briggs sent us this. It’s the full text rendered in Briggs’ stained-glass window/collage art style, and it’s a wonder.
Then we have a sci-fi book by Owen Pomery calledThe Hard Switch. If you enjoyed Owen’s book Victory Point, which is gentle, thoughtful and lovely, then this is like that . . . but with guns and spaceships!
GP: How long have these graphic novels been in the works?
RM: We tend to know what we’re putting out a couple of years in advance. With these graphic novels, we’ve been involved at different points in the process for each one. Nicole had already finished Pet Peeves when she came to us about it last year, whereas Owen only had a title and synopsis plus a couple of images when we started discussing The Hard Switch. Macbeth has been a long labor of love for Briggs, and Ellice has been trying to do another graphic novel for years, but has been swamped with illustration jobs.
GP: When putting together what to publish in a year, what type of thoughts go into it?
RM: Building a year-long publishing schedule is part creative, part logistics (that’s a HUGE part!), and part balancing all that against our personal lives and commitments.
Beyond that, we like to try to get a mix of different types of books and try to get a balance between new creators and creators we’ve worked with before. We also like to have one or two US creators in there when we find someone whose work we fall in love with.
Predominantly though, we definitely see ourselves as a UK publisher, with responsibility towards helping to nurture our local creators. Publishing opportunities for adult graphic novelists in the UK are few, and seem to always be getting fewer.
It always makes for an interesting list of authors and titles, and I’m excited for you to see everything that’s in store from Avery Hill in 2023!
GP: Thanks so much for chatting and looking forward to reading Avery Hill’s releases!
Skybound Comet has unveiled an extra-length first look at Clementine Book Two, continuing the trilogy set in the world of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead,from award-winning writer/artist Tillie Walden.
In Clementine Book Two, Clementine and her new friends are rescued by an island community led by an enigmatic doctor, Miss Morro, but just as Clementine’s scars are finally beginning to heal, she discovers dark secrets that threaten to tear her new life apart. Can Miss Morro be trusted? What about the rest of the islanders? And just how far will Clementine go to protect the ones she loves?
Clementine Book Two(Diamond Code APR228664, ISBN 978-1-5343-2519-7)will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, October 4, 2023 and everywhere books are sold, along with digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play on Tuesday, October 10, 2023.
Image Comics has announced that Nigerian brothers and New Masters co-creators Shobo Coker and Shof Coker, and Tillie Walden will keynote at the upcoming LibraryCon Livefree virtual event hosted by Library Journal and School Library Journal on November 17 from 10 AM-5 PM ET.
The event will also showcase a number of additional bestselling Image talent on a variety of panels.
PROGRAMMING FEATURING IMAGE COMICS TALENT: 10:30 – 11:00 AM ET | Opening Keynote
Shobo Coker & Shof Coker, New Masters (Image Comics)
Tillie Walden, Clementine: Book One (Image Comics/Skybound Comet)
Moderator: Dr. Grace Gipson, PhD, Assistant Professor of African American Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University
11 AM – 5 PM ET | Studio Spotlights Step inside artists’ studios as they discuss their work, from technique and medium to design and collaboration. Available on demand all day!
Claudia Aguirre, Sweet Valley Twins: Best Friends (Random House Children’s Books)
Maureen Burdock, Queen of Snails: A Graphic Memoir (Penn State University Press/Graphic Mundi)
Amanda Castillo, Mapmakers and the Lost Magic (Random House Children’s Books)
Asiah Fulmore, Family Time (Ablaze)
Carson Grubaugh, Strange Death of Alex Raymond (Living the Line)
John Gurney, Fuzzy Baseball, Vol. 5 (Mad Cave)
Matthew Holm, Big Adventures of Babymouse (Random House Children’s Books)
Ryan Lang, Issunboshi (Oni Press)
Sarah Sax, Picture Day (Random House Children’s Books)
Stephen Shaskan, Pizza & Taco series (Random House Children’s Books)
Chip Zdarsky, Public Domain (Image Comics), Stillwater (Image Comics/Skybound)
11:05 – 11:55 AM ET | Crime Scene Learn the latest on the crime scene from these panelists whose latest works run the gamut from murder mysteries to occult noir.
