With the release of their last few fall books impending, Koyama Press unveiled their spring 2016 line-up yesterday. Once again showcasing a range of contemporary comics talent, the slate includes a collection of early comics from Aidan Koch (The Blonde Woman), a new story about a strange, supernatural apartment from Patrick Kyle (Distance Mover), and a first translated work from the publisher: What is Obscenity The Story of A Good For Nothing Artist and her Pussy. That book follows the story/memoir of Japanese artist Rokudenashiko, who made headlines worldwide earlier this year when she was put on trial for obscenity charges after crowd-funding an art project which involved her distributing digital files containing 3D scans of her genitalia to people in return for donations to fund a larger sculptural piece: a kayak modelled on her vagina.
Koyama also announced new books from Cathy G. Johnson and Ben Sears, two cartoonists whose work I especially enjoy and am excited to hear of. Johnson's Gorgeous 'delineates the complexity of adolescence in crushed metal and starry nights. Ideologies and cars collide when a minor accident brings a pair of punks and a college student tumultuously together. Sophie has tried to stay out of trouble, but tonight trouble has found her. On a lonely stretch of highway under a star-studded sky, she meets anarchist punks in a crack-up of metal and emotion that proves sometimes the freedom of youth causes damage along the way.' Johnson also has a book upcoming with First Second in 2017, and it's fantastic to see the power of her evocative work -particularly where it pertains to younger, formative audiences- being recognised.
Ben Sears' full colour Night Air will be a 64 page book released as part of Koyama's children's line (inaugurated last year with John Martz's Esiner nominated A Cat Named Tim, and Britt Wilson's Cat-Dad, King of the Goblins). Due in May 2016, it features the characters from his Double + comic: a young boy and his robot, out exploring the wide world. Most of Sears comics so far has been in black and white, but short stories such as the one he did for the Wacom Pressure/Sensitivity anthology, and a recent Adventure Time back-up shows that colour adds a whole other dimension to his art, and it's something I'm looking forward to seeing in longer form. 'Plus Man is a roguish knave without equal, an antihero in his own mind. His coolheaded robot, however, knows better. This odd couple has just been given a break: a tip on a score of valuable alloy. The catch? The alloy is in a haunted castle. One really haunted castle. The boundless adventures of an unruly boy, his rational robot and their great gadgets filled with fantastic science stuff!'
Koyama are one of the publishers for whom I hope (and would urge) more and more people check out their catalogue and books. For anyone who appreciates comics, they're one of the very few publishers who you can truly say don't have a house style or 'type' of book/artist; their commitment seems to be to simply put out work that's interesting and very good -it's truly an artistically diverse range, from the alternative and experimental to humour, frenetic kids adventure, strip collections and beyond. I'm not saying that every single one of their books hits the mark for me, but they continually keep things fresh, take chances, and introduce me to new people and work. I really appreciate that they give so much support to younger artists, too. You can find further details on each of the upcoming releases at the Koyama Press website.