20 January 2015

š! #20 'Desassossego' coming out soon!

After one month, on the 19th of February, we'll release the twentieth (wow!) issue of š!. The title is 'Desassossego'. It's not a usual issue, this time we wandered to the other end of Europe to discover what's happening in Portugal and dedicated the full issue to Portuguese comics.

The theme is inspired by Fernando Pessoa's book "Livro do Desassossego". "Desassossego" means disquiet, and the contributing artists provided comics loosely based on disquietness. All in all a very poetic collection of works from some of the most brilliant Portuguese artists!

š! #20 'Desassossego'

Cover: Daniel Lima 

Contributors: Amanda Baeza, André Lemos, André Pereira, Bruno Borges, Cátia Serrão, Daniel Lima, Daniel Lopes, Filipe Abranches, Francisco Sousa Lobo, Joana Estrela, João FazendaMarta Monteiro, Milena Baeza, Paulo Monteiro, Pedro Burgos, Rafael Gouveia, Tiago Manuel. Featuring an introduction to Portuguese comics by guest editor Marcos Farrajota and a special photo part by Tiago Casanova.

Support: Funded by the Direção-Geral do Livro, dos Arquivos e das Bibliotecas/Portugal.

Format: A6, 164 pages, full-color, perfect bound, English.

Special feature: Darling Sleeper

Get it:  Pre-order it for $14 from our webshop (worldwide shipping costs included in price) or get yourself a kuš! subscription.

Preview Pages:

Daniel Lima

Cátia Serrão

Amanda Baeza

Bruno Borges

André Lemos,

Francisco Sousa Lobo

João Fazenda

Marta Monteiro

Pedro Burgos

Tiago Manuel

.... and more! To enjoy the whole comics, you can pre-order the issue here (or by clicking the orange button below).

28 December 2014

2014 kuš! roundup

2014 has been a splendid year for comics! We published a rocking 880 pages of colorful alternative comics glory in four š! anthologies and eight mini kuš!, featuring the work by 74 international artists!

These are all the titles in chronological order. In case you happened to miss the whole kuš! year, you can now buy them all in a special package deal ($79 including worldwide shipping costs and a bunch of free stickers, postcards and bookmarks). Have a look at each title published with links to the artists and to reviews on our site in the š! section and the mini kuš! section.

Not to miss anything in future, we recommend you to get a kuš! subscription. 2015 promises to be a very exciting year as well with new surprises from some very fine artists!

 Illustration by Dāvis Ozols
2014 hasn't been only a great year for publishing, but was also exceptional for events! We curated eight different exhibitions, visited eight international comics festivals, hosted one comics residency, organized the second Latvian comic competition, held nine comics workshops for comic artists, art students, children, teenagers and anyone else interested, had two comics readings and even celebrated some parties. As our latest anthology was about mathematics, we've become number fetishists as you might have noticed.... to sum it up, we've been pretty busy and think the future of Latvian comics looks better than ever. If you're interested in more details, you can see some summaries and pictures on the events section of our site.

Keep on following to find out what 2015 brings!

Thank you thank you thank you!

3 December 2014

š! #19 'Mathematics'

š! #19 'Mathematics' is out now! Twenty plus one international artists contributed comics about the wonderfully confusing world of mathematics. Watch out, this will be very graphic and some square angles might lure in the corners. But don't be afraid, it will not be all too arithmetical, math is fun!

Cover: Ernests Kļaviņš

Contributors: Alexis Beauclair (France), Amanda Baeza (Chile, Portugal), Dace Sietiņa (Latvia, The Netherlands), Dāvis Ozols (Latvia), Ernests Kļaviņš (Latvia), Joaquín Aldeguer (Spain), John Pound (USA), José Ja Ja Ja (Spain), König Lü.Q. (Switzerland), Laura Ķeniņš (Canada, Latvia), Liisa Kruusmägi (Estonia), Līva Kandevica (Latvia), Markus Häfliger (Switzerland), Martín López Lam (Peru, Spain), Mārtiņš Zutis (Latvia), Pixin (Singapore), Renee French (USA), René Rogge (Germany), Roope Eronen (Finland), Ville Kallio (Finland), Zane Zlemeša (Latvia).

Format: A6, 164 pages, full-color, perfect bound, English

Support: Latvian State Culture Capital Foundation

Get it:  Order your copy here ($14, international shipping costs included!), get it together with the newest mini kuš! or get yourself a kuš! subscription.


