Mad Cave Studios has announced the first-ever English-language translation of Clay Footed Giants, a tragicomic graphic novel co-written by David Plath Prize winner Mark McGuire and Alain Chevarier and illustrated by Chevarier. The “Shoot the Book” FIBD Angoulême and Bédéis Causa Award finalist explores parenthood, masculinity, generational trauma, and violence.

Clay Footed Giants follows two fathers, Pat and Mathieu, who aim not to repeat their own fathers’ mistakes—but generational trauma is difficult to process, let alone dismantle. In their family structures, Pat and Mathieu’s partners out-earn them and travel frequently for work, leaving the men at home to care for their children and household. Unfortunately, traditional gender roles have sunk their teeth into Pat and Mathieu just deep enough to make them resent their caretaking obligations.

Pat, whose parents separated when he was a child, is particularly affected. His father was an alcoholic and Pat has struggled with his anger since he was young. If he and Mathieu want to protect their children from the pain they suffered at the hands of their own parents, they have to dig through their pasts and do some heavy processing to form healthy coping mechanisms and engage safely with their frustration in times of stress. 

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Clay Footed Giants cover art
(Mad Cave Studios)

“Alain and I met on a basketball court in Montréal during a parent-kid activity on a subzero Sunday morning,” said McGuire in the announcement. “He showed me photos of haunting paintings probing his grandfather’s prisoner-of-war experiences. We decided to make a graphic novel together exploring society’s evolving understanding of gender roles, parenting, and trauma.

“Over six years as we wrote and rewrote our story, I saw our characters magically come to life in Alain’s delicate pencil strokes,” he continued. “Talking about my struggles helped me realize I wasn’t alone, and that sharing our story might help others. The entire Mad Cave team has worked with remarkable dedication and enthusiasm to refine our story and find our audience. It’s a huge privilege to collaborate with experienced professionals who are passionate about visual storytelling.”

Chevarier remarked, “Mark and I sat down at his kitchen counter once a week for six years to work on Clay Footed Giants. After we got published by a small Quebec publishing house, we got to go to the Festival de la Bande dessinée d’Angoulême, in France. The book was originally written in English in Montréal, and then translated to French.

“McGuire being American, he really wanted our work to be seen in his homeland. Amongst all the international editors present at the Angoulême book market, we got lucky enough to meet with Mad Cave’s Mark Irwin and pitch our story,” Chevarier continued. “We were immediately told the whole Mad Cave team was interested! It’s been a huge thrill to work with Mad Cave since, and our experience as authors has been a breeze. We feel pampered!”

The English edition of Clay Footed Giants will be available October 8 wherever books are sold. Pre-orders are available now.