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MoCCA This Weekend!

MoCCA is just a few days away! I’ll be at the Paper Rocket table with Age of Elves author Colin Lidston and special guest MIKE DIANA! See us at table E 170.

 

And my two debuts have arrived from the printer!

The Tiny Report No. 5…

…and The Age of Elves Issue 3!

See you there! Kickstarter backers can pick up these books at the show.

 

Paper Rocket 2018 Spring Line

I’ll be publishing two titles in April, just in time for MoCCA Fest. You can preorder them until April 6 on Kickstarter!

As usual, I’m publishing my annual small press zine, but the focus has changed a bit. I’ve shifted from just covering micro-presses to widely cover small press comics, especially minicomics. So I changed the title from the Micro-Press Yearbook to The Tiny Report. There is still a Micro-Press Yearbook section, with a fold-out chart, but there are also lot of minicomic reviews and interviews with artists.

I’m not sure what the Tiny Report will become, and to be honest I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be doing it. (I’m forty, and I have a very demanding job! This gets harder every year.)  The plan is to make the Tiny Report a home for all my research and thoughts on small press comics—this is a subject I want to write seriously about. And with each issue I’ll continue to invite other writers to contribute, because I think it makes for a better zine. (And it also makes filling an issue much easier. I’m a slow writer.)

About this issue: #5! It’s big. At least 60 pages! Check out this cover by Zack Soto. Perhaps you’ve noticed that I always ask micro-publishers to do the covers. (To date: Chuck Forsman, Box Brown, J.T. Yost, Kevin Czap, and now Zack.)

We will have two main features. I wrote a profile about Eleanor Davis’s early minicomics, did a short interview with her, and created a near complete bibliography of her self-published work.

Haleigh Buck provides and in-depth interview with Mike Diana. (She also drew this illustration.)

And Robin Enrico and I review a lot of minicomics!

I’ll also be publishing the third issue of The Age of Elves by Colin Lidston. It’s a big issue to: 40 pages.

The issue opens in Gen Con, America’s largest table-top-gaming convention. Sarah, Jamie, Bram, and Evan seem to be the youngest people in attendance.

Sarah befriends an older LARPer couple. The first day of gaming goes well, until Evan fails to return to the hotel room that night.

Preorder your copies by backing the Kickstarter. And both of these titles will end up in the store before too long.

 

 

Micro-Press 2017 Survey and Beyond

Happy New Year! Around this time I usually look back at the previous year and chronicle what the comics micro-presses were up to. And I’ll be honest, I really debated whether I had it in me to do it again. I AM BURNED OUT. (More on this below.)

But I decided I’m going to try. And you can help me out.

Are you a micro-publisher?

TAKE THE SURVEY

But wait, did you take the survey last year?

TAKE THE FAST TRACK SURVEY

Please complete the survey by February 15.

As I look ahead to 2018 and consider what my creative output will be, I’ve had to accept the reality of my life: at the moment, my career leaves me little time for creative output. I’ve decided I need to step back a bit from scene and from tabling to focus on two things.

1. I want to get serious about collecting and writing about small press comics (especially minicomics). I’ve been posting mini profiles semi-regularly on Instagram. 

https://www.instagram.com/paperrobyn/

And I wrote this thing about Eleanor Davis’s early minicomics on Roar.

I like writing about comics. For me, it’s not fraught in the way making comics is. I’m a decent writer—a slow one, but not glacial. Doing my Instagram posts and writing about minicomics at length: something about it just feels right. So I’m going to try incorporate that into what the Tiny Report is.

2. I want to develop an ambitious anthology project (more on that to come).

It’s my goal to really dig into these two projects in 2018. I’m settled in a new apartment that I love and freshly single for the first time in a long time. It’s my hope this gives me some space to focus, but only time will tell. Figuring out how to fit my personal work around my career at First Second is an on-going struggle. If you have any tips, I’d love to hear them!

Micro-Press Yearbook 2016, Kickstarter, TCAF

A new issue of The Micro-Press Yearbook will debut at TCAF in just one week! We’re at table 234, on the second floor between Hidden Fortress Press and Breakdown Press. Pretty good company!

