Drawn & Quarterly is home to a number of talented artists and cartoonists whose specialty may or may not be in the medium of the literary graphic novel. The company publishes the works of Julie Morstad, Guy Delisle, Vanessa Davis, and countless other talents. And while the e-publishing revolution seems the perfect for copyright holders of comics with a diverse or patently international appeal, the concept has been less matter-of-fact for graphic works of a more specialized interest. In other words, because Drawn & Quarterly doesn't publish clutter, their long-gestating entry into the world of e-books is an amusing and understandable one. Peggy Burns, Associate Publisher, Drawn & Quarterly, recently commented to Publisher's Weekly that the company's approach was, in the end, "cautious" in nature.
In a non-exclusive agreement, the Kobo Vox has since made two titles -- Chester Brown's Paying for It (2011) and Luis Riel: A Comic Strip Biography (2011) -- available to inquisitive readers. Per Drawn & Quarterly, more e-reader agreements are percolating for the 2012-year, with Kobo as well as other companies (currently unnamed), which will ensure an increasing swath of the publishers titles are available on the digital end.
For all the consternation for detail of Drawn & Quarterly's new business model, one mustn't forget how the artists fare in these types of agreements. According to the publisher, the Kobo Vox deal includes a 50:50 split of all net revenue obtained from e-book sales. One can only hope that future e-platform deals, with other e-reader devices/services, will be just as forthright.
Until then, the deal with Kobo, Inc. remains the first, trusted partnership.
The two debut titles for the Vox include a pair of Chester Brown's most recent efforts, one controversial, the other edifying, both fascinating. Brown is known for libertarian views of the local (Canadian) political landscape, and further partnering his observations and experiences with exquisite line art and an unperturbed, honest narrative voice.
Paying for It, for example, is an emotionless account of Brown's journey into the subterranean morality of paid sex workers. Feeling betrayed by romance-proper, Brown finds respite through the panicky and confusing, though forcefully anonymous world of paid sex. The book's politicized take on sex as commodity will assuredly rile the conservative inclinations of those less fond of such subjects, but Brown's documented participation makes for an intriguing account to say the least.
Luis Riel is the fictionalized biography of a late-19th century revolutionary whose ethos lead him to argue for the rights of the metis (mixed native/white ancestry), combating the imperialism of a young Canadian government. Riel's story is complicated and spans decades, involving all sorts of conflicts of capitalism, racism, religious fanaticism, and so much more.
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