Welcome to the monthly space in La La Lista that serves as a safe haven for local independent comic and illustration works in the midst of this pandemic climate. We’re going through tough times where the permanent lockdown and the seemingly never ending wait has taken a toll on our spirits. On a personal note, it’s a climate that I can navigate partly because of the connection I’ve created with others through the Internet and its artistic productions. Things are in a constant state of reevaluation, and seeing the world through the creative lens of independent artists works as a sort of balm that allows us to face the harsher realities of this moment in history. 

In this local context, where there has been a lot of debate about whether PDF is an inherently evil format and whether illegal downloads should be penalized, we’ll be sharing the offerings that publishers and independent authors have chosen to give away for free, in order to provide a bit of entertainment and relief.

Términus, the fantasy and horror comics magazine from Rosario, shared its 12 anthologies of brief comic stories by a great variety of local talents. For those who find comfort in escaping towards far-away worlds and the imminent danger within the pages of a horror story, this will be a deep sea you can happily dive into and explore beyond the confines of our homes. You can download their catalogue for free through this link

– Cordoba collective Quilombazo editorial is a new partnership of authors and editors that have made a name for themselves within their local scene: Pablo Guaymasi (a personal favorite), Gastón Sanchez, Luis Parodi, El Negro Viglietti and Polo Colina. Their first published work as a collective seems to veer towards current social issues, mixing literature and comics in an explosive cocktail. They shared their first issue digitally, and we’ll be keeping an eye out for their upcoming work.

Also hailing from Cordoba, Deriva Editora has made a digital download available for those who choose to embrace the bleak mood befitting these times. The experimental editorial project by Athos Pastore and Pablo Ontivero (whom we’ve featured in past installments) put out a PDF of the strange fanzine Postmundo under the enigmatic penname Verner von Rosa (imagine a mutated future on acid) and La sonrisa de Duchenne, a piece of work created solely by Damián Connelly (whom we’ve come across as a writer) putting his characteristic darkness on full display.

They also recently announced that they’ll be publishing a new story titled Mano Oculta, with a script by Rodrigo Canessa and illustrations by Athos Pastore. Through a video trailer we learned that it takes place 10 years after a pandemic transformed human life forever, and it follows the journey of a man as he traverses a barren wasteland. You can pre-order the book both in physical format (which comes with a digital copy that you can read during quarantine) or just the digital version.   

– Authors Paula Sosa Holt and Titihoon came up with the hashtag #retokaiju on Instagram as an invitation to distract ourselves from our worries by drawing 10 giant and anthropomorphic versions of different animals performing everyday tasks, and the results are as beautiful as they are hysterical. Make your own Kaiju! 

– Self-proclaimed “trash” publisher 198X ediciones, created by Alen Bruno and Juan Manuel Lavolpe [full disclosure: they are also my roommates, and I would’ve long succumbed to insanity were it not for their company during these difficult months] and whose work on the #13dias13monstruos hashtag we shared last month, made their first 3 fanzines available as a digital download on their website (which will soon have an English language version), charged with a gleefully adolescent spirit and a high amount of jokes, guts and gunfire. 

Sinestesia is the pen name of choice by an author who is part of the Periférica collective, and whose work I fell head-over-heels in love with when I came upon her autobiographical work Amarga, published by Barro Editora. She’s started to post a comic strip every Friday on the Barro Instagram account; in these strips, she shares stories that mix sweetness and the ennui of this quarantine-induced “new normal”.

Before we wrap up, I think it’s important to mention that Buenos Aires has been undergoing a very difficult moment where residents of Villa 31 have been deprived of access to potable water for several days, under critical circumstances and thanks to the recalcitrant ineptitude of the city government. The image at the top of this article is by the illustrator known as Desastre, who, along with other illustrators, have been working to spread awareness about this issue through their work.

From this space, we’d like to share our appreciation for their efforts, as well as to all the publishing houses and independent artists who are making their work available for free in order to provide us with reading material.