Ernests Kļaviņš

Līva Kandevica

 John Pound

José Ja Ja Ja

Renee French

Roope Eronen

Ville Kallio

Zane Zlemeša

Martín López Lam

To see the whole comics and get your maths right, you can order the issue here, or wait until it's available at a bookshop near you.

See you in the fourth dimension!

18 November 2014

š! #19 'Mathematics' coming out soon

Did you know that every simply connected, closed 3-manifold is homeomorphic to the 3-sphere? Well you don't  have to, but it might be helpful to enjoy this issue even more. Twenty-one international artists contributed comics to prove that math is relatively fun! Find out yourself and read š! #19 'Mathematics'.

Cover: Ernests Kļaviņš (Latvia)

Contributors: Alexis Beauclair (France), Amanda Baeza (Chile, Portugal), Dace Sietiņa (Latvia, The Netherlands), Dāvis Ozols (Latvia), Ernests Kļaviņš (Latvia), Joaquín Aldeguer (Spain), John Pound (USA), José Ja Ja Ja (Spain), König Lü.Q. (Switzerland), Laura Ķeniņš (Canada, Latvia), Liisa Kruusmägi (Estonia), Līva Kandevica (Latvia), Markus Häfliger (Switzerland), Martín López Lam (Peru, Spain), Mārtiņš Zutis (Latvia), Pixin (Singapore), Renee French (USA), René Rogge (Germany), Roope Eronen (Finland), Ville Kallio (Finland), Zane Zlemeša (Latvia).

Format: A6, 164 pages, full-color, perfect bound, English

Release date: December 2nd, 2014

Support: Latvian State Culture Capital Foundation

Get it:  Pre-order it ($14, international shipping costs included), order it together with the newest mini kuš! or get yourself a kuš! subscription.

Preview pages:

Alexis Beauclair

Amanda Baeza

 Ernests Kļaviņš

 John Pound

 José Ja Ja Ja

 Laura Ķeniņš

Renee French

Roope Eronen

Ville Kallio

Zane Zlemeša

To see the whole comics and get your maths right, you can pre-order the issue here (or by clicking the orange button below), or wait until it's available at a bookshop near you.

17 November 2014

Comics Residency in Riga III - Berliac

The whole month of March 2014 we had the pleasure to host Berliac in Riga as comics artist in residence in the framework of the CUNE residencies. Hopefully soon we can give you more info about the upcoming residencies, but meanwhile you can read in Berliac's words, how he experienced his time in Riga, in which he was very active having an exhibition and lecture at the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art and holding a comics workshop at the Art Academy of Latvia in which he inspired the Latvian comics generation of tomorrow. But read yourself: 

     "When I arrived to Riga, David Schilter came to pick me up to the airport and we took a bus into town. He pointed at the hipster markets where I shouldn't buy food if I intended to stay above the line of poverty. I had an apartment all by myself, and the first thing I did was to move the furniture around. I grouped most of it on the wooden floor part, cos the other side of the flat was a carpet, and I have something against carpets. 

The next day, together with David we visited the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, where I'd make an exhibition only four days later. The works to be shown were the original pages of my mini kuš! 'Inverso', but when I took them out of the folder, David, curator Ieva Saulīte, and me, we all realized my pages completely sucked. Also they were too little in number and size. We measured the place once more, in order to think what could be done to make the exhibition a place worth visit and help David and Ieva keep their jobs. Despite I hate making murals and we had only four days, I still decided I would make a 2 meter painting, plus four new A3-sized drawings. During the day I worked on the painting at the gallery space, and at night I worked on the smaller ones at home, until very late. 

I usually work on A5

A day or two before the opening, David thought it was a good idea to visit Riga's hip bars like "Chomsky" and "KKC" and do some PR, you know, to promote the event. Well, what David didn't know was that getting me to talk to people is the worst idea you could ever have. As it usually goes when I drink (bah, also when I don't), I began to complain about art, people, in short, about the world as a whole. One of my negative ramblings was about how much I dislike when art exhibitions are attended only by "art" people. David then proceeded to promote the event in the kind of magazine "real people" read, just to make me feel better (that's what friends are for, right?).

I can brag about being the only cartoonist that was ever talked about in the yellow press.

This tactic worked very well. Among the people that showed up we had really weird ones (and I don't mean the typical "comics fan" kind of weirdo) who didn't even look at the works at display, they just ate the whole pile of home-made argentinian "alfajores" that David made in my honor, drank as much as they could, and left. There was plenty of normal people too, who showed interest in my work, talked, and things like that. Quite amazing actually.

