Who is your favorite comic book writer

Interview - Cross Cult

A few weeks ago we dared to take new steps at Pegasus Games - for the first time, in addition to accessories, board games, card games, role-playing games, game comics and Shadowrun-Novels also puzzles appeared in our publishing range. But not just any puzzles, no, puzzles in the design of your favorite comics such as Avatar, The Walking Dead & Co. This is possible thanks to the collaboration with Cross Cult, a German publisher that has been publishing comics since 2001.

In line with the publication of the first nine puzzles, we invited managing director Andreas Mergenthaler to an interview:

Cross Cult has been publishing comics since 2001, including internationally successful series such as Sin City, The Walking Dead and Hellboy, but also national titles such as Steam Noir or Gung Ho. You have also had novels since 2008 and even mangas since 2018. How do you choose your products? Are these titles that you like to read yourself?

“In fact, we mostly use titles that we read ourselves. Often also titles related to TV series, movies or games that we think are cool. Which then also has the advantage that there are already fans for the comics, novels and manga. Sometimes the titles stand on their own, are well made, by well-known authors or belong to trendy genres. "

What is currently your favorite comic or book from your program and why?

“My favorite comic right now is Little Bird. A dystopia, written by the award-winning filmmaker Darcy van Poelgeest and with stunning artwork by newcomer Ian Bertram. You should have seen it. In its new issue, Rolling Stone says that comic genius Jean Giraud alias Mœbius couldn't have done it better either. "

How did you get into the comic hobby? Did you read comics as a kid? And how did Cross Cult come about?

“I've always been a fan of comics. First the usual things like Tintin, Asterix, Warlord, Storm and so on. I later became a collector of US comics when I came across the first issue of Batman Year One at a comic exchange. That made a big impression on me. As a teenager, I also wanted to be a comic artist, but then gave up quickly because all the practicing and drawing was too difficult for me. So I became a graphic designer. And one of my first bigger jobs back then was DC superheroes for Dino Verlag. The work on the dinosaurs finally led to the fact that we wanted to try it out with publishing comics ourselves. I had some experience with fanzines, but the first real comics were a fun series by Frank Cho and Hellboy by Mike Mignola. Today we thank the courageous license manager from Dark Horse, who gave us a chance back then. "

What is behind the publisher's name?

“There was the idea: Cross Culture. So US comics in book format or album format, comics from all possible cultures. We didn't want to make the usual standard, but rather publish different formats and types in new but appropriate ways. Somehow the name later fitted for many comics that are created in our globalized world: British authors often work with Italian illustrators and US colorists on series. Or there are Euro and US mangas. "

This year, in cooperation with Pegasus Spiele, you implemented comic motifs as puzzles for the first time. How did the idea come about? Are you a big puzzle fan yourself?

“Comics are a very graphic medium with great artwork and great licenses. I just thought that cartoon themes would be perfect for puzzles. I like puzzles, but I'm not a very big fan. But when I bought puzzles every now and then I noticed that the puzzles in the shops mostly had rather boring motifs and there was hardly anything for geeks / fans. You get to work with twice as much joy and passion for puzzles when you can put together a motif that you think is cool, that you are a fan of. "

How were the first nine motifs selected? And how did you decide how many pieces the puzzles should have?

“We thought about which licenses would be possible, which motifs would be suitable and then we approached the licensors, with whom we also work on the comics. We were able to come to an agreement with most of them surprisingly quickly. Only Hellboy publisher Dark Horse, who publishes so much merchandising and puzzles itself, has stood across the board. But with the Walking Dead, Mouse Guard, The Rocketeer, Locke & Key, Steam noir, Invincibleand others we got very nice motifs together. An exception are the three puzzles with Avatar & Korra motifs (The legend of Korra, Team avatar and Fire and lightning), because we are particularly big fans of it ourselves and because we know that there are a lot of Avatar fans. Determining the numbers of the puzzle pieces was quite easy, as the usual puzzle variants and sizes are: 1,000 pieces for motifs for adults and 500 pieces for avatar motifs, which should also be solvable for children. But 500 parts are demanding enough even for adults. "

What challenges did you face in developing and implementing the puzzles?

“First we had to order puzzle samples, negotiate with manufacturers, clarify deadlines, etc. Since puzzles are very popular and the special printing companies are busy, we had to plan a long delivery time. We then decided in favor of Ravensburger as our manufacturing partner because of the very good quality. After we adjusted to the special printing requirements and had the motifs approved by the licensors, it was done. Finding good motifs was not as easy as expected, because the 1,000 piece puzzles are not that easy to puzzle. There needs to be enough details in the artwork. "

Are you already planning more puzzles or was it more of a one-off?

“We already have ideas for more puzzles. We won't decide that until the beginning of 2021. If you can see how the first edition was received. For a pure book publisher up to now, it is not so easy to communicate to retailers and fans that we are now also offering puzzles. That is why we are very happy that the games specialist Pegasus is supporting us as a partner. "

What innovations can your customers look forward to in 2021? Can you reveal something about that?

“We have again planned exciting US comics, such as Undiscovered Country, comics for the PS game Horizon Zero Dawn, the Mexican Tony Sandoval as a new artist, cool manga such as JoJo's Bizarre Adventure or Dorohedoro, and a trilogy by Nevernight among the novels -Author Jay Kristoff, The Lotus War, and recently also novels about Assassin's Creed, Watch Dogs Legion and various Marvel heroes. "

Thank you, Andreas, for this exciting insight into your publishing house and your work!


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