The next few months should see the release of some new books through Improper Books including a 2nd Edition of Porcelain: A Gothic Fairy Tale which made my list of highlights for 2014. So these books should be well worth picking up.
Here’s a quick rundown on what to expect from the three releases….
BRIAR, by Benjamin Read & Chris Wildgoose. Available as a UK indie release October/November 2015, thanks to supporting UK independent comic shops, this will be followed by a US and International release via Diamond on Wednesday, 2nd December 2015. For the latter, Briar can be pre-ordered via the following Diamond Code: OCT151508.
Written by Benjamin Read and illustrated by Chris Wildgoose, with colours by Jordan Boyd and lettering by Jim Campbell, Briar follows the story of Princess Layka, who seeks an end to the curse that keeps her shut off from the world.
Trapped for years behind the enchanted barrier of the briar, she awaits her one true knight, who has been tasked with the quest to break the curse and set her free.
By Benjamin Read & Chris Wildgoose, creators of the acclaimed Porcelain: A Gothic Fairy Tale, Briar is inspired by European myth and folklore. It subverts the fairy tale tradition of the princess imprisoned behind a hedge of thorns, turning it into something dark, bittersweet, and original.
‘Briar is Improper doing what we do best, dark fairy tales,’ said Chris Wildgoose. ‘I don’t think Ben or I could be any more at home than with knights, magic, and monsters, and we’ve really raised the bar for ourselves with this.’
About his illustration for Briar, Chris said, ‘We also wanted to push the boat out art-wise, so we’ve gone incredibly detailed with all the interior artwork. Storytelling is paramount, but I’ve tried to go as intricate with the art as Ben’s tale. I’m also so excited to have Jordan Boyd on colours with us. He gets what we’re aiming for and brings a whole other life to my inks.’
‘Briar is one of the books I’ve always wanted to write,’ said Benjamin Read. ‘Set against a background of eastern European folklore, it’s a Russian doll of nested stories, wearing a coat of fairy tales but subverting every trope within them.’
Briar is scheduled for release Autumn/Winter 2015:
UK limited indie release – October/November 2015
US & International release – Wednesday, 2nd December 2015 (Diamond: OCT151508)
NIGHT POST, by Benjamin Read & Laura Trinder. Available via Diamond on Wednesday, 9th December 2015, Night Post can be pre-ordered via the following Diamond Code: OCT151509.
Written by Benjamin Read and illustrated by Laura Trinder, Night Post is the story of the other mail service; the one you haven’t heard of, the one that starts work at midnight and delivers to all the creatures of the night. Whether ghost or ghoul, witch or werewolf, or just downright odd things with tentacles, they all have post and someone has to deliver it. Offering a fascinating glimpse into a midnight world, Night Post is a picture book for all ages.
‘Night Post started from my longstanding childhood belief that midnight is a special hour, and strange things can happen as it strikes,’ said Benjamin, about Night Post. ‘The story of our beleaguered Postie has offered a wonderful chance for me and Laura to explore our mutual love of the spookier side of things, whilst having a great deal of fun at the same time. Building the world of the Night Post and then watching Laura bring it to life or, in some cases, death, and layer it with the most painstaking details – watch out for the Infinitesimal Animals – has been brilliant.’
‘I’m a huge fan of Raymond Briggs and we wear our influences unashamedly on our sleeve with Night Post – it shows a slice-of-life of a man’s day at a very special job, and is told purely by pictures. No captions, no word balloons, just intricate, detailed art. It’s the kind of book I adored as a kid, and still do now, and it’s been a pleasure to write.’
Laura adds, ‘For someone who loves fairy tales as much as I do, working on Night Post seems too good to be true. Ben has brilliantly combined favourite characters from folklore and myth with a central character of his own creation, meaning we can visit ghosts, vamps, fairies, swamp creatures, seemingly innocent old ladies and a whole host of other beasties through a new pair of eyes, more specifically, the eyes of our night postman.’
‘The real joy is working with Ben, his passion for comics informs every step of the creation process. With my main source of inspiration having always come from storybooks, I love how we’ve managed to combine an illustrative style reminiscent of this within a comic book format. I just hope that people will enjoy exploring the story as much as we have loved creating it.’
“Night Post is a pure joy from start to finish. Even without words, writer Benjamin Read shows a sly wit and a storytelling flair while artist Laura Trinder matches his whimsy and good humor in each panel she paints and draws.” Charles de Lint (The Wildlings trilogy, The Cats Of Tanglewood Forest)
“An absolute delight. Dreamlike, beautiful, imaginative and enchanting.” Kurt Busiek (Astro City, Avengers, Conan, Marvels)
“Brilliantly clever, original, funny and tinged with a taste of the macabre…” Phil May, Read It Daddy!
Night Post is scheduled for release via Diamond on:
Wednesday, 9th December 2015 (Diamond code: OCT151509)
PORCELAIN: A GOTHIC FAIRY TALE, by Benjamin Read & Chris Wildgoose. Available as a UK indie release October/November 2015, thanks to supporting UK independent comic shops, this will be followed by a US and International release via Diamond on Wednesday, 2nd December 2015. For the latter, Porcelain: A Gothic Fairy Tale can be pre-ordered via the following Diamond Code: OCT151510.
Written by Benjamin Read, illustrated by Chris Wildgoose, coloured by André May, and lettered by Jim Campbell, Porcelain: A Gothic Fairy Tale is set within a world that’s a magical echo of our own. If is the story of Child, an urchin, who leaves behind the cold streets of a snowy city when she climbs the high wall into the Porcelain Maker’s garden.
Released to wide critical acclaim amongst readers, fellow creators, and the comic press, Porcelain: A Gothic Fairy Tale has since gone on to be translated and published in France by Éditions Delcourt. Although a completely standalone story, Porcelain: A Gothic Fairy Tale is the first part of a trilogy – with volumes II and III, Bone China and Ivory Tower, out soon. The books follow Child into adulthood, and tell the epic story of one woman’s grand and terrible life, and the marks she leaves on the world.
This updated edition features new chapter plates created for the release of Delcourt’s French edition, plus new making of material and sketches, including a ‘Director’s Commentary’ from Benjamin and Chris originally published on the Forbidden Planet International blog.
“Porcelain is a gorgeous, gothic fever dream, beautiful and terrifying and funny and sad all at once. It is also that precious rarity, a perfect comic.” Lev Grossman (The Magicians Trilogy, Codex)
“I loved the feel of it, like an old-school faerie tale. Tight and well-written. A little mystery, a little humor, a little horror. It made me smile in places and get a little weepy in others. Everything I want in a story.” Patrick Rothfuss (Name of the Wind, Wise Man’s Fear, The Slow Regard of Silent Things)
“Art nouveau and steampunk with more than a hint of Bluebeard, Porcelain is a delightfully dark tale, stunningly told.” Mary Talbot (Dotter Of Her Father’s Eyes, Sally Heathcote Suffragette)
Porcelain: A Gothic Fairy Tale, 2nd edition, is scheduled for release Autumn/Winter 2015:
UK limited indie release – October/November 2015
US & International release – Wednesday, 2nd December 2015 (Diamond: OCT151510)