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Zainab Akhtar

Breakdown Press Announces Second Book In Alt Manga Line: Masahiko Matsumoto’s ‘The Man Next Door’

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Breakdown Press, currently the most interesting outfit operating in UK comics, continues apace with the publication of exciting book after exciting book. Earlier this year, in June, it announced the launch of a new line of translations of classic and avant garde Japanese comics in association with manga scholar and translator Ryan Holmberg (who previously worked with PictureBox in a similar capacity), the first of which was Seiichi Hayashi 1969 'blues manga,' Flowering Harbour.

The second book in the publisher's alternative manga line will be Masahiko Matsumoto's The Man Next Door, collecting four gekiga stories from the 1950s. The book will be released to coincide with the London Cartoon Museum’s Gekiga exhibition, which begins on September 23rd, and will be available online at the Breakdown Press store shortly after.

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Tony Millionaire’s Sock Monkey Returns In New Adventure, ‘Into The Deep Woods’

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Tony Millionaire's Sock Monkey stories are a superb example of the unparalleled story-telling that only the medium of comics can offer, so the announcement of a new book featuring Uncle Gabby, Mr. Crow, and Inches the doll is exciting news. For those unfamiliar with Sock Monkey, it's a strange but satisfying amalgamation of traditional, old school children's books (particularly in terms of narrative style), ostensibly following the escapades of a monkey made from a a sock, a stuffed crow, and a creepy porcelain doll, but crossing into darker themes and horror, as the eccentric, superficial innocence of the set-up meets a very human realism.

Written in collaboration with animation director Matt Danners, Into The Woods finds the toys convinced that their human owner, Ann-Louise, has been kidnapped by a vicious monster dubbed the Amarok, and so they embark on a mission into the Haunted Woods to rescue her and bring her home.

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2014 Ignatz Awards See Johnston, Tamakis, And Goldstein Triumph

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The 2014 Ignatz Awards took place on Saturday evening, and were, by all accounts, a lively affair, topped off with a wedding in which Australian comics star Simon Hanselmann was betrothed to the medium itself! While what's referred to as the independent/small press comics scenes is by no means perfect, it is certainly more progressive, with the changes, representation, and greater equality that's rallied for in mainstream comics already present here to a significant degree, as can be seen reflected in the comics nominated, the nominees themselves, and the winners.

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Filed Under: , Category: Indie, News

Small Press Previews: A New Way Of Keeping Up To Date With The Latest Indie Comics

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One of the difficulties in keeping up with small press comics -- particularly with readers newly interested in the area -- is that it can be so bitty: a plethora of artists self-publishing with their individual websites and stores, independent imprints releasing books which aren't listed in Diamond's catalogue, and so forth. Comic readers are used to dates shifting around, but this puts the more of an onus on the reader to search out what titles are releasing when -- and that's if they're aware of the publications in the first place. So the launch of Small Press Previews, a website that brings together over 40 small press publishers, allowing them to upload information about what they're releasing each month: information, previews, where-to-purchase deatils, is a very welcome and useful resource.

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Filed Under: Category: Indie, Koyama Press, News

For One Week Only: Read Yumi Sakugawa’s Fantastic ‘Never Forgets’ For Free

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In celebration of her Ignatz nomination for 'Outstanding Mini-comic,' the fantastic Yumi Sakugawa has made the whole comic, titled Never Forgets, available to read for free -- but you only have until the 14th of September to take advantage of the offer, after which the link will be taken down. And take advantage you should. Sakugawa's a fine, fine illustrator and cartoonist, best known for her comic book, I Think I Am In Friend Love With You, and If you haven't come across Sakugawa's work before, Never Forgets is a great introduction.

