Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season.

This has been an amazing year for Amelia and me, and next year looks to be even bigger and better.

So, as a thank you to all of you who have made our success possible, we have posted a brand new production of "A Very Ninja Christmas" for you to enjoy. 

The stage production was directed by Sharon McHugh, and produced by Media Boomtown.

Just click here to enjoy the live Amelia experience.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New Home for Amelia!

New York, NY, October 7, 2008—Ginee Seo Books, an imprint of Atheneum/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, today announced it has acquired the world rights to Jimmy Gownley’s popular comic and graphic novel series AMELIA RULES!. The deal was brokered through an auction by Judith Hansen of the Hansen Literary Agency. Originally published by Renaissance Press, the AMELIA RULES! graphic novels and comics have become a favorite with both critics and fans alike.

“Jimmy is a true creative genius, and AMELIA RULES! has that rare combination of mass appeal and literary substance that every publisher dreams about. We are thrilled for Jimmy to be joining the S&S list, as we work to expand our list with some of the top comic and graphic novel talent publishing today, and we look forward to making his name and his characters known to even wider audience beyond his already substantial following,” said Ginee Seo, VP, Editorial Director of Ginee Seo Books.

Jimmy Gownley added, "It was important for me to find the perfect home for AMELIA RULES! and I strongly believe Simon & Schuster and Ginee Seo books are a great match. I am more excited than ever about Amelia and kids graphic novels in general"

The plan is for Simon & Schuster to put out reprints of the first four already published AMELIA RULES! books over the next two years, with the first reprint AMELIA RULES!: The Whole World’s Crazy to be published in Spring 2009 and the last reprint AMELIA RULES!: When the Past is a Present scheduled to be published in Spring 2010. AMELIA RULES! #5: The Tweenage Guide to Not Being Unpopular will be the first original publication with the hardcover and paperback scheduled to come out simultaneously in Fall 2010.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Come Out and Say 'Hi!"

Come on out to the "Time of Wonder' Children's Bookstore in Exeter, NH this Friday at 3:30.

I'll be there signing books, doing sketches, and chatting with readers about Amelia, comics, and whatever else you want to talk about.

The address is: 125 Water Street Exeter, NH 03833 Tel:603-778-9731

Hope to see you there,

PS: Check back next week, for a major announcement regarding upcoming appearances.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

In Comic Shops Now

Our $4.99 128 page full color digest “Funny Stories” is in comic shops today. Originally created for Scholastic Book Fairs and Clubs, this book is a really nice overview of the entire Amelia series.

We’re back from San Diego now, and it was our best convention ever. We did terrific business, met up with a lot of old friends, and were introduced to a bunch of new ones.

Up next is Baltimore in September. Also, we will be announcing more personal appearances throughout the US for this Autumn, so be sure to check back her for an announcement soon.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

San Diego Bound

San Diego Bound

We’re just about to head out to San Diego for the 2008 Comic-Con. I look forward to this every year, and this year is really special because of the Eisner Nominations. Win or lose though, being nominated for 4 Eisners has really been the thrill of my professional life.

Our San Diego booth is 5531. Due to the way booths were booked, we are listed as "Kids Love Comics." Drop by and Say hi. And if you come on Preview night, ask for your free Amelia Rules! button.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Amelia Rocks!

View the Official Music Video for “Fighting Over Me” from the Amelia Rules Musical Here! And stay tuned to this space for more info on the upcoming, Top-Secret “December Project.”

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Talk, Talk, Talk

For those of you who don’t live in Pennsylvania, PCN has my recent interview up online. Check it out by clicking here. A full hour of me talking about Amelia, Charles Schulz, The Yellow Kid, and the real life “Sneeze Barf.” TV will never be the same.

As I said before, it was a real pleasure to do the show, and I thank PCN and host Larry Kaspar for having me on.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

PA and NC

Hi guys.

For those of you planning to attend Heroes Con this weekend in Charlotte, make sure you stop by and say hello. I’ll be at the Kids Love Comics booths, happily sketching and signing books. Charlotte is a wonderful town. I haven’t been there in about seven years, so I’m very excited to be going back.

If you can’t make it to Charlotte, and happen to live in PA, you can see an hour long interview with me on PCN’s “Pennsylvania Profiles” this Sunday at 10pm. I taped it a few weeks ago, and the interview was really a lot of fun. A very informed host with interesting questions, and some actual comic book type knowledge! Go figure! Sometimes, it seems I’ve been giving the exact same interview for years, so this was a really nice change. If you don’t get PCN (Which is probably about 90% of you) check this site for a link to an online version sometime after the show airs.

