Comics culture site Broken Frontier has published its 2018 Small Press Yearbook, an anthology celebration of the work of European indie talent including BF’s annual ‘Six Small Press Creators to Watch’.
This year’s book, which features a cover by recently announced 2018 Myriad First Graphic Novel Competition winner Jenny Robins, includes work from rising stars Peony Gent, Josh Hicks, Olivia Sullivan, Anja Uhren and Kate-mia White, who all provide stories on the loose theme of ‘Brief Encounters’.
This anthology again offers a great snapshot of some of the very best independent comic creators out there, and is well worth tracking down.
Originally from Germany, now living and working in Sheffield as a full time illustrator, Anja Uhren describes herself as a storyteller, working with images and words to deliver emotionally driven narratives with an ethereal quality. Her work often focuses on the small moments, the magic and beauty of everyday life and encounters.
She loves drawing, travelling and comics and nothing better than combining all three. On her journeys, big and small, she always carry one or two sketchbooks to record observations and impressions which later inform and inspire my projects.
Josh Hicks work will first have come to readers’ attentions from anthologies like Off Life and Dirty Rotten Comics but he is, perhaps, most well known for his splendidly madcap and self-published Glorious Wrestling Alliance book.
He’s drawn and made up stories and stuff since he was a kid, and has always doodled little comics or made animations, but never really applied that to anything solid. “I ended up studying film at university and the storyboards were always more polished than the finished thing, so after a while comics just seemed natural,” he told Broken Frontier last year.
Leeds-based artist Kate-mia White’s ongoing passion project A Dark Forest has certainly embraced the creepier origins of those fictional moral object lessons. Four issues have been published to date with their popularity on Kickstarter self-evident from their target-smashing fundraising totals.
Set in the 19th century, A Dark Forest centres on 17-year-old Elizabeth Kathrine Moss and her younger sister Grace. The pair live with their puritanical father in the town of Whitewood, surrounded by an ominously eerie forest. When strange events begin to occur around the family, Elizabeth finds herself having to defend them from the suspicions of the local villagers while pondering the mystery surrounding her sister…
Olivia Sullivan is an illustrator and moving image designer, with a Masters in IED, Moving Image Design, from the Royal College of Art who gained her BA in Illustration from Camberwell College of Arts, UAL.
Working across a wide variety of mediums, from ceramics to print to simple graphite on paper, Peony Gent prioritises narrative and emotion above all in her work. She currently lives in London, studying Visual Communication at the RCA.
Says Broken Frontier Editor-in-Chief Andy Oliver, “Our third Yearbook reflects our continuing desire not just to cover the best new talent on the small press scene but to actively champion, promote and nurture it. We’re committed at Broken Frontier to elevating deserving new creative voices to the next level of recognition.”
The Yearbook launched at London’s acclaimed Gosh! Comics on 7th July alongside Seekan Hui’s A Projection from Avery Hill Publishing, as part of the UK and Ireland’s annual Small Press Day event. Many of the creators involved were in attendance.
The book also features stories by artists who began in self-publishing and whose earlier work was featured at Broken Frontier.
These include Lord Hurk (Ready for Pop, published by Knockabout), Till Lukat (Tuff Ladies, Centrala), EdieOP (Maleficium, Avery Hill Publishing), Alex Potts (It’s Cold in the River at Night, Avery Hill Publishing), Paul B. Rainey (There’s No Time Like the Present, Escape Books), Jenny Robins (Biscuits (assorted)), Alice Urbino (Comic Book Slumber Party) and Robert Wells (Back, Sack & Crack (& Brain), Little Brown).
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.