The Letter Killers Club – Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky‘s 1920’s exploration of the paradox of ideas and stories living as “pure conceptions”, entities in their own right, and their perversion when they are put to pen. Like pinned butterflies, beautiful but static. Dead. The frame for this exploration is the eponymous Club, writers gathering in secret to share stories plucked from the empty bookshelves that surround them. The thread of narrative weaves around the stories told at the club, themes and characters bleeding from one to the next as the storytellers jockey for position. I highly recommend reading the introduction as it provided quite a bit of context I would have missed otherwise.
Baggywrinkles – I helped Kickstart this comic back in 2015. It’s a mixture of autobiography, nautical history and treatise on sailcraft. And it is extremely adorable. You’ll learn the difference between a stay and a line, how to set up a plank (don’t), and all about the history of scurvy.
Shadoweyes: Volume One
Another comic project I backed on Kickstarter, Shadoweyes was written and illustrated by Sophie Campbell This is the webcomic’s first print edition and was published by Iron Circus Comics. It’s the story of a young black woman living in what feels like a 90’s dystopian mega-city version of Detroit. She gains the ability to turn into a super strong blue skinned creature after getting knocked out her first night out as a vigilante. Soon she discovers that she can’t turn back. As she turns to fighting crime full time she discovers that what she is and what she does is polarizing, changing friendships and relationships along the way. I enjoyed the story, especially the super-cutesy faux My Little Pony loving friend Sparkle, though the pacing isn’t entirely smooth. It’s one of the few ways that you can feel the webcomic origins peaking through this (beautifully printed) volume. And it is a beautiful book — the paper feels great, the foil highlights on the cover make it stand out and the whole thing just feels really good in your hands — heavy and high quality. Volume one ends with a pretty serious cliffhanger and I’m eager to see what’s waiting in volume two.