From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs are Metaphrog. They are graphic novelists who created 'Louis' and The Red Shoes and Other Tales. Photographed at their home.
John Chalmers
Born (1965-08-25) 25 August 1965 (age 51)
Nationality British
Area(s) Writer, Graphic Novelist
Pseudonym(s) Metaphrog
Notable works
Louis (comic)
Sandra Marrs
Born (1973-11-23) November 23, 1973 (age 43)
Nationality French
Area(s) Artist, Writer, Graphic Novelist
Pseudonym(s) Metaphrog
Notable works
Louis (comic)

Metaphrog are graphic novelists Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers, best known for making the Louis series of comics.


Marrs is originally from France, where she studied Arts and Letters. Chalmers is from the west of Scotland and has a scientific background with a PhD in Electronic and Electrical Engineering in Micromachining. Together they live in Glasgow. In general, Marrs draws the comics while Chalmers writes the scripts. They started their first comic together, Strange Weather Lately, in 1995. The Sunday Herald in Glasgow described Strange Weather Lately as "the existential adventures of Martin Nitram, an unpaid theatre worker engaged in an attempt to mount a cursed play, The Crimes Of Tarquin J Swaffe." The Strange Weather Lately comics ran for 10 issues until 1999, and were then collected into two graphic novels.

They then moved on to the Louis (graphic novel) series, which includes Louis - Red Letter Day, Louis - Lying To Clive, Louis - The Clown's Last Words, Louis - Dreams Never Die and Louis - Night Salad. In 2011, they redrew and repainted Louis - Red Letter Day and this new version was published in hardback.

Louis is, according to The Herald, "the thoughtful, sensitive, baby-faced protagonist of their cult-hit comic books. He's a lovely little thing - pudgy arms, round tummy, two hug-me eyes popping out of his smooth egg-shell head. Children love him, and you just know he could sell in his millions. Easy."(Wild, September 18, 2004, "Punks of publishing; Their comic books have become cult hits". The Herald (Glasgow), p. 3. ). The Washington Times wrote of Louis - The Clown's Last Words, "the bizarre storytellers chronicle the complicated adventures of a Caillou-looking character, and readers should expect more surreal shenanigans than they can shake a brick of Cheddar at. ... This bulbous-headed Gumby for the 21st century should appeal to the most unassuming of children and cynical of adults."(Szadkowski, August 17, 2002, "Books that give color to mankind's darker side". The Washington Times, p. B2.). Louis - Red Letter Day and Louis - Lying to Clive were also each published as a webcomic on serializer.

Metaphrog were part of a collection of 80 artists from three continents to express their "visions and thoughts on the oft forgotten aspects War" for the book Warburger published by Stripburger in 2003.

Metaphrog teamed up with the UK based record label Fat Cat Records in 2004 to create Louis - Dreams Never Die. For this, musicians hey (from Berlin) and múm (from Iceland) reworked a music track inspired by the Louis books, and Metaphrog made a special short animation. The result was a multimedia project with a graphic novel and cd/blue vinyl 7".

They have been commissioned to work on several projects, including an adaptation of the poem The First Men on Mercury by Edwin Morgan (poet) in comic form. On National Poetry Day 2009, 35000 copies of the pamphlet published by the Association for Scottish Literary Studieswere distributed to all Glasgow Secondary Schools. Other commissioned works include: Skint! for the Scottish Book Trust in 2010 and, in revised form, in 2014; The Photographs for Glasgow Life and Time to Shine: graphic novel for Creative Scotland in 2013.

Their work has been exhibited at The British Library, The London Print Studio, The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, The National Library of Scotland, Scotland House in Brussels and Dundee University. The duo travel extensively across the country to promote the medium of comics, visiting schools, libraries, museums, festivals, sharing their experience of making comics. They have given talks at Gordonstoun school, Glasgow School of Art, and visited international school in Europe.

In 2015 Papercutz published The Red Shoes and Other Tales a collection of graphic fairy tales. Their next graphic novel The Little Mermaid will be published by Papercutz in 2017.

Metaphrog are Patrons of Reading 2013-2017 at Northfield Academy in Aberdeen and were Writers in Residence at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2015. Metaphrog are the winners of The Sunday Herald Scottish Culture Awards 2016 Best Visual Artist award.


Graphic novels[edit]

  • Strange Weather Lately:
    • Vol. One (1998)
    • Vol. Two (1999)
  • Louis:
    • Red Letter Day (2000)
    • Lying to Clive (2001)
    • The Clown's Last Words (2002)
    • Dreams Never Die (2004)
    • Night Salad (2010)
    • Red Letter Day new edition (2011)
    • The Red Shoes and Other Tales (2015)


  • Strange Weather Lately #1 - #10 (1996–1999)
  • The Maze Part One and Part Two (1997)
  • Vermin (1999)

Short stories[edit]

  • 9/11 Emergency Relief, Alternative Press (US - 2002)
  • Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman, Abiogenesis Press (UK - 2003)
  • Warburger, Stripburger (Slovenia - 2003)
  • SPX Anthology (US - 2003)
  • Autobiographix, Dark Horse (US - 2003), Ediciones Glenat (Spain - 2005) and Kappa Edizioni (Italy - 2005)
  • Variant (Winter 2004)
  • The Big Issue in Scotland (Xmas Special 2005)
  • Variant cover art + illustrated story (Winter 2006)
  • New Writing Scotland 30 (2012)


  • Louis: Red Letter Day, on serializer(2003–2004)
  • Louis: Lying to Clive, on serializer (2006-2007)


  • Louis - Dreams Never Die (2004)
  • Louis - Night Salad trailer (2011)


Louis - The Clown's Last Words was nominated for an Ignatz Award, while Louis - Red Letter Day was nominated for the 2001 Ignatz Award for "Promising New Talent" and the 2000 Eisner Awards for "Best Title for a Younger Audience" and "Best Graphic Album - New". In 2011, Louis - Night Salad was nominated for an Eisner Award for "Best Coloring", was Highly Commended for the Scottish Children's Book Awards, was shortlisted for the Leeds Graphic Novel Awards, and was longlisted for the YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens. Finalists for The Sunday Herald Scottish Culture Awards 2016.

See also[edit]


  • Beadie, Brian (23 May 1999). "Comically graphic tales from the Glasgow underground". The Sunday Herald, p. 7.
  • Burchill, Julie (23 August 2003). "Weekend: THE GRAPHIC TRUTH". The Guardian , Guardian Weekend Pages, Pg. 5.
  • Mann, Natasha (20 November 1999). "Who to Watch: Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers". The Scotsman, p. 5.
  • Szadkowski, Joseph (17 August 2002). "Books that give color to mankind's darker side". The Washington Times, p. B2.
  • Wild, Abigail (18 September 2004). "Punks of publishing; Their comic books have become cult hits". The Herald (Glasgow), p. 3.
  • Paul Gravett, Graphic Novels, Stories to change your life, Aurum
  • Steven Withrow and Alexander Danner (2007), Character Design for Graphic Novels, Focal Press/Rotovision (ISBN 0240809025)

External links[edit]