Jeff Smith has reached Lucca in his comics world tour:

On the far left is Igort Tuveri , the independent cartoonist/publisher of Coconino Press . He publishes many wonderful art comics including his own BAOBAB. He is very passionate about the format being in service to the art of the comic. I agree. At the far right is my friend Dark Horse editor Diana Schutz. The two of them engage in an earnest exchange of questions about knowing when to concede to certain market realities. When should an artist give in to a format that the marketplace dictates? Suddenly, I realized this panel was not about the size and shape of a comic at all. If I understand what the conversation was really about, I think the European publishers are not only looking over their shoulders at Manga, but at the new Graphic Novel format. The size of many GNs, like BONE and BLANKETS and many others, including new works by European artists like David B. are closer to standard book dimensions than the traditionally larger European albums. This is an interesting new twist.

If you haven’t been reading the Boneville blog, you’ve been missing some interesting observations from Smith on the various formatting and marketing practices of graphic novels across Europe.

Meanwhile, the McCloud family tour was also in Europe, i.e. Oxford, and had dinner with Phillip Pullman, among others.

And what a dinner it was. Ted invited over a couple of friends of his who wanted to meet Scott, and their wives. Hence we had dinner with the rather well known publisher David Fickling (every one we saw in England seemed to know him) and his wife Caro, and the very talented author Philip Pullman and wife Jude. I can not begin to tell you how great they all were. Witty, and charming, and very kind. I think I talked more than I should have, as they were really there to see Scott, but they were very gracious about it. The food was great, and conversations were many and varied. I think my favorite moment was when all of them started talking about what was happening on a radio soap that has been on forever and that everyone listens to. It was all very gossipy, and when I asked what they were talking about, their answers’ and their enthusiasm for the show was really fun to watch.