I’m going to be honest when I say I haven’t heard of kuš! until last month, however, after reading through š! #12, Future 2.0, I’m seriously smacking myself for being so behind schedule as I’m seeking their older anthologies. kuš! (pronounced ‘koosh’) komiksi (comics in Latvian) is a comics anthology based in Latvia that specializes in publishing preferably Latvian comic artists, but also shares page space to others from North America and all over Europe.
This collection carries a very diverse lineup of artists, with an even more diverse sense of style and emotion revolving around one common theme: the future. And while there are many different styles and comic artists, the book does a great job of standing up as a whole to revolve around that sole theme. This is a damn hard task to do, especially when you’ve got so many illustrators from North American and Europe chiming in at once.
Featured in this edition of š! are: Michael DeForge (Canada, cover illustrator), Anja Wicki (Switzerland), Charles Forsman(USA), Chris Kuzma (Canada), Dace Sietiņa (Latvia), Dustin Harbin (USA), Ernests Kļaviņš (Latvia), Ginette Lapalme (Canada), Irkus M. Zeberio (Basque Country), Jane Mai (USA),Jesse Jacobs (Canada), John Martz (Canada), Jon Boam (UK), Julie Delporte (France),König Lü.Q. (Switzerland), Kuba Woynarowski (Poland), Léo Quievreux (France), Luke Ramsey (Canada), Maciej Sieńczyk (Poland), Mārtiņš Zutis (Latvia), Melissa Mendes (USA),Michael Comeau (Canada), Michael DeForge (Canada),Nicolas Zouliamis (Belgium),Oskars Pavlovskis (Latvia), Patrick Kyle (Canada), Paul Paetzel (Germany), Ryan Cecil Smith (USA), Steve Wilson (Canada) and Tiina Lehikoinen (Finland), and also featuring special co-editor:Annie Koyama (Canada).
This collection is 180 pages worth of 29 artists you’ve maybe heard of and many more you might have not. This is fine, and the collection does a beautiful way of presenting itself, though some of these shorts are a bit too short. The effect may seem a little pretentious, however none of these comics come off as being better or smarter than their audience. They’re more inviting. With comics that end abruptly, most endings are left usually ambiguous, but it’s a great thing for those wanting alternative or independent work from their comics. The diversity in the collection is especially needed for this reason, since there’s something for absolutely anyone to pick up and enjoy.
None of the comics stray far off from the subject of the future, either. Efforts by Michael Deforge (Leather Space Friend), Chris Kuzma (Life Drawing), and Luke Ramsey (Letting Go of What the Future Holds) are showcases of a charming art style that succeeds in giving readers a fun puzzle of thought for the future. Oskars Pavlovskis (Curious) and Melissa Mendes (Animals) provided stunning artwork for such a pocket-sized comic collection. I’ve also found a slew of other artists through this collection I’m going to be following.
Honestly, that brings up the best part of this package aside from its sleek look and awesome roster of illustrators: the bang you get for your buck. This anthology is only $13. That’s a bargain considering the amount of folks promoted in š! #12, Future 2.0. After reading the anthology, one will have indeed found a new favorite illustrator. kuš! chooses to showcase the best and provide a consistent and concise raw quality in comics that I feel most smaller publishers can’t quite grasp. That’s a beautiful feat for comics in general.