The Beat is taking a look at some small press comics publishers and what they’ve been up to lately. We’ll take a look at 2dCloud’s latest crowdfunding campaign, Avery Hill’s upcoming publication of Scott Jason Smith’s debut graphic novel, Pow Pow Press’ Tiki murder mystery book, Shortbox upcoming comics and Koyama Press Fall 2019 and Winter 2020 publications.
2dCloud is going back to the drawing board after an unsuccessful crowdfunding campaign. Their ask was, let’s say ambitious, for a crowdfunding campaign for a small publisher. Especially as it had as much to do about settling previously accrued debt as it was about publishing new and upcoming books, some of which were out already. $85,000 USD seemed like too much for many, no matter how much one would want that company to thrive. There also seemed to be a lack of clarity on the campaign, the multiple tiers of rewards and the financial difficulties faced by the company and what they were doing to address it. Regardless, they ended the campaign early and released a statement concerning their next move
A few of the artists in the 2019 Kickstarter lineup have emailed us with concerns about the Kickstarter. Throughout the campaign, Raighne and I have been talking about contingency plans. $85,000 is a big ask. We know that our books are up to it but it was of the size that we and everyone involved were unable to support. (…) Doing this Kickstarter has helped us formulate a more realistic plan for the next two years. We will do three smaller Kickstarters and one direct sale pre-order campaign on our website. Half the books will be funded this year, and the other half in 2020. (…) Our new goals are based on printer cost estimates only. Our direct sales have increased and we are using that capital to repay artists and printers we owe money to. These next 3 Kickstarters will contain less verbiage and have only a few affordable reward tiers.
The good news here is that they understood that people weren’t particularly happy with their ask and they are looking towards making incremental steps to address it. There’s an audience for the type of avant-garde books they offer, let’s hope their new initiatives connects with that audience more. They are also launching some new projects at the same time.
Doing this Kickstarter has given us a way back into the comics community. Raighne has been at the helm of the 2dcloud Instagram and has started an IGTV interview series with cartoonists we publish. We’re also launching a new Medium page called Compact, that will functionally be a magazine. It will be used to showcase the work and people from our past, present, future. We will interview artists and small business people in other industries as well as this one.
I wish them the best of luck on their upcoming project and I’m looking forward to getting their new anthology Mirror Mirror 3.
Avery Hill is releasing Marble Cake the debut graphic novel of Scott Jason Smith. The book is set to be published later this summer and is now up for pre-order on their website. While Avery Hill is located in the UK, they have increased their presence in North America which makes ordering their books online (or finding them in book stores) much much easier. I’m looking forward to that release, the premise is intriguing:
Tracey dreams of a life beyond South London. Beyond her job at the supermarket. Beyond what amounts to now. But in a city where everyone is living their own melodrama, where people are disappearing with alarming regularity and where existence overlaps and separates at every turn, how can Tracey be sure she’s the main character in her own life, let alone a bit part in someone else’s.
Pow Pow Press has just released an English version of Cathon’s newest comedic graphic novel The Pineapples of Wrath. It garnered a lot of acclaim when it came out in late 2018 and is a charming light comedic murder-mystery. It’s described as a “hilarious Tiki murder mystery”. Here’s the description of the book
Set in the heart of Trois-Rivières’ world-famous (and perfectly fictitious) Hawaiian district, The Pineapples of Wrath follows amateur detective Marie-Plum as she investigates the suspicious death of her next-door neighbour.
While the local police believes the former limbo champion was the victim of a fatal piña colada overdose, Marie-Plum is convinced there’s more to the case than meets the eye. A funny, loving tribute to tiki kitsch and old Agatha Christie novels
I’m glad this book will be able to reach a bigger audience. Cathon’s sense of humour and artistic skill works perfectly in this book. Luc Bossé, the editor of Pow Pow Press mentioned their upcoming English publication should be the critically acclaimed La petite Russie by Francis Desharnais. A title to look forward to as it just recently won the “best graphic novel” award from the independent library association in Quebec.
Shortbox is celebrating their third year anniversary with phenomenal projects this year. They’ve already released a Cowboy Bebop and a John Wick fanbook, they have an artbook from Choo coming later this year and their last Shortbox contained exquisitely produced comics such as a new James Stokoe Kaiju-riff with a gold-foil cover.
They began announcing their upcoming books for their next box. The first one is a new comic by Michelle Theodore named Cavity, and the second one is Cry Wolf Girl by Australian artist Ariel Ries.
The ongoing success of Shortbox is wonderful to see. They carved out a very interesting niche and continue to release important and wonderful comics. Some of their comics have garnered a lot of critical praise and nominations for multiple awards. I’m glad to see this initiative is resonating with people and their books deserve all the praise they get.
