Nobrow, the most art- and design-obsessed of the new generation of U.K. graphic novel publishers, has started a new kids' books imprint, Flying Eye Books, and its first crop of releases are as typically gorgeous as the parent company's output. Nobrow favorite Ben Newman and animator Jambonbon have created an exceedingly cute animation to celebrate the new endeavor:
The first book to be released is Welcome to your Awesome Robot by Viviane Schwarz. Anyone who regularly brings their children to the library should be familiar with Schwarz's earlier picture books, which always revealed a subtle influence from comics upon her story-telling. This book is more overtly comic book, but with a post-modern, multimedia approach: The book is also a manifesto-cum-manual for all those kids that prefer the empty box to the toy that arrived inside it, or that the huge expanse of cardboard the new flat-pack furniture came in is really a fort. In Schwarz's own words:
"I am very proud of it indeed. It's a comic, it's a craft book, it's the manual you've always wanted - the one that helps you to upgrade that big old cardboard box no-one appreciates you running around in. And once you've upgraded it, EVERYONE WILL SEE HOW AWESOME IT IS. Yes, it's a Robot Manual."
Flying Eye already have two more titles near publication, Akissi by Marguerite Abouet and Mathieu Sapin and Topsy Turvy World by Atak, and another two to follow quickly after. Nobrow managing director Sam Arthur promises there'll be plenty more to follow this year. As a jobbing librarian, I regularly get to see beautiful new children's books, and often think about the possibilities for cross-pollination between those two boom areas in publishing, the large format picture book and the graphic novel. Good to see a comics publisher also seeing that potential, and stepping so manfully into the breach.