I just learned that Revival House Press will be publishing Sky in Stereo by Mardou. I think this is a significant development for Revival House because (1) to my knowledge, it’s their first graphic novel and (2) it might be their first “straight” comic—and by that, I just mean that publisher Dave Nuss tends towards comics that are a goofy, trippy, or somewhat bizarre. Sky in Stereo is a semi-autobiographical slice-of-life story, and I think Mardou is the publisher’s first female author, so this feels like a new direction for them. It’s good stuff, and I’m glad Dave will be publishing it. Because of the Alternative Comics Co-Op, getting a copy should be pretty easy (from Diamond, Amazon, etc.)
(Sorry for the long absence. I’ve just returned from a comic historian’s dream vacation, to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum. More on that soon!)
I’ve sent out all my Kickstarter awards (thanks again, guys!) and the Micro-Press Yearbook 2014 can now be ordered at my store. Just five bucks, plus shipping.
This issue was a more ambitious (and time-consuming) project than last year’s. It’s now 32 pages and full color. Inside you’ll find an article about distribution by Whit Taylor, an interview with kuš! publisher David Schilter by Rob Kirby, and all the 2014 data I could gather. There’s even a map by Cadu França charting where US micro-presses are located, state by state. This awesome cover is by Box Brown.
Thanks, and enjoy. I hope to get on a more steady Tiny Report schedule soon.
I just supported the Comics Reporter Patreon, and you should too. It was my first time using Patreon, and it’s pretty painless.
In case you missed it, Tom Spurgeon launched his Patreon last week, with the goal of expanding and improving the Comics Reporter. From Tom:
“I’d like to start from scratch and rebuild what comics industry journalism means, employing some of the same tools I use with the site now and looking into different ways of writing and presenting information. I’d like to step back from the kind of coverage that requires constant attention to a Twitter feed or that you buy something first and instead use gathered, curated presentation of the news — at first in PDF format — to start writing a first draft of comics history that includes everything going on in comics, history that won’t disappear if you look away from your computer for five minutes.”
This is pretty exciting for me, because it sounds like there will be a Comics Reporter zine for me to read, and that’s a form that’s a little more palatable to me. Don’t get me wrong: I like blogs, but I never was Johnny-on-the twitter. I’m not good at keeping up with the Internet; I’d rather read a book (or a pdf printout, even) on the subway.
I’m also excited because the Comics Reporter is basically my number one inspiration as an amateur journalist. I could give two shits about the latest comic book movie, so I appreciate that Tom is focused on the Medium, and that his voice as a reader and lover of comics always shines through.
The Tiny Report has been MIA for awhile now. Making, printing, and shipping the Micro-Press 2014 took longer than I thought it would! But the last Kickstarter award is going in the mail tomorrow, so I’m easing back into the amateur journalism you’ve come to expect at The Tiny Report.
Kevin Czap has made his latest comic available for pre-order. Fütchi Perf is an 84-page, two-color Risograph book and it looks gorgeous. Wow, it has an ISBN, too! Kevin is serious.
I know Kevin more from his publishing at Czap Books, and his output in the last year or two has made it one of my favorite micro-presses. I’m glad to know Kevin can really draw too. I dig the art, and this sounds like a story I can get behind.
Did you hear? You can pre-order the Micro-Press Yearbook 2014 on my Kickstarter.
I’ll be releasing the zine at Desert Island in Brooklyn this Thursday. I’ve also invited two micro-presses from the neighborhood to join: So What? Press and Revival House Press. It will be a micro-press party, which is kind of like a Tupperware party, except we’re selling small press comics.
Micro-Press Party at Desert Island
Thursday, June 25, 7-9pm
540 Metropolitan Ave
The Micro-Press Yearbook 2014 is available for pre-order through this quick and cheap Kickstarter campaign. With a cover by Box Brown and contributions from Whit Taylor, Robert Kirby, Cadu França, and Jonathan Rotsztain. It’s in full color this time, and with a lot more content! Just $7, which includes shipping.
Blink and you’ll miss it! I’m only doing pre-orders for a week and a half, and then I’ll have a release party at Desert Island.
On Saturday I tabled at Grand Comics Fest, aka the world’s smallest comics convention. It was a narrow room filled with friends, and just 15 minutes away on the L train. I liked it. It was chill and friendly, and I even made some money. I’m not sure it’s a festival worth traveling for, but it’s a good neighborhood show that you can peruse in just a half hour (longer if you want to chat with each table, which is easy to do).
I discovered a new micro-press at this show. Phinkwell is a Philadelphia-based webcomics collective/publisher. Art Baxter seems to be at the helm. One of their authors, Steve Teare, was at Grand with his comic series Back and Forth.
