2D Cloud is a great indie publisher and one of the homes for Panel Pal Mari Naomi. They've grown in so many ways since their "Little Heart" anthology, and have worked hard to bring books both big and small to a dedicated reader base, recently using Kickstarter to help provide they money they need to publish before getting retail funds on the back end.
They've got another Kickstarter ending soon, and as of this writing, they're a little short. I know that it's hard, because there are so man damned good comic Kickstarters right now, and it's impossible to back them all. But if you have some funds available right now, I'm going to ask you to put some money towards this one, which features 4 full-size books, a zine relating to comics, and even an audio story told in installments, a new concept I think is pretty nifty.
So what's in this particular batch? The highlight for me personally is Mari's "Turning Japanese," her memoir about being bi-racial and how it impacted on her early adulthood. Here's the book's brief description from 2D Cloud:
In 1995, 22-year-old Mari has just exited a long-term relationship, moving from Mill Valley to San Jose, California. Soon enough she falls in love, then finds employment at a hostess bar for Japanese expats, where she is determined to learn the Japanese language and culture.Turning Japanese is a story about otherness, culture clashes, generation gaps and youthful impetuosity.
I absolutely loved "Dragon's Breath and Other Stories" and have been a fan of Mari's work since I was first introduced to it several years ago. Her work continues to evolve and mature, and Mari is definitely one of the premiere memoir-writers working in comics today, most notably because she's never afraid to give you the unvarnished truth. Opening yourself up to the reader is a key part of graphic autobiography, and Mari understands that. Her minimalist depictions always get right to the heart of her story, and this book should be no exception.
I'm unfamiliar with the work of Gina Wynbrandt, but if the title of her book is any indication, she, too, understands the need to be frank with the reader. "Someone Please Have Sex with Me" is another memoir, this one somewhat fictionalized, if the description is any indication:
Someone Please Have Sex With Me is a refreshing and wry look at sexual frustration from our young heroine and author. From failed erotic photo shoots and late-onset teen popstar obsessions to fairy Kardashians and pokemon-inspired future-sex, Wynbrandt isn't one to hold back. SPHSWM finds its footing at the surreal and hilarious juncture between autobiography and fantasy.
2D Cloud's third offering takes us to South America, as Powerpaola's "Virus Tropical" features the Columbia we in America didn't ever hear about in the 1980s/1990s. I took a little time to look at some examples from the book online, and there's definitely a back of the weekly, alt-comix feel to the linework and use of heavy blacks and extremely blocky body shapes. It's described thusly:
In Virus Tropical, Powerpaola uses a series of vignettes to transform the simplicity of middle-class family life into a thought-provoking narrative that would have been inconceivable prior to Colombia's sexual revolution. Focusing on the lives of a family of women in the 80's-90's, Powerpaola's tale highlights the excitement, danger, and struggles of a country in the midst of radical change.
Last up is a new book from Will Dinski, whose name sounded familiar to me....and it turns out that back in the earlier dates of this site, I wrote up a review of "Fingerprints" which I liked quite a bit. (You can read my review here.) It's exciting to see another book from him, and I can't wait to read it once this KS is funded and books are distributed. The new books is featured as follows:
Will Dinski’s long-awaited return to long-form comics following 2010’s Finger Prints sees not only a dramatic shift in style, but approach to storytelling as well. Focusing on the meteoric rise of a stand-up comedian as told by the people in his orbit, Dinski’s ability to create a layered, nuanced narrative is in top form with Trying Not to Notice.I can basically tell you without reservation that you're in for two amazing books, and if you back the Kickstarter at the book level, you're basically getting the other two for next to nothing, compared to retail price. Given that they both look interesting, in both content and visuals, I feel very confident that this edition of the 2D Cloud line is going to be one of their best ever.
The pledge levels are pretty standard. A few dollars gets you the serial story--delivered to your voice mail, no less!--while $19 nets you digital copies of all 4 books, plus the zine and voice message. For $39, you can get the physical copies, and at higher tiers, you can get a tote bag, a t-shirt, prior books, and even original art.
In this era of so many comics, it's really hard to keep a hand on everything being published. But it's notable to me that 2D Cloud is not only willing to take some publishing risks, they're looking to ensure that the next generation of alt comics creators aren't all white, nor are they always writing about America. That's something that is growing in importance to me, as I tire of reading yet another book about a sad sack white guy and his troubles. We need to ensure that the alt comics festivals of the future are a place for all of us, not just those who've been doing them since the 70s.
If you've got some budget room for great new comics by fresh voices and familiar names alike, check out the 2D Kickstarter today, before it ends. Let's get it over the finish line before San Diego Comic-Con!