(March 15, 2022) Cartoonist and storyteller extraordinaire Ronald Wimberly and Philadelphia-based boutique publisher Beehive Books are launching a Kickstarter campaign for the first-ever print edition of Wimberly’s critically-acclaimed, endless scroll webcomic GratNin. This ambitious, action-packed graphic novel will be released by Beehive Books as a deluxe graphic novel box set, featuring 600 accordion-folded pages that re-imagines how to read the comic.
“GratNin is a sendup of all the great ninja comics I’ve read and a project that’s very close to me,” said Wimberly. “GratNin has been a playground for me to work in for about 20 years now and this incarnation with Beehive Books, with its unique presentation, really embodies the ideas of the comic.”
“GratNin has a unique dynamism that thwarts traditional publishing,” said Beehive Books Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Josh O’Neill. “So we’ve done what our team at Beehive does best: reimagine what a book can be. To give an analog spin to this unruly digital comic, we’ve traded out the tiny phone screens and web browsers for a 600-page accordion-folded concertina wrapping up the urban sprawl of NYC into a manifold paper world. In our approach, GratNin isn’t a linear story — it’s an elaborate, thrilling world to journey through, and try not to get lost in.”
Over the course of 600 accordion-folded pages, GratNin (which is short for Gratuitous Ninja) tells a sprawling graphic saga of Brooklyn’s last shinobi family. The Namba Family are masters of the deadly KyokuGen Muron Ryu (KGMR) craft, but in the police and pirate-riddled streets of Brooklyn, it’s always been best to keep those powers under wraps… until now. For centuries, the Namba clan stayed under the radar as pacifist hippies, peacefully running a community center, neighborhood garden, and food co-op from their 300-year-old house on the Gowanus canal. But what good is being a ninja if you can’t protect your hood?
Welcome the Namba clan’s three newest recruits: Mo Brown, a weed dealer; 9ONE, an anarchist vandal; and Kibo Evars, the fastest blade and most deadly DoorDasher in all of Brooklyn. These three decide to secretly use their ninja skills to fight crime. And that’s where their trouble begins.
The Beehive Books GratNin Deluxe Box Set includes a wall-sized subway map detailing the secret routes and ghost trains of the GratNin clans, a set of GratNin trading cards, and much more. The Box Set comes in three different editions: a standard edition; a signed and numbered edition; and a signed and lettered edition, which is limited to an edition of 26 and hand-lettered from A-Z. All three editions are designed by Chloe Scheffe.
“This isn’t a graphic novel in any traditional sense,” said O’Neill. “It’s a paper universe contained in a rigid printed box. When you open up the GratNin Deluxe Box Set, a whole universe comes exploding out — four hundred consecutive feet of comics bubbling with pugilist praxis, chanbara dialectics, pirate vs. ninja warfare, and a secret history of NYC.”
To support the campaign, visit Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/beehivebooks/gratnin?ref=t0gn8
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ronald Wimberly is an artist who works primarily in design and narrative. He is also an accomplished cartoonist, having created several graphic novels as well as shorter works for DC/Vertigo, Nike, Marvel, Hill and Wang, The New Yorker, and Dark Horse. His most recent works of note were the critically-acclaimed Prince of Cats, Black History in Its Own Words, and the cartoon essay “Lighten Up” for The Nib. He is also the founder and editor of LAAB MAGAZINE, an experimental art magazine published and co-edited by the team at Beehive.
ABOUT THE PUBLISHER
BEEHIVE BOOKS is a Philadelphia-based small press founded by artist and designer Maëlle Doliveux and author and editor Josh O’Neill. They create book art editions of literary and pictorial works with a special emphasis on graphic art, design, and experimentation. Their catalog includes monographs on Harrison Cady and Herbert Crowley; a line of lavishly illustrated classic novels featuring artists like Dave McKean, Yuko Shimizu, Jim Woodring and Mike Mignola; the ongoing experimental periodical LAAB Magazine, created and curated by Ronald Wimberly, and much more. Learn more at www.beehivebooks.com, or on Instagram @beehivebooks.