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November 8, 2015

Youth In Decline Announces Frontier Line-Up For 2016: Davis, Kwang, Pope, Sugar


Ryan Sands of Youth In Decline has announced his company's serial comics schedule in its Frontier solo anthology for 2016. They are, in order of the images reproduced above:

* Eleanor Davis in Issue #11, debuting at the LA Art Book Fair in February 2016.
* Kelly Kwang in Issue #12, debuting at TCAF in May 2016.
* Richie Pope in Issue #13, debuting at SPX in September 2016.
* Rebecca Sugar in Issue #14, debuting at CALA in December 2016.

From Sands' perspective, the following highlights are important to note with each work:

* Davis' comic will be adults-only, and brand new. It's called "BDSM."
* the Toronto-based Kwang's effort will feature her "Space Youth Cadets" characters, and will be non-sequential in terms of the stories offered.
* Pope's narrative will also be brand-new; it will be a stand-alone story.
* Sugar's comic will mark a return to indie comics roots for the super-popular Steven Universe creator.
* Davis' issue will be in black and white. Kwang and Pope are working in full-color

Sands told CR that Youth In Decline will again launch a subscription drive for all four books. That will offer not only a discount over each book purchased separately along with shipping, but there will be subscriber-only goodies sent along in the mail. In 2015 that included a membership card, stickers and a special discount for Youth In Decline t-shirts. The drive will encompass print, digital and print + digital. The drive will launch November 23 and last until January 10. The books will remain available afterwards on an individual basis through the web site, at shows and through those retailers that choose to offer the books for sale.

The graphic novels for 2016 at Youth In Decline will be announced either right before or during Comic Arts Los Angeles 2015, this December in Los Angeles.

Full solicitation-style copy and brief bios for each artist as written by Sands will be made available at the Youth In Decline site. I will link to those listings with this sentences as they become available.

I like Frontier, I think it's one of the things that works about alternative comics right now. There's a lot of material that needs a showcase, and this is a very reliable, well-produced space for this work to appear. It's like a great theater space. Sands' relatively wide-open arms and decision to stick with a showcase publication of this specific sort does a lot to distinguish what he does as a publisher -- as opposed to more indulgent showcases which don't carry any sense of a presence behind the pages. How desirable that is is up to you, but as a reader of comics, I get Youth In Decline a bit more immediately than I do a lot of interchangeable publishers with overlapping tastes. It's also harder for me to ignore an artist if Sands feels they are worth showcase in the solo-anthology series.

The 2016 sounds like a good one for the magazine. Davis is a slam-dunk right now; everyone should be scrambling to read everything she's making. Kwang is someone with whom I'm not familiar and Pope I'm behind on -- I had to reacquaint myself with his work to write this. Sugar is a straight-up "get" and is an ideal match with CALA.

That group also fits in with the publication-roster-to-date Uno Moralez, Hellen Jo (2013), Sascha Hommer, Ping Zhu, Sam Alden, Emily Carroll (2014), Jillian Tamaki, Anna Deflorian, Becca Tobin, Michael DeForge (2015). Sands sent along an e-mail noting that this is "300 pages of comics; 3 Americans, 3 Canadians, 3 Europeans, and a Russian; 6 female creators, 4 male creators." I will not dispute him.

I used to joke that comics was solidly in an era of pretty good, pointing out that the number of excellent comics remains the same but that they're surrounded by dozens of worthy comics rather than maybe another set of that same, top-tier amount. I don't think I can talk in terms of eras anymore; that's just what comics is now. Each one of these will make that first level almost by showing up, and each has a chance to be a book of the year. You can't say that about any other series right now.

PS -- Sands was a focus of Anne Ishii's recent meditation at on generational differences in comics, here.



posted 5:00 am PST | Permalink

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