Tag Archives: Indie comics

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/9

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

man of steel 2.jpgBatman #48 (DC)** – Can this wedding just happen (or not) already? Because all this treading water in advance of it is getting pretty old. Tom King churns out another drab “prologue”-type script here, which shows The Joker being especially brutal even byhis standards, and Batman more or less taking it all as a matter of course. Mikel Janin’s art is absolutely stunning — it always is — but that’s about the most I can say for this one. Overall: 4. Recommendation: Pass

The Man Of Steel #2 (DC)** – A rather lackluster debut from Brian Michael Bendis leads into an equally-lackluster second installment, and both the “mystery” of the new villain and the series of arson fires plaguing Metropolis aren’t doing much to grab the attention of at least this reader. Evan “Doc” Shaner’s art is uncharacteristically toned-down here, as well, and far more dull and conservative than his typical Steve Rude-influenced work. Fortunately for us all, none other than the estimable Mr. Rude himself is on hand to illustrate the back half of the book, and it’s downright glorious to look at — too bad that reading it simply isn’t much fun. Overall: 5.5. Recommendation: Pass

Dark Ark #7 (Aftershock)** – Cullen Bunn and Juan Doe are having a blast with this revisionist take on the Noah’s Ark story, and it shows on every page. Some pre-flood drama is nicely balanced against “current” (and quite major) developments this time out, and there’s a gorgeous double-page spread that you’ll ogle over for a good long while. It’s a brisk read, to be sure, but you won’t want to put this book down too soon, as the art is just plain stunning. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy.

Xerxes: The Fall Of The House Of Darius And The Rise Of Alexander #3 (Dark Horse)** – Frank Miller utilizes double-page spreads nearly exclusively in this issue, and results are mixed — a few really do pack that classic “MIller Punch,” but most are half-hearted attempts to capture a sense of magic that just isn’t there anymore. As for the multi-panel pages, as well as the jumbled and frankly stupid script, well — the less said, the better. Overall: 3. Recommendation: Pass

Mr H.

BM_Cv48Batman #48 (DC) So continues my on again off again love affair with Tom King (deep down he might be the one) After some dreadful dreck churned out the past few issues, he brings me back into the fold. This entire issue takes place with a standoff between Batman and Joker inside a church. Kings Joker has the ability to make you laugh uncomfortably at the carnage he causes with very interesting dialogue choices. Mikel Janin as always is so amazing that he really makes you feel involved in the events taking place. All in all it was very fun filler before the wedding of the summer and next issue should be more of the same. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

About Betty’s Boob (Archaia) – I work in burlesque here in Montreal and I have absolutely loved Julie Rocheleau’s artwork ever since The Wrath of Fantomas (which I cannot recommend highly enough), so I was very much looking forward to this about-bettys-boobcollaboration with French writer Véro Cazot. Let’s take first things first: it’s a mostly-silent tale about a woman who loses her left breast to cancer and has to redefine herself, finding acceptance and empowerment in the world of burlesque. Second: Julie Rocheleau is an unbelievable talent with a total command of the artform. Not only can she draw with stunning craft, not only is her storytelling top-notch, but her work – both here and elsewhere – has musicality. Here, she alternately swings hard, lays back, stomps, dives into pure lyricism, and clowns around, all in service to the emotional ride that Betty is taking. This is a bravura performance of the highest level. I wish I was as much of a fan of Véro Cazot’s writing. As much as I love the ideas in her story, she serves it up with too many side dishes and way too much arch Parisian-ness for my liking (and I’ve lived in Paris). What could have been simple and heartbreaking or really fun clowning goes on too long and trips over itself. There is so much to love here – the way Betty’s relationship falls apart, the fantastic idea of a burlesque theatre on a barge on the Seine (if this is a real thing, please contact me immediately) – that Cazot often gets in the way, like when a burlesque show host takes too much space. As soon as the script gets offstage and out of Rocheleau’s way, this book Lando-DoubleorNothing-1shimmies, twirls, and shakes off its veneer to show us its true heart.

