Blank Slate have published so many books by New! British! Talent! in the last month that we need to throw a launch party for a bunch of them all at once. All at once. We’re having a big ol’ launch party on Friday the 9th of August, from 7pm until 9pm by which point you will have drunk all our beer and will have to set about finding more in the pubs of Soho.
Those five books are: Joe Decie’s The Listening Agent, Donya Todd’s Death and the Girls, Jim Medway’s Playing Out, Oliver East’s Swear Down and Dan Berry’s The Suitcase.
Overwhelmed? Let’s break it down.
Joe Decie: The Listening Agent, £8.99
Whether he’s contemplating the emotional state of the last pickle in the jar or detailling his four-year-old son’s new business of running a fashionable East London tattoo parlour, there’s definitely something different about Joe Decie’s tales of everyday life. In this new collection of half-embellished tales, Decie takes a sideways look at everything from shopping malls to identity theft and reveals the strange challenges (and stranger rewards) of parenthood. In this volume, Decie’s son competes with his father for centre stage and stars in some of the cartoonist’s funniest and most touching strips yet.
If you’re still yet to join the legion of readers around the world who have fallen in love with Joe Decie’s left-field wit and beautiful ink-washed art, The Listening Agent is the perfect opportunity to see one of Britain’s brightest new comic stars at work.
Donya Todd: Death and the Girls, £8.99
Meet the Nubian Sisters: Betsy, Bunny and Batstone. A hangover is the least of their problems after a tequila-fuelled night in the Mexican desert leads to Betsy having a threesome with an anthropomorphic washing machine and Death himself. Love-struck, the grim reaper decides that he wants Betsy’s fleshy pink hand in marriage, and is willing to chase her to the ends of the Earth for it. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Betsy’s woes are magnified when she finds out that she’s pregnant with Ol’ Washy’s child! Riding ponies, hotwired donkeys and magic bikes across an hallucinogenic landscape, the girls find themselves everywhere from haunted swamps to outdoor supermarkets and face-to-face with a cast of freaky friends and foes that include naked cowboys, Polynesian princesses and omnipotent deities with venereal problems. More “vomit and profanity” than “sugar and spice”, join the Nubian Sisters as they leave a trail of destruction and exhausted lovers in their wake.
Donya Todd bursts onto the UK comics scene with this tale of debauchery, insanity and sexual escapades. Known for her surreal artwork that draws upon macabre influences, she brings all of that with tipped-brow to Mexican folk-art in this latest release from Blank Slate’s New British Comics initiative.
Fun fact: Donya did the event poster.
Jim Medway: Playing Out, £8.99
It’s the Summer holidays in Manchester and Kieran, Jamal and Connor are doing what any self-respecting kids would do on a Saturday: killing time by walking around the city centre. Aimlessly exploring the shops, the trio find themselves window-shopping for trainers, hunting for money in pay- phones, drooling over the older girls from their school and traveling to the top of the multi-story car park just to see the view.
A kid’s-eye perspective of life, Playing Out is for all of us who fondly remember weekends spent marauding with no money and precious few responsibilities. As the boys travel around, the real story is told not by what they are doing, but through the conversations and interactions they have along the way. Disgruntled shopkeepers distrust them on principle, local goths become the subject of both their ridicule and secret awe and off-duty teachers blow their minds by—shock horror—having a life outside of school too.
Oliver East: Swear Down, £14.99
East walks out of his front door and follows the line of longitude through England, France, Spain then Africa. In this first volume East walks from his Manchester home out and into England recording the landscape, the architecture, flora, fauna and the thing he’s walking away from in the first place.”
By far the most personal of Ollie East’s works, this book cov- ers the changes brought about by the birth of his first child and the impact of the difficult birth on both himself and his wife Claire. At times painfully honest, always deeply felt and human, it’s another step along the path to becoming one of comics’ true originals.
Dan Berry: The Suitcase, £8.99
When an elderly woman tasked with looking after her neighbours’ pets for the week returns to find the family dog has passed away, she’s faced with a major problem. Unable to drive – and with her deranged neighbour offering no help whatsoever – how on Earth can she get Cruncher’s body across town to the vet’s to take care of before the family returns? And then she has an idea….And so the journey of the suitcase and its strange contents begins.
In his debut graphic novel, Dan Berry uncovers the delirium that lurks beneath suburban life. Told across three interlocking tales of woe, we are taken on a tour through a world of dead pets, kindly neighbours, petty thieves, desperate men and people on the edge of sanity. Will Cruncher make it to the vet’s? Can one man succeed in his top-secret mission to sneak his neighbour’s dead rabbit back into its hutch? Is there any way an unhinged Top Gear fan’s amateur camcorder review of his Rover 75 will end well?
As usual, if you can’t make the launch party but would like to nab some signed copies, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mail order people: we do a flat-rate of £5 postage within the UK so you can get ALL OF THE ABOVE BOOKS posted to you for just £5 (on top of their combined retail price, obviously). Elsewhere: you’ll have to let me know which ones you’d like and where you want them posted to so I can work it out. We can post anywhere in the world.
So! Fancy launching five books at once? Come down to Gosh! on Friday the 9th of August and you can do just that. There’s no need to RSVP, just turn up and meet some people. Although you can RSVP at the Facebook page so we can remind you electronically.
Blank Slate’s New British Comics Launch Party
Friday, 9th of August. 7 – 9 pm.
Joe Decie – The Listening Agent
Donya Todd – Death and the Girls
Jim Medway – Playing Out
Oliver East – Swear Down
Dan Berry – The Suitcase