I’ve been so remiss in blogging about this, and for that i apologise, but i am delighted to announce that my new book Kochi Wanaba is available to buy! Either direct from the publisher Blank Slate, your usual online retailer, or i am hearing reports of it appearing in comic stores and book shops up and down the land too.
Those who have known me for a while will know Kochi is the longest of all my projects, about eight years in the making. It is a pencil-drawn graphic novel about a group of kids who hang out, being rude to each other, swearing and bitching about things. Of all the kids, quietest is Kochi, who is very introverted and prefers to spend his time with his head in a sketchbook. His unofficial girlfriend, Lhys, is quite the opposite. Loud, excitable, and willing to take all the boys on in a fight.
Their group simmers with tension and resentments until one day, the Bee Festival comes to their village. What should be a happy day causes brutal fractures in the children’s friendships, and events spiral horrifically out of control.
To say any more would spoil it, but its been a real labour of love, and i’m incredibly grateful to Kenny, Woodrow, and all at Blank Slate for helping this book become a reality. It’s not intended for children (swearing and violence), but it is hopefully funny, disturbing, provoking, and sweet, all at once.
Here are a few of my favourite comments from serialising it online (thank you to the commenters):
“I’ll be honest … I loved this from page one to the… end. The art style is flawless as well as beautiful. Perhaps one of the best web comics I’ve read in quite sometime! Maybe you’ll decide to further this masterpiece or leave it as it is, either way I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, thank you!” – Osozaki
“If that was truly the ending (which i hope it weren’t) you have just kicked something beautiful full on in the nuts and left it in a gutter to die.” – Jim
“This is one of the best blends of bleakness, beauty, humor, nostalgia, panic (both social and mortal), and super-squeezable nightmarishly-proficient artwork. Everything about it was unexpected. I love it, dude.” – Jimmy G
I really love and appreciate that people got so invested in the characters. Thank you to everyone who enjoyed it and commented! And if you have read it online, I’d urge you to check out the book too. Not only is it beautifully printed (the colours feel a lot more subtle), there’s also a small essay about Kochi and its creation, and a bundle of sketchbook pages and never before seen artwork. Like this, the very first sketch i did for the book.
So there you go. Maybe a very last minute Christmas present, either for someone else or just for you because HEY you’ve worked HARD this year, and you DESERVE IT.
Man. I am so chuffed this book exists for realsies now.
Quite often you work on things not even thinking about what the end result will be, or what you’re going to do with it. Kochi Wanaba was one such thing for me, a real labour of love but with no clear end product planned, I just knew I wanted to do it. Once finished, I toyed with the idea of self-publishing but quality control put paid to that, so instead I decided to put the whole thing online. And I’m very glad I did, I was touched by how wrapped up in it people became, and there were a lot of calls to release the material as a book.
In my mind, the idea of it being a book was always a bit of a lost opportunity. I can’t say why, in case you haven’t read it yet and it spoils anything for you, but it would make sense. So I’m very pleased to say that Blank Slate will be publishing Kochi Wanaba. Blank Slate are really rising through the ranks as one of the best UK publishers, (check out some of their titles and artists here ), worth noting that their book Psychiatric Tales by Darryl Cunningham just hit number one in the amazon graphic novels list! Congrats!
So finally, yes, we’re making it a book. For release when, not quite sure. It’d be optimistic to say this year perhaps, but as soon as possible. Thing I learned with Kochi is it was rather tricky to print, and print well, while retaining the pencils properly, so there needs to be a bit of working out as to how best to do this. What I can say is for me, publishing Kochi as a book is a great opportunity to show all the work that didn’t make it online. There are a ton of pages and sketches which didn’t fit in, and I’d like to explain a few things in there too. We’ll make sure it’s a beautiful thing.
In the meantime, if you haven’t read Kochi yet, YOU CAN READ IT NOW(contains swearing and violence) or just wait for the book.
Phew, two book announcements in two days! Mental innit. One last mention, i’ll be at MCM Expo in London tomorrow (saturday), signing between 11 and 1. So do come along. Follow me on twitter and i’ll try and say where in the comics village it’ll be (as soon as i know), in case you want to be one of the first five to bring a copy of Find Chaffy and win a Chaffy toy!