Corinne Pearlman is an illustrator, comic creator, and Creative Director of British indie publisher Myriad Editions, who are fast growing an incredible graphic novel list. Myriad’s graphic titles are gaining a reputation for being unconventional, provocative and exciting and this is, in big part, down to Corinne’s work in finding the best and most original creators out there.
Corinne is a great cartoonist herself; she has produced editorial comics for charities, a regular strip for the Jewish Quarterly, and she was involved in creating Comic Company, an organisation that produces illustrated health information. And if you’re going to the Comix Creatrix: 100 Women Making Comics exhibition, you’ll be able to see some of Corinne’s work on display!
We’re always thrilled when Myriad announce a new graphic novel, and we were eager to talk with Corinne about comics from a publishing point of view…
How did you become involved in the comics world initially?
I read loads of comics as a child, graduated to photostories, and grew up with the underground. A school friend once said, with great disdain, ‘oh your drawings are just cartoons’. I regret any time I spent feeling hurt by that.
What does your role as Creative Director at Myriad entail?
We’re a small team so we share our responsibilities: my main role is to commission, edit and manage the production of our list of graphic novels, and to delegate much of the company’s other design work to our trusty network of designers.
As a publisher, why did Myriad make the decision to expand into graphic novels?
Our original role was as book packagers, creating and producing topical illustrated atlases for print by other publishers. Our first job as a publisher was to produce The Brighton Book, for the Brighton Festival, an anthology that included the passions of the staff: topical, new fiction and comics. A story by Woodrow Phoenix was a particular hit with readers, so we commissioned him to do Rumble Strip.
You work closely with the comic creators Myriad publishes… what do you look for when deciding who to publish?
The first graphic novel we published was Kate Evans’ book about climate change, Funny Weather, in 2006. It just made sense: alongside an atlas and a novel that we produced on the same topic. That urgency to say something about the world is a feature of the list, whether fiction or non-fiction, and it has to create its own logic as a work of art. Some of our creators are new to comics, and some of our creators have very strong ideas about what they think comics are, so I have to steer a fine course in diplomacy, though to be honest I’m a bit of a doormat. I know eyebrows do lift about our flaunting of comic conventions, but I’m delighted to have such an eclectic list.
What is your experience of being women in the comics industry? Have you had any negative experiences, or has it been mostly positive?
As far as comics is concerned, I’ve always felt I’ve been in the right place at the right time, so restricted more by my own expectations or limitations than those imposed by others. The ‘industry’ is a term that was historically used to describe the US comic book tradition, but these days we’re using it as something far more inclusive, which is as it should be, so hurrah. The negative experiences are manageable: autobiographical comics and graphic medicine get a bit of whiplash from time to time (mostly from comics creators), but it’s all about expanding the content and developing the form: long may that continue.
Who are your favourite women comic creators, and what do you admire about their work?
Well, all the women who are taking up comics for the first time, whatever their age, and who might be entering the Myriad First Graphic Novel Competition, to be announced later this year!
Thanks so much Corinne!
And to see Corinne’s work in the flesh, get your tickets to Comix Creatrix: 100 Women Making Comics! The exhibition is taking place at The House of Illustration and runs from Feb 5th to May 15th.