You can pre-order a physical copy of Issue #2: Breath here!
The next three weeks represent our final push before we publish Issue #2: Breath. Benjamin and I have been doing all we can in the background to make this zine special. We’ve worked hard to give our excellent submissions the formats they deserve, and we couldn’t be happier with the results.
However, we originally planned for a 2nd of April release date. Due to a number of circumstances, there will likely be a fortnight’s delay. The issue will still print in April, but we need the extra days in order to perfect the product. Doubling our page count from Issue #1: Birth is important to us, along with wanting to improve on our page designs.
In this latest updates post, I’ll be collecting together all of the extracts we have so far. In addition, there will be some announcements on new features — most of these come with their own extracts. We hope you like the look of the art, photography and writing included this time around. I’ll go through the features roughly in order of their creation, starting with the earliest thing we completed:
We published the first part of ACME — an experimental short fiction written by myself — in Issue #1: Birth. It can be read in a slightly edited form here, or as part of Birth‘s free digital edition here. The above extract comes from the story’s second part, since we intend to serialise its entirety across ten issues. It’s an old work of mine, which I’ve been struggling to express in a worthy fashion for years. There’s very little chance that these zine versions will remain definitive either, but they’re giving me another chance to hammer out some of the errors of youth.
The image below is one small section of Professor Elemental‘s guide to building the perfect rapper. Across four pages, he condenses his gargantuan knowledge into a concise list of rap’s most important aspects. It’s as funny as it is informative, and he’s even curated a playlist of music to sit alongside it (available here). We initially worked with Professor Elemental on this podcast. From there, he contributed a track to our debut compilation of music, Volume #1: Birth. With this latest submission, Professor Elemental and Secret Cave’s association may be only just beginning!
Another submission that came in quickly was written by Warren “WEE” Elliott. Warren is a freelance cartoonist who has a rich history with zines, comics and — as he calls it — lowbrow art. His catalogue is as varied as it is massive, and we’ve done our best to incorporate his drawings in creative ways. In a piece exploring the merits of independent publishing, Warren takes us through the fascinating influences behind his passion. There’s a lot we’re not showing from this set, as we’d rather leave it a surprise, but the extract below shows one of his cartoons alongside his engaging writing:
The image in the bottom right of this extract is, in fact, a doodle by Tristen Brookshire. We were so impressed with her contributions to Issue #1: Birth that we wanted to utilise more of her talents. Together, we decided to integrate her artwork throughout the whole of Issue #2: Breath. We’ve largely given Tristen the freedom to interpret the pages as she sees fit, and it’s been fantastic to see her creative responses. It’s worth noting that these doodles may act as a thread for the zine in more ways than one…
We’ve already announced the involvement of Lewis C. Foster, a young photographer with a strikingly keen eye. The particular photo we’ve chosen to print is outstanding, but we won’t be unveiling that until the issue’s release. We can show another of his stills, though. This came close to being our choice:
Soon, we’ll reveal a brand new artwork by Katrine Claassens as this zine’s cover (for both the back and front). Until we receive it — and we’re certain it will be worth the wait — we can only talk more about “Welcome to the Internet”, a piece by Nadia Fouche inspired by Katrine’s art. In a past update, we posted a small snippet of these pages. Here’s the same snippet, but significantly expanded so you can get a feel for how our designs, Katrine’s paintings and Nadia’s words come together:
Original art is also being provided by Okti, an innovative visual artist from the Netherlands. We presented the following extract in our last updates post, but I’m more than happy to put it up again. Okti has produced a two-page spread that elegantly evokes Issue #2: Breath‘s themes and aesthetic. This is just one half of it:
Though we’ve shown some bits and pieces on Twitter, we’ve only mentioned here that I interviewed Shanell Papp about her experience with textiles. For a while, we were worried about how exactly to portray textiles in print. I think we found a way that does justice to Shanell’s insight, and I look forward to people seeing it in full. For now, I’d like to highlight one of my favourite quotes from the interview, along with a big chunk of its opening page:
“…a delicately knit anatomical heart is somehow more touching than one made of metal…”
– Shanell Papp, Secret Cave Issue #2: Breath
Likewise, we hadn’t posted any previews from my interview with Adam Volerich. Of course, that’s all about to change. Adam has been at the helm of numerous short films, especially through Magnalux Pictures. He joins us for a conversation about Tyrannosaurus Death! — his latest short film. Funnily enough, we briefly discussed the concept of Tyrannosaurus Death! in a podcast I recorded with him almost a year ago. This brings our association full circle, and I look forward to covering more of Adam’s output in the future. The page below is proof of how difficult it would be to post an edited cut-off. It’s also a good example of the efforts we’ve made to bring every corner of Issue #2: Breath to life.
There are still some submissions that we’re waiting on, and a couple more that we’re playing around with. We’ve almost finished formatting the inspiring story of Grapheel‘s CEO, Daniel Hajas. Grapheel aim to make the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics more accessible to the visually impaired. Their use of software to profoundly improve human life appeals to us greatly at Secret Cave, and we’ll proudly support them however we can. In “Sharing the Vision”, Linn Boldt-Christmas — a member of the Grapheel team — outlines Daniel’s journey and mission. These samples are a work-in-progress, but extremely close to what we’ll publish:
I’m pleased to report that we’ve already conducted an interview with Jenna Brown, the 2D Art Director of A Hat in Time. Jenna shares her history with illustration, some thoughts on the importance of art to video games and more. We’ll actually be putting this interview out here on the site on Friday, partly to make up for the unfortunate delay of this issue. With the critically acclaimed A Hat in Time being among the best games of 2017, I’m extremely grateful to Jenna for her enthusiasm.
Finally, we’re excited to format another interview too. Achewood‘s Chris Onstad, as I wrote in my last update, is set to reflect on his enormously successful and popular webcomic. As a fan of his writing for over a decade, I consider the opportunity an honour. This is a favourite strip of mine by Chris:
There are other features for Issue #2: Breath to disclose, but we’re in the process of confirming them. Altogether, we’re more satisfied with this zine than we could have predicted. We owe our elation to every person named in this post, and we thank them from the bottom of our heart. Our readers are equally responsible for this endeavour, so we thank you with the same sincerity. All of our news breaks on Twitter, so follow us if you don’t want to miss any updates. We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to type a comment about how you think the issue is progressing!
You can pre-order a physical copy of Issue #2: Breath here!
Oh go on then, have another extract: