Comics are art, never forget that. And while epic storytelling has been the staple of serialized comics for decades, it’s the art that makes these comics … well, comics. And a long-time devotee of the more esoteric and outsider veins of comic art is now putting it under one roof with a new publishing house called Youth in Decline.
Described on its Twitter page as “a publisher of lovely and strange comics & zines,” Youth in Decline is a new boutique publisher headed by Ryan Sands of the blog Same Hat, a proponent of comics zine culture and underground manga. Sands worked behind the scenes in comics for years, editing and translating manga for Last Gasp as well publishing zines like Electric Ant, the anthology Thickness and Prison For Bitches with Michael DeForge. The first publication coming from Sands’ Youth in Decline is an ongoing anthology series titled Frontier, with each issue devoted to a single artist.
“Frontier is a quarterly art and comics monograph series. Inspired in part by South Korea’s SSE Project and in part by DC Comics Solo series, each issue will highlight exciting and challenging new work by a single artist. The printing and look of each issue will change to match the style of art,” Sands said in a statement. “Frontier is focused on highlighting the work of up-and-coming talent in the North American indie comics scene, to introduce the work of international artists we adore, and to present uncommon dispatches from our favorite creators.”
The inaugural issue of Frontier will spotlight Uno Moralez, a Russian artist whose digital work is evocative of fellow artists like Junji Ito, Nicholas Gurewitch and David Lynch. This first issue, and the publisher itself, will formally debut in May at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Sands will be on hand with copies of Frontier #1, as well as some excellent-sounding limited-edition lenticular animation postcards featuring Moralez’s work.