Tag Archives: Koyama Press

Hess’s House Best of Drawing From Below

I freaking love comics. So many comics. Too many to put in one single list. We all like different things. Some of us like big two comics. Other’s may prefer large publisher creator owned work while other’s dig the small press. I like all of that. I’ll cover my favorites from the different corners of comic book publishing over the month of December. 

For this week I’ll be covering Small Press, Underground or Alternative comics that I generally cover in Drawing from Below

KennyGamble1

So this is a very special distinction and group of comics that I’ve been championing since NBC has started. As Cosmo and I discussed on my previous post “indie” doesn’t really mean anything in terms of quality it’s only a factor of how it operates as a business. What is cool about the smaller publishers is that they can do intersting comics that probably aren’t going to attract a large enough audience to go through the larger indie publishers like your Image or Darkhorse comics. But the thing is that at least 70% of the top creative talent now started out doing these types of comics. Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Lark and David Mack all started at a small publisher named Calliber making crime comics. Jeff Lemire and Rick Rememnder’s first comics were self published. Even all time greats like Grant Morrison and Alan Moore started out in small indie zines that were popular in England in the 1970’s. If you like a superhero comic right now there is a pretty good chance the writer started off doing comics like this. Instead of ranking the books I’m going to highlight some personal favorites. Honorable mention to Private Eye, Theremin, It Will All Hurt, Black Church, Blue is The Warmest Color, Rachel Rising and Black Sheep.

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Drawing From Below: Michael DeForge

Drawing From Below is a space where we shine a light on the non “mainstream” work that doesn’t get shipped by Diamond but still deserves your attention. They may be the next Brian Michael Bendis, Jeff Lemire or Brandon Graham. They may be the next cult leader of the comics underground. They may not be any of these thing. But they are producing high quality work and are doing it without the help of a traditional comics publisher.

This edition is about Michael DeForge

3747778449_db17da4f08_oIf you haven’t heard of Michael DeForge yet you will be very soon. DeFoge has been creating comics for a few years now but his work is about to hitting critical mass right now. In this year alone he has already built up momentum with his published large scale collection of his in Very Casual, an Eisner nomination for his ongoing series Lose and he won three Ignatz award’s in every categories he was nominated.  Within the next six months DeForge is going to have multiple collections of his small press or internet ongoing series that will be available to anybody with an internet connection and a credit card. He’s been hailed by critics in small blogs, underground comics media, major comics news websites and even traditional media like the New York Times. His rise to relative acclaim is both refreshing and interesting because it’s hard to pin down what makes DeForge great. For someone that’s captivated comics high minded readership what makes his work great is more elusive then what’s found in traditionally great comics. He play’s with the medium in ways that are wholly unique, surprisingly refreshing but hit’s at an emotional core unexpectedly. I have a feeling that DeForge will be a big deal in 2014 whether he actually want’s it or not and when the inevitable critical reaction expands in all it’s different directions and factions it’s important to discuss why his highly unorthodox style is making such in the comic’s community and what he means for comics future.

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Drawing from Below: Comics You Should Buy

Drawing From Below is a space where we shine a light on the non “mainstream” work that doesn’t get shipped by Diamond but still deserves your attention. They may be the next Brian Michael Bendis, Jeff Lemire or Brandon Graham. They may be the next cult leader of the comics underground. They may not be any of these thing. But they are producing high quality work and are doing it without the help of a traditional comics publisher.

This edition is about Fata Morgana by Jon Vermilyea, Black Sheep by Diego Tripodi and City of Walls by Shuan Noel and A.K Lovelace

FM_HomepageFor this edition of Drawing from Below I’m going to focus on a few books that you should own. There’s too many great underground comics out there now to confine my thoughts to just one. Here’s three of the best that I’ve read over the last month.

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Review of Lose #6

jul141315by Michael DeForge

Michael DeForge brings back his influential and fantastic series Lose for issue six after an over one year hiatus and not only is it every bit as thoughtful and provocative but it might be the best issue of the series yet. The issue has three amazingly surrealist stories that each push DeForge’s style forward but it is the center piece that is most effecting. Called As a Baby it follows an aunt taking her daughter to a recital before her clarinet get’s stolen by “the mafia” and follows what she has to do to get it back. But the plot itself is ancillary as what makes Lose and DeForge’s work so powerful is the humanism of his characters within the story and the way they evoke emotion by reflecting our own reality with his own unique type of fun house mirror. As a Baby is really about what it means to “grow up” or “become an adult” if in fact that isn’t just meaningless but the way the story weaves around that theme is truly masterful. His dialogue continues to be head and shoulders above his peers in how sharp and effortless it is while his cartooning manages to run the gament between funny to frightening from panel to panel.  It along with the front and back intertwining stories on Canadian dogs as well as the short strips at the comics closing show some of the most insightful work on the human condition and the art of living as is currently being done in modern comics. DeForge is brilliant and Lose #6 is one of the best comics of the year. It manages to be like nothing else in comics while everything in it feels equal parts familiar and otherworldly from real life. Another fantastic entry into the cartoonist catalogue that continues his streak as one of the best talents of his generation.