Friday, January 1, 2010

State of the Beanworld 2010!

Larry Marder's Beanworld: Book Four

It was thirty five years ago, during the summer of 1975, that I decided to dedicate my creative life to something called "Beanworld."
Thirty years ago I began work on the first complete Beanworld comic book story The Legend of Pop!Pop!Pop!
In a few weeks it is going to be a quarter century since a revised version of that story shipped to comic book stores as Tales of the Beanworld #1

Doesn't seem possible that all these years have rolled by --but facts are facts!

2010 is the 25th anniversary of Beanworld in the marketplace!

And the number one way I'm going to celebrate this milestone is to bury myself in the creation of the fourth volume of the Beanworld epic in a graphic novel titled Something More!

Seriously, what else could it be called?
After I drew the sequence at the bottom of page 105 in Here There! I knew that there were no longer any other titles in the running for the title of Book Four.

So what goes on in Something More?
A lot.
It's the first chapter of the "Summertime Saga."
(To me the previous three books are the "Springtime Tales.")

Many, many changes are coming to Beanworld.
Changes through growth.
Changes through discovery.
Changes through architecture.
Changes through landscaping.
Change through accidents.
Changes through destiny.

Dangling plot lines will be picked up and woven back in the fabric of the Beanworld.
And new stuff is going to unfold that very well may knock you off balance a bit.
(I say this with some authority because it is having that effect on me as the story unfolds upon my magic drawing tablet.)

Something More! will be in the same format--an affordable hardcover in with black and white artwork.
Diana Schutz and her crew will oversee editorial and production at Dark Horse.
Why mess with success?

One of the questions I'm sure to be asked "Is the Solstice Sol'jer (seen below) in Something More?

And no.
The word solstice does give you a hint where the Sol'jer slots in and Something More won't quite get us all the way there.
But still....well...umm...wait and see, wait and see.

The usual hints and teasers will be dropping along the way.

This leads to the big question:
When will Something More be published?

Will you have to wait another agonizing 15 years?
More like 15 months in between books.

Something More is what I'm doing this year.

We intend for it to be published in the first quarter of 2011.

The last 25 years harvested three Beanworld volumes.
It should only take a fraction of that time to get the next three books.
And then the ones coming after that

But between then and now....
A little short story, in color, will be published in MySpace Dark Horse Presents Issue 33 in April.
It's called "First Steps."
I suspect you can figure out what it might be about!

2009 was an excellent year for Beanworld.
This time last year the Holiday Special had just hit the racks as Beanworld was dipping its toe into the world of commerce for the first time in a long long time.

Thanks to Diana Schutz's and Dark Horse's belief in the strength of its content and the potential of Beanworld to make a powerful impact in the marketplace--in the brief span of 12 months three handsome, beautifully designed and crisply printed hardcover volumes have been published and distributed.

Beanworld's acceptance by a generation of pop culture fans raised on Pixar, Cartoon Network, and manga showed that the world had caught up with this most peculiar comic book experience at last.

And the reviews echoed this.

"Like George Lucas, Stan Lee, and J.J. Abrams, cartoonist Larry Marder is the creator of a deeply imagined alternate world that inspires obsessive fandom and yields glossaries, maps, and websites. "

"Beanworld life is a carefully calibrated blend of the quotidian and magical. Like the best imaginary universes, it provides a constant unfolding of anxious and ecstatic mysteries both sacred and profane. "

" of the most original and brilliant comic-book universes ever created."

"...the drawings in Beanworld are eerily apt. It is almost as if they were not drawn but instead grew from the pages. Simple yet viscerally attractive, the art is charming. But it also has an odd sophistication, a hint of something more lying beneath."

"Where other fantasy authors are happy to mirror our present or past in their secondary worlds, embellishing their borrowed settings with a patina of imaginary magic and invented legend, Marder's Beanworld is its own highly original realm, with its own natural laws and mythology."

"Beanworld continually has surprises just hiding up its sleeve, and this new volume is no exception. I love how Marder can take shamanistic traditions and transplant elements into a story that also includes the hero’s journey, pop culture references, slapstick comedy, and the life cycle of a plant. There’s nothing else out there quite like Beanworld. If you’ve never read it before, please, check it out."

