by BK Munn
Dylan Horrocks’ legendary Pickle was part of the wave of so-called “alt-comics” anthology series that made up the cartooning vanguard in North America during the 1980s and 90s. Although Horrocks was from New Zealand, his comic was first published in Canada, first by Guelph, Ontario’s Tragedy Strikes Press, and then my Michel Vrana’s Black Eye Books. It’s in the pages of Pickle that Horrocks first serialized his Hicksville graphic novel, a book that has gone on to be a sort of touchstone for fellow cartoonists and lovers of comics history.
**Unfortunately, although Horrocks’ graphic novel did see publication from Black Eye in 1998 (before being reprinted repeatedly by Drawn & Quarterly), the publisher ceased operations before printing the next, already-completed issue of Pickle, issue #11. **
ED: update 2/22019 18:49 We’re corrected in an error at the time of publishing! Michel Vrana tells us via social that he “didn’t stop publishing until *after* Hicksville came out. Orders for pamphlet style comics were ok” That is was “the decline – in 1997 – informed my decision to cancel Pickle 11 in favour of collecting it. I’m glad to remedy the oversight now. 🙂“
An ironic turn of events, given Hicksville’s themes of regret and loss and how great comics have vanished from history. This final issue has never seen the light of day and was assumed lost by both publisher and artist. Now the issue has been pieced together and is being offered to readers for the first time.
As Vrana explains on the preorder site, “In November of 2018, Dylan posted on his Facebook page a photo of the cover proof to the unpublished Pickle 11. Around that time, I was also going through old my Black Eye archives and future proofing files for posterity. But sadly, the unpublished issue #11 hadn’t been saved. Thankfully, Dylan had digital scans of all the original artwork! And between that, the proof, and my archives, we had all the material to rebuild that lost issue. Dylan and I agreed that it would be a fun project to restore and publish Pickle 11 for fans of the original series.”
The issue has been prepped: “Printer chosen, files ready, logistics solved,” according to Vrana. This seems like a unique opportunity to revisit the work of one of the great cartoonists of the past 30 years, in an unusual time capsule format.