Out of all the stunning and various paraphernalia I hauled away from last year’s BCGF, one of the books that clung most to my mind’s eye was the London micropublisher Breakdown Press‘s debut endeavor, WINDOWPANE by Joe Kessler. It’s hard to pinpoint precisely what element of the book was the most striking—Kessler imaginatively accomplished a spectrum of pictorial and allegorical experiments, honing a talented capacity of surreal coloring along with evoking a sense of storytelling inspired by such literary wordsmiths as Italo Calvino and Ray Bradbury. An ambitious work at its core, Kessler continues his pursuit of visual and narrative query with his follow-up, WINDOWPANE 2, an all new anthology collecting three emblematic comic tales, including a follow-up to his collaboration with Reuben Mwaura.
“Windowpane 2 is the latest book from 25-year-old London-based cartoonist Joe Kessler. Consisting of a series of allegorical comics shorts, this one-man-anthology showcases the developing talent of one of the UK’s most exciting young cartoonists. The book is divided into three parts: the first, loose and emotionally open, the second a continuation of the story of Reuben Mwaura, and the third a light-hearted study of creation and the artistic process.”
By previously launching WINDOWPANE not only in book form but also as an exhibition at London’s 18 Hewett Street gallery, Kessler has been able to seamlessly marry the kind of outlets that showcase the range of his distinct visual and narrative talents. His prolifically updated Tumblr presents a glimpse into the numerous stages of WINDOWPANE 2’s development as well as Kessler’s own creative process, an authentic mirroring to his quiet yet complex mode of storytelling. There was quite a bit of critical buzz following WINDOWPANE, as the book has won praise from the likes of TCJ and CBR, undoubtedly shining a light on Kessler as a rising new face in indie comics. With his recent contributions to SMOKE SIGNAL, MOULD MAP, and collaborating with artist Elliot Batten for further Breakdown Press releases, Kessler has had a number of comic work recently released, and thusly WINDOWPANE 2 serves as a documentation of his creative maturation in the past year. Almost double in page count, WINDOWPANE 2 seems to explode upon its predecessor’s striking color palette and dreamlike fictive imagery, and undeniably could be one of the more exciting releases coming out of CAB. Meet the man himself over at the Breakdown Press table—and be sure to check out some of their other artists scheduled to debut their own work: Antoine Cosse and Connor Willumsen.