Having been a critic of all-format, all-source comics since 2012 or so – most notably as Editor in Chief at Women Write About Comics between 2017 and 2018, and long before that, a keen reader of British weekly serial comics, Claire Napier has now decided to see if she can combine what she knows and loves in a comic with what she thinks should be present in one.
The result is BUN&TEA season one: a subscription to six months of a magazine built around chaptered, serial comics. offering twelve stories, each appearing in each issue, for six months, every month, you get a magazine containing the next chapter of twelve fantastic stories in a wide array of genres.
“None of these chapters are more than six pages long,” says Claire, whose other work includes editing and writing independent comics, “but each of them has been carefully calibrated to satisfy and entice. You can read each chapter quickly, but you’ll notice it going down.
“As the editor, I made sure all teams and cartoonists involved knew what they needed to fit into every segment of their low page count,” Claire continues, “and what the draw and joys of short-form serial can be.
“We’ve worked with a great deal of purpose, and I’m very proud of them. BUN&TEA‘s stories come from an array of burgeoning creators in North America, Australia, England, Ireland, Spain, Chile and Wales-via-Finland.
“We are a trans-friendly publication,” she notes, “and contain several queer romances of varying tone.”
Stories include: Cartoonist Mathew New and artist Courtney Hahn‘s teenaged super-scientist (and orphan) Emi Foster tries to balance her professional heroism with her need for friendship in “Meteor City High“; scripter Nola Pfau and artist Willow Tomeo show us a young witch trying to avoid her powers being bound by the predatory elite in “True Name“; while in “Stomp on Me“, after giant monsters overrun the earth, one half of cartoonist Tom Lake‘s fearsome kaiju tag-team starts to wonder if his feelings for his partner could be… romantic?
In “The Origin of Rubies“, a Bengali fairy tale about love and jewels is re-told by cartoonist Priya Huq, full of family feeling and discovery; in “Lens“, scripter Gary Moloney and artist Raquel Kusiak Burgos follow an award-winning photojournalist on her missions… which just happen to coincide with a lot of high-priced assassinations; and, as “The Tide” closes in on their dead-in-the-water spaceship, cartoonist Marianna Learmonth‘s heroines figure out how to keep their tender feelings alive as they try to stave off oncoming oblivion.
Scripter Mark Stack and artist Aleksis Shi‘s dragonslayer meets a humble archer in “Shedding Scales“. They save each other’s lives and set off on the road together, but it’s not like they’re going to fall in love or anything… Cartoonist Kumail Rizvi‘s master thief, just out of prison, builds a heist team for the richest man in Pakistan in “The Common Wealth“. What’s the score they have in mind? You’ll want to find out!
Scripter Terrence Sage and artist Quinton Myricks‘ young hero picks the reality (and the family) that suits him in “Perspective“… and tries to pretend he deserves it; while cartoonist Lindsey Richter‘s survivor-heroine goes back up against the forest Lady who misled her and meets a girl she can deeply relate to, in a queered adaptation of Tam Lin titled “Maidens All“.
In “Living Lazer Bird“, cartoonist Nick Marino‘s psychedelic mind quest asks the trees how we should best get on with aliens who can’t read our thoughts in; and a story by the final, yet-to-be-revealed mystery team has a glamorous tale of death, life, and repurposing.
“The Kickstarter campaign, which begins on 28th May, run by micro publisher Bleating Heart Press, is to pay my contributors for the planning work they’ve done so far,” Claire tells us. “All the chapters are fully outlined, thumbnailed and scripted, but final art will be done on a monthly schedule.
“I’m hoping most backers will go for the full six month digital subscription, but single-issue orders or reduced subscriptions will be available. Print orders for shops that want to carry the magazine should be available.
“We have rewards tiers such as the ubiquitous enamel pin, but also the opportunity to be the cover model for one month or to advertise with us.”
I think this looks like a fun, intriguing mix of strips and styles – everything you’d expect from an anthology title.
• Keep an eye on Claire’s Twitter @illusClaire for more news and Kickstarter project links for BUN&TEA – and follow the hashtag #MeettheBunpen | Claire is also online at www.clairenapier.com where you can also find out about her own comics, comics she edits and more about BUN&TEA