'The Last Days of Che Guevara' is Released
Red Quill Books is the little press that could. Founded in 2009, at the height of the Great recession, the alternative press is about to celebrate its fifth year of operation with over two-dozen titles. The publishing house was set up with the mission of creating a new space for disseminating critical ideas in creative ways. Five years on, Red Quill Books (RQB) is prospering largely due to the success of its wildly successful "radical comix" series which includes a manga version of Das Kapital, a four-part series on the Communist Manifesto (available in four languages), and a new biographical comic entitled "The Last Days of Che Guevara" released last month.
"It's no secret that our success is largely due to the comic book series," says George Rigakos, head of RQB's Editorial Collective. "We have also stayed true to our core mission of maintaining a green, print-on-demand model and actively supporting student scholarships." Indeed, Red Quill's success is even more remarkable given that the press has not accepted a penny of state assistance in an industry dominated by large university presses that are heavily dependent on government subsidies. "We don't want to be beholden to any interest that might undermine our mission," says Rigakos, "we can't start compromising on that." As a result, the little press has remained fiercely independent, supporting provocative titles and experimenting with comic books as a way to distinguish itself from the rest of the academic market.
Red Quill's latest project is "The Last Days of Che Guevara: A Graphic Novel," an accessible and engaging introduction to the life and mythology of what is arguably history's most well known revolutionary. The biographical comic begins with Ernesto Guevara's capture in October 1967, tracing the power of his legacy through his engagements with central figures of that tumultuous period. The biography is the English translation of the Italian biographical comic by Rizzo and Bonaccorso. "Once I set my eyes on the Italian version," said Rigakos "I knew we had to make it a Red Quill title."
What's next for Red Quill Books? "We want to do even more," says Rigakos. "More scholarships for students studying social justice, more radical comix to aid students and general audiences understanding critical ideas, more academic texts that push boundaries. That's what we're all about."