Jumata Emill, The Black Queen (Random House Children’s Books)
Jay Faerber, Elsewhere (Image Comics), Area 510 (Oni Press)
Marcos Martín & Ed Brubaker, Friday, Book Two: On A Cold Winter’s Night (Image Comics)
Andrew Wheeler, Sins of the Black Flamingo (Image Comics)
Moderator: Crystal Chen, Teen Center Coordinator, YA Services, NYPL
2:05 – 2:55 PM ET | Haunting Horror Experience thrills and chills as these panelists examine what inspires their writing and why tales of terror resonate.
Mark Bouchard, It Took Luke (Oni Press)
Nick Medina, Sisters of the Lost Nation (Penguin Random House)
Kyle Starks, I Hate This Place (Image Comics/Skybound)
Alec Worley, John Carpenter’s Night Terrors: The Coffin Road (Storm King)
Moderator: Becky Spratford, Readers’ Advisor
3:30 – 4:20 PM ET | Growing Into Your Power(s) Coming of age can be a perilous journey; these panelists, whose works are aimed at middle grade and teen readers, will discuss using elements of the fantastic to portray characters who still feel real.
Maiya Ibrahim, Spice Road series (Random House Children’s Books)
Tehlor Kay Mejia, Lucha of the Night Forest (Random House Children’s Books)
Maria Ingrande Mora, The Immeasurable Depth of You (Peachtree Teen)
Gabe Cole Novoa, The Wicked Bargain (Random House Children’s Books)
Skybound provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site
Skybound Comet has announced an impressive lineup of special guests joining award-winning writer/artist Tillie Walden on the Clementine Book One Book Tour at stops across America this summer. The tour will support the release of Walden’s newYoung Adult graphic novel that begins a trilogy set in the world of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead and will be available everywhere books are sold June 28, 2022. Clementine Book One also marks the official launch of Skybound Comet, a new original graphic novel imprint aimed at Young Adult (Ages 12+) and Middle Grade (Ages 8-12) audiences.
In celebration of the release of Walden’s highly anticipated graphic novel, the Clementine Book One Book Tour kicks off June 25 with special appearances at ALA Annual Conference in Washington D.C. and will continue with tour stops in major cities across America through July.
Tillie Walden’s in-person appearances will include book signings and at many stops, insightful conversations with Walden and a diverse roster of special guests that includes some of the most accomplished talent working in the worlds of books and comics today.
These guests include G. Willow Wilson (writer, co-creator of Ms. Marvel), Jeremy Holt (writer, Made in Korea), George Gustines (The New York Times), Robin Brenner (President, ALA GNCRT), Shannon Watters (writer, co-creator of Lumberjanes), Terry Blas (writer, Lifetime Passes and Who Was the Voice of the People) and Andréa Gilroy (owner, Books with Pictures – Eugene).
Full details of each appearance are listed below.
East Coast Book Tour
Saturday, June 25 & Sunday, June 26 – Washington, D.C. ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition Walter E. Washington Convention Center Appearing at Image Comics booth (#1332) and other activations including:
#OwnVoice Adventures in YA/Middle Grade Comics with Skybound Comet
Saturday, June 25 11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. ET
Featuring Tillie Walden, Mairghread Scott (writer, Sea Serpent’s Heir Book One), and Tri Vuong (co-writer & co-artist, Everyday Hero Machine Boy; writer & artist, LEGO Ninjago Vol. 1: Garmadon). Moderated by Candice Wing-yee Mack (Manager, Young Adult Services, LA Public Library).
Skybound Comet: Explore New YA & Middle Grade Graphic Novel Worlds
Sunday, June 26 1:30 – 2:20 p.m. ET
Featuring Tillie Walden, Mairghread Scott, Tri Vuong, and Alex Antone (Senior Editor, Skybound Entertainment). Moderated by Moni Barrette (President-Elect ALA GNCRT; co-founder, Creators! Assemble Inc).