Kuš!'s publisher Sanita Muizniece, curator Ieva Saulīte, and me, acting like we should during exhibition openings.

For the next few days I ate potatoes and moved my flat's furniture at least three more times.

The next thing was my workshop at the Art Academy. I was shown around by professor Maija Kurševa, and the building is super old and smells nice, like wood, especially in the printmaking department where näive art students were listening to a 150-year-old teacher explaining how to do things the old (the good, the only) way. As for my workshop, the students were mostly 20-year-old design students in their first year of school, which can be sometimes a tough gang, but luckily the great majority managed not to fall asleep at my boring ramblings about alternative ways to structure the stories of our lives and this way heal the world, save Willy, etc. I divided the students in two groups, according to analytic-philosopher Galen Strawsom's concepts of episodic and narrative personalities (don't google it, it's really boring). For the "narratives", I taught plot-driven structures of storytelling for consequentially developed stories (the classic "beginning-middle-end"), and gave some hints on how to break that linearity (flashbacks, changes of point of view, etc). For the "episodic" ones I explained ways of structuring our stories in ways that dont necessarily deal with time and events, but express abstract ideas and/or emotions instead. Miraculously, not only at that point the majority of the students were still in the room, but they were actually coming up with really interesting results.

On the lower photo: During the workshop Zane Zlemeša was apparently already working on visual elements and narrative ideas that would later develop into her debut comic book, "Collector". Things like this make me think that maybe the world deserves a second chance.

After the first two weeks, my main activities had a "Case Filed" label on them, hence I had more time to do my own things. Like watching the whole anime series "Bakuman". 75 episodes in ten days. It's highly addictive, don't start watching it if you have things to do. Anyway, influenced by the anime, I also began making the "neemus" (how could I still call them "storyboards" after watching "Bakuman"?) for a new project: a 10-volume, 1000 pages long saga. (Note: I made 12 rough pages and put the project on hold as soon as I left Latvia).

There were days when David actually convinced me that watching seven episodes of "Bakuman" a day and feeding myself only on chips and "Sportista dried fruits mix" wasn't healthy at all, and managed to get me out of the house, that is, outside of the area comprised between my flat, the gallery, and the supermarket. I even managed to cross an avenue on my own. After what happened during our first night-outs before the opening, and being afraid of losing all of his friends, David suggested to quit the bar circuit and expand our territory into the granny-café area. 

In only a few days we already ruled the area around the bus station (the top floor cafeteria with fake-fruit decoration and pink walls - which reminded me of my friend Aisha Franz- and the small control tower by the canal), and some other city-center joints. One time we even had dinner twice, just to prove we can if we want to, and we saw a whole chinese family vanish from their own restaurant's dining room into the back of the place, so we could have the place only to ourselves. We were the Don Corleones of family diners. Only something was missing, I couldn't feel like a true gangster without a proper tattoo, so Sabine Moore made a knife on my arm (link).

On one of the last evenings David and Sanita organized a drink-and-draw gathering, together with other local artists, who gave me presents. Remember I was like Viggo Mortensen in "Eastern Promises" by now, so I ordered a Vodka Sour. Believe me, it was the first time in my life I drew more than I drank. For the rest of he night we used the drink to make pranks to the unwarned friends that arrived later, or to challenge each other to see who's stomach was tougher. I made this comic:


Note the manga influence. "Bakuman" changed my career completely.

Last but not least we went out for drinks with Dace Sietina and Laura Ķeniņa, where a man who reminded me of an Aki Kaurismaki's character invited us for a round of drinks and took off without paying. I enjoyed Riga."

12 November 2014

Riga Comics Festival?

There is no comics festival in Latvia, but this week feels a bit like it... 

Illustration: Zane Zlemeša (excerpt from mini kuš! #28)

2014 was a quite active kuš! year, and now it comes to it's climax. There are two comics exhibition openings, we'll hand out comics awards, there will be a comics reading, portfolio presentations, a comics workshop, live comics music mashups... and it all will be quite international with artists from all Baltic states and Germany attending and drawing.

