Nobrow Press is known in comic circles for introducing the world to new voices and new art. Among the most recent ones is Vacancy, a new full-color one-shot written and illustrated by Jen Lee. Here’s a summary from The AV Club: “Jen Lee… is best known for her animated web-comic Thunderpaw: In The Ashes Of Fire Mountain. [Vacancy is] a post-apocalyptic tale of two dogs attempting to journey home after a mysterious, fiery cataclysmic event sees them abandoned in a car, Lee uses flickering motion and a tensely evocative gray and orange color palette to create an atmosphere of ominous dread. It’s a stunning work of foreboding beauty as the dogs battle gangs, predators, fires, and themselves, en route to a home which they no longer know exists, with the animated features adding to the sense of unease and restlessnes. Lee makes the most of the web format, incorporating the endless canvas and scroll functions to give real scope to the eerie sense of desolation and devastation.” The article also includes an interview with the creator and four preview pages from the comic.
Fish Fish Fish is a new full-color wordless “graphic novel” for young readers, plotted by Lee Nordling and illustrated by Meritxell Bosch. It goes like this: ” A little yellow fish swims alone in a big ocean. A hungry barracuda searches for something to eat. A school of fish band together and find strength in numbers. Under the waves, every fish is a hero in its own story. In this clever wordless comic, Lee Nordling’s simple storytelling engages young readers and provides a gateway into understanding multiple perspectives and points of view.” It’s published by Graphic Universe and available now at Amazon.
Here’s how they describe it: “The epic introduction to Kaya and her brother Jak as she begins her journey into discovering the magic and mystery of their precious world, Silmay. In Boe, Kaya goes through the Trial of the Elder’s door and meets a special trusted ally. In Broodva, Valta discovers something new and troubling.” The front cover tells you a bit more perhaps. Tailwands has been an on-line full-color comic at Comixology for a while now. It’s written by Drew Crowder with illustrations by Morgan Rae Myers. Now Hashtag Comics have released the first set of Tailwands adventures as a graphic novel in paperback. Take a look over at Previews.
[Sorry! Couldn’t resist…] “Nestled in the grass under the big palm tree by the edge of the desert there is an entire civilization–a civilization of beetles. In this bug’s paradise, beetles write books, run restaurants, and even do scientific research. But not too much scientific research is allowed by the powerful elders, who guard a terrible secret about the world outside the shadow of the palm tree. Lucy is not one to quietly cooperate, however. This tiny field scientist defies the law of her safe but authoritarian home and leads a team of researchers out into the desert. Their mission is to discover something about the greater world…but what lies in wait for them is going to change everything Lucy thought she knew.” That’s the official word from the publisher for Last of the Sandwalkers, a new black & white graphic novel written and illustrated by Jay Hosler. It’s available now from First Second Books. You should check out the extensive review over at Bleeding Cool also.
Robert Goodin is an animator who’s worked on TV shows like Rugrats and American Dad. Now he’s taken some time out from that the craft his first hardcover graphic novel, The Kurdles. “In the spirit of Hergé’s Tintin or Carl Barks’ Uncle Scrooge, The Kurdles is an all-ages comic spiced up with a teaspoon of strange. Sally is a teddy bear who gets separated from her owner while on a drive in the country. Desperate to find her way home, she stumbles upon Kurdleton, home to a most peculiar group of characters in the midst of a crisis; their forest house has grown hair, eyes, and a mouth! The creatures work with their new friend to keep Kurdleton from growing legs and running away!” Check it out over at the publisher, Fantagraphics Books.
As quite often, the creators can explain this project far better than we ever could: “Somewhere far away, in the uncharted realms of the ocean, lies the mysterious island of Mutasia. As one of the few unexplored places left on Earth, Mutasia is home to a previously unknown collection of wildlife, unique to the island of Mutasia. The inhabitants are called Mutasians and are mixed up mixes of every type of animal imaginable. As you explore the island and meet the Mutasians, you’ll discover that they are a lot more like you than you might think!” That’s the story of Mutasia. It started with an illustrated book, Mutasia: Land of Illogical and Utterly Impossible Creatures. Now it’s expanded to a book series, a line of plushy toys, several sing-along CD’s, and an animated short film on DVD called This Mish-Mash Bash. All of that and more available at the colorful and award-winning Mutasia web site, of course.
There’s been a lot in the news lately about the new video game Yooka-Laylee (get it?). It’s the flagship product of a new company called Playtonic Games, which features a lot of the creative staff from Rare. And this new game is considered to be a spiritual successor to the wildly-popular Banjo & Kazooie series. But that’s not what’s got people talking. This is: Playtonic put up a Kickstarter campaign to finance the game… and they reached their initial multi-thousand British pound goal in less than 40 minutes. That’s got to be some kinda record, we think. “Yooka-Laylee (yes, like the tiny guitar) is a 3D platformer starring Yooka, a bipedal lizard-like dude, and Laylee, a purple “wisecracking lady-bat.” They have unique abilities, such as Yooka’s tongue-grapple and Laylee’s tactical sonar blast, and together these best buds explore five worlds filled with weird characters and feisty bosses. Also, one of the abilities is a “giant fart bubble.” Playtonic knows the way to its players’ hearts.” And their pocketbooks, it would seem. Head on over to Engadget to find out more.
Bad Katz is “… a San Diego-based company that sells premium 100% organic, pesticide-free catnip cat toys. We launched the Bad Katz brand in the late summer of 2014 and we are going to take that boring cat toy aisle by storm!” All well and good, but what caught our eye is their toony advertising art! Bad Katz have hooked up with a local San Diego artist to create a whole line of original cartoon cats (and a dog) to decorate their hand-crafted catnip bags. According to them they just might produce some original comic strips with the characters on their web site, and maybe even some character clothing for humans in the future. But for the moment, only your pet kitty gets in on the fun. Literally!
Another toy-and-art centered company — there were so many at WonderCon this year! Beefy & Co. specialize in rounded plushy toys, t-shirts with funny animals (and funny other things), and art prints of a decidedly cute nature. Their official slogan is “Creating joy, one toy at a time.” They’re making appearances at comic book conventions all over the place, but if you can’t wait that long for more cuteness then head on over to their web page right away.