In 2012, three Swedes in Stockholm (Olle Forsslöf, Patrick Crotty and Elliot Alfredius) became one of the most prolific alt-comic publishers of the 2010s, even if that was never their intention. “We just wanted to work with other artists that we were inspired by,” says Forsslöf, PEOW cofounder.
Beginning with risographed books and fanzines made internally, PEOW would go on to publish a wide assortment of contemporary, international cartoonists, such as Thu Tran, Jane Mai, Linnea Sterte and Ville Kallio. Their recent anthology series, Ex.Mag, gave artists an excuse to explore a wide arrangement of juicy subgenres, with volumes themed around cyberpunk, mech fights and paranormal romance.
In 2022, the PEOW crew announced that they would be suspending their print run of books, ending a hot streak that’s lasted through the Tumblr indie comics boom until now.
It’s not an easy choice to make, but one that’s been a long time coming. Over the last five years, it became harder for the team to juggle all the responsibilities to their books. Crotty moved to the U.S. and got a full time job. Forsslöf began full time studies. P.E.O.W. began to feel like a side project. With their time and distance becoming stretched thin, Forsslöf explains that, “we were in agreement to push out the titles we had lined up, and then we wouldn’t do any more books.
“We’ve never had any real plan or recipe to what made PEOW,” says Forsslöf, “maybe that is the secret. Money never drew us in, and we never tried to pick an artist only because we’d think they would be a “great seller.”
The end of PEOW books doesn’t necessarily mean the end of their creative ambitions, or even the end of the label. PEOW has already experimented with interactive, low- polygon “book games” (see their Internal Affairs DDCollection) and Forsslöf says he can imagine more projects exploring that space. “But for the near future I really just want to get bored to death on my weekends and evenings so I get sparked into doing something again,” says Forsslöf, “haha.