Here’s a report on the new London comics festival, Safari, hosted by my candidate for most-promising young publishing house, Breakdown Press. What makes an exciting young comic book publisher? Well, pull up a chair and listen to this bitter old failure preach it: Precise and adventurous taste; a sense of serving an actual community (not fake mascot- or brand- driven community); the discovery and nurturing of young avant garde talent; a strong editorial vision; a crystalized production/design aesthetic; an ambition to advance the art form. Besides Leon Sadler’s Famicon, I can’t think of another publisher that’s done this lately. Pretty much everyone else right now is struggling for an identity or aping someone else’s, which may be related to the profusion of festivals and avalanche of self-publishing concerns. There’s so much stuff being made, so few venues, and so few rewards that people are literally taking to the road to just get the shit out. Another beacon of hope for me is Happiness, Leah Wishnia’s enthusiastic anthology of comics and underground culture. I like the spirit of it, the focus on unique creative voices, and the ambitiousness of her editorial and graphic scope. I also really appreciate the low price point and sense of a localized community. Hey humans who read this, I sure would like some writing about all this on TCJ.com. Send me your ideas! Boy, listening to this Grateful Dead channel on Sirius really got me going. Howard Stern is in repeats, so I’m on my other medicine. Phew. Ok, back to your daily links…
Part of the UK’s rapidly exploding and thrilling mini and micro-publisher scene, Breakdown Press hasn’t gotten too much “groundlevel” coverage, outside of our own Jessica Lee reviewing Antoine Cosse’s J.1137 (Oh Jessica where are you? Report to base!). But they put out a print edition of Conor Willumsen’s Treasure Island (above), so they are definitely on the side of the angels. They’ve just released Cosse’s Mutiny Bay which sounds intriguing as heck:
1519. A Spanish fleet leaves Seville, heading west. Portuguese Captain Magellan is convinced of the existence of a South American strait that will expedite trade with the Indonesian Spice Islands. Months later, in a deserted and inhospitable land, mutiny brews, two men are marooned and the world explodes in a riot of hallucinatory colour.
Antoine Cossé’s most substantial work to date is a fascinating drama, examining one of history’s most intriguing mysteries.
And here’s a preview….Comics! It’s a Golden Age!
BONUS: and here’s a report on Safari, a small press show that just wrapped in London.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.