I’ve been working hard on the upcoming “Tweenage Guide to Not being Unpopular” and it’s coming along quite nicely. I’ll post a few preview pages soon.

Hope you guys are having a great summer.


PS: Celtics Rule!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Hi guys.

As we move into the summer, we'll be having a lot of exciting things revealed here at, so I just wanted to bring you all up to speed.

First, There are now three issues of Amelia Rules! available for free download from wowio. com. Check out this amazing site that gives you access to hundreds of free books, and is a great resource for publishers.

Second, the New Hampshire Project, that I mentioned a few months ago is finished, and will be up online in a few days.

Also, Project 21 is still a go, but has been postponed for a few weeks, so we can make it as good as we possibly can.

And hey, anybody want to see an Amelia animated short? I thought so... Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

So anyway...

Sorry about the long gap in posts... So much has been happening lately. Obviously, the Eisner nominations are huge, and we've been really enjoying the attention they've brought to Amelia.

Also, Volume 4 debuted at New York Comic Con to a very enthusiastic response from the crowd at the show. And of course, yesterday was Free Comic Book Day.

If you’re one of the people who discovered Amelia yesterday, welcome aboard! You can download the entire issue of the Eisner nominated story “The Things I Cannot Change” by clicking here. The story is available for free through the Wowio site, which allows you to download all sorts of cool books and comics (Scott Sava’s way cool Dreamland Chronicles) absolutely free.

Also, after a slight delay, Project 21 will debut at tomorrow, and continue every Monday thereafter. it will detail the entire creative process behind the creation of the upcoming Amelia book The Tweenage Guide to Not Being Unpopular.

Now, I know we were in the middle of discussing Volume 4 story by story, but since I’ve discussed “The Things I Cannot Change” in other places, I’ll just point you here, here and here, and pick up with “When the Past is a Present” next time.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Amelia Rules the Eisners!

The nominations for the 2008 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards are out, and Amelia and I have been nominated for FOUR! This is tied for most nominations by an individual along with Joss Whedon, Brian K. Vaughn, James Sturm, and Fred Chao.

The nominations are for:
Best Single Issue or One Shot: Amelia Rules! 18: The Things I Cannot Change
Best Publication for Kids: Amelia Rules! and Amelia Rules! Funny Stories
Best Letterer: Jimmy Gownley
Best Colorist: Jimmy Gownley

This is a huge honor, and I'd like to thank the nominating committee and I'd just like to say...

Y'know, I really don't know what to say...


Saturday, April 12, 2008


Continuing to discuss the stories in Volume 4...

So, I was pretty pleased with the way "Funny Story" came out. Everyone on "Team Amelia" (Michael, Karen and Harold) seemed to think it was the best issue so far, and I was excited to get to work on the follow up.

We were coming up on the fifth anniversary of the publication of issue one, so I thought it would be neat to do a special issue featuring five separate short stories. This was really me taking my New Adventures in Hi Fi
plan one step further. Short, short stories without any forethought given to how they might relate thematically. But then something weird happened...

As I started working on the stories (and I worked on them all concurrently. I tend to skip around a lot while writing and drawing. I used to worry about that until I read Jaime Hernandez does too.) I noticed that despite my best intentions, they all seemed to be related by the theme of running away. Amelia literally, Tanner from her past, Reggie from school, Rhonda from her nerdy reputation. Plus there was the scene when Amelia literally called Kyle out on running away when she needed him in Superheroes. At this point I thought, well maybe I should take this synchronicity as a sign and tie the different stories together into one big 48 page tale that moved back and forth in time, jumped to different locations, but somehow still all tied together under the general theme of running away.

It took a lot longer than I had hoped, and I once again took heat for a late issue. But you know what? I don't care. This issue came out great, and I was pretty sure that at this point I was on a roll. All the mail and reviews were extremely positive too. The things I like best are the polar bear call back gag, Tanner walking out of the store in a daze, "Why are you here?," the "old paper" effect I used on flashbacks, and Amelia's story about running away to find Snoopy. That part, believe it or not, is autobiographical.

Okay, now next up should be "The Things I Cannot Change," but y'know what? I have a feeling we may be discussing something else on Monday.

I really, really, do...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Writing a "Funny Story"

Picking up from last Thursday's post.
So anyway...

I realized that a lot of the success of the New Adventures in Hi Fi record came from treating the songs as individual units, rather than worrying about an overall album theme and structure too much. So for my first issue in what was to become Volume 4, I wanted to write a story that was as stand alone as I could make it, but that played off as many of the strengths of past Amelia stories as possible. I made a list of things I wanted to include: Wisecracking jokes, poignant moments, semi-gross humor, Rhonda's jealousy, Pajamaman's coolness, Reggie as Superhero, Tanner's guidance, pop culture references.