Shean

Deadpool #1 (Marvel) In what feels like hanging out with your best friend, this reboot of the ongoing series feels fresh and even funnier. As we catch up with Wade on one of his hit jobs which goes too far as usual. We also find the Avengers and the Guardians trying to figure out how to stop impending doom in the form of Thanos. By issue’s end, Wade gives fan a long awaited peak behind his origin story but eventually steals from a rather well known origin story from the DC Universe, quite a sick burn. Overall: 9.3 
Recommendation: Buy

 Lando: Double Or Nothing#1 (Marvel) As a fan of the current Star Wars movie, I went into this book with hopes of seeing more of Lando with L3-337 and this book doesn’t disappoint. As Barnes captures the spirit of these characters from the movie, as Lando’s arrogance and L3’s ill subliminal is on full display in this heist story. As we meet Kristis, a Ray Donovan type character who fixes whatever for her clients. By issue’s end, once the Republic catches wind of the plan, our heroes are able to outgun and outrun some TIE fighters, as this is where the heist begins. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Black Panther: Rise of the Black Panther #6 (Marvel) We get deeper into the drama surrounding the volatile infiltrations into Wakanda. As T’Challa and Shuri are still coping with their half brother’s betrayal, they soon find another invader in their midst.Soon they find out that Eric Killmonger has broken their ranks and eventually unleashes Wakandan technology on its population. By book’s end, T’Challa neutralizes the threat and realizes much like in the movie, that barriers often become like prisons, and helpful knowledge must be shared. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Giant Days #39 (BOOM!) The girls go to their university’s career fair, and lots of jokes are made about the drudgery of 9 to 5 life. Daisy is inundated with job offers and private jet rides while Esther feels like a square peg in a round hole. This issue is Julia Madrigal’s last as a fill-in artist, and her characters are on model, but they lack the elasticity and pure humor of Max Sarin and Liz Fleming’s work. However, for the most part, Giant Days #39 is a fantastic satire of the bullshit that is job applications and has a cliffhanger that could be a game changer for Ms. Esther DeGroot. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

Vagrant Queen #1 (Vault) Elida is the scion of an intergalactic monarchy, but she’s cvagrant queen.jpgontent to shoot first, ask questions later, and make a profit. However, when the former owner of her ship (The proverbial Lando to her Han.) offers a deal to find her mom, she embarks on an epic intergalactic road trip with the Admiralty on her trail. Mags Visaggio and Jason Smith traffic in a lot of space opera tropes in Vagrant Queen, but a snarky sense of humor, Moebius-esque architecture, and brutal fight choreography keep things entertaining. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read

Nightwing #45 (DC) Benjamin Percy, Chris Mooneyham, and guest inker Klaus Janson open Nightwing #45 with Dick in bed next to Barbara Gordon. Dick and Babs have a highly, complex relationship so something is definitely off. This uneasy tone pervades the entire book in Dick’s narration and the bloated body of a drug snitch, who was completely and utterly doxxed. Nightwing is quickly becoming a body horror, cyberpunk comic, but Mooneyham’s Romita Jr-esque figures and detailed landscapes keep the story in the analog and old school like Dick himself. However, a high tech neural networked, VR rig could change all this, and the last several pages of the issue craft an almost insurmountable foe for Nightwing to “fight”. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Nightwing vs. Hush #1 (DC) Well, this is Batman’s bachelor party, and it involves burgers at a Batman themed restaurant. However, the Superman, Batman, and Nightwing’s interdimensional fishing trip goes terribly wrong when Hush crashes and gets caught in a kind of Limbo with Nightwing. Tim Seeley and Travis Moore create a study in duality with Dick and Hush anchored in Wayne Manor, but whereas Hush wants to be Bruce, Dick just wants a relationship with him. And this leads to a very sweet moment towards the end. Moore’s art is slick and pretty, especially when he draws Dick’s face. There need to be more buddy comics featuring Bruce, Dick, and Clark. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

 



Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/2

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Mr. H

amazing-spider-man-800-covers-mark-bagley-1112230Man of Steel #1 (DC Comics) So here it is folks, BMB takes on Big Blue and its……. ok. Yeah just okay. I figured he’d start with something more world burning but all we get is more on the conspiracy to eliminate Krypton and introduced to a new female face in Malorie Moore who is the Metropolis Fire Chief. Ivan Reis does a great job on pencils as does Jason Fabok on fill ins but there isn’t a lot to work with here. Also where the hell is Lois and Jon?? I am not interested in a non family Superman at this point in my collecting career. I hope they pop up soon. I know Bendis can start out slow and build something magnificent, but I hope this doesn’t turn out to be some uninspired Jenga piece of work. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Amazing Spider-Man #800 (Marvel Comics) If you read one Spidey story this year make this be it. It is not just a tagline, to not do it would be a miss. Dan “the man” Slott brings us to the crescendo here. Norman Osborn vs Peter Parker for all the marbles. Norman mixed with Carnage symbiote is more deadly than ever and way more ruthless. He goes right for the heart and threatens all of Peter’s nearest and closest. There are many good scenes in this one and everyone of the characters get facetime. There is a death in here that was beautifully written and very touching. Even though this character is gone. They get an amazing sendoff. There are many pencils all over this one, too many too name but not enough to complain. All I know is when ever I see Mark Bagley draw Spidey it makes my heart happy. This one had action, heart, and consequence. With great power comes great responsibility and everyone who touched this proves it. It was definitely make mine Marvel. I’m going to miss Dan Slott for sure. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Man-Of-Steel-1-2018.jpgThe Man Of Steel #1 (DC)** – So, this is it, huh? The “new era” of Superman begins with Brian Michael Bendis retconning some shit vis a vis the destruction of Krypton, there’s something about a rash of arson fires, and we don’t know where Lois and Jon are. The issue ends on flashback cliffhanger, never a smart idea since what’s happened has already happened, and Ivan Reis’ art is pretty generic, “New 52”-esque stuff. Bendis has a pretty solid immediate handle on how to write Superman, but beyond getting the overall tone right, there’s nothing much on offer here. Overall: 4. Recommendation: Pass

Grass Kings #15 (Boom! Studios)** – I was expecting a great finale to this series, and Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins definitely deliver with an extra-sized issue that wraps up the main mystery, sends off every character with an appropriately oblique coda, and even includes some last-second surprises that make for a truly memorable conclusion. Both creators put a lot of heart into this title, and I’m really going to miss it. Take a bow, gents, for a job very well done indeed. Overall: 9. Recommendation: Buy

Harrow County #31 (Dark Horse)** – From ultimate issues to penultimate ones, Cullen Bunn and Tyler Jenkins set the stage for what promises to be an epic wrap-up to Emmy’s story with an action-packed installment that ramps up the tension until we hit a cliffhanger that will leave you wondering how you can possibly wait 30 days to find out how everything ends. Crisply written, gorgeously illustrated, and atmospheric as hell, this has been a wild ride from the get-go, and I’ll be bummed out when it’s gone. Alas, all good things must come to an end, and this book has been a very good thing, indeed. Overall: 8.5. Recommendation: Buy

Abbott #5 (Boom! Studios)** – Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivela put their terrific little 1970s Detroit period-piece to bed, but never fear — there’s sure to be more. Yes, they spend a bit too much time setting up their inevitable sequel, but the main narrative wraps up nicely, the characters are all left in situations that are begging to be explored further, and the smart social commentary adds a tremendous amount of depth an nuance to the proceedings. I’m very much looking forward to what comes next. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy.

Logan

The Last Siege #1 (Image) A stormy night, a weather beaten stranger, a city at its TheLastSiege_01-1darkest hour. Landry Q. Walker and Justin Greenwood craft a lean, gritty medieval fantasy tale in The Last Siege #1 and spend the initial issue showing how much a badass their main character, who should be played by Keanu Reeves in a film adaptation, is. Walker doesn’t overdo it on the dialogue and lets Greenwood put their protagonist through his paces showing the determination on his face and the leverage he creates as he outlasts the hordes of the power hungry Feist, who want to exploit the young ruler, Kathryn. Colorist Eric Jones adds to the grim atmosphere, and I’m really excited to learn more about our unnamed protagonist and his leadership/fighting/survival style. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Hong Kong Phooey/Black Lightning Special #1 (DC) Bryan Edward Hill, Denys Cowan, and Bill Sienkiewicz serve up a jive talking, kung fu punching throwback spectacular in Hong Kong Phooey/Black Lightning. Sienkiewicz’s scratchy inks give the fights a loose, chaotic feel, and Hill creates a fantastic buddy chemistry between Phooey and Jefferson playing everything straight until the very end. The story has a bit of a moral backbone to it and explore the corrupting nature of power through the lens of a grindhouse kung fu flick. Jeff Parker and Scott Kolins’ Funky Phantom backup story is a funny, yet sobering bit of political satire as the Phantom makes jokes about Hamilton and is appalled by some “patriots'” take on the Second Amendment. Overall: 9.5 Verdict: Buy

