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Friday, December 01, 2006

Publishers Weekly on Kyle's Move to Image

Kyle Baker Joins Image Comics

This story originally appeared in PW Comics Week on November 28, 2006 Sign up now!

by Calvin Reid, PW Comics Week -- 11/28/2006

After two years of self-publishing his own works, Kyle Baker, the much acclaimed Eisner –award–winning humor cartoonist, announced plans to join the Berkeley, Calif., independent comics publisher Image Comics. Beginning in February, Image will publish Nat Turner Book 2: Revolution, the second volume of Baker's ongoing series about the legendary American slave who organized a violent slave rebellion in the antebellum South.

Image Comics executive director Eric Stephenson described Baker as "one of the most talented creators in the field. His work is at turns powerful, at others funny, but always masterfully executed. We couldn't be prouder than to welcome him to the Image Comics family." In addition to a new trade paper volume of Nat Turner , Image will also publish four original Baker paperback titles. The books include Important Literary Journal ,Special Forces ,Laika and The Bakers: Babies & Kittens . Baker says he's also planning a book on his animation work (with a DVD included) as well as toys and sculptures based on his Bakers characters.

Important Literary Journal is a parody of high-art comics and Baker joked that the book will include "the meaning of life," essays, stories and gag cartoons as well as an instructional on "how to draw stupid." Special Forces is the story of a small town autistic teen ushered into the army by overly aggressive military recruiters and sent off to Iran. "Think C atch-22 meets Being There ," says Baker. Laika is an update on the first dog launched into space in 1957 by the Russians. Fifty years later, Sputnik returns to Earth with a rocket-lagged Laika, and the little dog has developed super powers. Baker says the book tells how "a little American girl saves the planet from alien monsters with the help of a superpowered Russian dog." Last but not least, there is a new installment of Baker's popular series, The Bakers , loosely based on his on household. Mom and the kids want a cat, but Dad's allergic and, naturally, hijinks ensue. Baker told PWCW the new Bakers book will "blow the needle off the cute-meter! You can't make this crap up. I live like this."

After four years self-publishing, Baker said he's just too busy making books to continue publishing them himself. "I didn't know how much work it was to be a publisher," said Baker. "But it helped to see the workings of publishing. I figured out all the things that my old publishers weren't doing." Baker said he still loved "selling the books and meeting fans at conventions," but said he was happy to turn over certain chores, like fulfillment, to Image. "I don't like filling orders. After I'd get that first big order, I'd drive to the post office with 1,000 books and three baby seats in the car. After that, I spent too much time chasing down $6 orders."

Kyle Baker Publishing released four books: The Bakers , the first volume of Nat Turner and two volumes of Cartoonist . While he's happy to be with a small independent house like Image, Baker said he began self-publishing because he was tired of having "bone-headed conversations with the publisher about my drawing." He also complained about the difficulty getting big publishers to work on unconventional marketing or promotional tactics. "The stuff I do has built-in markets," said Baker, pointing to books like his religiously oriented King David as well as family fare like The Bakers . "Sometimes, with big publishers, you can't even get a box of your own books."


Tony Fisher said...

Congrats! I've been a big fan of Kyle Baker for years (since Break The Chain anyway), and can't wait to see what you do over at Image!

Does that mean that we can't order books on your site anymore?

Kyle Baker said...

Hi Tony,

You can still order autographed books at www.kylebaker.com.

Thank you!