Red Red Rock by Hayashi Seiichi

Red Red Rock and other stories 1967-1970, a career-spanning collection of comics by Hayashi Seiichi, one of Japan’s best known alternative cartoonists, is available now from our online store.

As ever, the translation comes courtesy of Ryan Holmberg, who also has an extensive essay in the book, along with almost 250 pages of work by the great Hayashi Seiichi.

“Discovering Hayashi Seiichi’s work was a revelation - it’s an astonishing blend of sensibilities, steeped in a graceful melancholy” - David Mazzucchelli

Dôme

After many weeks of transit, Dôme is finally in the building!

Dôme is a comics anthology made as a collaboration between Lagon and Breakdown Press as part of the 2016 FIBD d'Angoulême  with the sponsorship of Risograph. All 500 copies of the 40 page, 280 x 335 mm book were printed and finished at the festival with the help of all the artists, but especially Alexis Beauclair, Sammy Stein and Joe Kessler. The book contains work by Lando, Amanda Baeza, Simon Hanselmann, Jeremy Perrodeau, Bettina Henni, Sammy Stein, Dash Shaw, Hugo Ruyant, Antoine Cosse, Michael DeForge, Zoe Taylor, Amandine Meyer, Olivier Schrauwen, Alexis Beauclair, Jean-Philippe Bretin, Joe Kessler and Richard Short.

As we have very limited copies of Dôme, having sold most of them at the festival itself and Lagon’s subsequent launch party in Paris, we’ve decided that our copies of the book will only be available at comics shows we’ll be attending, while stocks last. This means we should have copies at the upcoming Millionaires’ Club in Leipzig, TCAF in Toronto, ELCAF in London, Safari Festival in London, and possibly several more in between.

You can read a review of Dôme at Just Indie Comics.

Generous Bosom 2 process report

by Conor Stechschulte

Welcome one and all to a peek behind the curtain of my process used for the creation of the newest volume of Generous Bosom from Breakdown Press. Most of what you’ll see here I developed in the making of the first volume of GB. The idea from the beginning has been to make the book in a manner that builds in layers of editing and to allow for further editing by using (mostly) the same grid. This way, I can move panels around or chop two pages in half and graft them together, things like that.

Part I: Tools

I use this fella for all the rough drawings and almost all the writing and planning as well. It’s .9 which is the biggest they come and I like to use 2B cuz that’s the softest that’s available. Originally this was because I was roughing and finishing the pages on the same piece of paper (see more on this below) and found that when I used harder lead, I pressed harder and left indentations in the paper that showed through if I tried to draw over them. Now I use it simply because I like the feel of it.

I use these pencils for all the finished final drawings. Prismacolor Ebony pencils, not to be confused with their far inferior cousin, the Strathmore Ebony pencil. I tried out a lot of different pencils at the beginning of this project (I used to live between two art supply stores) and found these to be the most versatile. I started out drawing with woodless pencils of varying hardnesses but quickly figured out that I’d drive myself crazy trying to stay consistent with what thing of what level of darkness I’d drawn with what pencil and decided to keep it simple. They’re great in that they’re the cheapest softish pencil (somewhere between $.50 and $.60) I could find and you can get a real diverse range of value out of them. I’ve gone through close to 200 of them thus far (not kidding).

All the finished drawings are on this paper. Not much to say about it. Good paper.

Part II: Planning

This is where it all started folks. I did a one-page outline and then quickly began writing out dialog as often happens. As with the previous volume, I knew what was going to happen in what order though not exactly how. Also, didn’t know at exactly which point this book would end (note the “END?” note at the bottom of the left-hand page) when I first began planning. Some notes have been redacted to avoid “showing my hand” too much.

After the overall outline is in place, I generally work in chronological order in about 10-15 page chunks. I write out the dialog (see above) and determine the page turns and then break down the panels from there. I focus a lot on timing in this project overall so I try to time each page turn with some sort of question or reveal to make the reading compelling (I hope) on a page-to-page basis.

