A heads up about two comics that are now available for pre-order, both of which I've been looking forward to in different ways. I'm not sure why, but I find greater satisfaction in high-quality work when it's self-published or from small publishing imprints; there was a period earlier in the year where I read Frontier #7, Weeping Flower, Grows In Darkness, Soft, and Lovers Only all in a cluster that was immensely rewarding for me- it felt like a concentrated moment of happening. I'm hopeful that these two upcoming books from Yumi Sakugawa and Ben Sears, respectively, will be at a similar level. For now, here's a little more information on each, along with some interior pages (these should enlargen to readable size if you click on them).
I'm an affirmed fan of Yumi Sakugawa's work (Never Forget, I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You); this new book with Retrofit was announced last July as part of their 2015 slate, and will debut at SPX next month. Described as a powerful exploration of a piece of performance art, Ikebana follows Cassie Hamasaki as she embodies a Japanese flower arrangement, and then, trailing her confused art class, silently walks into the city, through a public utterly unaware of what she is doing. At 40 pages long, I'm really excited for this, not only because I'd be interested in anything Sakugawa does, but also because the subject matter and themes here look right up my street; I have a strange fascination with performance art, and its penchant to be especially pretentious and fascinating, and Ikebana looks both funny and ponderous in its examination of art and identity. You can pre-order it here.
I first came across Ben Sears work in 2014, via Studygroup Comics, where he was serialising his charmingly low-key boy-and-a-robot fantasy/sci-fi comic, Double + -which you can read about here. From what I recall, Sears began a second installment of the story in January on the Studygroup website, but there's been nothing more of it since. In the meantime, following his Tumblr as he posts illustration and commissions has been a pleasure- there's a special satisfaction in seeing artists visibly develop and go from strength to strength. So I'm happy to have a new work from him in the form of The Gleaming Corridor, a 44-page silent, black and white adventure. From the preview pages, it looks like it again features mysterious ruined environments and the chance of adventure within. You can pre-order it here.