Comics Anthology š! #17 ‘Sweet Romance’ cover by Patrick Kyle

Contributors: Aisha Franz (Germany), Akvilė Misevičiūtė (Lithuania), Ayumu Arisaka (Japan), Berliac (Argentina), Betty Liang (Canada), Dace Sietina (Latvia), Emma Rendel (Sweden), Ginette Lapalme (Canada), Heta Bilaletdin (Finland), Inger Zivana M. Torvund (Norway), Ingrīda Pičukāne (Latvia), Jesse Lucas (USA), König Lü.Q. (Switzerland), Laila Milevski (USA/Latvia), Liisa Kruusmägi (Estonia), Līva Kandevica (Latvia), Patrick Kyle (Canada), Pixin (Singapore), Raids Kalniņš (Latvia), Tomasz Niewiadomski (Poland), Yvang (France).

Specs: š! #17 ‘Sweet Romance’, format DIN A6 (4.1 × 5.8 inches), 21 artists, 164 pages, full-color, perfect bound, English, locally printed in Riga on environmentally friendly paper, ISBN 978-9934-518-12-6 , will be released on 15th of May 2014.

Get it: Pre-order here for USD 14.00 (worldwide shipping costs and a free bookmark and postcard included in price) or get a kuš! half year subscription and receive also the next three issues delivered right to your house.

More preview pics on our blog.

SPX TO ANNOUNCE INTERNATIONAL GUEST LINEUP

Tomorrow we’ve got a press release going out highlighting the international guests we’re excited to welcome to SPX 2014.

Some you may recognize immediately, others you may be encountering for the first time but every one of these talented creators is someone you should know!

Here’s the rundown!

Simon Hanselmann will arrive from Australia to debut Megahex, his eagerly awaited new collection from Fantagraphics, collecting the darkly comedic and unexpectedly moving comics that have earned him an enormous following online.

At SPX, Hanselmann will kick off a national book tour with Michael DeForge and Patrick Kyle; the trio will participate in a special live edition of the inkstuds radio show at SPX, led by regular Inkstuds host Robin McConnell and special guest co-host Brandon Graham ( royalboiler ).

Aisha Franz is a German cartoonist whose SPX debut and first book for Drawn & Quarterly ( drawnandquarterly ) is Earthling, which has also been published in German, French, Italian, and Spanish.

Franz lives in Berlin where she is a member of the Treasure Fleet comics collective. In addition to an active illustration career she has contributed comics to Pitchfork Review ( pitchfork , Kus!, Kuti Kuti ( kushkomikss ), and many more publications. Her second graphic novel, Brigitte und der Perlen-hort, has been published in German and French.

Yvan Alagbé and Dominique Goblet will travel to SPX from France and Belgium, respectively, with a range of work from the avant-garde Brussels-based publishing house Frémok. Alagbé co-founded the influential French publishing house Éditions Amok, which later merged with the Belgian publisher Fréon to form Frémok and continues to champion poetic work at the borderline of comics and fine art.

Alagbé’s new book École de la Misère, rendered in beautiful ink and wash, further expresses his clear-eyed, penetrating career-long investigation into mysterious desire and explosive cultural conflict.

Goblet, an early contributor to the Fréon flagship anthology Frigorevue, has produced a challenging and beautiful body of work that productively troubles the distinctions between fiction and autobiography, and between narrative and poetic image-making.

At SPX she will debut the groundbreaking full-color graphic novel Plus si Entente, a book produced collaboratively with German cartoonist Kai Pfeiffer. Working internationally, the pair swapped pages and responded to ideas, images, compositions and colors proposed by the other to test the possibilities of narrative within the comics form.

Exhibiting as Frémok, Goblet and Alagbé will also bring with them many works from the publisher’s catalog, including the award-winning collection of Kamagurka and Herr Seele’s Cowboy Henk comic strips (an instant sell-out at MoCCA) and the American debut of Kamagurka and Seele’s brand new Cowboy Henk book, Histoire de la Belgique (pour tous).

Mana Neyesteni is an Iranian cartoonist and illustrator for economic, intellectual, political, cultural, and professional magazines. He is particularly known for his work for the newspaper Zan and Persian language Radio Zamaneh.

A 2006 political cartoon by Neyesteni prompted riots among the oppressed Azeri minority in Iran; the paper in which the cartoon appeared was promptly closed and Neyestani was imprisoned. Upon his temporary release three months later he left the country and currently resides in France. He is the recipient of the Cartoonists Rights Network International award for courage in editorial cartooning, 2010.

His graphic novel An Iranian Metamorphosis was originally published in French, and will debut in an English-language edition from Uncivilized Books at SPX.

Publisher, editor, critic and event organizer Daniel Jiménez Quiroz is the editor of Revista Larva, the leading Colombian comics anthology, which publishes work by artists from throughout South America. Larva has spun off the comics publishing house Editorial Robot, which has published work by artists including Peter Kuper and Powerpaola.

Quiroz also co-organizes the Entreviñetas comics festival which is now in its fifth year and has featured guests including Gabrielle Bell, Ruppert & Mulot, and Anders Nilsen. At SPX, Quiroz will exhibit work from Colombia and will participate in a special panel about Spanish-language comics, including Spanish critic Santiago García, Colombian critic Pablo Guerra, and American publisher Scott Brown.

