LJ Talks to Humanoids' Jud Meyers | Eye on Publishing

Now in its 45th year and based in ­Hollywood, CA, graphic novels publisher Humanoids is once again poised to lead the industry into the future.

Creator-driven graphic novels publisher ­Humanoids launched in 1974 in Paris as the experimental French comics magazine Métal Hurlant ("Screaming Metal"), cofounded by celebrated French artists Jean Giraud (aka Mœbius) and Philippe ­Druillet and writer
Jean-Pierre ­Dionnet. Now in its 45th year and based in ­Hollywood, CA, the company is once again poised to lead the industry into the future. "These days we’re trying a lot of new things, but nothing will be published unless the creator is happy," ­affirmed ­Humanoids director of sales and marketing Jud Meyers in a recent phone interview with LJ.

Already a strong presence in the adult market, with storytelling giants such as Alejandro Jodorowsky and Mœbius (The Incal), the independent press, distributed by library vendor Ingram, recently introduced its first children’s and YA line, BiG. This comes on the heels of honors for Carole Maurel and Mariko Tamaki’s Luisa: Now and Then (LJ 6/18), a 2019 ALA Stonewall Honor Book in Literature, and rave reviews for Phillipe Coudray and others’ Bigby Bear (SLJ 2/19), which reboots a classic children’s ­character.

For Meyers, the time is ripe for stories that resonate with all audiences. The recipient of the Will Eisner Spirit of Retailing Award in 2007, and with 15 years experience working with schools and libraries, Meyers emphasizes that librarian and educator feedback heavily informs Humanoids’ editorial decisions. "As a company we are proactive, getting input from everyone about why and how we do what we do. Everyone [here] has a hand in the development of a book."

Meyers joined Humanoids in ­December 2017, around the time it was getting ready to announce the Life Drawn imprint, which, inspired by the original French line, focuses on slice-of-life stories, history, and topics grounded in everyday experiences. Notable summer/fall releases include father/daughter ­writing team Patrice and Emilie Guillon and artist Sebastien Samson’s States of Mind (May). This account follows a woman in the grips of bipolar disorder and its impact on everyone around her. "Instead of being a dark story, it’s about her journey through the darkness," says Meyers. Based on actual events, Shanghai Dream (Jul.) by author Philippe Thirault and artist Jorge Miguel draws on the largely undocumented Chinese perspective of World War II. A Jewish filmmaker escapes Nazi Germany only to be rerouted to Shanghai, where he attempts to finish the screenplay he began with his wife, who died in the Holocaust. In ­Chasing Echoes (Nov.), American creators Dan Goldman and George Schall unearth Goldman’s Polish Jewish history in a tale about the keeper of the Goldman family archives, who discovers an old mill owned by one of the grandfathers and believes there’s much more to the story.

Koren Shadmi’s The Twilight Man: Rod Serling and the Birth of Television (Oct.) presents the first graphic novel treatment of the controversial Hollywood screenwriter, revealing his efforts to combat censorship, racism, and war. Pair with William Roy and ­Sylvain Dorange’s Hedy Lamarr: An Incredible Life (Xpress Reviews, 10/19/18), another unsung icon and Hollywood revolutionary.

Debuting this summer, the H1 Shared Universe line kicks off multiple new series designed by a diverse cast of creators. Ignited (Jun.), from writers Mark Waid and Kwanza Osajyefo and artist Phil Briones and others, tracks a group of students involved in a school shooting who are imbued with powers that help them solve real-world issues. A young African American female surgeon who mysteriously develops an omniscient intellect stars in Devin Grayson and Ariela ­Kristantina’s Omni (Jun.). ­ Strangelands (Jun.) creators Darcie Little Badger and Mags Visaggio describe their work featuring an indigenous American and British Asian couple as "Moonlighting with ­globetrotting superpowered ­misfits." In November, TV writer and producer Quinton Peeples ( The Runaways), joined by artist Dennis Calero, makes his first comics appearance with The Big Country, a small-town Texas noir about a sheriff hunting for serial killers who might actually be up to something good. Finally, writer Helen Mullane and a cadre of artists release Nicneven and the Bloody Queen, an England-set tale conjuring modern-day druids in a battle with a young woman skilled in black magic, due out in January 2020.

Exhibiting the same cutting-edge sensibility that defined Humanoids’ earliest works, these latest offerings should have equally enduring appeal. So what’s next? ­Meyers hints at the expansion of the company’s non-­English-language products, including titles in Spanish and other widely spoken foreign languages for U.S. collections. "We’re polling feedback from librarians and educators, exploring ideas…the hope is that by 2020, we might be in a ­position to do it," ­­leaving us all with a ­future to anticipate.—­Annalisa Pešek

Author Image
Annalisa Pešek

Annalisa Pešek (apesek@mediasourceinc.com) is Assistant Managing Editor, LJ Reviews
[photograph by John Sarsgard]

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Carr D'Angelo

A factual correction. It is inaccurate to say the article subject is "(t)he recipient of the Will Eisner Spirit of Retailing Award in 2007." Stores are nominated for the award and are the recipients, not individuals. In 2007, Earth-2 Comics received the award and I am the originator and owner of that store, and have been since 2002. The award is in my sole possession. It's a shame that Library Journal did not fact check the readily available list of Eisner Spirit of Retailing Recipients to represent the disposition of the award accurately.

Posted : Apr 27, 2019 11:03

Darren Thomas

There is an old saying. Where there is smoke, there is fire. A policy that acknowledges the existence of smoke without regard to the fire that caused it is a curious one at best

Posted : Apr 27, 2019 10:41

Susan Avallone

Your comment policy is very disappointing. I was once Managing Editor of Library Journal, I have an MLS from Columbia University. And now I own two comic book stores in Los Angeles. I have a lot to say about the individual you are highlighting, which should matter as much as the content. He once worked for me, and I believe that people who hire or promote him should care even just a little bit if he is truthful or honorable. What a shame.

Posted : Apr 27, 2019 09:58



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