Tusen Hjärtan Stark #1
Published by Domino Books
Roughly translated from Swedish as 'a thousand strong hearts,' this anthology attempts to present difficult, challenging work alongside the art of rarely-translated European artists in a package that is cheap and accesible. All too often, the most experimental work and the strongest-yet-unavailable-in-the-USA European comics are only available in price prohibitive editions. Tusen Hjärtan Stark will present uncompromising work for an entry fee of $3. Each contributor also has 7to 8 pages to work with. Anthologies---in my view---suffer from short unfocused contributions. A 50 page anthology full of one page strips often never rises above being a sampler. 8 pages allows for the reader to enter any artists world and stay there for a solid amount of time. As this anthology features 3 artists with radically different approaches, the reader will move from one aesthetic to another, with just enough time in each to feel and think.
Our debut voulme of this anthology begins with a text-dominated cover by artist Wiley Guillot. It acts almost like a 'stamp' on top of our package. Warren Craghead delivers a dense piece assembled from many different drawings and composed for maximum effect in our tabloid format. Read it slowly and over and over. Joanna Hellgren---maybe the strongest artist working in Europe today who has not had enough of her work presented to English readers---introduces us to characters so delicately drawn in their characterazation and rendering that one might fear for their plight. But Hellgren's work is not to be pushed over and there is teeth within these pages. Elizabeth Bethea ends the volume---Bethea is one of my personal favorite cartoonists working today. Her comics are drawn at a uniform size, always one page (as far as I've seen). But each page is an opportunity for widely different writing and drawing---the uniform nature almost as a set template for wild creativity. Bethea's writing is heartfelt but in the way that we dream of true poetry: we overhear its heart instead of it being explained to us.