by Françoise Mouly
Founder, publisher, editorial director of TOON Books
"I’m still shocked that they gave me this award. Good night, Planet is a very dear book for me. My daughter Emma inspired it, so this just goes to show that working from very profound love can only bring joy. I’m thankful to everyone at Toon Books and my editor extraordinaire, Françoise Mouly. Merci, Françoise!"
--Liniers upon receiving the Eisner award for Best Publication for Early Readers
It was in a Parisian comic book shop, back in 2011, that I first saw Ricardo's work, a French anthology of his daily strip, Macanudo, published by the Montreal publisher, La Pasteque. I immediately fell in love with Liniers' vivacious cartoon line and his offbeat humor. I rejoiced in the adventures of the young girl, Henrietta, and her cat named Fellini, as well as the myriad of other strips involving penguins, camels, a monster named Olga, and men with hats.
As soon as I got back to New York, I got in touch with Liniers who was living in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the time. He said he was thrilled to hear from me -- he had grown up with RAW, the magazine I published and co-edited in the 80's, and was a huge admirer of Maus and of the work of my husband, Art Spiegelman. We found out we had many areas of overlap, including the fact that together with his wife, Angie DeCampo, Liniers published comics in Argentina.
For TOON, Liniers proposed to create a new book, an idea I accepted enthusiastically. He first offered what became What There Is Before There Is Anything There: A Scary Story (later published in English by Groundwood Books.) I loved it, but turned it down for TOON because I wanted Ricardo to use his talents to make comics for kids, not a traditional picture book with written captions. When I suggested he find inspiration in fatherhood, he told me about a rainy-day interaction he had observed between his two daughters, the older and more verbal Matilda, and the younger, more trusting Clementina.
In 2014, we started featuring Liniers on the cover of The New Yorker, where he continues to contribute covers and cartoons, including an hilarious take on our mascot, Eustace Tilley, "manspreading" in the subway.
In September of 2015, Art and I had the great pleasure of visiting Ricardo and Angie in Buenos Aires.
So please join us in singing over the rooftops:
Hooray for everyone at TOON!
and HOORAY for comics for kids!