The one element I wanted to add was an increased focus on Amelia's relationship with her mother. Once or twice, I'd seen the series criticized for showing a disconnect between Amelia and her parents. I always thought this was weird. The criticism made it seem like this was a flaw that was there ACCIDENTALLY, when to me it was THEMATIC. I mean it's not by mistake that we go hundreds of pages into the story before we find out Amelia's mom's NAME, for cryin' out loud.

"Funny Story"was one of only three Amelia stories that was scripted and thumbnailed entirely in advance of any artwork being produced. It's also one of my two or three favorite Amelia stories.

Next time, we'll discuss "The Runaways."

Friday, March 28, 2008

International Intermission

I'll get back to volume 4 on Monday, but I got these
covers in yesterday, and wanted to share them with you. They represent the Italian, Spanish and German editions of Amelia.

Cool, huh?

The Spanish and Italian books are due out in May, and the German edition is out now.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

New Adventures in Funny Stories

Continuing from yesterday's post...

So anyway, I was in the middle of this writer's block. I remember that the block was caused by being depressed about something. I can't remember what exactly, but I know it began in November 2004.

It lasted almost a year... seriously. And then, one day, it was gone. Just like that. Determined not to let it happen again, I was looking for a strategy to approach the next book. I've always been a music fan, and a fan of R.E.M. in particular, and for some reason I began playing their record New Adventures in Hi Fi a lot around this time. I was just looking for some "rockin' tunes" for background music, but it suddenly struck me that this might be the template I was looking for.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the group, one of R.E.M.'s great claims to fame is their willingness to experiment. As a fan, you never quite know what to expect from them. I've always loved artists who were willing to grow and change...The Beatles, Charles Schulz, Brian Wilson, y'know, people like that. But what I found special about this particular record was that it somehow managed to move forward by taking all of the elements found in the band's previous output (strong melody, jangly guitars, brooding lyrics, riff based rock, etc.) and mixing them all up into a new musical stew. Where previously one or two of these elements might be the focus of an entire record, here it was their synergy that made the record pulsate.

So I thought to myself; Can I do that with Amelia? Rather than going off in a completely new direction, as I had tried to do with Superheroes, could I take what people had already come to expect and heighten the work by allowing all of the elements I typically worked with to bounce off each other in new and interesting ways? With that thought in mind (and New Adventures playing in the background) I began writing "Funny Story."

Which I will deal with in greater detail tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

World Premiere of Volume 4 at NYCC!

When the Past is a Present will make it's world premiere at this April's New York Comic Con.This is very exciting for me, as I think this book represents probably the best work I've ever done. It was very pleasurable getting my advance copies, and thumbing through the pages. Ask any artist, and they'll tell you that that is the kind of experience you always want, but rarely get. More often than not, all the creator of a particular work is able to see is the struggle and the failings. Now, to be sure, I see the struggle all over WTPIAP, but it seems somehow less prominent than usual, and that feels great.

So, what I thought I'd do over the next few postings, is go over the book chapter by chapter and talk a little bit about what went into creating the individual stories, as well as the concept for the book as a whole.

See, the thing is, I don't very often sit around thinking; "Man, I just gotta do a great Little Lulu style comic." Or, "Gosh, what would Len Wein do in a situation like this." Even though I like both Little Lulu and Len Wein quite a bit, I'm far more likely to be inspired by something from a different medium entirely. Like music, for example. There must be 4 or 5 issues of Shades of Gray where I was trying to capture the feel of Strawberry Fields Forever in comic book form. Now, when I started planning the stories which make up WTPIAP, I was just coming off a massive writer's block which lasted for months. Up until this point, I didn't really believe such a thing existed, as I had never experienced it before. But having gone through it, I didn't want the same thing to happen while working on Volume 4. The solution I came up with was to go back to writing short stories. But I was afraid this would become a retreat, that I would just be doing easy jokes and stories I could write in my sleep as a means to avoid failure. What I needed was a template. A piece of art that was somehow both reflective and comfortable, but also radical and forward thinking. That was when I rediscovered a wonderful piece of music; 1996's New Adventures in Hi-Fi by the rock band R.E

Check back tomorrow, and I'll explain how you go from listening to "Electrolite" to writing "Funny Story."

Monday, March 24, 2008

No Duh, Right?

