Octopus Pie Returns to Print in “Definitive Collection” From Image
Meredith Gran’s Octopus Pie is an excellent case study of the different options over the years for publishing webcomics as the industry (and audience) has changed.
There were some early self-published editions, then There Are No Stars in Brooklyn came out from Villard, an imprint of Random House, in 2010. Big book publishers were eager to get in on the graphic novel boom during a time when more traditional lines were struggling, and comics showed huge growth potential. Only the definition of a “successful” book, based on sales, is much higher for a large company with lots of employees to support than it is for a single creator, so the publishers often wound up disappointed.
Although they selected highly popular webcomic creators to scoop up, few of the graphic novels from these companies were considered outstanding successes, so many of the creators went back to comic-focused publishers or doing it themselves. Octopus Pie, for example, had a followup volume, Listen at Home With Octopus Pie, released from Topatoco, a company built to handle merchandise, including books, for webcomic creators (which they do well).
Now, Octopus Pie will be released again from Image Comics, the comic industry publisher currently considered the best for creator rights, in what’s described on the back cover as “a definitive collection of the series.” The first volume will be released on February 3 in the comic market and February 18 in bookstores.
It’s described as the story of
grumpy twenty-something Eve and her stoner roommate Hanna as they navigate post-college life. They’ll take on crazed childhood rivals, troubling art scenes, the discomfort of exes, and maybe even… friendship? All this and more in the fictional, totally made-up city of Brooklyn.
Personally, I found this first volume uneven and a bit too much hipster, but I better enjoyed the second. That’s presumably coming later this year in a future re-release from Image. And as time passes, the book gains more value as a portrait of young adult life in a particular time and place — which means it becomes less annoying, more picturesque.