You can subscribe to their newsletter here and visit their website as well
And finally, Koyama Press has announced it’s line-up for Fall 2019 and Winter 2020. I’d missed it originally, but they are publishing new titles. from Michael Deforge, Patrick Kyle, Ben Passmore, Keiler Roberts, Connor Willumsen and GG. Their line-up is said to be filled to the brim with stories about what it means to be alive in our modern age (…) Fall 2019 / Winter 2020 is a mixture of humour and horror, love and pain. The realities of being a part of society, and wanting not to be a part of that society, or being incapable, are explored by a collection of incredibly talented cartoonists of varying style and authorial voices in a season we can’t wait for you to see.
You can find all of their release over at their website here or see it below.
I still can’t believe Koyama Press will be shutting its doors in 2021. Their departure will leave an enormous hole in the small press community. Let’s enjoy the unique books they put out in the meantime.
6 x 8”, 48 pages, full colour, trade paper
The author of I’m Not Here turns their lens inward on anxiety and the inescapable ghosts within.
A poetic meditation rendered in beautiful pastels and black line on managing and struggling to get through the small tasks of every day. The claustrophobia of thought and the crippling of anxiety make any house haunted, any body possessed.
GG lives and works in the small Canadian prairie city where she grew up during the 1980s. In this pre-Internet era, isolated geographically and culturally, drawing and making up stories was the means to connect to something more. It was romantic and lonely. She made her major publishing debut in 2017 with I’m Not Here.
BRADLEY OF HIM
8.5 x 11”, 80 pages, spot colour, trade paper
Bradley’s gone running for a role, but his life is as hazy as a hot- road mirage.
A somewhat familiar method actor prepares for a role as long-runner under the heat and bright lights of a near future Las Vegas. The lines between character and actor are blurring under the verisimilitude of the Vegas strip, the desert sun and the impossibly shiny surface of Bradley’s shades.
CONNOR WILLUMSEN is a Montreal-based artist originally from Calgary, AB, where he received a design degree at The Alberta College of Art. He began making comics while attending the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Since then, he has drawn stories for Marvel, DC and Dynamite and illustrated the covers for Criterion editions of David Cronenberg’s Scanners and Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing. His Koyama Press debut Anti-Gone was nominated for the 2018 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Graphic Novel.
8 x 3.25”, 72 pages, two-colour, trade paper
A stunt double is hired by an actor to serve as his doppelgänger in order to sabotage his career.
Seeing your double is often viewed as an ill omen, a portent of bad luck, and an harbinger of death. Hiring a professional double, an actor spurs on his own demise as he and his double explore the depths of degradation and self-destruction.
MICHAEL DEFORGE lives and works in Toronto, ON as a cartoonist and commercial illustrator. His one-person anthology series Lose has received great critical and commercial success, having been nominated for every major comics award including the Ignatz and Eisner Awards.
7 x 9”, 124 pages, b&w, trade paper
Keiler Roberts is a droll documentarian, unfaltering in her ability to find humour and levity in her life’s unflattering moments.
Pet deaths and parenting, embarrassing childhood memories and mental illness, Roberts documents her daily life’s minutiae, its up and downs, with the deftness of an observational comedian. Her comics demonstrate that sometimes life can deal you a punch to the gut, but it doesn’t have to be devoid of a punch line.
KEILER ROBERTS is a Chicago-based artist whose autobiographical comic series Powdered Milk has received an Ignatz Award for Outstanding Series, and her work has been included in The Best American Comics. Her first book with Koyama Press, Sunburning, was published in 2017, followed by Chlorine Gardens in 2018.
THE DEATH OF THE MASTER
6.75 x 8.5”, 224 pages, b&w, trade paper
An absurdist, art brut rumination on society’s structures presented in Patrick Kyle’s singular style.
After the sudden death of a beloved patriarch who promised eternal life to his followers, a topsy-turvy society attempts to reconcile the deluded teachings of their late leader with the harsh reality he left behind.
PATRICK KYLE lives and works in Toronto, ON. He is the author of the graphic novels Black Mass (2012), Distance Mover (2014), Don’t Come In Here (2016), Everywhere Disappeared (2017), and Roaming Foliage (2018). At the 2016 Doug Wright Awards, he won the Pigskin Peters Award for New Comics #6 and 7.
SPORTS IS HELL
8.5 x 11”, 60 pages, two-colour, trade paper
Some wars are for religion and some are for political belief, but this one is for football.
After her city wins the Super Bowl for the first time, Tea is separated from her friend during a riot and joins a small clique fighting its way through armed groups of football fanatics to meet a star receiver that just might end the civil war or become the city’s new oppressive leader.
BEN PASSMORE is a Philadelphia, PA based cartoonist and illustrator best known for his award-winning comic Your Black Friend (Silver Sprocket), which deftly tackles issues of racism, identity and alienation, and was adapted into a short animated film. His political cartooning appears in The Nib, and he is the cartoonist behind the post-apocalyptic series Daygloahole (Silver Sprocket). He will be partnering with Ezra Claytan Daniels (Upgrade Soul) to bring the body horrific BTTM FDRS (Fantagraphics).