It’s been a big couple of weeks for U.K. comics publishing, and a lot of that might have to do with this weekend’s Comica Festival (a.k.a. “the 10th London International Comics Festival”). There has been a rush of titles from British graphic novel publishers of late, no doubt timed for a big push at this most art-centric of U.K. comics conventions (it’s hosted this year at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, and I dare anyone of a certain vintage to think of that place and not start humming this).
There’s a lot of great stuff out there at the minute that’s maybe not getting enough coverage internationally, so let’s do a round-up, shall we? There’s a myth that the American comics audience is insular, so let’s disprove it: These books are even already available in English, although their spelling is a bit suspect at times. Yeah, you heard me, buy a dictionary, limeys!
• The Man Who Laughs, the oddest of Victor Hugo’s novels, adapted by David Hine and Mark Stafford, published by SelfMadeHero: Hine has posted a host of panels from the book at his blog. I was previously ignorant of Stafford’s work, but these are some handsome-looking samples; they reminded me a little of the great Dave Cooper. Hine is always good value, and has a track record of making some genuinely unsettling comics (Strange Embrace, The Bulletproof Coffin), so this sounds like the perfect alignment of talent to source material.
Usually between all of the gang here at Robot 6, we’re able to pinpoint the great new things coming out in comics either when they arrive, and sometimes while they’re on their way. But one thing that slipped under the radar in October is now making its presence known.
High Times: A History of Aviation isn’t a comic in the traditional sense, but it’s definitely a comic. Created as part of U.K. boutique publisher Nobrow‘s Leporello series, this creation by the German artist duo known as Golden Cosmos celebrates the cultural history of aviation with an expansive art print done on both sides of an accordian-folded 54″ panorama.
Both Golden Cosmos and Nobrow are relatively unknown in the United States, but that’s bound to change. Last year Nobrow secured a U.S. distribution deal, and its epicly high-quality printing — and content to match — is slowly making its way into better comic stores nationwide. High Times is available on Amazon, through your local comic shop, or directly from Nobrow’s website.
Comics have been home to stories from various mediums, but this might be a new one.
The ambitiously creative UK publisher Nobrow has recently released a a comic take of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet by artist Ping Zhu. In this impressively inventive fold out comic, the cartoonist shows the performance on one side of the accordion-style book, while on the other Zhu shows the backstage antics. Here’s picture of the book, provided by the publisher: