(this above image is taken from Pravda by Guy Peelaert)Self Made Hero, one of the holy trinity of UK independent publishers who I will probably be referring a lot to from now on, have recent released a catalogue of all their forthcoming releases to whet your appetite. As a publisher you can see that they are really beginning to grow outside of their original manifesto of literary adaptations and graphic biography. They recently put out their first original work Hair Shirt by Patrick McEown and have also released the first of their gift books, a Moomin cookbook of Finnish cuisine. In the future they will be continuing with their Sherlock Holmes and H.P Lovecraft adaptations (the later in the form of a multi-artist anthology) as well as Reinhard Kleist's next graphic biography this time about Fidel Castro, and The Incal the collaborative sci-fi graphic novel between old master Moebius and cult directer Alejandro Jodorowsky.
Here are a few of the highlights for me:
Black Paths by David B-With the recent release of his literary adaption The Littlest Pirate King and the forthcoming release of The Armed Garden, Black Paths fits quite snugly into the dream tales and surreal and invented wars and myths of other cultures he touched on between the pages of Epileptic. This time set in the more recent time of 1919 it weaves a slightly more fantastic tail amongst the background of the First World War.
Fish+Chocolate by Kate Brown-a collection of short stories set to be published in September, although if you manage to catch Kate at a comic book convention you will have an opportunity to buy an advance copy (which is something I instantly regret not going myself). All these stories explore the mother-child relationship in various ways, but usually carry an uneasy feeling along with them. Style wise from what I remember flicking through it, it has a slight surreal Mangaesque quality filtered through American and European influences with nods to the fluid qualities of Miyazaki and the general aesthetics of Taiyo Matsumoto.
Hellraisers-written by Robert Sellers and illustrated by JAKe.
Hellraisers is a graphic biography with a difference. It mixes biography with fiction to weave a Christmas Carol style tale of regret for a potential hellraiser. The story begins with our anti-hero Martin sitting in a pub in London at Christmas time, trying to drink himself to an early grave. At the end of the bar sit the original bad boys of Hollywood, Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Oliver Reed, and Peter O'Toole. They each take him on a tour of their lives in attempt to warn him against the path he is taking. An interesting twist on the traditional biography, but then comics have always been a great medium for twisting, breaking, and reshaping tradition.
The Wolf Man-Written by Richard Appignanesi, illustrated by Slava Harasymowicz
A graphic adaptation of Sigmund Freud's most famous case, need I say more?
Sandcastle-Written by Pierre Oscar Levy, illustrated by Frederick Peeters
From the brush of the artist and author of the taboo crushing and very personal graphic novel about living with someone with HIV Blue Pills, comes this collaborative tale of suspense, murder, and science fiction.
Robot-Adapted from the work of Stalinslaw Lem by Andrzej Klimowski and illustrated by Danusla Schejbal.
Here we are presented with two robot themed pieces adapted from the Polish master responsible for that wonderful piece of psychological sci-fi that is Solaris.
Finally Fantagraphics are to release not one, but two, billiant examples of Belgian comic art by cult artist Guy Peelaert who has a style reminiscent of the space age pop art exotica of Barberella. The Adventures of Jodelle (due May 2012) is a satirical spy story set in a futuristic space age Roman empire, whilst Pravda (due November 2012) tells the story of an all female biker gangs journey across a mythical America. Both are kaleidoscopic psychedelic visions of colour and elasticated form mixing both high and low art. From the few images I can of this work I am literally drooling with anticipation (2012 is a long way away). If what I've said doesn't convince you, then read the much more articulate Fantagraphics post.