Koyama Press just released its lineup of books for Spring 2015, and it's making me wish I had a time machine and not just to remind myself to skip watching the Simpsons season premiere.*
While it's no surprise to anyone who's become familiar with Annie Koyama and her small press, which has an amazing group of creators associated with the line, the most notable of whom right now is probably Michael DeForge. But among the folks who have worked with her include Colleen Frakes, Renee French, John Martz, Joseph Lambert, T. Edward Bak, and Julie Wertz, among many other talented individuals.
She's kinda the Canadian version of AdHouse Books, keeping to a small set of publications every year but putting out some of the best books you'll find each year.
The Spring 2015 lineup is no exception, and I cannot wait to read them and watch as the Panel Patter team fights to the death** over who gets to review each book. They're simply just that good!
Here's what you should be budgeting for in the early part of 2015. All four of these books should be worthy of your money:
A. DegenISBN: 978-1-927668-16-0
6 ½ x 10, 172 pages, b&w, trade paper
The description of this one includes a reference to Salvador Dali, and that's pretty much all the further you need to go to get me to be interested about your comic. When you add in the idea of Baroque-era superheros who fight among ruins, I'm ready to drop everything and pay attention to your work. This is easily the one I'm looking most forward do, even though I'm previously unfamiliar with the creator. A look on his Tumblr reveals some stunning, design-based art, so now my curiosity about this one is turned up to 11.
Dustin HarbinISBN: 978-1-927668-17-7
5 x 6 ½, 236 pages, b&w, trade paper
On the other hand, Dustin Harbin needs no introduction, at least not for me. The quick-witted and opinionated creator, with longstanding ties to one of the best mainstream shows, HeroesCon in North Carolina, has been keeping diary comics for quite some time now (going back to 2010) and this collection allows readers new and old to enjoy his musings about everything from his personal habits to anything else that crosses his mind. It's a mix of the individual and the essay, brought together visually with some of the best fine line work you'll find in comics. Dustin is one of the few people I've ever bought a print from, which says something. You may not always agree with him, but he'll always be level with you, and these comics show that. Highly recommended for autobiographical comics fans.
Alex Schubert ISBN: 978-1-927668-20-7
5 ½ x 8 ½, 52 pages, color, trade paper
The first Blobby Boys book was something I thought sure I was going to hate. Nope! Turns out I loved it, as Schubert channels the spirits of Dan Clowes and Johnny Ryan, bringing them together in a way that gives this series its own unique, oppressively cynical feel. I don't know if the style (a series of recurring characters/strips ala Clowes) will be the same this time out, but if the mean jokes are ust as mean and the slick art is just a slick, you're in for a real treat.
6 x 7 ½, 200 pages, color, trade paper
Last but not least is one that could not be more different from Blobby Boys, emphasizing the cute and teasing some three dimensional work from the cover. The promo says "In comics, paintings, prints, sculpture, and jewelry, Lapalme uses cartoons and junk culture as raw material to make “cute” subversive and “pretty” punk." That strikes me as something that might not be all that far from, say, My Cardboard Life, the long-running webcomic. Lapalme's Tumblr is a lovely mix of bright pastels, art in all the forms described above, and best of all, cats. This definitely looks like another winner from Annie and company.
Though there are no new entries in the kids line, this is an amazing and varied group of books that shows off just what Koyama can do. Now comes the hard part--waiting to read them!
*Seriously. It was awful. I hope for your sake you didn't have to suffer through it.
**Not really. Unless you think that makes us cool. In which case, we totally do.
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