In House: Conundrum Press

Conundrum Press is about to celebrate its own big anniversary: 2016 will mark its twentieth year of publishing books!

Conundrum Press started in 1996 in Montreal, Quebec as a way “to give voice to the under-represented working in the underground anglo cultural milieu,” according to publisher Andy Brown. The press first began making chapbooks for local writers and cartoonists but soon morphed into “genre-defying” books with spines.

Around 2011 Conundrum moved to Nova Scotia and began focusing exclusively on graphic novels. They still represent their Quebec roots with the BDang imprint, which brings Quebec’s underground comics to English readers, including Michel Rabagliati’s Paul series and Real Godbout’s Amerika, which is a retelling of Franz Kafka’s novel.

More recently they launched an International imprint, where the press brings world-class cartoonists and artists to the Canadian / North American reader. Titles published under this imprint include Chihoi’s The Library and Willy Linthout’s What We Need to Know.

A series that stands out in our minds, and likely the minds of some readers too, is Sherwin Tjia’s Pick-a-Plot series. The first in the series, You Are a Cat!, introduced us to Holden Catfield, and allowed us to pick what he did that day. It was both a parody and homage to the gamebook fad of the late 80s, in this case focusing on a single dysfunctional family and their lives, told through the eyes of their cat. The book went on to win an Expozine Award and spawned two more books in the series: You Are a Cat in the Zombie Apocalypse and the prequel, You Are a Kitten!

To celebrate their 20 years of publishing, Conundrum will be releasing 20x20: Twenty Years of Conundrum Press this spring. Each year of the press will be represented by an author or artist who had a book out that particular year; they will contribute something new to the anthology that represented Conundrum Press at the time. Contributors include Shary Boyle, Jillian Tamaki, Joe Ollmann, and Sherwin Tjia.