In Focus: Nobrow’s 17×23 series

Nobrow’s 17x23 series is soley dedicated to championing fresh comic art talent.

Launching in 2010 with comics by Luke Pearson, Ben Newman and Jack Teagle – whom have each gone on to forge successful careers – the 17×23 graphic short story series is designed to help talented young graphic novelists tell their stories and can act as a springboard for more ambitious projects.

Many of the contributing artists have nurtured a long standing relationship with publisher Nobrow.

Speaking of the success of the series, and his personal highlights, Nobrow co-founder Sam Arthur said that it was easy to pick up on Luke Pearson’s Hildafolk published in 2010 as this has lead to the team commissioning a series of books from Luke, with a fifth Hilda novel currently in the works:

This is 17×23 in action! Ben Newman has gone on to work for us lots after his comic book Ouroboros and several others have really flourished in their careers since.

The series has always had a fast turn around time and production of titles has risen recently with 6 new comics being released in the last few months, all of which have been huge hits with readers and have huge potential for future projects according to Sam.

Although they are all part of the same series, the new batch have very little tying them together. Other than it having to be a 24 page comic that measures 17 by 23 cm, the brief is left open to interpretation. Plots range from Lost Property’s story of a postman who simultaneously rediscovers every object he ever lost whilst uncovering a hidden talent to The Fourth Earl of Reisenskog’s mission to kill one of every creature. Style also ranges drastically from Ryan Heshka’s bold depiction of Mean Girls Club using only pink, black and white to Jen Lee’s use of more complimentary colour tones and distinctive drawing style to create the cast of oddball characters in Vacancy.

There is on more rule which ties all of the new titles together – no cliffhangers allowed. This is most clear in Wren Mcdonald’s Cyber Realm, an epic tale which manages to pack loss, heartache, anger, revenge and deception all into the limited format so as to tell a full story.

Cyber Realm by Wren Mcdonald

Cyber Realm teaches a lesson in how to fit a long story into a short format without it seeming rushed and it is not the only new release which includes an food for thought. Golemchik by William Exley shows that a good story doesn’t have to have a good moral, Lost Property breaks format rules brilliantly by breaking into a pattern-like composition mid comic, The Hunter uses silence to build dramatic tension, The Mean Girls Club is a masterclass in stark stylisation and Vacancy teaches a lesson in how to write a weird and hilarious comic – their is lots of knowledge for aspiring comic artists to soak up.

These lessons all tap into the heart of the 17×23 concept – a belief that just because you are yet to be “discovered” doesn’t mean that you don’t have something fresh, intelligent and inspiring to share.

Lost Property by Andy Poyiadgi

You can pick up all of the new releases, as well as back issues from the 17×23 archive, from the Nobrow online store.



Posted on Oct 23rd, 15 by

Greg McIndoe - also known as Headless Greg - is an illustrator and design writer based in Glasgow, Scotland. He regularly writes for design magazines and online platforms, interviewing fellow illustrators and leading creatives.

Posted in

Comments are closed.