If you've ever met Papercutz Editor-in-Chief Jim Salicrup, you'll know that his fandom of Neil Gaiman's work is probably only matched by his Smurfiness. Long ago in a galaxy far away, we got chatting about Mr. Gaiman's work and he asked me if I had any of Gaiman's Tekno Comics he could revisit. I did.
Today, Papercutz announces that their Super Genius line will be re-publishing Gaiman's Lady Justice, Mr. Hero, and Teknophage, kicking off in Spring of 2015 with the first volume of Lady Justice.
These three lines of comics were originally created by Neil Gaiman in the sense that he drafted their character concepts and "series bibles" in the mid 1990's for Tekno Comics and major writers and artists then took up the mantle to make the ongoing series their own. C.J. Henderson, James Vance, Paul Jenkins, Rick Veitch, Mike Netzer, Steve Lieber, Fred Harper, Bryan Talbot, Dan Brereton, Angus McKie and Bill Sienkiwiecz all worked in these storyworlds, but the long hiatus in the availability of these comics has left a gap in our appreciation of Gaiman's work, as well as these esteemed creators. My personal collection came from diving through forgotten long boxes in the back of a bric a brac shop in a town that had barely heard of comics and I could only feel as a comics scholar that I'd retrieved comics history gold.
Papercutz VP of Marketing Sven Larsen agrees, saying:
With trade paperback collections not enjoying the same popularity when these titles were originally published (and digital editions barely extant) the only way to read these stories has been by seeking out the original back issues.
But much of Neil's audience isn't even aware of the existence of these titles. By collecting them in to trade paperback and hardcover editions we hope to not only appeal to the hardcore Gaiman completists but also the huge 'civilian' audience for Neil's comics work and mass market fiction. For most of them, it will be like discovering buried treasure, giving them a whole new branch of Neil's work to explore.
Papercutz and NBM Publisher Terry Nantier understands the publishing context of these important works and brings us the background of collaborative projects in the 90's:
While creators developing concepts for other artists to execute is a fairly common practice now, it was much rarer in the mid-90s, when these books first appeared.
It's a testament to Neil's gifts as a storyteller that he created not just one but several concepts for Tekno Comix, the original publisher of this material. And the talented roster of creators who worked on these series also speaks to the strength of these creations.
And as for Jim Salicrup's fandom, previously established, he adds:
I've been a fan of Neil's work for years, and I'm excited to not only give these stories the exposure they deserve but to also collect them in a more permanent format.
We'll be beginning with LADY JUSTICE and our plan is to have all of Neil's Tekno Comix work collected in new editions. We'll also be including some new material that provides context on these stories. After all, they're not just good reads, they're an important part of the work of a modern master of storytelling.
My comic scholar's ears catch that last bit–possible plans to include meta material in these collections to add to our understanding of the process and creation of these comics, which is just the kind of creative limelight they deserve.
Could Papercutz and Super Genius have made a bigger announcement at SDCC 2014? It's hard to imagine something more enticing than the return of these books. Make sure to visit their booth at SDCC (#2546) to ask them all about it.