Catalyst: Self-Made Hero Launches UK Anthology by Creators of Colour

Catalyst is a major new comics anthology from SelfMadeHero's 2021 Graphic Anthology Programme (GAP), which was designed to develop, publish and promote emerging creators of colour from across the UK. The programme, the first of its kind for SelfMadeHero, saw seven participants complete an intensive 12 weeks of comics mentoring and masterclasses. This culminated in each participant – along with their mentors – producing an eight-page graphic short story, all of which have been combined into this anthology.

Catalyst: Self-Made Hero Launches UK Anthology by Creators of Colour
"Catalyst" cover courtesy of Selfmade Hero.

Catalyst collects stories from a range of artists across the UK; this comics anthology unites their voices under a single theme: "catalyst." In one story, the accidental witnessing of a horrific scene turns a regular day into a nightmare; in another, the truth of what it really took to put a man on the moon is revealed. From tales of misplaced memories to battles with the id, Catalyst offers a look at the consequences of big and small acts alike.

Showcasing a mix of established and emerging artists, this collection imagines the myriad ways in which a chain of events might end in either euphoria or catastrophe. Sometimes both. Edited by Ayoola Solarin, this provocative, intriguing, and revelatory anthology invites readers to consider the situations, people, and events that might accelerate change in their own lives and in our society as a whole.

CATALYST: ABOUT THE CREATORS 

Ayoola Solarin is a TV writer, comics editor, critic, and arts journalist. She has written for television for Disney and Netflix and has worked with numerous award-winning creators. Her byline features include The Guardian, Dazed, Vulture, i-D, and Hyperallergic. She is currently working in production on Netflix's DEADENDIA, based on the graphic novels of which she was the editor.

Txabi Jones is a freelance graphic designer from Bilbao who has been living in London and working for corporate and not-for-profit organisations for over 20 years. He has been with the SelfMadeHero team since October 2015.

Asia Alfasi is an award-winning British Libyan graphic novelist. Born in Libya in 1984, she spent her formative years first in Tripoli and then in Glasgow, Scotland, after migrating there with her family. Upon discovering and falling in love with comics and manga, she realised their immense potential for humanising issues and bringing the plight of often marginalised peoples to the fore and therefore furthering understanding. Ever since she has represented the Muslim and Arab voice through her work with the ultimate aim of harnessing the medium as a tool for cross-cultural dialogue.

Charlotte Bailey is a Birmingham-based cartoonist whose work explores Black British heritage and potential futures. She has published, edited, and collaborated on a range of zines and journals and wrote episode two of the sci-fi webcomic Planet DIVOC-9. An associate of the international graphic novel forum LDComics, she has hosted workshops with Afrofutures UK. Her work has been widely exhibited, including at the Angoulême Comics Festival and London's Cartoon Museum, and was published in the celebrated anthology The Inking Woman.

Born in Taiwan, Jason Chuang moved to the UK at 15, pursued an illustration degree at Falmouth University, and subsequently completed an MA in Visual Communication at the RCA. He is interested in the exploration of human emotions via symbolic imagery coated with elements of the absurd and the poetic. Passionate about narrative, Jason often ponders impossible situations within alternative universes, constantly searching for new ways to tell stories in which the unreal comes closer to the truth.

Dominique Duong is an illustrator and comics artist living and working in London. Her work has been published by Imagine FX, The Covent Gardener, The Psychologist, and AppBox Media, and she was one of Broken Frontier's "Six Small Press Creators to Watch" in 2020. Fascinated by the macabre, the surreal, and the magical, and influenced by mythology, fairy tales, nature, and folklore, Dominique creates diverse, queer fantasy and horror stories. She also runs art workshops on bookbinding, drawing, and inking.

Catherine Anyango Grünewald, a published graphic novelist and teacher, taught at the RCA in London for ten years and is now a Senior Lecturer in Illustration at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts, and Design in Stockholm. She illustrated a graphic novel adaptation of Conrad's Heart of Darkness for SelfMadeHero in 2010, and in 2019 was awarded the prestigious Navigator Art on Paper Prize. In 2021, Phaidon's Vitamin D3 included her among the 100 best practitioners of contemporary drawing.

Shuning Ji studied illustration as a postgraduate at The University of Edinburgh. She is a comic book artist and character designer and is currently working on a comic about Chinese slang. Born in China, Shuning now lives and works in Edinburgh.

Pris Lemons is a queer comics artist from the Cayman Islands who now lives in Scotland. Their work is autobiographical, focusing on gender and sexuality through character design. Colour, symbolism, and humour are key elements of their work, which explores sensitivity and vulnerability via difficult narratives drawn from their own queer experience. Inspired by film, animation, and real-life, Pris highlights the feeling of living between worlds, rendering the internal contradictions in their culture and upbringing both tangible and beautiful.

Sonia Leong is a comics/manga illustrator and author of many drawing guides, including Draw Manga: Complete Skills (Search Press). Her debut graphic novel was the Manga Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet (SelfMadeHero), and her most recent book was Great Lives: Marie Curie (BES Publishing). She also illustrates for children's books, fashion, advertising, film, and television. She is the Director of Sweatdrop Studios, an independent comic publisher based in the United Kingdom.

Calico N.M. is a comics artist, illustrator, and animator and is currently studying at Kingston University London. Born in Egypt and now living in the UK, they have created a number of small, self-published zines and webcomics, as well as being featured in community-based illustration anthologies under the pen name Neomints.

Since graduating with a BA in Illustration from Middlesex University in 2020, Tyrell Osborne has continued to add to his skill sets, both digital and traditional, incorporating pen and ink, printmaking, life drawing, and visual storytelling. He is interested in exploring both personal and commercial projects and has previously created protest posters for recent political and global events, a graphic novel, an illustrated biography, film posters, intimate family portraits, and a panoramic narrative. Tyrell lives and works in London.

Woodrow Phoenix is a writer, artist, and graphic designer based in London and Cambridge. His work has appeared in national UK newspapers, in magazines and comics collections internationally, and in television projects for Walt Disney and Cartoon Network. His books include the critically acclaimed Rumble Strip and Crash Course, the award-winning anthology Nelson and the experimental She Lives, a gallery installation that is also a graphic novel. Woodrow is a Visiting Lecturer in Graphic Novels at Middlesex University.

Sajan Rai is a self-employed artist who produces increasingly weird pictures and comics, as well as world-building through non-linear illustrated poetry. He likes using the latter to experiment artistically, as well as attempting to create work disparate from the abundant homogeneity of eurocentrism in art. His comics, however, are largely centred around being absurdist slapstick. When not drawing, Sajan enjoys reading, making, and listening to music and is currently watching the '90s Canadian vampire show Forever Knight for free on Youtube.

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About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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