The webcomics blog about webcomics

Goats Books Mark II: Electric Goataloo

Time to talk! Check this:

Villard Books will publish the recently completed Goats story arc, The Infinite Pendergast Cycle, as a trilogy — in the style of the great sci-fi sagas Goats so affectionately parodies.

Oh, my. Villard, for those of you keeping score at home, is an imprint of Random House, and is known in our community as the current home of the Flight series. And check me on this, but I believe this would be the first color reprinting of a story-based webcomic by a major publisher (possibly excepting Jellaby, which featured/will feature strips that didn’t appear online prior to publication). Actual suit-and-tie publishing moguls have reached a deal to reprint a work that they don’t own. They’ve put this into their schedule, sunk the money into the plans and the printing and the promotion, they’ve committed to Goats for the next two years.

Aside from an unprecedented development for capital-w Webcomics, this seems like a fairly big deal for Mr Jon Rosenberg, so we at Fleen did a quick talk in the popular “Q&A” format.

Q: So the basic deal is for three books of Goats material in color, right?. What stories do they cover, what are you going to call them, and when do we see them? 

A: Each volume will be full color and published at six-month intervals. The first volume, Goats: Infinite Typewriters, set for July 2009, will include newly revised and created material intended to introduce new readers to the colossal and complex Goats universe — and set up the audience for the rest of the epic. Book 1 will cover material published on the Goats website from December 2003 to January 2006. The second book, Goats: The Corndog Imperative, scheduled for a November 2009 release, covers January 06 to March 2007. And the third book , Goats: Showcase Showdown, due out in April 2010, covers March 2007 to April 2008.

Q: Any idea of the print run on these books? What about the possibility of further books covering the stories up ’til the end of the strip/world in 2012?

A: I’m not sure how large the print runs are going to be, they haven’t shared that information with me yet. I tried to guesstimate based on the contract terms and I came up with a number large enough to make me suspect my methodology might be flawed.

My intention is to publish a second cycle of 3 or 4 books following this one that takes the storyline up to 2012 and the true end of the story. Whether or not Villard decides to publish them will probably depend on how sales of the first three books goes, I imagine. But I suspect they will find print in some fashion or other not long after the current trilogy is released.

Q: Any of your other material — earlier strips, the tantalizingly incomplete Patent Pending and Worlds of Peril, your minicomics (including the long hoped-for Operating Thetan III) — that might now see print as a result of this deal?

A: Anything is possible, but a lot of the projects you mentioned were ended for good reason. Patent Pending needs to be completely rethought and redone if I ever decide to work on it again, it would have made a better novel than comic I suspect. The Worlds of Peril comics were the inspiration for a lot of what makes up The Infinite Pendergast Cycle, I like to think that it’s the story of what takes place in the aftermath of Goats proper. It’s not canon, though, so don’t be reading too much into that.

The first minicomic is going to be reworked slightly to serve at the intro chapter for Infinite Typewriters. The second one could theoretically be included as an extra in one of the other volumes. I don’t have any plans to produce OT3 at this time but if I can fix some of the plot issues I could see it appearing in the future in some form, either as a standalone or as an arc of Goats.

Q: Now that you’ll be in bookstores and comic stores from coast to coast, what kind of followup can we expect? More toys, new merch, a 26-episode deal on Adult Swim?

A: Oh man, who knows? Obviously I’m interested in doing as much with the property as we can, but I suspect a lot of what we’re able to accomplish will be determined by just how aggressively folks purchase the book. If it sells well I’m sure my agent will be pursuing all sorts of things.

I love Adult Swim! Goats on Adult Swim would be a natural fit, but I think 26 episodes just about anywhere would be super-neato, though.

Q: For the benefit of everybody that thought your wife was wasting her time with a failure addict, any words of wisdom to share?

A: Success is just an opportunity to fail on a grander scale.

Fleen will be following this development closely. Congratulations to Rosenberg, and to Villard for investing in the future of webcomics. Press release should be up various places by now, but I recommend you click below the cut.

