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Todd Thyberg’s Graphic Novel Fueled by Love for Old + New

Written by in Profiles

The Airship: An Adventure in Digital and Analog

In the fall of 2011, Todd Thyberg (pictured above) received a Jerome Book Arts Fellowship from the Minnesota Center for Book Arts so he could pursue his dream of creating a graphic novel. One year later, that dream has taken flight, with the anticipated launch of his first graphic novel, The Airship, to be formally unveiled at a public exhibition at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts on November 2 (6-9 pm) in MPLS. The novel is now available at the Angel Bomb online store.

Airship Web-5

The Airship is science fiction story and the first in a planned trilogy of graphic novels designed, illustrated and printed by Thyberg and his company Angel Bomb Design + Letterpress of MPLS. The book concerns a rogue government that metastasizes into a military industrial dictatorship that subjugates the good and the true. Our hero develops futuristic technology and attempts to keep it out of the hands of the State. While the narrative hums, what excites us most is the subtext. The novel features a narrative collision of actual physics applied to a fictional setting and undertones of the modern military industrial complex. But, really, it is more fun than ominous.

“The Airship came about in an effort to create a book that bridges the gap between digital media and good old fashion analog books,” says Todd. “The story, set in a fictional past, features a character transported to another dimension in space and time. He tries to communicate his predicament but the recipient cannot bridge the gulf across dimensions without futuristic technology: the Smartphone. Readers must use their Smartphone to fully experience the story and receive communications that get garbled in the ether.”

Airship Web-3

Thyberg’s story reminds that “modern” technology stands on the shoulders of past technology. Without the former, there would be no latter. Without the former, there is no context. Better that they co-exist. “By creating a story that utilizes a communication gap created by technology, I encourage readers to see new possibilities for tying together two disparate mediums for a more interactive and unique experience.”


The Airship is beautifully designed, printed and assembled using CRANE’S Lettra® and can be viewed at Angel Bomb and the MN Center for Book Arts.  There are two limited edition versions available: a chapbook edition for $150 and a deluxe hardbound, slip-cased edition for $350. Learn more at www.theairship.net or www.facebook.com/airshipgraphicnovel.

Todd Thyberg Comments on Paper, Press and Process

Explains Todd Thyberg:  “The book was going to be printed 3/3 and so the paper needed to hold up to the repeated impressions and provide a nice tactile feel for the reader. Crane’s Lettra® was chosen because it has such a nice tooth and takes an impression exceedingly well. I purchased 8 cartons of CRANE’S LETTRA®  Ecru 110 lb [26×40 parent sheets] and was able to get three spreads out of each parent. It was a little thick for this style of binding, but since the book is composed of a single signature, this didn’t pose a problem and provides a substantial feel. I like the fact that it’s 100% cotton and feels luxurious in the hands.”
“I had originally hoped I could print the book on one of my automated presses and recently purchased a large Heidelberg Windmill just for the job, but due to time constraints, I had to resort to printing it by hand on a Vandercook 219 proof press. Since it was printed on a cylinder press, the ink coverage was better but it was a very slow process with about 120 hours spent on press and 10 miles walked while cranking each page through the press by hand.”

CRANE’S LETTRA ® Registered Trademark of Crane & Co., Inc.