Wake Me Up Before You IndieGoGo: Kickstarting the Small Press
Posted by Andy Oliver on May 10, 2012
Small Pressganged is Broken Frontier’s weekly column designed to shine a spotlight on the often overlooked world of small press and self-published comics. Every Thursday we provide a mix of review round-ups of the best of current small press comics and spot interviews with some of the movers and shakers of the scene.
In this week’s column I’m looking at a couple of titles that are using the routes of Kickstarter and IndieGoGo to fund their further development. While we are, perhaps, beginning to see the first online rumblings of “campaign fatigue” for this fundraising phenomenon, it nevertheless remains one of the most positive developments for self-publishers, small pressers and fans of alt-comics work in recent years. So sit back and enjoy some thoughts on a double-whammy of SP offerings, and remember - your support can make a very real difference to these projects and their realisation!
Team Girl Comic #4
Various creators (anthology)
Team Girl Comic is the product of a Glasgow-based collective of creators with an aim to promote the work of female creators within the small press scene. Four issues of this anthology have been published to date representing a wide range of storytelling styles and genres; from the autobiographically anecdotal to the humorous, through to more experimental uses of the medium. Amongst the plethora of U.K. small press anthologies we are currently blessed with, Team Girl Comic’s distinction is in its all-woman creative roster and a truly palpable sense of community.
The highlights of the most recent fourth issue (pictured right) include further scrape-filled adventures for Gill Hatcher’s eminently relatable teenager Jesty Pesty, Penny Sharp’s double offering of subTEXT which provides an inventive use of layouts across the double-page centre-spread and her beautifully-illustrated silent story A Wee Highland Adventure, and Nondo’s dramatic slice-of-life tale My First Hurricane.
Team Girl Comic is a gentle and welcome reminder of the small press’s democratic roots. In these times of slick production values for SP books, and titles that sometimes out-pro the professional publishers in terms of presentation standards, Team Girl Comic is more concerned with a grassroots emphasis on just where the scene came from and its origins as an arena to give everyone with something worthwhile to contribute a voice. In that respect the contents of the comic reflect the differing ages, levels of experience and technical ability of the contributors involved. Yes, occasionally some of the storytelling may be a little rougher around the edges but that doesn’t mean each individual creator doesn’t have something interesting to say and, just as importantly, a passion for saying it.
The Team Girl Comic crew have recently gone the aforementioned Kickstarter route to fund their upcoming fifth issue. If you’d like to do your part to support the unique vibe of TGC and give it a more viable future then see the link below for more information. Team Girl Comic is a true testament of the power of the small press to provide a platform for creators of all kinds to share their personal vision of what comics can be. Egalitarian, accessible and always inviting, you’d be hard pressed indeed to find a comic that better sums up the co-operative spirit of the small press than this!
T’sao Wei (writer/artist)
South London’s greatest protector Helen Mu, otherwise known as the super-heroine Windrush (aka The Lambeth Phantom), has been murdered. In the aftermath of her funeral her daughter Lauren must juggle the responsibilities of taking on her mother’s heroic identity with discovering the truth behind her assassination. But with tensions rising between the gang factions of Lambeth and Southwark her debut as the new Windrush will be more a baptism of fire than a simple changing of the guard…
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Yes, superficially, Windrush may sound like simply yet another legacy super-hero offering but, in terms of tone and atmosphere, there’s far more to writer/artist T’sao Wei’s creation than that. What really marks out Windrush as different to the normal super-hero fare for me is its setting and sense of an established fictional reality. The book has a distinctive feel of inner city super-heroics; an intricate urban fantasy that combines street culture and the capes and masks brigade with social commentary on the importance of community.
The characters have an almost Grant Morrison-eeriness to them. Indeed there are echoes of very early Zenith to the proceedings, before that classic strip fully immersed itself in its own glorious craziness. And the sense of burgeoning backstory and history to this “universe” is almost tangible from the outset. What U.K. reader won’t want to discover more about the ominous Midlands War or learn the origins of the briefly-mentioned Twelve Heroes of Yorkshire? It’s that mix of the mundane and the fantastic, the everyday and the absurd, that is the greatest strength of Windrush’s premise.
T’sao Wei offers us a world of super-heroes stripped of all the usual clichés embodied in the American spandex set. Brooding and philosophical, without ever verging into the tiresomely grim and gritty, Windrush is an appealing hybrid take on the Chinese Wuxia genre fused with a peculiarly British approach to costumed crusaders. Given the prevailing humdrum tedium of The Recycled 52 and endless Uncanny X-Vengers/Mighty A-Men crossovers in the mainstream, we have the small press – and books like Windrush and Martin Eden’s Spandex in particular – to thank for proving that wit and imagination are not entirely extinct in the super-hero field just yet…
To pre-order Windrush visit T’sao Wei’s online shop here. If you’d like to consider all the extra goodies available by supporting the book’s IndieGoGo fundraising campaign then click here to find out more.
Andy Oliver is Broken Frontier’s Managing Editor and a contributor to Paul Gravett’s 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die.
If you are a small press comics creator, or self-publisher, and would like your work to be reviewed in a future edition of Small Pressganged then e-mail Andy at email@example.com for further details. You can also follow Andy on Twitter here.
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Richard Boom May 11, 2012 at 2:48am
thanks!! Been waiting for a column like this!! Sometimes I browse through those crowdfuners and I simply look over gems!!
Andy Oliver May 22, 2012 at 8:46am
As far as Brit small press work goes it's always worth checking out the FPI blog as well Richard for a second opinion, so to speak. They cover a large amount of SP books there.
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