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The Way of Wizards - About the Publisher

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For more than a quarter of a century, Andrews McMeel Universal and its divisions, Universal Press Syndicate, Andrews McMeel Publishing, and uclick have helped define American popular culture by giving a voice to storytellers of our age. Through comic strips, newspaper columns, books, calendars, greeting cards, gift items and Web sites, this quiet Kansas City company has discovered, nurtured and promoted many of the bards of our time, including Gary Trudeau's Pulitzer Prize-winning strip, Doonesbury, which has become one of the biggest success stories in comic-syndication history.

Today, Andrews McMeel Universal is the largest independent newspaper syndicate in the world and an emerging leader in book and calendar publishing and gift and stationery merchandising. In 1997, the privately-held company became Andrews McMeel Universal to reflect its diversification into magazine publishing and new media. Every year, the company publishes the work of more than 125 syndicate creators and writers, more than 300 books, and a prestigious line of calendars and gift and stationery items. Andrews McMeel Universal continues to exert a lasting influence on Americanpopular culture.

"We're a talent agency," says John McMeel, chairman of Andrews McMeel Universal and co-founder of Universal Press Syndicate. "A special kind of talent agency, because the creators and authors we represent and promote are special kinds of people. The relationships between our company and our creators and authors— and our relationships with the editors, writers and artists on our own staff—are the foundation upon which this company was built and has succeeded. Without them we'd have no company, no reason to exist."

Inspired by one of Erma Bombeck's columns, Kathleen Andrews, vice chairman of Andrews McMeel Universal and chief executive officer of Andrews McMeel Publishing, says, "Creative people are like kites. They fly high above the rest of us, inspiring us and filling us with awe. But there has to be somebody down here, on the ground, holding the string, pulling it tight, letting it out, or the kite couldn't fly. If you let go of the string, the kite will crash. But if you don't give the kite enough string, it'll never fly as high as it can. That's what our company does. We hold the string—not too tight, not too loose. The kite is the creator. And the flight of the kite is the creativity."