More Brit Comics For 2021: Soaring Penguin’s Slate Of Releases
by Richard Bruton
Time for more publishers to crawl out from under the pandemic-related publishing schedule chaos and give us their titles for the return to normality. This time it’s Soaring Penguin Press…
Like everyone, the Ignatz and Eisner Award-nominated publisher has looked hard at its publishing model over the last couple of years, with the situation only being made worse by Covid-19.
That was why, back in 2020, Soaring Penguin made the decision to switch their publishing strategy to a Kickstarter-led one, something several publishers, big and small, are making more use of – and all of these books will have their own Kickstarter campaigns in time.
“We realised that the traditional royalty-based pay scheme meant there was almost no chance of creators getting a living wage. We needed a way to ensure that money was provided up-front to the creators, in exchange for allowing us to publish their stories. That meant crowdfunding.
John Anderson – Soaring Penguin co-publisher.
We’re still committed to publishing alternative voices… Crowdfunding titles that are less populist invariably requires a deeper commitment from us, but it’s a challenge worth taking in order to bring new and exciting creators and work to the world.” – Tim Pilcher (Soaring Penguin co-publisher)
Now… the publishing slate for Soaring Penguin for the rest of 2021 – remember to check out their site and sign up for their Kickstarters. They’re a great small British comics publisher that definitely deserves your support!
Urban Tails by Ilana Zeffren.
Translated from Hebrews, this is a collection of Zeffren’s charming LGBT+ cartoons about her, her girlfriend and their cats, and their life in Tel Aviv – we’ve already told you about Urban Tails back at the start of April and the Kickstarter is live right now!
“Urban Tails is a collection of autobiographical comics strips telling the story of daily life in Tel Aviv, Israel, through the eyes of a lesbian family dominated by cats.
Mom 1 – the writer and illustrator – is busy with her art, Mom 2 – her girlfriend – is obsessed with her psychologist and therapy, and Rafi and Spaghetti – their two talking cats – are busy with cat stuff but also with political and social issues. Rafi, being black and the only male in the household, becomes a social activist who fights for justice, and Spaghetti promotes Feminism – long before “Me too”.
The Collected Meanwhile… Volume One
Meanwhile was/is an anthology presenting some really amazing comic works. Sure, publication over the last couple of years may have been spotty, but it’s hoped that 2021 will put this one back back on track.
The first collection brings together the first four issues of Meanwhile, with work from Gary Spencer Millidge, David Hine & Mark Stafford, Yuko Rabbit, Chris Geary, Sally Jane Thompson, Fionnuala Doran, Bridget Mayne, Sean Bright, Krent Able, Euan Cook, Krystian Garstkowiak, Jenny Robins, Frances Castle, Thierry Labrosse, and Daryl Cunningham.
The anthology featured three regular strips as well as one-off strips. Yuko Rabbit’s 10 Minutes and David Hine & Mark Stafford’s The Bad Bad Place are both superb strips, but the huge draw for many of us in Meanwhile was the return of Gary Spencer Millidge’s excellent Strangehaven series, presented for the first time in colour.
Strangehaven came along in 1995 when I was working at Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham UK and it immediately proved incredibly popular. We hand sold so many copies of the first few issues: “Twin Peaks meets the Prisoner with a soundtrack by The Kinks and fabulous artwork” was a familiar phrase on the shop floor as we assailed anyone coming to the till with tales of how damn good it was!
In the end, it took ten years to publish 18 issues that made up three collections, 18 issues that told a fantastical tale of a village and its inhabitants, Millidge’s photo-realistic artwork and fabulously mysterious thriller providing continuing entertainment for so many fans over the years. The third volume of the collected Strangehaven meant an ending with a real twist, a definite cliffhanger, and a cliffhanger Millidge explores in this new fourth volume of Strangehaven right here in Meanwhile!
Meanwhile Volume 10
The new Meanwhile volume runs to 128 pages of incredible quality material, including the last chapter of Hine and ark Stafford’s The Bad Bad Place and the first chapter of Taniwha by Roger Langridge. Plus The Collector from Sarah Gordon, Ginny Skinner’s Gail Key’s Psychic Lost Items Helpline plus the latest episode in the aforementioned brilliance that is Strangehaven by Gary Spencer Millidge.
Black Bastard by Tobias Taitt & Anthony Smith
Another book we told you about a while back, Tobias Taitt’s Black Bastard recalls his life as second-generation Windrush, brought to the UK by a mother hoping for a better life – and not finding it. Falling into a life of (sometimes violent) crime from the age of 15, Tobias was moved from prison to prison until he was able to stay out of trouble long enough to start to put his life together. But hard times can build character, and an unexpected clarity and intelligence of narrative.
Meanwhile Volume 11
No cover for this one yet, but you can bet it’s going to be 128 pages of great anthology material!