And for one more week, you can pre-order your issue through our Kickstarter!

I’m really proud of this issue. We profiled two institutions that are important to indie comics: The Beguiling comic book store in Toronto (which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year) and publisher Sparkplug Comic Books (which closed in 2016 after 15 years). Jonathan Rotsztain wrote the Beguiling article, and in it he interviews owner Peter Birkemoe, Annie Koyama, Seth, and Michael DeForge.

I wrote the profile of Sparkplug Comic Books and interviewed publisher Virginia Paine.

And as usual, The Micro-Press Yearbook will include an annual account of micro-press activity, as best as I can track it.

Colin Lidston and Penina Gal will also be at my TCAF table, and they each have debut books. Colin is debuting his second issue of The Age of Elves (published by my own micro-press, Paper Rocket) and Penina is debuting Orbiting, a self-published Risograph comic.

Hope to see you there!

2016 Micro-Press Survey

Happy New Year!

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And you know what the New Year brings: another micro-press survey! (Also more vintage clock-and-girl glamor shots.)

Did you fill out the survey for 2015? Then go HERE for the Fast Track Survey.
(The survey is streamlined and shorter than ever!)

If you didn’t fill out the survey for 2015, please go HERE.

New for the 2016 Yearbook! Publishers that only publish anthologies will now be included in the Micro-Press Yearbook. Because I’ve never tracked these publishers before, I have a lot of catching up to do. If you only publish anthologies, please complete our regular 2016 Survey. If you’d like to recommend some anthology publishers for the list, please reply in this post’s comments.

Thanks, guys, for sticking with me! Professionally, 2016 was an amazing year. I landed my dream job: I’m a full-time graphic novel editor. But that meant I didn’t have as much time to dedicate to this blog and the Micro-Press Yearbook. I’m hoping to pick up the slack in 2017, and deliver the next Yearbook earlier (by May, I hope).

I’d like to take a moment to thank these great publishers that filled out my 2015 survey. I couldn’t have done it without you.

THANK YOU 2d Cloud, AdHouse Books, Alternative Comics, Big Planet Comics, Birdcage Bottom Books, Czap Books, Desert Island, The Devastator, Dog City Press, Floating World Comics, Hang Dai Editions, Hic & Hoc Publications, Hidden Fortress Press, INK BRICK, Issue Press, Kilgore Books & Comics, Northwest Press, One Percent Press, Pegacorn Press, Pity Party, Price Tapes, Ray Ray Books, Retrofit Comics, Revival House Press, Rough House, Secret Acres, Silver Sprocket, So What? Press, Sonatina Comics, Sparkplug Books, Tinto Press, Yeah Dude Comics, Yeti Press, and Youth in Decline.

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Micro-Press Yearbook 2015

Earlier this month I (finally) published the Micro-Press Yearbook 2015. I had hoped to release it in early 2016. I’m doing my best, but it’s getting harder to carve out time to publish with a demanding day job (that I very much love).

But it’s here, And I’m offering it for the low cost of $4, free shipping. Which basically just covers my costs. Consider it my gift to you, dear reader.

Order your copies here.

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I published the Micro-Press Yearbook 2015 just in time to head down to Georgia for the Savannah College of Art and Design’s annual Minicomic Expo. SCAD is my alma mater, but I hadn’t been back in a long time. I first arrived there as a freshman TWENTY years ago. Hard to believe.

This is what I looked like back then. Note the Love and Rockets t-shirt and my roller skates, painted silver and stenciled with some of my favorite comic book characters.

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Still looking good,right?14733252_326108841091644_5319797121900085248_n

Needless to say, it was an emotionally trip. This place was so significant to my younger self. I had forgotten that.

SCAD has changed a lot in the last twenty years. I think the greatest improvement to the Sequential Art department (or Sequa, as it’s casually know there) is its greater focus on self-publishing. That’s largely due to David Allan Duncan, the professor who invited me down. Duncan (as he’s known) teaches the minicomics class (there’s a minicomics class now!) and he’s responsible for the annual Minicomics Expo. The Expo is tiny comics convention held in a number of classrooms. Only students and alumni exhibit, and it’s free and open to the public. Each year one special guest is invited (usually an alum), and this year it was me.

