Koyama Press' latest announcement arrived in my in-box while I was on my way home from Angoulême, so I'm just now getting around to it, but it's impressive enough to merit a bit of belated blogging.
As Koyama Press is a small publisher, the list is short: six titles all together, four for adults and two for kids. But there's some interesting range to it, and the books are packaged attractively and displayed in a way that makes you want to read each one for different reasons, which isn't necessarily the case if you're just looking at a stack of random art-comix. One thing I really enjoyed, as I was reading through their catalog descriptions, was their use of high-concept blurbs. "Richard Scarry and Rube Goldberg collide in John Martz’s whimsical comic book world." Bring it on!
While children's comics may seem like a stretch, it's one of the fastest growing sectors of the comics market, and one can see a niche for books that appeal to children and adults on different levels (such as Luke Pearson's Hilda books, published by Nobrow Press) and for children's books that are far off the commercial beaten track. The challenge will be to get them in front of parents and children who aren't regular readers of The Comics Journal. It will be interesting to see if librarians climb on board; that could be a game-changer.
Anyway, here's the list:
Baby Bjornstrand, by Renee French
Renee French's work is weirdly surrealistic and always interesting; take a look at the sketches on her blog (linked above) to get a sense of it. Here's the blurb:
Baby Bjornstrand is like a monster movie written by Beckett, and presented in delightfully delicate, and slightly diabolical, pencil drawings.
Baby Bjornstrand tells the tale of Mickey, Marcel and Cyril and their misadventures with an undeniably adorable, and mysteriously menacing monster. A wasteland becomes fertile ground for fantasy as the book’s graphite grotesqueries are brought to life by French’s adroit hand; her elegant shading seemingly wringing her wondrous worlds out of the page itself.
Distance Work, by Patrick Kyle
Kyle has a couple of Doug Wright and Ignatz awards under his belt; check out his site for links to his earlier comics.
Imagine Dr. Who as designed by Joan Miró and you’ll have a sense of this art house, sci-fi adventure.
Mr. Earth can move incredible distances in his improbable Distance Mover, a wondrous vehicle that reflects the fantastic world it traverses. He, and his young art-star protégée Mendel, explore culture-rich crystalline cities, challenge the mighty Council of the Misters, try to overcome the all-conquering Ooze, and much more!
Lose #6, by Michael DeForge
This looks like a big year for DeForge, with his Ant Colony coming out in print from Drawn and Quarterly and this sixth issue of his highly praised anthology in the works as well.
The sixth issue of this standalone, multiple award-winning anthology series by one of comics’ brightest young stars.
Lose #6 is the latest installment in Michael DeForge’s one-person short story anthology series. Hailed as the next Daniel Clowes or Chris Ware, DeForge is cartooning’s brightest young star, and Lose is a standalone showcase for his talents.
Wendy, by Walter Scott
This story has already been serialized in Random House of Canada's digital magazine Hazlitt.
Wendy is a sardonic look at the art world and its attendant creatives and creeps.
Wendy is trendy, and has dreams of art stardom — but our young urban protagonist is perpetually derailed by the temptations of punk music, drugs, alcohol, parties, and boys. Hegemonies and hearts are broken in this droll and iconoclastic look at the worlds of art and twentysomethings.
And here are the children's books:
Cat Dad, King of the Goblins, by Britt Wilson
Like visiting Narnia with a sugar rush!
Miri and Luey have a dilemma. Their dad’s been turned into a cat and their closet is a garden full of goblins. There is only one thing for them to do — grab their friend Phil the frog and dive head first into a wild, woolly and wacky adventure.
A Cat Named Tim and Other Stories, by John Martz
Richard Scarry and Rube Goldberg collide in John Martz’s whimsical comic book world.
In Tim’s world, a cat can paint on the ceiling and a happy pig couple can wait months for the bus. A duck and a mouse love to go flying, in a plane, of course. Every page is an adventure and each character is colorful in this collection of comics.