Here's a "short" overview of the events:

Wednesday 12.11.2014, 19.00, Goethe Institute, Torna iela 1: Opening of the exhibition 'Life is Live' / 'Deutschsprachige Graphic Novels und Comics aus den baltischen Staaten' at the Goethe-Institute. The exhibition presents graphic novels from Germany and comics creators from the Baltic states. / Goethe website (in Latvian) / Facebook event / 

Thurday 13.11.2014, 16.00, Paula Stradiņa Medicīnas vēstures muzejs: Award ceremony for the winners of the Komiksu Konkurss 2014 with the theme Body Factory which we organized together with the Royal Embassy of Belgium in Riga. The jury consisting of Frank Arnauts, Rūta Briede, Pauls Bankovskis, Andrejs Ērglis, Solvita Krese and David Schilter selected the comics from 79 submissions and will award prizes worth over 1100 EUR to the artists of the best three comics. The selected contributors are: Adriāna Roze, Adriāns Kulpe, Anita Rupeika, Elīna Brasliņa, Laura Ķeniņš, Ernests Kļaviņš, Līva Piterāne, Lote Vilma Vītiņa, Māra Drozdova un Zane Zlemeša. / Facebook event /

Friday 14.11.2014, 16.00, Paula Stradiņa Medicīnas vēstures muzejs: Official opening the exhibition „Anatoms. Ķermeņa fabrika” which includes the works of the Komiksu Konkurss 2014. The event is part of the Belgian Days in Riga. / Website /

Friday 14.11.2014, 19.00, KKC, Skolas iela 15: Portfolio presentation and comics reading from Pimo & Rex by German artist Thomas Wellmann and special presentation by Mārtiņš Zutis, with live animations to the music of DJ Kaspars Groševs. / Facebook event /

Saturday - Sunday, Goethe Institute, Torna iela 1: 2-day comics workshop by Thomas Wellmann with participants from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. the workshop is booked out now.

Saturday, 14.11.2014, 21.00, STARO Riga, Aristīds, Aristida Briāna iela 7: An overhead projector meets 4 artists and a DJ. Special guest drawers from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Germany - Zane Zlemeša, Akvilė Misevičiūtė, Liisa Kruusmägi and Thomas Wellmann will light up the evening with drawings about factories... / Facebook event /

Well and if this wasn't enough, if you look for more illustration related events, then on Saturday you can go dribbble and attend the Popper opening of their new huge magazine. And hey, yesterday we also released four new mini kuš!. It's not a festival, but still, something's happening here...

28 October 2014

mini kuš! Fall 2014 releases

kuš! releases four new mini kuš! in the middle of November

While the leaves keep falling from the trees and lose their colors, we are ready to cheer you up with the release of four new mini kuš!. Coming out on the 11th of November will be some experimental and eye-opening mini comics by the international artists Jyrki Heikkinen (Finland), Jesse Jacobs (Canada), Zane Zlemeša (Latvia) and Disa Wallander (Sweden).

You can now order each of the little books from the kuš! webshop separately for $6 each or also as collection for 18$ (worldwide shipping costs already included in the price!). In case you'd also like to get the following kuš! releases, then you can get a subscription here. Also š! #19 is coming out soon and we offer the minis in a bundle with that here.

Each book has 24 pages + cover, full color offset print (locally printed in Riga) on high quality environmentally friendly paper, saddle stitch binding, format DIN A6.

Preview of all the covers and some inside pages:

mini kuš! #26 'Little Hilma', Jyrki Heikkinen

In Jyrki Heikkinen’s Little Hilma, a busy father does not always have time to read to his children. But luckily a teacher-to-be is found at a surprising location and minor worries can be forgotten.

mini kuš! #27 'Mathematical Solutions for a Global Crisis', Jesse Jacobs

Within the pages of Mathematical Solutions for a Global Crisis, Jesse Jacobs has solved all the world's largest problems. The answer is much smaller than you think.


mini kuš! #28 'Collector', Zane Zlemeša

Zane Zlemeša’s Collector is a story about an average guy and his passion. In everyday life you never know who these collectors are, it’s just a coincidence that this one is a photographer.


mini kuš! #29 'Remember This?', Disa Wallander

Remember This? When were you where and how? What do you think about what you think about stuff? Should you memorize memories or just trust the smell to bring them back? Disa Wallander‘s story will confuse you, perhaps it's best not to think about it?

Winner of the mini kuš! competition!

You know you need them! Here's where to place your order. Do it and you can lean back and soon your mailbox will be filled with lots of challenging new comics!

P.S. Does anyone know why blogspot makes all the pictures turn grey? In reality all those pages are much clearer, you can see them in this kushkomikss facebook album.