While I was there I gave FIVE lectures over three days,  so I was pretty drained. One of the lectures was called Robyn Chapman: a Career in Comics. I thought that one would break me. I’m not super comfortable talking about myself or my career. I naturally want to put quotation marks around that word: “career.” But that’s bull. For the first time, I have a real, grown-up, full-time career. I guess it’s time to own it.

Here’s a collection of photos of students and alums exhibiting at the Expo. (Please correct me if I got any names wrong.)

scad1 Eugene Park had a really nice set-up

scad-8Al Pullen makes Pokemon butt pins out of sculpy. Pretty cool

scad-7 Scuzz Comics (Warren Bond?). This was his first show, but the pizza box display was a smart idea

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Jordan Scribner and his partner at the Grad Lab podcast (sorry, I’m not sure of his name)
scad-3Sarah Myer, an MFA grad and a recent SCAD instructor

scad-2Fawn Prints has the Halloween vibe going on

SCAD treats its visiting artists very well. They put me up in the Magnolia House, a special bed and breakfast for visiting faculty. Here are some pics.

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I had a great time at SCAD, and I even sold some minis at the Minicomic Expo. Considering that I didn’t spend a dime, it might be my most profitable convention of all time.

 

 

News Roundup: Alvin Buenaventura, Sparkplug, Sick by Gabby Schulz

It’s been a while since I’ve done one these “news roundups.” But it’s been an eventful and heavy week, so I had to.

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Like so many in my community, I was shocked and saddened by the untimely death of Alvin Buenaventura. As far as I know, the only one to publically call his death a suicide is Tim Hensley, who Alvin was publishing in his last days. It’s the sad conclusion that many of us had already made. (I borrowed the above photo from Tim’s post.)

Alvin was a fine art publisher and a meticulous perfectionist. His press great right out of gate: Spaniel Rage by Vanessa Davis was the first graphic novel from Buenaventura Press, and one my favorites. Other cartoonists he publish include Souther Salazar, Matt Furie, and Lisa Hanawalt. Probably his most well-known publication was Kramers Ergot #7, a beautiful and immense (16″x 21″) anthology edited by Sammy Harkham. Buenaventura Press closed not long after for unspecified legal and financial problems (which I speculate may have been tied the the extreme expense of Kramers Ergot 7 and other high fidelity projects).

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Alvin reemerged with Pigeon Press, which focused on fine art production and even smaller print runs. The future of the press, its remaining stock, and the books in production is unknown.

Alvin published some of the most beautiful comics of the last decade, and he didn’t even consider himself an artist. He was only 39. I’m so sorry he’s gone. Here’s a great remembrance by Daniel Clowes.

 

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Virginia Paine at Sparkplug Comic Books announced that the press will be closing this year. Sparkplug has been around for fourteen years, making it one of the longest running micro-presses on my list. It was started in 2002 by Dylan Williams. Like Alvin Buenaventura, Dylan also died at age 39, but of cancer. It was the first time a peer from my comics community had died. Before that, this little world felt somewhat invincible to me.

After his death, Dylan’s wife Emily Nillson ran the press with Tom Neely. Virginia Paine took over publishing duties in 2013. I like how the press was developing, and you could discern a character in content and design that was her own. But running the press while holding down a job and creating her own artwork became too demanding for Virginia. The bright side is that Sparplug’s backstock will be absorbed by Alternative Comics, who is doing a great job of distributing work from all corners of the small press comics world.

Sick-CoverTo end on a high note, Gabby Schulz (aka Ken Dahl) just announced that we can expect a new graphic novel from him this spring. Secret Acres is publishing his latest work, Sick, and also bringing his previous work, Monsters, back into print. Both will be available in bookstores all over the country thanks to Secret Acres’ recent deal with Consortium Press. Consortium is really making a bid to be the bookstore distributor of small press comics publishers. I hope it pays off.