February 12, 2014

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Koyama Press Announces Fall 2014 Titles

In an e-mail released yesterday, small publisher Koyama announced their slate of titles for Fall 2014, featuring four books aimed at adult readers and two titles directed at the children's comics market.

While these books aren't scheduled to be available until around the time of the Small Press Expo, it's easy to get excited about more books from Koyama Press, because the quality of their offerings is so high.

Here's a brief rundown of the newly scheduled comics:

Lose #6 by Michael DeForge
From the press release:
     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. 
My knowledge of DeForge is not as strong as other friends within the indie comic world, but I've really enjoyed the material of his that I've read so far. One of these days, I need to go back and catch up. I love the idea of one-man anthologies (see my reviews of Noah Van Sciver's Blammo, for example), so it's awesome to see more work in this vein.

The comparisons to Clowes and Ware are curious to me, though, because I don't think of DeForge working in their style at all. Regardless, get this one on your radar. It's going to be 52 pages, costs $8, and is scheduled for a September 2014 release.

Baby Bjornstrand by Renee French
From the press release:

     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.

Ms. French is another artist who I'm more familiar with from reputation than extensive reading, but I absolutely love the soft-touch style she uses.

The description of this one puts it at the top of my list of the announced release, along with the one from John Martz in the children's books (see below). This one is set to be 132 pages, costs $20, and is also scheduled for September 2014.

Distance Mover by Patrick Kyle
From the press release:

     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!

I'm completely unfamiliar with Patrick Kyle, but taking a look at his recent illustrations reveals a creator whose work looks almost like collages, but entirely drawn rather than collated from a variety of sources. While the figures remain similar, the colors and objects surrounding them change, often creating fantastical worlds that spur my imagination.

Between that and its sci-fi content, this is a book that definitely looks interesting to me. Distance Mover will be 188 pages, also cost $20, and is planned for September 2014, too.

Wendy by Walter Scott
From the press release:

     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.

Now see, this is the book that sounds like it's in the vein of a Clowes work, if you ask me. Of the four releases, this one interests me the least, because satirical looks at particular industries often fall flat for me. I generally find the humor forced or the jokes go over my head.

But not every book is going to be for me, and I trust Annie's judgment to put out a quality comic, so those who like these insider skewer-ings are likely in for a treat. Mr. Scott's book is 216 pages, $18, and will be out in September alongside the other three adult titles.

Moving into the children's books, I absolutely love that the image preceding the announcements is one of the Annie avatars picking her nose. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

I also note that both books feature cats. Want to get me to look at your book? Feature a cat. So please keep that in mind as I talk about these last two entries...

A Cat Named Tim and Other Stories by John Martz
From the press release:

     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.

The reference to Richard Scarry and the age level of 3+ makes me wonder if this might be skewed a bit too much toward younger readers to be all-ages, but if this is even half as good as Martz's Gold Star (published by Retrofit), where he combined 4-panel action scenes with New Yorker-style cartoon gags, then this will be amazing.

I really liked Martz's work in Gold Star and now I find he did a cartoon book version of "Who's on First?" I've got to get that one, picture book or no. This one might not pass the all-ages test, but if you have a youngster in your life, definitely pick this one up when it comes out. It will be 52 pages, costs $19.95, and is set for September 2014 release, though with a different market in mind.

Cat Dad, King of the Goblins by Britt Wilson
From the press release:

     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.

As with Martz's story, this one might be a bit too far outside the all-ages range, with a suggestion of 6+. But the imagination on display with this one and the mashing of concepts that might normally each get their own book (a Dad becomes a cat, Goblins invade a closet, and kids have a toad for a friend all are solid concepts) could push this one into "adults will like it, too" territory.

If you do have kids, though, I'd give this one a long look, too, based on the premise and the artist's style. To find out how a Car Dad becomes King of the Goblins in just 48 pages, you'll need $12--and a wait until September.

Koyama Press looks to continue its strong run as a publisher with these books. Will you check any of them out in September? Let me know in the comments.