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Type Reader for June is Annie Koyama

It’s been said before and will be said again: Annie Koyama is a force of nature. Since beginning in 2007, her comics publishing house, Koyama Press, has been publishing some of the most interesting voices in comics, like Michael Deforge, Eleanor Davis, Jesse Jacobs, Walter Scott, and Julia Wertz. Now one of the most influential comics publishers in the world, the former advertising staffer celebrated the press’s tenth anniversary at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival.

In celebration of Koyama Press’s tenth anniversary, Annie Koyama answered a special comic-themed Type questionnaire.


What is the first comic book you remember loving?

Little Lulu

What is your favorite virtue in comics?

As with any good fiction, you can escape into another world for a while. Plus, you have a visual artist’s interpretation of that world.

What do you appreciate most in a book character?

The ability to project yourself onto that character – especially if they have qualities that you wish you possessed.

What character (real or fictional) do you dislike the most?

Trump is right up there. I know everyone chooses Hitler, but Trump’s super power seems to be turning back time, erasing years of progress, rewarding ignorance and intolerance. A pretty despicable person. Even his wife doesn’t want to hold his hand.

If you were to write a graphic novel about anything, what would it be about?

I don’t think I have a long story in me, but a book of vignettes about the absurdity of human life might be fun.

Your favourite piece of art you own?

Ah, that’s a Sophie’s Choice question. I have been fortunate enough to be a collector, but really can’t choose one piece of work as a favourite. Though I can say that the most recent work I bought was a painting by local artist Ginette Lapalme that glows under black light. It’s pretty great.

Your favourite movie based on a comic book?

I used to be a snob about watching films adapted from books and insisted on reading the book before seeing the film. Over the years, my expectations have dropped drastically. I’ve learned to embrace shitty movies based on superhero comic books that I have never read. I’m still waiting to find a favourite.

Do you read comics on public transportation?

Yes, unabashedly.

What comic have you never read but have always meant to? Do you think you will ever read it?

Having come late to comics, there are too many to list, but I’d like to have a go at reading the whole Love and Rockets series by the Hernandez brothers. I think I need a primer first. I hope that I have the time to do that before too long.

What comic do you pretend to have read, but in fact have not?

I own and have not finished Chris Ware’s Building Stories. What is great about that whole package is the precise planning and the format, but it’s also intimidating for those same reasons.

If you could force a single celebrity to read a Koyama title in its entirety, who would you choose, and what would you make them read?

Roz Chast reading and loving Sunburning by Keiler Roberts already happened, so I’d say that qualified.

If you weren’t running a Canadian comics empire, what would you be doing right now?

I’d be planting a vegetable garden and frolicking with woodland creatures. Ideally somewhere with really spotty Internet.

What are you reading right now?

I’m slowly savouring Boundless by Jillian Tamaki, Collecting Sticks by Joe Decie (from the U.K.), A Process of Drastically Reducing One’s Expectations by Gabby Schulz, and several zines that I picked up at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) recently.

photography of Annie Koyama by herself