Judge Dredd: Siege #1 (IDW) Mark Russell and Max Dunbar borrow a little bit from the excellent 2012 Dredd film by taking Judge Dredd off the streets of Mega City One and in an enclosed space: a block apartments that were created as affordable housing and were abandoned by the city. But whereas Dredd had a clean, minimalist plot, Russell thrives in the complexities of Mega City One’s society by having the inflexible Dredd team up with the gangs he thinks he’s going against versus the mutants who have taken over the apartments. Russell’s plot is an ever tightening noose as things go from bad to worst, and Dunbar’s art has some of the ultraviolence and darkly humorous background gigs of the original 2000 AD comic to break up the unrelenting action. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Blackwood #1 (Dark Horse)– What if freshman orientation other than being awkward as hell featured Lovecraftian nightmares too? That’s the premise of Blackwood #1 from writer Evan Dorkin and artists Veronica and Andy Fish. Fish is known for her stylish characters in Archie and Spider-Woman, but Blackwood really proves her horror chops as Blackwood features tentacles, monsters, and lots of icky fluids. In the early going, Dorkin makes all the characters hate each other and only creates a grudging, not even camaraderie through the strange phenomena they see. It’s nice to see a college/school story where everyone isn’t BFFs from day one. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

Patrick

conceptual heist.jpgConceptual Heist #1 (self-published)** – In three words: sci-fi art heist. Hooked yet? Writer Jay D’Ici and artist Matt G. Gagnon have been putting this out as strips online for a couple of years now in black and white and blue, and now (thanks to Kickstarter) they’ve collected the first cycle into a full-color comic. Briefly: Jemma is a cool-as-cucumber-in-gin-and-tonic thief looking to steal art from the rich, specifically Picasso’s “The Old Guitarist”. Now that the entire plot is out of the way, let’s talk about how much fun this is. First, Jay D’Ici is clearly having a ball putting all of these sci-fi security toys into the cat-and-mouse game, and Jemma is a main character in classic sympathetic cat burglar style. No baggage to drag us down, this is all about action and style. And what style! Matt G. Gagnon brings a 1920’s flapper vibe that is a perfect visual language to talk about the hyper-rich. His characters’ acting and body language is great, and the sci-fi setting never gets in the way of the action, it’s just the nano-particle-charged air they breathe. This is as good as anything being published by Black Mask, and that’s high praise coming from me. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: buy – or at least follow them here: https://www.facebook.com/conceptualheist/

Love And Rockets #5 (Fantagraphics)** – On the Jaime side, “I This How You See Me?” concludes (and provides the title to) Maggie & Hopey’s Hoppers punk rock reunion. Having spent nearly 30 years with these two (I’m a latecomer, I know), I’d like to single out Jaime’s writing here – going back and forth between 1980 and now, it’s a treat to watch how both of these women have both changed and not changed since their teens, how the world has both toughened and softened them, how their relationships to other lovers and significant others have both given them anchors and dragged them out to sea. And Ape Sex is playing in the supermarket. Over to Gilbert, and Rosy-not-Rosie, wandering through Fritz’s massive, empty house, watching the massive, empty sky or looking at the massive portraits of Fritz’s massive (censored) or lying in a massive, empty bed, or standing in a massive, empty soundstage. Gilbert is an expert at depicting this kind of loneliness, a void that no amount of B science fiction can fill. In their alien and arid Hollywood, only the passage of time and the turning of pages can change the hearts of Gilbert’s characters these days. Overall: 8 Recommendation: buy 

Blackwood #1 (Dark Horse)** – Evan Dorkin and Veronica & Andy Fish bring us their magickal school story, in this case the clearly cursed and haunted Blackwood College. Nothing earth-shattering here, unfortunately – it seems that all you can do with this trope is either embrace it or destroy it, and I have enough class prejudice against private schools that I’m firmly on the side of “destroy” and was hoping for the same from Dorkin. It’s certainly well-done, and for my money best when it focuses on the archness of main character Wren. Veronica Fish’s art is clear and lovely, just cartoony enough to let us in, but not enough to be a commentary on the Lovecraftian proceedings – which, I suppose, is my real complaint. It’s a very professional and competently done take, neither hot nor cold nor just right. Overall: 7 Recommendation: skip. 

Kill Or Be Killed #19 (Image)** – In this penultimate issue, detective Lily Sharpe makes her way through a blizzard to Bellevue to ask Dylan a question. What she gets – once Dylan realizes that the case is actually closed – is a full confession. And then the power goes out and the Russians show up. Brubaker, Phillips, and Breitweiser bring the usual excellence, and I have to single out Phillips’ depiction of Lily here – her expressions, somewhere between hangdog and guard dog, are absolutely priceless, and when she gets swept up in way more action than she had ever bargained for, the way she just bites her lip and slogs her way through is great. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: buy.