School Library Journal has selected the top 25 graphic novels for kids, and Amelia Rules! Volume 4: When the Past is a Present has been selected. The article, which was penned by the great Michele Gorman highlights many other winning books like Josh Elder's wicked awesome Mail Order Ninja and Scholastic's beautiful new Amulet.

Michele is the author of the new guide to kid's graphic novels titled Getting Graphic: Comics for Kids.

Amelia fans should take note of this book, as it has a cover and an original 4 page story by me. The story will most likely never be reprinted, so if you're a completist, you have your mission.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Funny Stories

Funny Stories the Amelia Rules! "best of " digest is being offered in this month's Scholastic Arrow Book Club. So for those of you with kids, or who ARE kids. in grade 4, 5, or 6, be sure to check it out. Also, this special 128 page full color book will be available to comic shops in June. It retails for $4.99, and contains stories from Amelia Rules Volumes 1,2, and 4. It's a really cool little package, and it was the culmination of a dream to have Scholastic Book Clubs and Fairs carry it. I remember way back in '02, I was sitting in a hotel lobby chatting with Harold Buchholz about how I wanted Amelia Rules! in the Scholastic Book Clubs. This was really crazy talk at the time though because NO ONE was thinking about doing quality kid's lit in comics back then, and it was unthinkable that a company like Scholastic would carry something like Amelia. But of course, just because something is impossible, that doesn't mean it won't happen.

Y'know, I remember listening to an interview with Axl Rose years ago where he was talking about how Guns 'n' Roses were going to open for the Rolling Stones some day. He was reminded that, at the time, the Stones had broken up, so this was an impossibility. "I don't care," he said "You wait." And sure enough, a few years later, it happened. So there you go... I'm just like Axl Rose.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Past and the Podcast

Hi gang, Amelia Rules! Volume 4: When the Past is a Present has shipped from the printers.
It should be arriving in the US in the next few weeks. The book is in the same format as the previous three volumes, and contains issues 17, 18 and 19, as well as the 2006 and 2007 Free Comic Book Day Editions. I think it's some of my best work, and I'm thrilled to see it come out in book format.

Speaking of cool things which are brand new, have you checked out the first Amelia McBride podcast? It's the first of what will be a monthly feature on our sister site, the Tweenie Zeenie. While you're there, click around and explore some of the other neat freebies on the Tweenie Zeenie.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

New Hampshire Rules!

Just a little teaser about the project I was working on this weekend in New Hampshire. It's very exciting. So exciting in fact, that I'm not going to do much talking about it yet, but
check out the image to the left, and let your imagination run wild!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

New Website!

Hi everyone, and welcome to the brand new I'd like to take this moment to thank Leslie Ocko of Glacier Blue Studios, who's web development magic made this new site possible. Thanks Leslie, you rule! If you need some web development type stuff yourself, visit her at

While some parts are still under construction, we're about 90% a go, and I just wanted to pull the trigger and let you all in on what we have cooking here. Please take the time to search around, as there are a lot of nifty new features for your entertainment and enlightenment.

The song that plays when you arrive on the home page is called "Fighting Over Me." It was written by Amelia editor Michael Cohen, and singing the part of Amelia is the mighty Kasey Perkins. This is a new recording of the song that was originally performed in the Amelia Rules! musical "A Very Ninja Christmas" which was performed in Marlborough, New Hampshire this past Christmas. Actually, I'm typing this from Michael's kitchen in Marlborough, where we're working on a very special surprise. Stay tuned to this spot for more details as they develop.

Oh, and by the way, if anyone had trouble emailing me in the past, those issues should be resolved, so drop me a line! Now, go play "Whack a Ninja."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Free Comic Book Day

I spent the weekend, as well as the last 2 days finishing up the Amelia Rules! Free Comic Book Day 2008 edition. It's looking good, a mix of new and old, with some fun surprises thrown in.

It's snowing now, as it was all day, the first really significant snow of the winter. It's made Harrisburg look very beautiful, and very peaceful...especially since I didn't have to drive in it!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Bonus Friday Blog!

I just saw the printer's proofs for Amelia Rules! Volume 4, and they are gorgeous!
Our printer, Samwha, does an outstanding job, and I think this will be the nicest book we've published so far. Also, a big shout out to Harold Buchholz, for getting this book ready for press.

So, What's the deal with blogging?

We'll pick up with my fascinating life story as soon as the new site is up. Until then, lets take a detour or so.