Edit to add: Rosenberg’s apparently been spreading his interviews around; check out the discussion with Rick Marshall over at ComicMix.


NEW YORK, NY – July 11, 2008 – Villard Books, an imprint of Ballantine Books at the Random House Publishing Group, announced today that Villard will publish three graphic novels collecting the long-running and wildly popular webcomic Goats.

Villard Books will publish the recently completed Goats story arc, The Infinite Pendergast Cycle, as a trilogy —in the style of the great sci-fi sagas Goats so affectionately parodies. Each trade paperback volume will be full color and published at six-month intervals. The first volume, Goats: Infinite Typewriters, set for July 2009, will include newly revised and created material intended to introduce new readers to the colossal and complex Goats universe—and set up the audience for the rest of the epic. Book 1 will cover material published on the Goats website from December 2003 to January 2006. The second book, Goats: The Corndog Imperative, scheduled for a November 2009 release, covers January 06 to March 2007. And the third book, Goats: Showcase Showdown, due out in April 2010, covers March 07 to April 08.

Goats (www.goats.com) was introduced online on April 1, 1997, making it one of the web’s longest-running webcomics. Today Goats receives an average of 1.5 million hits a month and offers a wide range of Goats-themed merchandise.

Goats is a sci-fi parody epic, a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or Futurama for the Internet age. This is humor imagined on an epic scale—more than a simple gag-a-day strip, Goats’ on-going story comprised of several distinct story arcs. The anarchic and hyper-inventive Goats has a sprawling storyline concerning two ordinary techies who are tasked with saving the universe from utter destruction—and the demonic chickens, cyborg goldfish, omnisexual aliens, disgruntled hackers, Mayan death gods, and random celebrities they encounter along the way.

“Like Penny Arcade and The Perry Bible Fellowship, Goats has won a devoted web following with its totally original voice and delightfully demented humor,” said Tricia Narwani, acquiring editor at Villard. “We’re excited to bring Goats to an even wider audience.” Goats was acquired in a deal with Judith Hansen of the Hansen Literary Agency.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jonathan Rosenberg is the webcomic artist responsible for Goats and megaGAMERZ 3133T. Rosenberg has been producing webcomics since 1997, making him one of the original webcomic artists. Rosenberg graduated from Cornell University in 1995 with a major in biology. Before working full-time as a webcomic artist, he also worked as a website design consultant. Jonathan is now a full-time cartoonist.

ABOUT VILLARD BOOKS:

Villard Books, named after the Stanford White brownstone mansion on Madison Avenue that was the home of Random House for twenty years, was founded in 1983. It publishes a general nonfiction and fiction list that has positioned itself on the leading edge of popular culture. Villard is the home for several highly regarded graphic novels, including American Splendor by Harvey Pekar; Flight, edited by Kazu Kibuishi; Elk’s Run by Fialkov and Tuazon; and Postcards, edited by Jason Rodriguez. Among the bestselling authors it has published are Jon Krakauer, Eve Ensler, Governor Jesse Ventura and Peter Greenberg, the “Travel Detective.” Visit the Villard website at www.villard.com.

Great news, and good for him! But kind of underwhelming given yesterday’s post. It’s not that big. I was expecting something earth shattering. Or ponies.

Most comic book publishing companies have at least one webcomic in print. It’s gone under the radar a bit just how accepted webcomics are becoming to print publishers. It was just a matter of time before the book publishers followed. Congrats to Jon for being the trailblazer.

WOW. That IS exciting news! Congrats to Jonathan!

Go Jon! Would be awesome to see episodes on Adult Swim though haha.

Also, major bonus geeky points for the “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo” reference. :D

I thought it was a reference to Bombay the Hard Way 2: Electric Vindaloo

Congratulations to Jonathan!! Very nice!

[...] makes the big move to print, published by Random House imprint Villard no less. Rick Marshall and Gary Tyrell both talk to creator Jon Rosenberg about the [...]

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