“Life Drawn Is All About Being Human” – A Q&A With Humanoids CEO Fabrice Giger

by Hannah Means Shannon

Humanoids announced not too long ago the expansion of their publications to include a new line of books called Life Drawn, exploring more “grounded” subject matter, and the list of books released alongside this announcement gave us an idea of what the publisher has in mind for both the short term and long term future of the line. Autobiographical approaches, incorporation of politics and history into narrative, and more, look to be on the horizon for Humanoids, building on their line of European-origin comics published worldwide. Humanoids will also be making its presence felt on Free Comic Book Day this Saturday, May 5th, with a special offering for readers.

Humanoids CEO Fabrice Giger was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about Life Drawn, the publisher’s plans, and what we’ll find in shops on Free Comic Book Day.

Hannah Means-Shannon: How long was the Life Drawn imprint in the works for Humanoids? Was it something that you have been considering adding over a long period of time?

Fabrice Giger: The slice of life genre is something we’ve been wanting to develop for years, but it is our partnership with French publishing house La Boîte à Bulles, which began last year, that vitalized the concept.

HMS: Is the idea behind Life Drawn purely non-fiction, or are fictional close-to-life stories also a consideration?

FG: Fictional close-to-life stories are definitely part of this imprint’s DNA, as much as non-fiction. Life Drawn is all about being human, so we’re willing to invest in any story that explores that nature with a unique perspective.

HMS: A story can be non-fiction, but the tone and style of storytelling are really key in terms of the experience conveyed to the reader. Are there aspects of tone and style that Life Drawn is particularly interested in publishing at this time?

FG: Each book within the imprint will, of course, have a specific voice, but even titles such as the humorous, self-deprecating Kabul Disco are, nonetheless, grounded.

HMS: Did you have any trepidation about bringing international stories to the American market and trusting in that market’s receptivity to these kinds of stories? What gave you the confidence to do so?

FG: In our experience thus far, we’ve thrived on stories featuring characters in adventurous, epic tales. In the Life Drawn books, the characters are the story; it’s all about them. So if the characters are compelling and personal, it follows that they’ll resonate with our readers. We can already see the buzz growing around Luisa, Now And Then, just based on the simple blurb we wrote up in anticipation of the book’s release in June. Mariko Tamaki (who adapted the book) will be appearing with us at the American Library Association convention and we’ll be presenting librarians with free signed copies. I think the recent Starred Review of the book in Publisher’s Weekly has also helped a bit!

HMS: Can you tell us a few of your favorite things about the books in this first wave of releases? What inspires you about them?

FG: On top of the titles I’ve already mentioned, Vietnamese Memories (coming out this month) is a very touching book based on true events, which focuses on the consequences of the war, rather than the war itself. Madame Cat (July) is a bit of a different…beast than the rest of the imprint, but through charming vignettes about a cheeky cat and her human host, we end up observing our humanity from a different perspective. Another remarkable title is the surrealistic take on Marilyn Monroe’s life, Marilyn’s Monsters (coming in September).

HMS:  Will the Life Drawn imprint books be available internationally as well as in the USA? If so, will they be translated into other languages?

FG: All the Humanoids titles are translated into several languages, and the Life Drawn books are no exception.

HMS: Can you tell us anything about what’s coming up for Free Comic Book Day from Humanoids? Will the Life Drawn imprint be part of this year’s offering?

FG: This year, we’re giving readers the opportunity to discover The Metabaron, a character created by Moebius and Alejandro Jodorowsky decades ago in The Incal, which has since then become an internationally successful spinoff series. The pages featured are written by Jerry Frissen and Jodorowsky, with art from French star artist Valentin Secher (the book from which the pages are excerpted will be released in November. It’s worth noting that the art of the following volume will be handled by Esad Ribic (Thor: God of Thunder). No Life Drawn title this year, but let’s see what will happen in 2019!

Many thanks to Fabrice Giger for joining us today to talk about Humanoids and Life Drawn!

Humanoids’ Free Comic Book Day offering will be in shops this Saturday, May 5th!