Then I thumbnail out the pages themselves. I usually don’t put more than one page of the comic on a page in the plan book like in the image above but when the pages have color separations I have to plan them a couple times just to wrap my brain around everything that’s going on. My whole process, I’ve come to realize, has grown up around my only having to make a limited number of decisions at any given stage.

I broke down what I was going to draw in the thumbnails above so I only had to decide what was going to be what color when I made the second round of plans for these pages.

Part III: Roughing It

Here is a picture of what the roughs look like for the above planned pages. This is the stage where I actually tape paper up on my drawing table (see below), measure out panels and layout the final pages. These are scratch sheets that I lightbox to make the final drawings. This leaves me to be very free in the drawing and I often make little notes like an arrow (see bottom right of above image) to move an element around without having to redraw it. Sometimes like in the bottom left page above, I’ll leave a panel blank when I’m redrawing, or only slightly changing the image from another panel.

Part IV: Finishing

Here’s what the finished separations for the above pages look like.

Here’s my glass-top desk with clamp-lamps that I use to lightbox. Since the two color layers on this particular page are different overlapping images, there are two rough drawings and two final drawings as opposed to one rough drawing and two final drawings as with the color pages above.

This is what it looks like when I’m tracing the rough page to make the final drawing.

Part V: Photoshopping and Printed Pages

Here’s what the above page looked like when I Photoshopped the separations together. I knew I was going to invert (turn black to white and white to black) some of the panels in the green layer but it didn’t look right when I saw it how I originally planned it so I changed the top four panels so that they’d interact with the purple layer better. I tend to like working in meatspace with the drawings as much as possible and try to avoid computer work when possible but in the case of this page and a handful of others in the book, they needed a little cyber-finessing.

And here’s what those earlier pages look like in their printed form. 

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! Feel free to message me (crepusculararchives.tumblr.com) if any of this is confusing or if you have further questions.

To acquire these books go here to Breakdown’s store,

or here to my own store.

Windowpane 3 and Klaus Magazine 1 Exhibition and Launch Party

Breakdown Press and To Do present the launch of Windowpane 3 by Joe Kessler and Klaus Magazine 1 by Richard Short.

This will be the first chance to buy Joe's book, which will be fresh from the Risograph at Victory Press in Deptford. 

We'll be displaying the original artwork from both books, for one night only before the art travels to Bologna with Joe and Richard for an exhibition at BilBOlbul festival. Alongside the books, we'll have some screenprinted posters to buy, designed by Joe and Richard and printed by Joe. 

Join us at To Do, Peckham Springs, 22A Blenheim Grove, London SE15 4QN this Friday 13th November from 7pm.

Safari Festival 2015

Safari Festival 2015 was another banger! Thanks so much to everyone that came to check out the comics and prints, and to the exhibitors without whom it would, of course, not have been possible. All the work on display was of the highest caliber and proved the quality of the UK's alternative and avant-garde comics better than we could have ever hoped. Special thanks are due to Helen from Protein for single-handedly running the venue and solving every problem thrown her way, and to our crew of volunteers for soldiering on despite the heat. See you next year!

Below are a bunch of photos from the event. Click the arrows for more.

Photos courtesy of Franke Pike.

Ding Dong Circus by Sasaki Maki

We’re very excited to announce that we’ll be releasing Ding Dong Circus and other stories 1967-1974 by the great avant-garde Japanese artist Sasaki Maki this December.

This collection presents, for the first time in English, the best of Sasaki Maki’s work, mainly from alt-manga super magazine Garo. Drawn between 1967 and 1974, the fifteen stories here follow Sasaki’s groundbreaking exploration of collage methods in comics storytelling, weaving through references to R&B, rock ‘n’ roll, the Vietnam War, Andy Warhol, the Summer of Love, the Beatles, British humour, and the wacky world of Japanese consumerism. Ding Dong Circus demonstrates what manga fans already knew: that in Sasaki Maki, Japan can claim not only a pioneer in experimental comics, but one of the world’s masters of Pop Art and a trenchant avant-garde critic of the Sixties.