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Filed Under: , Category: Indie, News

Hanna K. Draws Ultra Modern Teen Catwoman With Hello Kitty Accessories

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As everybody keeps saying in a rather dazed manner, it's stunning the amount of good to very good to excellent comics being produced at the moment, and I have a litany of fantastic and favorite people working in comics right now; a good portion of whom I've discovered via work published online. One of these is ace Swedish artist Hanna K., who you may know of her via her excellent Legend of Zelda comic which blew up Tumblr. Her Tumblr is the best place to acquaint yourself with her work: she makes wonderful, giffed comics, like this one, called Owl Cafe. She's also published a couple of books with Swedish publishers, Peow! Studio; Third Wheel, a beautiful, fluro-blue riso-graph tale about a couple of kids encountering a strange being in a ruined future, is due for a September re-stock. I recommend keeping an eye out for that re-print so you can nab yourself a copy. If you need further convincing, you can see a gorgeous eight-page preview of it here.

Here's another reason to love Hannah K.- this week she tweeted some pictures of her notebook showing off an adorable, ultra-modern, and very comfy-looking teen Catwoman re-design.

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Filed Under: , , Category: Art, DC

Geof Darrow, The Return Of Big Guy & Rusty The Boy Robot, And American Apathy [Review]

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Geof Darrow made a welcome return to the pages of the Dark Horse Presents anthology recently, in the first issue of its latest relaunch, with a new Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot story. Missing was Darrow's collaborator on the original 1995 comic, Frank Miller; in an interview prior to the release of the new short story, Darrow said he'd talked to Miller and hoped he would still come on board to write some dialogue, but it didn't read as overly convincing, so it wasn't a surprise to see him listed as the sole author in this edition. Needless to say, a Miller-less Big Guy makes for a very different reading experience.

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Elegant Ennui: Michael Cho Talks ‘Shoplifter’ [Review + Interview]

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Also a contributor to the recent volume of Batman: Black and White, Cho does a very good job with the characterization of his Shoplifter protagonist: grumpy, wry yet oddly affable, and smart. She's both a familiar and refreshing protagonist and serves well as a universal conduit for the emotions and experiences portrayed. I'm usually the first person to shunt the concept of "quit your day job, and do what makes you happy" à la Zen Pencils, Cho's an accomplished enough writer that his presentation of Corinna's decision to pursue her creative passion is more the result of a cumulative desire to change what isn't working for her, an acknowledgement of the problems she's having and possessing the strength and fortitude to realize only she can enforce a difference. She's under no illusions about what the future may bring, but for now, she's done enough to make herself feel better, and hopeful, and that will do.

Shoplifter's a short book -- 90 pages or so, and the concise length serves it well -- there's no flab here, no room for distracted interjections, no complaints. It may be slight, but it's elegantly executed, and I like the fact that Cho didn't feel the need to draw this out, the story's assured and cogent (although spending more time with the character would perhaps leave a greater impact on the reader). Visually, it's as attractive as you'd expect from Cho, alternatively surrounding Corinna with beautiful rendered city and then leaving her swathes of space; she's as lost in one as the other. The rose and black color scheme is a gorgeous combination that does much to imbue the narrative with a sense of warmth and closeness, and also to dispel any notions of otherwise suggested tone. It's rare that you read something so evenly handled yet characterful and uplifting, but Shoplifter manages it.

I chatted to Cho about the new Pantheon book, its themes and the process by which it was created.

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Filed Under: , , Category: Interviews, News, Reviews

Dark Horse To Expand Further Into Children’s Comics Market in 2015 With New Slate Of Graphic Novels

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Dark Horse Comics have announced a renewed strategy to expand the number of all-ages graphic novels they publish, with a concentrated push into the market for 2015 with the launch of four new titles: Rexodus, The Courageous Princess, Veda: Assembly Required, and The Return of the Gremlins.

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Inés Estrada’s ‘Lapsos’ Takes You On A Psychedelic Science-Fiction Adventure [Preview]

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Inés Estrada's psychedelic science-fiction epic, Lapsos is releasing next month in a collected, English language edition and it's something that should be on your radar. Published by Swedish imprint, C'est Bon Kultur, and debuting at the Helsinki Comics Festival, the new hardback edition is limited to 1000 copies, and includes the original series in addition to 40 pages of new content. Lapsos follows the adventures of two friends who discover the existence of various dimensions between their home city in Mexico, and the gradual realisation that everything is connected, it's marked with Estrada's signature gross-but-touching humour and vivid characterisation.

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Filed Under: , Category: Indie, News, Previews

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