Breakdown Press started with Joe, Simon, Tom and Josh, friends long dissatisfied with the state of the UK’s comics publishing industry. In 2012, they decided to go DIY by publishing Windowpane – the first book by Joe Kessler, who is also the Art Director of Breakdown Press. From there, Breakdown Press started working with other friends such as Zoe Taylor, Antoine Cosse and Richard Short as well as reaching out to cartoonists they admired – whose work they had seen online or at comic fairs.
Breakdown Press publish work that they think is good, important, different or inspiring. As a small independent press there is only so many releases that they can fit into their schedule and there is always new artists or work that they’re pursuing. Submissions don’t factor into their decision making. For now.
They cover all the usual work of a publisher; choosing the right paper, designing the cover, as well as organising press. But communication is key once they have decided on the book they’re going to publish, with the artists usually getting to dictate the form their books will take. Once the work is ready to print it’s a case of deciding what form of printing will be used with Risography usually acting as the go to for their smaller projects or serialised work, and lithography for larger projects.
Their next release is Fukishima Devil Fish. A collection of work by Katsumata Susumu from the 60s and 80s containing strips about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant warning us about the dangers of radiation, interestingly published decades before the 2011 disaster. In this publication, we have the artist’s early work, which is more varied in tone, while moving between folklore and slice-of-life stories. This is first time Katsumata’s work has been translated into english, so unless you speak fluent Japanese, get reading now.
Breakdown Press will also be organising Safari festival again this year, a festival they ran last year that looked at celebrating a new wave of art comics and bringing together artists and publishers. The dates will be announced soon but will take place in late August.