The greatest surprise, however, has been the response from young readers in the Young Adult and 'Tween slices of the demographic pie chart.
It was something we hoped for but didn't know for sure would actually occur.
In hindsight, I wish we had placed the "ALL AGES" designation on the first two volumes, but hindsight is 20/20.

The result is that many retailers weren't aware that Beanworld has a multi-generational appeal and racked it with the more mature books. When retailers recognized that Beanworld had a kid reach they moved it to their all ages section and sales increased.

Part of my goal for this year is to continue to raise awareness of Beanworld's all ages reach.

And that will happen, in part, as I go out on the road

These are the appearances I'm sure of.

San Francisco
April 2-4

Chicago, IL
April 16-18

Toronto, Ontario
May 8-9

San Diego, CA
July 21-25

I'm a Guest of Honor at Comic-Con and that means that there will be all sorts of special things happening there.

I'll be doing panels and giving talks wherever they give me a platform to do so.
It's going to be a very busy spring and summer.

All the while I'll be plugging away at Something More and will get it wrapped up by the fall.

As far as any and everything else goes...
It's just too soon to say.
As things develop and can be revealed then the first place to read about it will be here!

Also...not on the Beanworld front but Larry Marder news is I'll have a story in Silverline's Fractured Fables anthology to be published later in the year. I'm doing my take on Three Billy Goats Gruff in a thoroughly off the wall tale called "Troll Bridge.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Larry! Excited to hear that we'll be getting a new story in April - 15 months, while a lot more agreeable than 15 years, is still a long time to wait for a Beanworld junkie!

What I want to know though - any hints if Uncle Xaspa will finally make his first in-story appearance in Something More?

Allen Varney said...

I'd love to see Uncle Xaspa, and I hope we may learn about the two beans who died before the story began.

bob said...

Toronto, Ontario
May 8-9

Hoka Hoka Hey! I live in Toronto. Never been to TCAF, but I can tell you that'll change this year. See you then.

David Goldfarb said...

Looking at that cover makes me wonder about the Four Realities: the ones on Proffy's hat are green; Beanish's, er, headdress? is green; but the cuties are flying on chips that are black. Do the chips turn black when they're filled with Float Force?

Brian Jacoby from Secret Headquarters in Tallahassee Florida said...

*contented sigh*

Larry Marder said...

@ Allan: Unca Xaspa is much closer to making his debut now than before.

@ Bob: I look forward to that possibility. I hear nothing but great things about this show.

@ David: The Four Realities on Proffy's hat are pre-existing symbols. She didn't go out and collect them and place them on her hat...they were already there.
Well, she lost them for a bit but she recovered them without ever putting a finger on 'em. This is(kinda, sorta) covered in Book Two pages 280-286 and 316-322.
And this is a concept that we have hardly seen the last of.

@Brian: As I said over on facebook..."Tactical teasery is always my lead logistic with the enlightened ones of the Leguminati."
A "contented sigh" is fuel for the fire that burns the midnight oil and keeps Beanworld advancing on schedule day by day! Thank you.

Unknown said...

Larry, I just want to say that I love your work in a way that I never thought possible. I'm about 2 hours away from my appointment for my second Beanworld tattoo. I've got Beanish on my shoulder cap and am about to get three Cuties to go with him to represent my kids. My oldest daughter was so excited when I gave her her very own copies of all three books. All from a seemingly random purchase in the bargain bin at my local comic shop 15 years ago or so. So, I just want to say how excited I am for the return and resurgence of the Beanworld mythos. Thank you sir.

Anonymous said...

Amazing as always

David Akers said...

Any chance you might be returning to Portland, maybe for Stumptown again? It was great finally getting to meet you there, and I'd love to have the last two collections signed. I might even remember to say the secret words this time. :)

Larry Marder said...

@ Beanish. Gota lovew those "random" intersections that somehow make a difference in your life. I've had more than a few. Send along some pics of your tattoos. I can start a LEGUMINOUS SKIN ART GALLERY!

@ David.... Hands down, STUMPTOWN is one of my favorite Cons but because it's on April 24-25 that slots it only a week after C2E2 in Chicago. As I mentioned before, my dance card is filled in the first half of 2010. Which means I will really have to put the pedal to the metal in order to get "Something More" finished in a timely manner.

I consider Portland, OR Beanworld's "other" home town because of Dark Horse and I'm sure I'll be up there this year to visit the offices and perhaps do a signing in town when I'm there.