Quiroz’s visit to SPX is supported by the Ministerio de Cultura of Colombia. Many other international publishers and artists will exhibit at this year’s event, including London-based New Zealander Roger Langridge and Australian cartoonists Frank Candiloro, Matt Emery, Luke Humphris, Matthew Hoddy, Caitlin Major, Nicholas McIvor and Lex Sugden.

How about that line-up?!?

Kus!#15” by various artists

I see a lot of art books from a lot of major publishers, a lot of graphic novels and children’s books, but I don’t think I’ve been as thrilled and excited by any of it so much as “Kus!” (pronounced “koosh!”), this mini-digest format anthology from Latvia, with its beautiful, raw, often experimental work, and just the tip of the iceberg in regard to the group’s publishing efforts, as well as its exhibitions and workshops.

The 15th issue uses cats as a unifying topic, but the results are varied and challenging. Opening with Riga artist Martin Zutis’ graphically delightful “Inner Voice,” which uses slightly altered repetitive layouts of cats to create a chaotic psychological representation of a cat’s mind, the issue moves into the comic strip as reference book effort by Latvian artist Dace Sietina, which transforms the narrative of Teddy the cat into a collection of artful diagrams and data.

These really set the tone for the volume, though nothing from that point on is ever predictable.

Among the highlights: Illustrator Leo Quievreux and collage artist Freedox, two French artists, collaborate on “Les Failles de Mr. Zeng,” a cryptic and abstract bombast of dys topian psychedelia involving a cat; Latvian artist Davis Ozols’ “Lost and Found” is a beautifully primitive illustrated fable about searching and finding that pulls from children’s books; Reinis Petersons’ “7 Deadly Sins for 9 Lives and Beyond” is a simple primer in the worst of existence as experienced through cats, wrought in simple black-and-white med itations; and Polish artist Maria Ines Gul’s visual poem, “Love cats,” imagines falling in love and becoming a pet as the antidote to loneliness.

Though technically advertised as “comics,” the work is of a sophistication that I think the designation not only limits the appeal of the work, but also the possible venues. This would be more appropriately termed “sequential art,” in that the artwork is more than one picture hanging on the wall.

It is a series, and narrative is as central to them as some of the best installations, and with the same desire not to dictate what the creator brings to the piece, rather letting the viewer take it to heart and do the work.

There’s nothing in here, or any of the volumes I have seen, that would be out of place as gallery art, offering sequence as another dimension to viewing.

Issues of Kus can be ordered online at komikss.lv.

Here’s the comic I submitted to the kuš! comics’ (Buy their stuff! They’re good!) open call which, unfortunately, was not picked up. The theme was Villages, so I based it on the village where my friend's parents are from; the plot is a largely manipulated mishmash of stories he was told as a kid.

I can see why the comic wasn’t selected. I see a lot of spots that I really ended up wishing I had changed or modified and in the end it’s just a very rushed piece of work.

Eh, more reason to keep chugging along and slowly but steadily improving. In terms of both writing and drawing. Maybe the next one will be good enough.

Renata Gasiorowska’s Jungle Night is a lovely meditation on the difference between celebrating freedom and being free. Lili has been missing in the jungle for three days. Found at last, she offers the readers an explanation of her disappearance, rather than anyone in authority. It all begins on Jungle Night, a day that everyone in her village celebrates the way their ancestors lived. But Lili obviously wants more. Gasiorowska’s narrative is personable, hinting at levels beyond its simplicity, and her art gorgeous — dark and dense, filled with luscious deep greens. It’s a great work in a small package, and a copy can be ordered here.

š! #16 ‘Villages’ cover by Anna Vaivare

Contributors: Anna Vaivare (Latvia), Anne Stalinski (The Netherlands), Anthony Meloro (USA), Celine de Cadt (Belgium), Chris Reijnen (Belgium), Daniel Almeida (Brazil), David Biskup (UK), Evangelos Androutsopoulos (Finland, Greece), Gillian Rhodes (USA), Jana Vasiljević (Serbia), Kara Sievewright (Canada), Kawai Shen (Canada), König Lü.Q. (Switzerland), Lauri Mäkimurto (Finland), Oliver East (UK), Paddy Lynch (Ireland), Placid (France) and Sandra Rummler (Germany).

Specs: Format DIN A6, 164 pages, full-color, perfect bound, English, locally printed in Riga on environmentally friendly paper, ISBN 978-9934-518-11-9, will be released on 4th of March 2014, $14.00 (including S/H).

Read more about it on our blog and order it now!

mini kuš! #20Crater Lake’ by Jean de Wet

Jean de Wet’s Crater Lake is a panoramic portrait of space and time, capturing moments of tranquility, paranoia, invasion, rebellion, indifference and ultimately salvation-all taking place within a volcanic crater community, during an unusual cosmic event.

Format: A6, 28 pages, saddle stitch binding, full-color cover, inside one Pantone spot color, English

Get it:  Will be released in the end of November. Pre-order for $ 6.00 from our webshop (worldwide shipping costs included in price)

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