I was fortunate enough to find a new comics creator, and publisher that I really like in the limited time I was at WonderCon this year. Sawdust Press, and it’s creator/EIC Shing Yin Khor were a breath of fresh air in the Small Press section. It seems to be tougher these days to find unique, independent comics at the bigger events. I guess part of the reason for that is the fact that there are so many other “alternative” conventions now, like APE, SPX, CAKE, and all of the zine-centric festivals, so maybe it’s just not worth it for folks outside the mainstream to put in the time, and money required to table at the bigger cons.
At any rate, hope is still alive with publishers like Sawdust Press representing. I ended up buying almost the complete line of comics they had to offer, so I’ll just talk about each title separately.
The Center for Otherworld Science #1-2
This is the latest comics series written, and drawn by Shing Yin Khor. It’s sort of an existential exploration occupied by nondescript looking humanoid scientists, and large, colorful, mollusk-shaped monsters. I really enjoyed the hand colored art, and the almost primal quality to the story. I’d almost describe it as an allegory about human-kind’s relationship with nature wrapped into a science fiction melodrama…almost..
Also, you can find these strange colorful creatures in the real world, hand-crafted by the author, who’s also a very gifted sculptor, as well!
2 zines: What Would Yellow Ranger Do? & The Tribble Story
OK, so these are both xeroxed zines written, and drawn by Shing Yin Khor. She told me sort of half laughing that The Tribble Story was her true, extraordinary, masturbation tale, and of course, naturally, that was the one I read first. I’ve never possessed one of these fabled “tribbles” before, but after reading Shing’s zine, I will definitely seek one out, just if I’m feeling extra lonely on a rainy day. What Would Yellow Ranger Do? is a very raw personal story about being an immigrant in this country, and basically dealing with stupid Americans(mostly white…), and their perceptions of someone who doesn’t look exactly like them. I think that a story like this is really where Shing Yin Khor shines as a writer. She conveys her experience so well with brutal honesty, and humor. I highly recommend both of these zines!
Marie & Jeanne #1-3
This is an ambitious project, telling the tale of Joan of Arc(Jeanne d’Arc), and her close friendship with her best friend Marie. You can tell by the writing by Shing that she put in a ton of research, and that she has a genuine interest in these characters. The artwork is done by Canadian/Filipino illustrator James Neish, and I have to say that his work is very impressive. There is a lot of detail, and care put into the design, and black & white(with grey tones) art. The format is small, zine sized, but it’s on high quality paper, and when you’re flipping through it, you could easily see this material being printed by a major publisher like Image, or ONI, etc.
So, in summary, I’m really impressed by what I’ve read from Sawdust Press so far. I’ll definitely swing by their booth at SDCC to pick up the first issue of their upcoming anthology Blood Root #1. You can order books, and see what’s new on their website here.