An e-bulletin from Top Shelf Comics, publishers of the (in some circles) somewhat controversial graphic novel Lost Girls [Amazon] explains some of the reasons why the UK release of the title may be delayed until January 1st 2008.
"Top Shelf recently received correspondence from the Great Ormond Street Hospital (the owners of Peter Pan in the UK/EU), and as a result, UK/EU distribution of Lost Girls has been delayed until the matter is resolved."
The reason for the controversy: Lost Girls features three characters from classic children's literature - Wendy (from Peter Pan), Alice (of Wonderland fame) and Dorothy (ruby-slippered savious of Oz - but in Lost Girls they're all grown up. In the graphic novel they explore their sexuality and recount their sexual fantasies to each other; themes that Great Ormond Street doesn't seem particularly comfortable with. It could also be, at least in part, because Lost Girls seems to be diverting rather a lot of attention from the officially sanctioned sequel to Peter Pan, Geraldine McCaughrean's Peter Pan in Scarlet [Amazon] which is due to be published on October 6th.
Top Shelf continued: "It has been a very cordial exchange, and one we are glad to participate in. As soon as the matter is resolved, we'll make a formal announcement about it, but this may result in the book being delayed for the UK & EU markets until January 1st 2008. In any event, if that ends up being the case, Top Shelf will probably release a special UK Edition (1st printing) at that time."
Reading between the lines, it looks like Top Shelf may simply be waiting until Great Ormond Street's 75 year copyright hold over J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan expires at the end of next year. In the meantime though, the title is doing extremely well in the US: "Lost Girls hit stores on Wed Aug 31st, and the entire 10,000 copy 1st printing sold out on that day. By that Friday, the back orders... had already exceeded the 2nd printing of 10,000, which is scheduled to hit stores in October. So, we went ahead and ordered another 20,000 copies for the 3rd printing, to arrive in December."
So, it looks like there could be a long wait ahead if you're a UK-based Alan Moore fan who wants to see what the fuss is about, unless you're prepared to pay postage rates from the US (further rumour has it that Top Shelf have politely asked Amazon.co.uk not to stock the title, so the 4-6 weeeks quoted on the site may turn out to be a little longer...)
But all is not lost. To celebrate the release of Lost Girls, the Institute of
Contemporary Arts (ICA) and Blackwell's bookstores are presenting an exclusive Lost Girls event with Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie on October 12th.
* Thursday 12th October, 7 p.m. - Logan Hall, Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London - Alan and Melinda will be in conversation with comedian, broadcaster and comic fan Stewart Lee. Tickets: £8, Concessions: £6. To book tickets call 0845 456 9876. Lines are open Monday - Friday, 9.30 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. or visit Blackwell's, 100 Charing Cross Road, London.
You won't be able to buy a copy of the book on the evening of course, but this is still a very rare opportunity to see Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie in person, and to hear what they have to say about the creation of Lost Girls.