Stray Bullets #35 (Image/El Capitàn)** – Well, didn’t Vic Kretchmeyer just sneak up and steal the story. Sweating out withdrawal in a bad science fiction movie in his head and dragging Rose through that swamp, trying to ignore what the flowers are telling him while trying to protect the inside of his skull from Annie and the outside of Rose’s skull from Kretch, running off into the night through the parking lot of the Space Lodge motel with tinfoil hats… Another great issue from David Lapham. Could this story really be closing in on 1000 pages? Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: buy

Lazarus #28 (Image)** – From the letters page, Greg Rucka: “… the only response I can offer is the one that Michael [Lark] has said time and again – when we started Lazarus we were writing science fiction; now we’re writing a documentary.” Jonah Carlyle escaped the war and started a little life and a little family in a remote Danish fishing village, but now the war closes in on him in the most heartbreaking way possible. Rucka and Lark give us a place that is cold and grey and totally alive, a place that is centuries in the past and years in the future, where the Russians invade your screens with porn as a vector for propaganda delivery and suddenly everything around you is… well, is the year X+67. Next up: Fracture. Overall: 9 Recommendation: buy



Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Emerald Comics Distro Gives an Update on their 2017

In March 2017 we brought you the news of Emerald Comics Distro, a new indie comic distributor. Started by Anne Bean, Emerald Comics Distribution hopes to fill a “much-needed distribution gap” for independent creators in Seattle.

To kick off 2018, Emerald Comics Distro sent out an email with an update as to where they stand… and things seem to be good!

In 2017, Emerald Comics Distro served 49 creators and ended the year with 122 items in its catalog and worked with 20 shops in Seattle, Tacoma, Mill Creek, Shoreline, and Portland. You can find a map of all of the shops online.

In 2017, the distributor announced in their annual report that in 7 months of operation it has 49 clients, 122 items in their catalog, 20 shops, 1,477 total books put into shops, and $5,680 given to creators. Not bad at all.

In 2018, the distributor plans to expand into a few more bookstores and comic shops in the Pacific Northwest and also continue to accept work into the ECD catalog.

However, the big project is working on a sustainable mail-order worldwide distribution. This is still in the planning phases.

Fantom Comics Launches InkBot: A Monthly Indie Comics Subscription Box

Washington, DC’s Fantom Comics has launched a new comic subscription box focused on indie comics, InkBot! InkBot is a monthly subscription service that delivers small press and self-published comics directly to your door. The Fantom Comics staff scout out the best small press comics they can find, package them up, and ship them off to subscribers each month so you don’t have to spend your money and time hunting for them.

The store is hoping to get 500 subscribers to get the “kind of low printing costs that will make this work.” Once that number is reached, they’ll move forward and to make it happen, they’re offering a big discount through Indiegogo.

The box will provide the type of comics usually not found in comic shops and will give about 50 small press creators each year the exposure in front of the box’s subscribers. The box also will provide small press creators and helps the Fantom staff through a profit-sharing venture.

We’ve already backed it ourselves, so expect an unboxing video when we get the first one in our hands.

The Comichaus App Has Launched

The Comichaus App is dedicated to indie comics. For a subscription fee of £3 a month (£30 a year) you can:

  • Get access to stream and discover all the indie comics in their catalog
  • Save as many of the comic books offline as your device storage will allow
  • Search by title, creator, genre, and publisher
  • Discover more about creators
  • Support creators – 50% of advertising and subscription revenue will be split with creators based on how many times their books are read

The Comichaus App will work on Apple/iOS devices listed here, and Android/Amazon handsets and tablets running android version 4.4 and above. Kindle store availability will be very soon!

Comichaus wanted to create a model that was beneficial to the creators/publishers and one that would also be self sustaining. The adverts on the app are non intrusive but will mean they can generate income to go back to the creators and publishers, whilst also covering the running costs of the app itself. Members can opt for the £5 a month ‘No Ads’ subscription if they wish.

Anyone can contribute to the Comichaus database. Whether you want to add/amend data on your favourite mainstream books – or you are an indie creator/publisher wanting to add your own. For any new additions simply go to the top right hand corner of this page and click ‘add to database’. Once this database listing is approved your comic book can be uploaded to the Comichaus App.

Quickstarter Roundup: Three Comics Campaigns to Back This Week

Welcome to the inaugural Quickstarter Roundup, a shortlist of currently-running comics crowdfunding campaigns that are worth your time and money. If you have tips about current or upcoming comics crowdfunding projects, you can reach out at quickstarter at ckstewart dot com.