Printed Matter, one of the most important organizations dedicated to artists’ books, is moving to a new location that will double their square footage. Their new home on the corner of 11th Avenue and 26th Street will house their inventory of 15,000 publications and offer a community space for a variety of events. If you want to lend a hand, donate to their capital campaign.
Printed Matter is a resource comics micro-publishers should utilize more, myself included. A few comics micro-presses sell their publications at Printed Matter–Pegacorn Press, Domino, Desert Island, etc. But there could be more of a comics presence in their shop and at the two festivals the organize: NY Art Book Fair and LA Art Book Fair. I get the sense that Printed Matter tends towards comics that are non-narrative, arty, and hand-printed, so I would especially encourage publishers of those works to check them out. They have an open submission policy concerning works in their catalog.
TCAF was the last stop on my 2015 “spring tour,” otherwise known the overly ambitious and poorly planned festival application bender that left me committed to back-to-back weekend events for a month and a half. So by the time TCAF rolled around I was sick of comics events, and maybe even sick of comics. I didn’t even want to go. But I had sunk $450 into the plane ticket, the table fee, and the hostel, so there was no going back.
Long story short, I departed Toronto encouraged, confident, and in love with comics again. So it was a pretty great show.
TCAF is a big and complicated show, and it would be impossible for me to give an exhaustive overview. But I will try to offer some thoughts on my experience at the show, in handy set of pros and cons, tailored specifically with the small publisher in mind.
Drawn and Quarterly 25th Anniversary
The guest list was absolutely stellar this year, partly due to D & Q’s 25th anniversary celebration. Many out-of-town Drawn and Quarterly authors made the trip, including Lynda Barry, Jason Lutes, and Adrian Tomine. I was practically tripping over my comics heroes.
TCAF American Dropship Location
New for this year, TCAF invested in an dropship location near the Canadian border, but on the American side. American exhibitors could ship their boxes there, and TCAF would have them transported over the border and to Toronto. This meant that American exhibitors could ship their books without paying exorbitant international shipping fees. Heck, you could even ship book rate if you planned ahead! This is a real game changer.
The Toronto Reference Library
I love this library. If books were given the reverence they deserve, this is what every library would look like. Even though it’s a challenge to fit a festival into this living space, it’s worth it.
This should be the norm, folks.
Tables are Pretty Cheap
$175 Canadian for a half table is hard to beat.
This is probably my best selling show. I actually sold out of several books, which rarely happens for me.
Extensive Programming and Events
From Thursday to Sunday, there’s a lot to see and do. If you came for nothing but the programming, you’d leave pretty educated by day four. Also, there were lots of parties.
Because this is a free event, and because it’s in a popular public space in the heart of the city, all sorts of people come to TCAF. This show attracts book lovers, and not necessarily the ones steeped in comics fandom. It’s really refreshing to show my work to new eyes, not just the same people I’ve being seeing at conventions for the last fifteen years.
Day one started at 9am (!) which would be hard to take without the Friday night set-up. I wish all festivals did early set-up. I generally haul all my gear by myself, and having this extra time really helps.
I made some new friends got to know some old ones better. After day one we went to a nearby park to nap and read comics. This is the way it should be done.
L to R: Bjorn Miner, Christopher Green, Josh Rosen, and Marta Chudolinska
Programming and Events Could be Better Promoted to Exhibitors
Maybe I missed the emails (totally possible) but I don’t think TCAF sent me information about programming, parties, or events. I found out by arriving in Toronto and reading the local newspaper. Sometimes the event information TCAF provided was scant or incomplete (the programming seemed to run more smoothly).
9am is Pretty Early for a Comics Festival
But what can you do, right?
Don’t Kick ‘Em Out Early
This might seem like a small complaint, but it’s my biggest beef with the show. On both days, starting at an hour before the show was scheduled to close and on until closing, announcements were made over the PA. Attendees were told when the show was ending, which was acceptable, but they were also asked to make their way for the door, which was NOT acceptable. Exhibitors travel thousands of miles and spend thousands of dollars to be at TCAF. Every minute counts. You cannot ask our customers to leave an hour early.
That being said, I love TCAF. As a small publisher, it’s up there with CAB and SPX. I’ll come back every year if they’ll have me.
Here are some of the micro-publishers I chatted with at TCAF. I was able to collect several more entries for my micro-press list!
Leon Avelino of Secret Acres, with aythor Robert Sergel in the background.
Avi Ehrlich of Silver Sprocket, a punk label and micro-press. Avi was my table mate, and I could learn a lot form his salesmanship. He’s been running Silver Sprocket for over a decade, it’s his day job now.
Hey, guys. My posts are a little scant these days. That’s because I’m in the middle of a tour, and I’m working on the Micro-Press Yearbook 2014. I should be wrapping those up in the next few weeks, and then I’ll be back in full force.