Six Great Small Press Titles to Seek Out

three women lay on a pile of zines

Short Run organizers Janice Headley, Eroyn Franklin, Kelly Froh and their bounty of books. Photo: Alex Stonehill.

On Saturday, November 15th, Short Run Comix & Arts Festival will hold its fourth annual showcase for indie comix, small press, and emerging artists. Seattle’s Washington Hall will be filled to its rafters with almost 200 cartoonists, publishers, zinesters, authors, animators, and more.

What’s especially great about this year’s festival is that 44 percent of the exhibiting artists are female. Not only is Short Run organized solely by women, but our board of directors features all women, with deep roots in non-profits, event planning, fundraising, comics and art, and teaching. In the male-dominated world of comics, Short Run strives to provide a safe place for women.

Bitch asked us to put together a list of our favorite small press artists from the festival. Come buy a copy from them in person this November 15th!

the cover of paimen

Paimen (Huuda Huuda) by Anna Sailamaa

This year, we’re thrilled to have artist Anna Sailamaa attending the festival all the way from Helsinki, Finland. In 2007, she won the Nordic Comics Competition with her mini-comics, but it was her 2011 debut graphic novel, Paimen (or The Shepherd), that first caught our eye. With shaky, yet certain pen strokes, Sailamaa tells the story of a man who discovers a dead swan in the forest. It’s a stark, unforgettable story.

you're so sexy when you're not trasmitting stdsback of the book with a condom on it

You’re So Sexy When You Aren’t Transmitting STDs (This Might Hurt Publishing) by Isabella Rotman

You’re So Sexy When You Aren’t Transmitting STDs is a sexual health comic book, created in collaboration with the Wellness Center at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. By combining humor and knowledge, Rotman provides an important resource that covers communication, consent, barriers, sexually transmitted diseases, and birth control (there’s even a condom attached to the back cover!).

a page from mita mahato

Roots (self-published) by Mita Mahato

Seattle-based artist Mita Mahato interprets her comics in cut-paper collages, creating dreamy fantastical forests with each snip of her scissors. In her recent self-published comic, Roots, Mahato sets the dark fairy-tale origins of Tree Girl, a young lady who breathes through branches and is friends with a Yeti. We can’t wait for future installments of Tree Girl’s adventures in the woods.

yumi sakagawa book

Your Illustrated Guide To Becoming One With The Universe (Adams Media) by Yumi Sakugawa

Yumi Sakugawa’s latest book is a gorgeous, meditative poem set to intricate illustrations. Sakugawa gives nine whimsical projects to help guide you on your way, including setting fire to your anxieties or sharing a cup of tea with your inner demons. Each assignment is adorned in her dreamy drawing style. It’s something like a comic-meets-self-help-book, and reading it is like getting a warm hug from a friend.

ring of fire cover

The Ring of Fire Anthology (Left Bank Books) by ET Russian

The Ring of Fire Anthology is a collection of Russian’s well-known zine that she began making in the ‘90s. Russian writes with passion, urgency, thoughtfulness, and an amazing sense of humor about disability, queerness, sex, body image, health care, and anarchism. Some drawings might make you blush, but you will come away deeply respecting her and this amazing body of work.

dragons breath and other stories cover

Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories (2D Cloud/Uncivilized) by MariNaomi

California-based artist MariNaomi first caught our attention in the late-’90s with her long-running self-published series, Estrus Comics. This latest collection from the prolific artist compiles work that originally appeared on The Rumpus, including some childhood reminiscing, stories of failed relationships, memories of friendships gone, and even a story about partying with Duran Duran!

This list was put together by Short Run organizers Eroyn Franklin, Kelly Froh, and Janice Headley. Get more information on Short Run’s free festival, and check out the entire schedule right here.

by Short Run Seattle
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