Meet the Publisher - Decadence Comics

A Q&A interview with Stathis Tsemberlidis of Decadence Comics, an independent publisher, comic anthology and collective based between Copenhagen, Athens and London

Tsemberlidis, Transmutations, ink drawings, installation view, Momentum 9, Norway

Courtesy of Decadence Comics

What made you first want to start publishing books?

Decadence Comics came about as a reaction to what we were seeing and experiencing back in 2003. Everything seemed fictional, our western societies were mutating into selfish entities, with power being taken away from the individual and given over to monstrous corporations.

Immoral consumerism replaced the importance of living and acting in solidarity. Self publishing seemed logical for the kind of stories we wanted to publish, it didn't seem like any publishers were publishing comics like this at the time.

How important are ideas of collecting to the publishing industry?

It has always been our way of working to make a consistent and considered design aesthetic to our books even though the themes and concepts vary. This has perhaps made them more desirable to collect, but is not our main concern in publishing them.

Tsemberlidis, Prismatik Man, A1 prints, installation view, Vermillion Sands

Courtesy of Decadence Comics

Do you think that books belong in museums? If so why, if not why not?

While a book might struggle to find a place in the format of modern family-accessible museums, I think they can play an important part in an archive of work from specific times and movements. To see the first editions of books, how they are made and the design choices in their physicality can give an insight into how they were received at the time.

Tsemberlidis, Transmutations, ink drawings, detail

Courtesy of Decadence Comics

Have there been particular books that had a big impact on you in terms of the way you approach book-making/publishing?

Manga comics have been a massive inspiration in terms of our approach to book-making and publishing. There was a strong desire to capture the liberating energy of the manga medium, printed on cheap off white paper in black and white and being easily accessible to the audience due to cheap mass production techniques. We experimented a lot with the risograph printing format to capture a specific zine aesthetic, based around them being affordable and easily available.

Do you collect books? What sort of books interest you most?

We are both into collecting books and comics. We are interested in science fiction, history, philosophy books as well as Japanese manga and the early 70s European comic scene.

Lando, Propagation and seed dispersal of human/plants hybrids on 625B, book detail

Courtesy of Decadence Comics