Translator and editor Ryan Holmberg has just published an extensive essay about Sasaki at The Comics Journal, which is the perfect thing to keep you going until the book’s release!

Safari Festival 2015

We’re very glad to announce that SAFARI FESTIVAL is back for 2015. From 11am to 6pm on Saturday 22nd August, we’ll be stuffing the very best cartoonists, printmakers and publishers, from the UK and beyond, into Protein Gallery, Shoreditch, London. As ever, the festival is completely free to attend.

This year’s exhibitors include: Anti Ghost Studio (Babak GanjeiRob Flowers, Tim Stevens), Breakdown Press (Joe Kessler,Antoine CosséRichard ShortZoë Taylor), Calm & Collected StudioComic Book Slumber PartyComics Workbook(Will TempestLiam Cobb, Tom Kemp), Decadence Comics (Lando, Stathis Tsemberlidis), Donya ToddEleni KalorkotiEsther McManusEyeball Comix,Famicon Express (Leon Sadler, Stefan Sadler, Jon Chandler), Faye Coral Johnson,Good PressGrace WilsonIsaac LenkiewiczJack TeagleJames JarvisJazz Dad BooksJoseph P KellyKus!Landfill EditionsLaura CallaghanMarijpolMatt SwanMike RedmondMothershipNous VousOne Beat ZinesOtto PressSina SparrowTreasure Fleet (Aisha FranzSharmila Banerjee), Will Sweeney, and, of course, Breakdown Press.

We still have many more exhibitors and guests to announce, so keep your eyes on safari-festival.comsafarifestival.tumblr.com or breakdownpress.tumblr.com for announcements!

OCX Aftermath

We had an amazing time at Oslo Comics Expo! It was so fun, I can’t believe it. Thanks so much to Ingrid, Aksel, and the rest of the Oslo crew for making us feel so welcome in beautiful Oslo, and thanks to Dave, Stathis, Simon, Jacq, Aisha, Paul, Sharmila, and the rest for being the best people in comics. OCX forever!

Angoulême Festival International de la Bande Dessinée

We had a great time at Angoulême! Special thanks to Antoine Cossé (we miss you!), the Decadence boys Lando and Stathis, Simon Hanselmann, Mikkel Sommer, Alexis Beauclair, Luke Pearson, Treasure Fleet, Misma, Fulgencio Pimentel, L’employé du Moi, BilBOlbul Festival, and to everyone who came and bought our books.

Here are some pics of our booth as it stood at the end of the weekend (thanks to Antoine, Simon, Lando, Stathis, Luke and Alexis for the drawings and Sean Azzopardi for the photos).

CAB debuts

Here’s us at CAB a couple of weeks ago. We had a great time! (that’s Joe Kessler, Connor Willumsen, Tom Oldham and Simon Hacking).

Not present in this inspiring image are the three fantastic new books we debuted at the show: Generous Bosom 1 by Conor Stechschulte, Janus by Lala or Sindicalismo 89 by Ines Estrada; however, they’ll be absent no longer! All three of our CAB debuts are now available from our online store!

Photo by Chris Anthony Diaz.

The Man Next Door by Masahiko Matsumoto

The second in our line of manga translations in association with Ryan Holmberg will be The Man Next Door, collecting four stories by Masahiko Matsumoto from the 1950s. The book will be released to coincide with the London Cartoon Museum’s Gekiga exhibition starting September 23rd, and will be available from our online store shortly after.

This publication has been generously supported by the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures

Cover design by Joe Kessler and Alex Johns.

Safari Festival 2014

Safari Festival was a blast. Thanks so much to everyone that came to check out the comics and prints, and to the exhibitors without whom it would, of course, not have been possible. All the work on display was of the highest caliber and proved the quality of the UK's alternative and avant-garde comics better than we could have ever hoped. Special thanks are due to Helen from Protein for single-handedly running the venue and solving every problem thrown her way, and to our crew of volunteers for soldiering on despite hangovers. See you next year!

Below are a bunch of photos from the event and the pre-party at Gosh! London. Click the arrows for more.

Photos courtesy of Frankie Pike and Mauricio De Souza.