Acclaimed Israeli-born comics artist and illustrator Koren Shadmi is releasing Abaddon, a surreal webcomic turned graphic novel, in the fall, coming from New York indie comics publisher Z2 Comics. The book is part of Z2's fall list which also includes a new edition of Harvey Pekar's Cleveland, the posthumously released work that helped launch Z2 Comics in 2012, and a new line of periodical comics.
In November Z2 Comics will publish Abaddon by Koren Shadmi, a cryptic, horror influenced webcomic turned graphic novel, loosely based on Jean-Paul Sartre’s classic modernist play No Exit. Shadmi is the author of the 2009 In the Flesh (Del Rey) and his work has been included in Houghton Mifflin’s annual anthology Best American Comics. This year Shadmi also did the drawings for Mike's Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv, written by Jack Baxter and Joshusa Faudem, an nonfiction comics examination of a real act of brutal terrorism, published by First Second.
Z2 publisher Josh Frankel joked that Abaddon is a surreal version of a classic New York City scenario: “a young man who finds himself trapped in a bizarre apartment with a group of ill-matched roommates.” He also cited the importance of scouting webcomics in today’s comics marketplace, calling them “a wonderful way for creators to get their material out there, cultivate an audience and get feedback from readers as they’re telling their stories.”
Z2 Comics fall graphic novel releases will also include Ashes: A Firefighter’s Tale by Mario Candelaria with art by Karl Slominski, an inspirational story about a firefighter who loses a leg and must rebuild his life; and also Pawn Shop by Joey Esposito with art by Sean Von Gorman, the interconnected stories of a widower, a nurse, a punk and a long Island Railroad employee, brought together unknowingly through a New York City pawnshop.
Originally published after Pekar’s death in 2011, Frankel has described Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland, as “a great primer” on the life and work of the iconic autobiographical comics writer. Not only has the book sold out its 10,000 copy initial printing but it also helped to launch Z2 Comics through a partnership between Frankel and indie comics house Top Shelf, which distributed the book. Frankel called it “the first stone in the Z2 Comics building,” and emphasized how the book “helped teach us the ropes of publishing.”
And while focused on book format comics, Z2 Comics is nevertheless launching three periodical series in the fall. The series include: Carver by Chris Hunt, the story of a globe trotting gentlemen of fortune; Allen: Son of Hellcock, a comic fantasy quest by Will Tracy, Gabe Koplowitz and artist Miquel Porto; and Welcome to Showside by Ian McGinty (an animator for the popular Bravest Warriors TV show), a comic work for children and adults about a lovable kid whose dad plans to destroy the world. All the series will eventually be collected and released as trade paperbacks.
“Creatively, there’s just something so thrilling about telling serialized genre fiction,” Frankel said, “and there’s a clear place in the marketplace for them.”
The launch of the fall graphic novel line comes after a year in which Z2 Comics published well-received hardcover editions of works by such veteran comics creators as Paul Pope (Escapo), Dean Haspiel (Fear My Dear) and Miss Lasko-Gross (Henni). “The graphic novels we’re announcing have a strong personal vision, a unique style and independent flair,” Frankel said. “This year promises to be our most ambitious yet.”