Independent comics publisher Body Parts has just launched a crowdfunder for its first anthology, The Seas, on Kickstarter, which I’ve had a sneak peek at – and it looks great. Offering new strips by a diverse range of international creators, The Seas features new work by acclaimed artist Gareth Hopkins – and the first new comics work by acclaimed illustrator Ian Miller since 1994.
Exploring the theme of the experience of being an individual drop in the sea of humanity, The Seas offers strips that range from the beautiful cartooning of Motobus and Zeno to fully abstract work by Gareth Hopkins.
The Seas also features strips by Dave Crane, Sophie Ell, iestyn, Jaime Nyx, Miranda Smart, Simon Russell, Vacuum Books and Mister Zinester.
Designed and printed to be a beautiful object as much as it is a joy to read, The Seas contains 49 story pages in an A5, landscape format with colour throughout, offering confessional stories through to science fiction. The talented creators featured range from the seasoned to fresh faced, delving into the personal thoughts of twelve humans to open your mind and please your eyes.
“Many seek the solution to isolationism and bigotry with big answers,” says The Seas editor, Iestyn Pettigrew, a maker of zines often focusing on mental health or illustration. “The Seas quietly makes the point that being different makes things exciting for us all.
“Each creator was asked to express something of their self to the world; maybe an interest, maybe their spirit or maybe just a little memory of being by The Seas. Everyone delivered something personal so that, for just a moment, you can see and feel as if you were someone else,” Iestyn continues. “From the simple pleasures of a trip, to the dark moments of barely controlled rage, all life is dealt with in this anthology of brand-new work.”
Publisher Body Parts is committed to the principle of giving as much back to the contributors as possible. Along with every penny of profit being split evenly by page contributed to The Seas, each tier has a matching option to pay an additional amount to go straight to the creators.
As regular downthetubes readers know, I’m a sucker for anthology books, be they experimental, action adventure or otherwise. The Seas offers a smashing range of strips and creators, stretching the limits of its premise to the full. Do give it a look.
THE SEAS: THE CREATORS
Ian Miller – The cult fantasy illustrator returns to comics for the first time since 1994’s The City, with a style familiar to those fans of his current illustration, but new to those who know his work from 25 years ago.
Dave Crane – UK small press creator Dave Crane produces lush illustrations that immerse the viewer in a new way of seeing. Dave’s work presents the experience, so that you feel like you’re there in the page.
Mister Zinester – Working out of Singapore, Mister Zinester produces all manner of carefully crafted zines and comics; all with a great sense of wit and joy.
Gareth Hopkins – A mainstay of the UK small press scene, Gareth Hopkins creates abstract and confessional comics that touch the heart of being human.
As well as his own comics, his work has featured in several anthologies, including Douglas Noble’s award-winning Jazz Creepers.
iestyn – Editor of The Seas anthology, iestyn is a maker of zines focusing on mental health or illustration, his approach to each project is as mercurial, as fluid as the seas themselves. Or you could just call him fickle.
Miranda Smart – A UK small press creator and recent contributor to Heavy Metal magazine, Miranda Smart uses an abstract, colour saturated approach to story-telling that is strongly reminiscent of 1960’s psychedelic and paperback cover art. Her stories tell personal stories as abstract metaphors.
Sophie Ell – A US resident and citizen of the world, Sophie Ell, who is currently at work on her debut graphic novel, draws from her heart and experiences to make beautiful illustrations and tell fascinating stories.
Vacuum Books – A US small press creator, Vacuum Books normally bring their singular style to small run, handmade books. Beautifully succinct illustrations belie the emotional heft that these stories manage to deliver.
Jaime Nyx – A US ex-pat now living in Australia, Jaime Nyx is more well known as Seagreen Zines; writing, distro’ing and even running a review channel all about zines. Her writing is always personal and heartfelt.
Zeno the Cartoonist – Mysterious and enigmatic, all you need to know is there in the line and the story. With such excellence, who needs more.
Motobus – Living and working in the US, Motobus produces zines and illustrations, both professionally and personally. Imaginative, kind-hearted and elegantly simple her world is beautiful to the heart as well as to the eye.
Simon Russell – A UK comic professional and small press grandee, as well as being at the heart of many things UK comics, Simon is an incredibly talented creator, producing vibrant experimental work that remains accessible to all.