Clementine Book One ALA Signing
Sunday, June 26 3:00 – 3:50 p.m. ET
Please visit the Image Comics booth (#1332) where Tillie Walden will be signing copies of Clementine Book One.
Saturday, July 30 – Virtual Event Dallas Public Library’s FanCentral 8:00 a.m. PT start time Author Chat with Special Guest Tillie Walden and Rudolph Rihner (Manager – Public Service, Dallas Public Library) More Event Information
Skybound Comet today announced theClementine Book One Book Tour, a nationwide tour this summer in support of the new Young Adult graphic novel from award-winning writer/artist Tillie Walden that begins a trilogy set in the world of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, available everywhere books are sold June 2022.
Clementine Book One marks the official launch of Skybound Comet, a new original graphic novel imprint aimed at Young Adult (Ages 12+) and Middle Grade (Ages 8-12) audiences, but sure to captivate readers of all ages.
In celebration of the release of Tillie Walden’s highly anticipated graphic novel, the Clementine Book One Book Tour will kick off in June 2022 with a special appearance at ALA Annual Conference in Washington D.C. at the Image Comics booth (#1332) and will continue with tour stops in major cities across America through July.
East Coast Book Tour
Saturday, June 25 & Sunday, June 26 – Washington, D.C. ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition Walter E. Washington Convention Center Appearing at Image Comics booth (#1332) and other activations
Sunday, June 26 – Washington, D.C. East City Bookshop 6:30 p.m. ET start time In Conversation with Tillie Walden + Book Signing
Monday, June 27 – New York, NY Strand Book Store 7:00 p.m. ET start time in the Rare Book Room In Conversation with Tillie Walden + Book Signing
Saturday, July 30 – Virtual Event Dallas Public Library’s FanCentral 8:00 a.m. PT start time Author Chat with Special Guest Tillie Walden
Saturday, July 30 – Seattle, WA Kinokuniya Seattle 2 p.m. PT start time In Conversation with Tillie Walden + Book Signing
It’s a new beginning for Clementine, the star of the bestselling THE WALKING DEAD video games, in Clementine Book One, as she’s back on the road, looking to put her traumatic past behind her and forge a new path all her own. But when she comes across an Amish teenager named Amos, the unlikely pair journeys north to an abandoned ski resort in Vermont, where they meet up with a small group of teenagers attempting to build a new, walker-free settlement. As friendship, rivalry, and romance begin to blossom amongst the group, the harsh winter soon reveals that the biggest threat to their survival…might be each other.
Clementine Book One (Diamond Code MAY218587, ISBN: 978-1-5343-2128-1) will be available at comic book shops and digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play on Wednesday, June 22 and everywhere books are sold on June 28.
Don’t miss Clementine #1, available on Free Comic Book Day May 7, 2022, featuring an all-new FCBD exclusive cover by Tillie Walden and extended previews of Skybound Comet OGNs Clementine Book One, Everyday Hero Machine Boy and Sea Serpent’s Heir Book One.
Roaring Brook Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site
Image Comics and Skybound have unveiled a poignant new look at Clementine Book One, the new Young Adult graphic novel from award-winning writer/artist Tillie Waldenthat begins a trilogy set in the world of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead.
This all-new original graphic novel marks the official launch of Skybound Comet, a new original graphic novel imprint aimed at Young Adult (Ages 12+) and Middle Grade (Ages 8-12) audiences, but sure to captivate readers of all ages.
It’s a new beginning for Clementine, the star of the bestselling The Walking Dead video games, in Clementine Book One, as she’s back on the road, looking to put her traumatic past behind her and forge a new path all her own. But when she comes across an Amish teenager named Amos, the unlikely pair journeys north to an abandoned ski resort in Vermont, where they meet up with a small group of teenagers attempting to build a new, walker-free settlement. As friendship, rivalry, and romance begin to blossom amongst the group, the harsh winter soon reveals that the biggest threat to their survival…might be each other.
Clementine Book One (Diamond Code MAY218587, ISBN: 978-1-5343-2128-1) will be available at comic book shops and digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play on Wednesday, June 22 and everywhere books are sold on Tuesday, June 28.