So, now that I'm blogging, I'm forced to think about... well, blogging. I mean who would do such a thing? Evidently everyone, including, now, me. But of course I have an ulterior motive. I'm blogging, at least in part, to promote my comic Amelia Rules!. But why do other people blog, and even more to the point, who reads them? I heard a news story a few months ago, that the average blog has a readership of one, so maybe the answer is nobody. Then again, you're reading this, so that can't be right.

Who ARE you?

I mean if I knew that, maybe I could tailor the posts to your interests. But really, all I can do is guess.

I can see my adult readers, the ones who found Amelia in comic shops, and supported it for years, reading this when and if they find out about it. But the kids who discovered Amelia through the Children's Book of the Month Club or Scholastic Book fairs, will they find this stuff interesting? When I was a kid, I would have loved to read cartoonists' journals, even if they were only writing about their grocery lists, and I hated the books they worked on. But that was me, and that was then.

My parents will most likely never read this, even though they have read probably every word I've ever had published. They are not, to say the least, of the internet generation. So that's weird.

Karen will read it, even though she's heard all of this before.

I can't see my friends reading this, because, let's face it they probably get enough of my blathering in the real world, so they don't really need a cyberspace version.

On the other hand, I can see old friends, people I haven't seen in years, come across this and peruse a post or two. After all, they probably have no idea what happened to me, and have never heard of Amelia Rules!. That's the beauty and the frustration of the comic book field.
You can sell a quarter of a million books in 18 months (which we have), and still, no one has heard of you.

Well, whoever you are, thanks for reading this, and feel free to drop me a line at Let me know what you'd like to read about here, and I'll see what I can do.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Anything done for the first time...

Hi! This is my first ever blog posting, so please bear with me.

I’m really excited about the new Amelia Rules! website (Should be launching in early March). As we move forward, we will be including all sorts of features like video podcasts, teacher resources, animations and games. So check back often to see what’s cookin’.

To start things off, I thought I’d write a little about my background, and what kind of strange childhood I must have had in order to create Amelia Rules!

So here goes...

I’ve only ever wanted to be a cartoonist. Outside of Jedi Knight, that was the only possible career path that had any appeal to me. This is how I got there...

Girardville Pennsylvania is a small town. How small? Picture the smallest town you’ve ever been to, and divide it in half. There are no streetlights. Not because there’s no traffic, but it’s just that the town is waiting to see if they catch on before they shell out any money.

But I loved it there. Growing up in a place like that allowed me to act very much like Amelia’s friend Reggie, and yet still manage to eventually go on dates. And so, with very little competition between kids, I tried my hand at just about everything from sports, to music, to theater, and pretty much enjoyed it all.

Still, being an only child in a town that size means your going to have some free time. I spent mine with records, books, and most of all...comics.

I was a huge reader, and compulsively read anything that crossed my path.

The very first thing I learned to read were “Peanuts” comic strips, when my mom read the old Fawcet/Crest collections to me.

There was only one store in town that sold comic books, so I was pretty much limited to whatever they had on the rack, but very early on I enjoyed “Marvel Tales,” which reprinted the old Stan Lee/Steve Ditko “Spider-mans” (although I had no idea they were reprints at the time). Later, I loved “The New Teen Titans” by Wolfman/Perez and Alan Moore/Steve Bissette/John Toteleben’s “Swamp Thing.” I also discovered Wendy Pini’s “Elfquest” which became a major favorite. And I subscribed to Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns” through an ad in a “Blue Beetle” comic.

As far as other reading, the books I remembered liking the most were “Harriet the Spy” by Louise Fitzhugh, “The Great Gilly Hopkins” by Katherine Patterson, “Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.

I didn’t get to see a comic shop until I was 14 and my dad drove me an hour north to the larger town of Wilkes-Barre, to a great shop named Gema Books, where I was introduced to “Love and Rockets,” “Watchmen,” “Zot,” “The Rocketeer,” “The Spirit,” and most especially, “Cerebus.” Cerebus was three things that blew me away: 1.Black and White 2. Hilarious 3. Self Published. I couldn’t believe that something like it existed, and thrived. I was so inspired by Dave Sim’s work, that I decided then and there that I was not only going to be a cartoonist, but that I would produce comic BOOKS, and I would publish them myself.

And so I did.

Despite having no money, no talent, and no clue, I published my first comic when I was 15 years old. It was called Shades of Gray Comics and Stories #0, and I sold it out of my high school locker and around town.

I was on my way! (He said ironically.)

Hey, this is fun. Let's pick up here next time.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What's New has a new look!
And don't forget to order your Amelia Rules! books at!
Check back often for events and find out what's going on!
Plus, check back tomorrow for the first Jimmy Gownley blog posting ever!Add Image