On to this week’s round-up.

MINE! A Comics Collection to Benefit Planned Parenthood

Top literary and artistic talents are coming together to support the constantly besieged Planned Parenthood with a brand new reproductive rights anthology. Mine! features stories from writers like Tee Franklin (Bingo Love), Rachel Pollack (Doom Patrol), and Sarah Kuhn (Heroine Complex), with art by illustrators Fabian Lelay (Jade Street Protection Services) and Devaki Neogi (The Skeptics). Already more than 50% backed with two weeks to go, and promoted by some of the biggest names in comics right now, Mine! is a safe bet for full funding. The project is up front about its communication with Planned Parenthood and what’s most likely to cause delays, meaning it’s easy to understand where your money is going, how the project works, and reasons for potential delivery date changes. Reward tiers start at $5, with a digital copy of the book available for $10 and a digital/softcover bundle available for $25. This campaign ends on September 15.

The Sun and the Wayward Wind

Managed by the Dandelion Wine Collective, The Sun and the Wayward Wind is a full-color anthology focused on reimagining North American legends and lore. This anthology includes some incredibly talented illustrators, including Ashanti Fortson (Galanthus) and e. jackson (Baby, Summer Fright Nights). Donation tiers start at $15 for a DRM-free PDF, which includes a digital wallpaper. This is the Collective’s first project, and they’re only at $8k of $32k with two weeks left to go, but the campaign states they have all materials and vendors lined up to start production as soon as the project wraps, and the sample art is so beautiful it’s worth at least chipping in a dollar or two for the lower-level reward tiers for a shot at purchasing the full anthology at a later date. For those looking for innovative and original indie comics to add to your shelves, this Kickstarter is worth chipping in for and signal boosting. This campaign ends September 14.

Gothic Tales of Haunted Love: A Comics Anthology

This is one of the safest bests in this round-up. Gothic Tales of Haunted Love is already fully funded and managed by Bedside Press founder Hope L. Nicholson, who has a number of high profile, successful campaigns under her belt. Gothic Tales brings together powerhouse creators like Sarah W. Searle (Ruined), Mel Gillman (As the Crow Flies), and Hien Pham (It Will Be Hard, an 18+ “choose your own gentle smut” graphic novel also currently funding on Kickstarter) for tales of heroes and villains, romance and tragedy, across worlds and decades. If you backed The Other Side anthology last year, this is a great (though unrelated) companion to that, with genre-hopping tales for romantics of all stripes. The PDF is available for $15CA, and the digital/physical bundle is a little pricier at $30CA but includes a 4×6 print and exclusive bookplate. This campaign ends on September 12.

Small Press Expo Announces Programming Schedule for SPX 2017

Small Press Expo has announced the Programming Schedule for SPX 2017. SPX is continuing the festival’s established tradition of rich, thought provoking programming featuring leading comics artists and critics in conversation. As in previous years, the Programming Schedule features 22 sessions with two simultaneous tracks on both Saturday and Sunday, September 16 and 17.

Here are some highlights:

  • Tillie Walden discusses her new work, Spinning, focusing on her decade spent in competitive figure skating, with Small Press Expo executive director Warren Bernard.
  • Jillian Tamaki (Boundless) and Eleanor Davis (You And A Bike And The Road) are two of our generation’s greatest cartoonists. Both create beautiful imagery while telling incredibly poignant stories which are thoughtful and evocative. With moderator Jim Rugg.
  • Moderator L.Nichols will explore the recent movement in comics toward exploring genderfluidity within a science-fiction context, with an emphasis on technology and utopian ideals. Panelists Jeremy Sorese (Curveball), Carta Monir (Secure Connect), Kevin Czap (Futchi Perf) and Rio Aubry Taylor (Jetty) will each discuss how their own work fits into this bold new vision of comics,
  • Gene Luen Yang has distinguished himself as a prominent voice in youth-friendly literature through his books American Born Chinese and Boxers and Saints. He continues to inspire young readers by championing diversity as the recently appointed National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Join us for a very special conversation with Gene as we spotlight Reading Without Walls. Moderated by Johanna Draper Carlson.
  • Join moderator Jared Gardner, publisher Raighne Hogan and an array of 2dcloud artists as they celebrate and recount the history of this cutting-edge indy publisher and look toward its future.

