Originally I saw Joe’s work here on Twitter with the brilliant, the affecting, and the probably relevant for way too many people, ‘A Short Comic About Anxiety‘ and was going to put that in as part of the increasingly misnomered Webcomics Weekly column I do here at Comicon. But a little investigation uncovered the Kickstarter for his Lustration & Other Stories that runs through to July 7th 2022.
And oh boy, does it look fantastic, a collection of 70 pages of short stories in full colour, A5 sized, perfect bound, and full of lush comic art with meaning and expression. As Latham says himself on the Kickstarter: ‘
“Short comics are a chance to be a bit more experimental with the process without losing too much if things don’t quite work out,’ and ‘The goal is to maintain a sense of the tactile and expressive nature of painting, so I work fairly quickly in multiple stages. I want the final piece to feel real and relatable.”
Here’s an example from just three of the comics in Lustration and other stories, so you can see for yourself just how good it all looks…
Anxiety – described by Latham as a comic ‘purely about the overwhelming infiltration of negative thoughts, to the extreme… I wanted to start off cute, innocent, vulnerable, and expand into the darkest fears, growing more threatening and perhaps more abstract as we go through the pages.’
Lost – a conversation between a Bunny and a Cat with bat-wings, walking through the woods. Latham again, ‘Initially I wrote conversations between these two characters about grief, and about trying to reason with some of the most painful concepts in modern life, of which some things are so difficult to put into words. This particular short comic stems from the middle of the pandemic, when the wider world was so small and closed, and my own world was shrivelling, with a constant barrage of news causing sleepless nights, and those sweltering chasms of thought still being peppered with images of loved ones, friends, and kindness.’
And finally, we have Lustration, where we follow a cloaked figure at night as they burn something. Latham one last time… ‘This is about purification, and in a sense it’s a conversation with my past self, recognizing and forgiving some bad decisions. Some loves leave scars.’
Yes indeed, you can see what I mean about how wonderful Lustration & Other Stories looks, can’t you? It has that dream-like fantasy feel to it whilst also being very grounded, the sort fo works that can really speak to you, the sort that shares your experiences and perhaps, just perhaps, makes things a little better.
Although all of the initial three comics in Lustrations are freely available online, this is a chance to own these little bits of beauty and introverted thoughts in a delightful physical edition or a get it all in one place digital edition. Or hell, perhaps just as a support a damn good artist thing.
Latham’s an illustrator and designer based in Bristol, UK. And while illustration and design might be his main job, he’s self-published a number of comic books and regularly exhibits at UK comic festivals. You can find out more about him on Twitter and Instagram, and visit his website, Etsy store, and Gumroad store.
One of his biggest series to date is Haru, ‘A Fantasy Adventure tale about a small blue bird, and the lengths we may go for those that we love.’ Three books/chapters published so far but at the moment it’s on a little bit of a hiatus. Or, as Latham says on the Kickstarter, ‘things are happening, but for legal reasons I can’t really say what.’ So while his hands are tied on that ongoing project, he’s still making these gorgeous comics for Lustration & Other Stories.
The Lustration Kickstarter runs until July 7th 2022. And as you’d expect, there’s plenty of pledge levels for Lustration, with tiers for additional comics and original artwork.
The other comics available include the three parts of Haru; I Am Winter, I Am Blight, described by Latham as “A poem told from the point of view of the antagonist”; A Seed Named Hope, about two cats, a seed, and dealing with loss and finding hope to move forwards; The Fox, The Wolf & The Woodsman, three characters, three perspectives, a wordless comic where each chapter adds more and more to what you’re seeing and reading.
The original artwork on offer is acrylic ink and watercolour, on watercolour paper, with Latham basing illustrations on scenes inspired by moments in his comics – although he’s open to input from you if you’re pledging for that tier. Here’s a little idea of what Latham might be coming up with…
Latham’s already hit the first £6,000 stretch goal which means an additional story added to the book. The second stretch goal of £8,000 is well within reach, adding a second additional story to the book, and there’s a third goal at £10,000 for gold foil print on the front cover.
Lustration & Other Stories is one of those books, from one of those creators you might not have heard of yet, that has the potential to be your very next favourite thing – so what are you waiting for? Get on and pledge to get the comic…
The Kickstarter for Lustration & Other Stories ends on July 7th 2022.