After 10 years, Annie Koyama has established herself as a top curator of cartoonist talent in the comics industry, and it’s easy to discover exciting new names with every season of new Koyama Press titles. Hannah K. Lee is one of those artists, and after reading her new art book, Language Barrier, readers will want to follow her to whatever she does next. Lee has been creating zines for the last five years while working as a professional illustrator for outlets like The New York Times and The New Yorker, and Language Barrier collects assorted zines, comic strips, and drawings to highlight the broad range of her ability.
This exclusive excerpt includes illustrations that take very different approaches to showing the female form, starting with detached body parts in fruit bowl before shifting to a crudely drawn nude and ending with a sunny, sensual image of a woman wearing a plastic grocery bag as a garment. Her style changes for each of these images, and her versatility is at the forefront of Language Barrier. The opening “Hello Beautiful” spread spotlights Lee’s typography talent, and that skill is pushed even further with her Shoes Over Bills zine, which takes inspiration from shoe designs for the typography she uses to write the expense she’s sacrificing to purchase her footwear.
This excerpt also includes Lee’s “1 Is The Loneliest Number” comic strips, which detail the highs and lows of single life with a self-deprecating sense of humor. She doesn’t have anyone to witness her bodily function achievement when she gets sick, or see how gussied up she gets for a nice meal at home, but she also doesn’t have to share Chris Evans’ “muffin butt” with anyone else when she goes to see Captain America: Civil War. These strips show how well Lee can set up a punchline, and the sharp storytelling here suggests that she should her try her hand at a longer narrative. Language Barrier is available now in select bookstores and online retailers, and it’s a great book for people who want a breezy read that is full of surprises.