Additionally, several panels will focus on the cartooning into today’s political climate:

  • Tom Spurgeon moderates political cartoonists Ann Telnaes, Matt Wuerker, Keith Knight and Ben Passmore as they explore the role and responsibility of being a political cartoonist in a time when the freedom of the press is under attack.
  • In a world that seems increasingly difficult to satirize, come see how cartoonists Tommi Musturi (Simply Samuel), Aaron Lange (Trim), Sabin Cauldron (Maleficium), and Katie Fricas (The New Yorker) use different comedic tools to address the absurd, the awful and the just plain ridiculous. Moderated by Heidi MacDonald.
  • Celebrants and detractors alike are chewing on the fact that Donald Trump was elected president. Shannon Wheeler and Robert Sikoryak will help you swallow. In their books Sh*t My President Says from Top Shelf and The Unquotable Trump from Drawn & Quarterly (respectively), these two cartoonists illustrate Trump’s words for comedic effect and insight.

The complete schedule with times and descriptions can be found online.

 

Books Debuting at Small Press Expo 2017

SPX will see over 170 different graphic novels and comics making their publishing debut at this year’s show to start off the fall book buying season. This year, SPX will be held September 16 and 17, 2017 at the North Bethesda Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. A complete list of debuts, including cover images and publishing information, can be found on the SPX web site.

Here are some highlights of the new releases to debut at SPX 2017:

Language Barrier shows real meaning behind emojis, the subtext of sexts, the financial cryptography of flats and pumps, and more are revealed in this witty and wonderfully drawn collection. Hannah K. Lee‘s first book from Koyama Press melds elegant typography, beautiful illustration and trenchant text to make an acerbic art book.

House of Women from Fantagraphics is Sophie Goldstein’s second solo graphic novel, following 2015’s The Oven (AdHouse Books), which appeared on many year-end “Best of” lists, including Publisher’s Weekly and Slate. In this graphic novel, science fiction meets psychosexual drama when four women try to bring “civilization” to the natives of a remote planet on the fringes of the known universe.

The penultimate issue of Jason Lutes long-running series from Drawn & Quarterly finds Silvia Braun and David Schwartz joining forces to sabotage a neighborhood National Socialist outpost, while Marthe Müller says her final farewells to the city where she has come of age. And as darkness manifests in the alleyways of the underclass and estates of the elite, Kurt Severing glimpses the worst of all possible futures.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Behind is the 3rd collection of Keith Knight‘s nationally-syndicated comic strip the Knight Life. The hilarious new book follows the trials and tribulations of America’s foremost Gentleman Cartoonist and Star Wars Prequel-Denier, as he navigates family life, racism, giant spiders, and comic nerds.  Seen in such fine papers as the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Diego Union Tribune and the Boston Herald.

Acclaimed cartoonist Shannon Wheeler (The New YorkerGod Is Disappointed in YouToo Much Coffee Man) transforms Donald Trump’s most revealing tweets into razor-sharp cartoons, offering a subversive and illuminating insight into the mind of the most divisive political figure of our time. Whether you love him or hate him, this take on Trump will help you come to grips with the man and his ideas thanks to Wheeler’s signature mix of slapstick and sophistication.

Laura Terry‘s adorable woodland creatures return in Adorable Empire Vol. 2.  In their second adventure, they fend for themselves on the mean streets of Manhattan. Will they survive? Can they make it on their own? Will they be taken to the underworld by an army of giant roaches? The only thing for certain is that there will be destruction and it will be chockfull of cuteness.

Small Press Expo (SPX) is the preeminent showcase for the exhibition of independent comics, graphic novels, and alternative political cartoons. SPX is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit that brings together more than 650 artists and publishers to meet their readers, booksellers, and distributors each year. Graphic novels, mini comics, and alternative comics will all be on display and for sale by their authors and illustrators. The expo includes a series of panel discussions and interviews with this year’s guests.

The Ignatz Award is a festival prize held every year at SPX recognizing outstanding achievement in comics and cartooning, with the winners chosen by attendees at the show.

As in previous years, profits from the SPX will go to support the SPX Graphic Novel Gift Program, which funds graphic novel purchases for public and academic libraries, as well as the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), which protects the First Amendment rights of comic book readers and professionals.

Small Press Expo Celebrates 10 Years of Koyama Press

Koyama Press has been making comics and art books for a decade, and Small Press Expo is helping to celebrate their anniversary year with them with an incredible slate of comics, programming and a number of other celebration surprises. Koyama Press guests will include Connor Willumsen, Noel Freibert, Eleanor Davis, Sophia Foster-Dimino and more.

