A few days ago the second number of the new UK mag and e-zine “Off Life” made its appearance on-line, again to fulfill our increasing Brit (and international) comic addiction…. and for the pleasure of Bristolians & Londonites.
Ok ok, they’re mostly pretty well-known names from the indie scene… for now. But hey, pretty much any artist can submit their work to be published in upcoming numbers (btw, the next issue will be out by mid-Feb 2013 and submissions are open until next month) and thousands of people will be taking notice of your artwork off & on-line.
The arrival of a new zine is always good news, especially if it’s made available for free on the Internet too.
Every year around November we get to know the few lucky (although “few” is usually a generous “few”) selected works who shall be competing for the next edition of the Angouleme festival. For 2013 they’ve been less generous though… only 32 books have been selected to fight in the official category for one of the 4 coveted cats (aka “Fauves”, Best album, Jury prize, revelation and series).
BTTA compiles most of Tom’s work from MOME but as most of his work was in b&w BTTA has a colored flavor being printed in two-colors throughout with a different Pantone color for each story. Plus, “The New,” a fresh story created expressly for this book which also happens to be his longest story to date.
“The New” is set in an unnamed third-world megalopolis, the city creaks under the pressure of explosive growth. Whole districts are built in a week. The story follows an internationally renowned starchitect as he struggles to impose his vision on the metropolis. A vision threatened by the massive dispossessed slum-proletariat inhabiting the slums and favelas on the edges of the city. From the fetid ferment of garbage dumps and shanties emerges a new feral architecture.
American political cartoonist and Pulitzer nominee Matt Bors is currently trying luck in the crowdfunding space by launching a book publishing adventure with a collection of his best political cartoons and essays. And because he doesn’t have a $250 million fortune and the political cartooning freelance market isn’t as stable as it used to be, crowdfunding seems the only way. Well guess what.. he has just succeeded a few hours ago!
But $25K is only the first step. As it usually happens with other successful campaigns, stretch goals get bigger and bigger to make the projects more “awesome and awesome”. In the case of Matt it will simply help to print a second collection of his works… (or even get him to poop his pants!). And because there’s never enough political satire in this world we thought you may want to grab one of his pdfs or printed copies, filled with robot death planes, avenging uterus or spoiled new generations. More info on his KS page.
The UK may not have such a big comic market as France has but it goes without saying that it’s just a matter of time before all this existing and emerging talent weave a real industry… time for some great publishers like Blank Slate, NoBrow or Myriad to get big, and initiatives like the new British Comic Awards can only help and encourage artists & publishers to get better.
The nominees of this freshly created initiative that “celebrates the very best in British comics” were just announced yesterday, not that many surprises but some real good stuff within the emerging talent category.
As you’ve probably read before, for this first edition there are 5 award categories: Best Comic, Best book,Young People’s Comic Award, Emerging talent & Hall of Fame… and while the winners won’t be announced until next November @ the Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival we already have some favorites.
From the always minimalistic meticulousness of Tom Gauld‘s ungraceful characters to the extremely talented Will Kirkby whose creatures sometimes remind us of the best Mignola, there is a lot of good art competing. Worth mentioning and stopping by at every single artists’ webpages, but ourselves we highly encourage you to stop by Louis Roskosch, Kristyna Baczynski or Joe Decie (on top of Tom or Will of course).
Those are just a few examples of this year’s nominated talent, the rest of the nominees and much more info on their web page.
Rather than publishing books for kids that can be read by adults… we need more adult-only content these days, and even though it was released a couple of months ago, we just got to know Blackie Books’ activity book for adults.
When we were kids there were the Santillana activity books for Spanish kids, now there’s this “Cuaderno” created by Daniel López Valle (text) & Cristóbal Fortúnez (illustrations) from the Barcelona-based firm Blackie Books with a defined indie style ala Le Believer, 100 pages filled with crosswords, riddles and an endless list of cultural (mainly pop) challenges… which Institute Marty McFly attended to? how many women has Charlie Sheen slept with? What could he have done with all that time? Can you make a fire out of a potato?
All in all over 150 problems & questions to solve … and hundreds of celebrities mixed in mashed in this new adventure… only for adults. Unfortunately this original initiative, born from the success of their previous project “End of the world agenda” is Spanish-only for now and we’ll have to wait until 2013 to see the release of the next number. 12€ and can be bought this way.
The first is always the most exciting (or it’s supposed to be), but at the same time it’s usually the hardest one.
So even if the people @ Nobrow are well known for publishing some of the best current artists in the comic scene, organizing such an ambitious festival is a completely different thing. But this is what they have in mind for this summer so… we won’t be the ones spoiling their ambition.
In fact, we’re here to remind you that ELCAF (East London Comic & Arts Festival), as still in the “building” phase, are looking for partners, artists, shopkeepers (you can be both at the same time) and whoever can provide & sell not only amazing material but also a few funny stories to tell entertain potential customers while flipping through your weird comics, and a big big smile (although you’ll have to pay a fee if willing to have a desk of course).
The whole festival program, details of the artists, talks and more have yet to be unveiled, but one thing is sure… they’re be reviving the cartoon jamming exercise that the TV series Tac Au Tac put in place in the 70s for some of the most famous Belgian BD artists… André Franquin, Morris, Peyo & Jean Roba.
We’re anxiously awaiting for the full details of the program, so as soon as we know more, will give it an events posting and let you know… for now (or more info for being part of the event), just head to their page.
Our latest chosen supported project comes directly from Philadelphia… from the head of Box Brown (guy behind Bellen!),who is willing to create his own publishing house for some great zine-style (he calls it floppy-style) comics: “Retrofit Comics“.
His objective for next September is to start publishing 17 32-page floppy-style comics by “17 of the best comic artists in the business” (initially 12, one per month, but seems like many artists wanted to join the project).
And as Mr Brown puts it himself indie comic houses are quite rare these days, especially with the digital invasion, most artists have their flickr, their tumblr … and dont’ even bother publishing on zines no-more. That leaves “us” fans without those genuine collectable treasures “Graphic novels have taken over the alt-comics industry as a natural progression. It’s worked out well for fans and publishers, but the floppy comic has fallen by the wayside. Drawn and Quarterly, Top Shelf, and Fantagraphics used to publish lots of floppy comics but now, for a variety of reasons, they do not. Retrofit aims to highlight the importance of the floppy comic to retailers, fans, and the industry”.
The argument is pretty straightforward: cheap books for retailers with a frequent publication and also a very affordable way for readers not willing to drop $20 on a book (most times much more).
Collectively these artists have won Harveys, Ignatzes, Xerics and been nominated for Eisner Awards!
Box & Co aim to publish floppy alt-comics and fill the hole left by Fantagraphics Books, Top Shelf Comix, and Drawn and Quarterly try and revitalize the floppy comic format as a publisher…. will their great works be enough to get new kids on board or is it too late for the digital generation to discover indie zines?
Regardless of the future of the industry we think this project deserves some support, so for more info (get to know the rest of the artists) or if you’re willing to give a few $$ for this crowdfunded zine, it’s this way!