Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Milk Shadow Books - James Andre Interview

I'll be posting some catch up interviews over the next weeks that were conducted via email and in person over the last several months.

The following interview was conducted via email in February 2012 in anticipation of the Big Arse 2 launch which included several titles from Milk Shadow Books. I've known James Andre for a few years from contributing to his anthology Yuck and following his progress self-publishing his own writing to becoming a significant independent comics publisher in the Melbourne scene. James's tastes in comics and writing are reflected in the output of Milk Shadow Books with an emphasis on matter of a dark nature, perversity, black humour and adult themes.

 James Andre

What was the impetus to start publishing other people's work through Milk Shadow Books?

When issue 5 and 6 of Yuck! were about to come out I thought we should take on some more titles as we were already distributing comics and zines anyway. Then I recalled Ben Hutchings saying how he almost had You Stink 10 ready, so we got into contact with him. Walking to Japan was the first creator owned work we published though. That went quite well, so we took things from there.

 No Map, But Not Lost - Bobby N (2012)

Have you experienced any start up difficulties as a publisher?

Apart from the usual time and cash flow stuff, nothing major. More just little details that turn into larger issues. And needing to keep track of several projects in various stages. Having to make sure certain pages/changes to one book are completed, whilst remembering edits on another one, that a cover is being done on another, and then making sure the printers are working on another. But all of the artists have been great, and some other local comic folks such as Brendan Halyday, Luke Pickett, and Jason Franks have provided much needed creative and technical support along the way too.

Where will your new books be available from after the Big Arse 2 launch?

They'll be on the website – www.milkshadowbooks.com. Comic shops such as All Star Comics, Minotaur, Pulp Fiction Comics, Impact Comics and The Beguiling. The trade paperbacks and graphic novels will also be available on Amazon, and through the Ingram catalogue for bookshops. If anybody wants them stocked in their local book or comic shop, they can bug them to place an order.

 You Stink and I Don't #10 - Ben Hutchings (2012)

Melbourne has seen a few publishers specialising in comics established in recent years, where do you see Milk Shadow's place in the scene?

I guess we focus mainly on surreal black comedy stuff. A lot of the work involves parodies and examinations of media, religion, sex, death and modern life. The feel of the material seems to have sprung out of the Yuck! Anthology series. We don't really have a huge interest in superhero or genre material, but would still have a look if it was submitted. Milk Shadow Books publishes art that can take the piss out of society, work that make people laugh and/or think. Or just gross them out.

It Shines and Shakes and Laughs - Tim Molloy (2012)

Bobby N, Bruce Mutard's and Tim Molloy's books are retrospective collections, will you be producing similar collections of other creators?

We'd like to, and we've got some more plans floating about at the moment. There's the possibility of a couple more small colour art books too, similar to the Sweat Soda book that featured David DeGrand's art. But yeah, we'd love to do more collections if the right artist approached us, or we spotted them first.

What do you have planned for the future?

In terms of graphic novels, we've got Bruce Mutard's Alice in Nomansland lined up. It's a very strange, yet literate, adult fantasy trip that's been in Bruce's cupboard for ten years, and it's unlike anything he's previously published. There's also a new collection from Tim Molloy, but more on that as it develops. Plus some more indie projects in the works from artists from Melbourne, Sydney, Brazil and Brisbane. Expanding out into action figures, art exhibitions and animated series would be nice one day too. That's the dream anyway.

All images copyright 2012 respective authors, James Andre photo copyright 2012 M.Emery