Founded in 2007, Koyama Press is a Toronto-based small press. Our mandate is to promote and support a wide range of emerging and established artists. Projects include comics, graphic novels, art books, and zines. We are known for our alternative edge and diverse range of titles that include a myriad of genres from autobiography to photography, from horror to humour, and more.Small Press Expo is proud to present the following programs highlighting the 10 years of Koyama Press:

Small Press Expo is proud to present the following programs highlighting the 10 years of Koyama Press:Kick Ass Annie-

 

Kick Ass Annie-versary: Koyama Press Turns 10
Annie Koyama has championed the work of emerging cartoonists for 10 years. As a leading publisher of underground comix, her roster features the work of many of today’s top names in the indie comics scene, including Michael DeForge, Aidan Koch, Alex Schubert, Daryl Seitchik, and many more. Join KP alumni, new and old, in a very special panel spotlighting one our favorite curators of small press cartoonists and their work. Moderated by Rob Clough of High-Low.

Koyama & DeForge: Lose, Everybody Wins
For nearly a decade, Annie Koyama (Koyama Press) and Michael DeForge (Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero) have been wowing readers with their strange and darkly humorous, ongoing anthology series, Lose. Join us for a special conversation with a celebrated, master cartoonist and an award winning publisher as we take an insightful look at one of small press publishing’s greatest partnerships. Moderated by Ryan Sands of Youth in Decline.Full lineup as well as times and locations to be announced in the coming weeks.

Full lineup as well as times and locations to be announced in the coming weeks.

 

Additionally, Koyama Press will be debuting its Fall 2017 releases at Small Press Expo, including Sophia Foster-Dimino‘s Sex Fantasy, GGs I’m Not Here, and Patrick Kyle‘s Everywhere Disappeared.

Sophia Foster-Dimino’s Sex Fantasy began as a loose, ephemeral zine that was produced in limited editions. These small comics in both size and length are esoteric and immensely personal. Covering a span of four years, the comics collected here build a relationship that is deeper than their elegantly drawn surfaces.In GG’s I’m Not Here, a young, second-generation woman wanders through her city and memories encountering the world through a camera’s lens; her independence pulled by the gravity of familial responsibility. She drifts until she encounters what could possibly be her potential self.

In GG’s I’m Not Here, a young, second-generation woman wanders through her city and memories encountering the world through a camera’s lens; her independence pulled by the gravity of familial responsibility. She drifts until she encounters what could possibly be her potential self.A keen observer of the absurd, Patrick Kyle’s stories in Everywhere Disappeared defamiliarize the machinations of life, work and art with droll dialogue and his angular, humanely geometric drawing and sci-fi settings that recall set design more than satellite images. Kyle’s figures may be foreign, his settings strange, but his stories resonate deeply.

A keen observer of the absurd, Patrick Kyle’s stories in Everywhere Disappeared defamiliarize the machinations of life, work and art with droll dialogue and his angular, humanely geometric drawing and sci-fi settings that recall set design more than satellite images. Kyle’s figures may be foreign, his settings strange, but his stories resonate deeply.

Anders Nilsen’s New Graphic Novel “Tongues” Retells the Greek Myth of Prometheus

Set in a version of modern Central Asia, Anders Nilsen‘s Tongues is a retelling of the Greek myth of Prometheus. It follows the captive god’s friendship with the eagle who carries out his daily sentence of torture, and chronicles his pursuit of revenge on the god that has imprisoned him. Prometheus’ story is entwined with that of an East African orphan on an errand of murder, and a young man with a teddy bear strapped to his back, wandering aimlessly into catastrophe (readers may recognize this character from Nilsen’s Dogs and Water). The story is set against the backdrop of tensions between rival groups in an oil-rich wilderness.

Tongues is loosely based on a trilogy by the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus, of which two plays are lost and only dimly reconstructed by historians. Key to the story of Tongues is Prometheus’ role as creator and protector of humanity. In flashbacks and in Prometheus’ conversations with the eagle and others, the book will touch on humanity’s deep evolutionary past and its complicated prospects for a future. Tongues is both adventure story and meditation on human nature.

Tongues will be serialized in large-format, full-color comics and self-published over the next few years by the artist himself, making it his most ambitious work to date. Issue one will be available for pre-order May 25th, 2017, and will ship August 1, 2017.

Upon the series’ completion collected editions will be published in the U.S. by Pantheon Books and in the U.K. by Jonathan Cape.

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