RIPE 2015 Recap

RIPE is a young show, only in its second year, but it’s off to a good start. I saw a lot of fresh faces and fresh work. I’ve been going to comic conventions with this same cluster of cartoonists for fifteen years, so it’s refreshing to see an abundance of work I don’t recognize. (It’s also overwhelming.)

In general, this show felt intense: densely packed, young, hip, technicolored, and very queer friendly. There were plenty of locals in attendance, and the community here seems pretty close knit. But there was a healthy portion of out-of-towners on the exhibitor list too. In the room I was tabling, I didn’t even have to turn my head to spot half a dozen cartoonists I recognized from Brooklyn. A group from New Orleans also made the trip, and a gaggle of CCSers from Vermont.

It was a bit slow on Saturday, but by the end of Sunday I had covered my table, which was a small victory. I sat on a micro-publishing panel moderated by Whit Taylor, along with Matt Moses of Hic and Hoc, Dave Kelly of So What? and Virginia Paine of Sparkplug. We covered a lot of ground without getting derailed, so I call it a success. Dave Kelly talked about the need for publishers to work together to grow distribution systems, and it’s something I’ve been dwelling one. Sometimes DIY can go too far–we don’t have to do everything ourselves. This year, I’d like to build relationships with other micro-publishers to meet some common goals.

Here is a just small sampling of the tables I visited at RIPE.

Part of the Spiders Peepaw gang. I’d tell you their names, but I think they like to keep it mysterious.

Kevin Czap, of Czap Books.

In the foreground are M. Chandelier, an artist from New Orleans, and Joe DeGorge, one half of Harry and the Potters (he also makes zines).

Matt Moses of Hic and Hoc, always pleasantly tolerant of my presence and my photo-taking.

This is the table of local printmaker Ian Cozzens, being staffed by Scott Reber. Providence grows some excellent screen printers.

ripe.15.6sLara Antal, one half of So What? Press.

ripe.15.8sMy haul.

Tiny Report / Paper Rocket Tour

SPRINGTOURLast weekend I looked at my calendar and FREAKED OUT, because I had gone overboard applying for festivals and committing to events. I had accidentally committed to six comics events over the next seven weeks. When I complained on Facebook, Box Brown pointed out that what I actually had done was booked a tour! So here’s the Tiny Report / Paper Rocket Accidental Spring Tour 2015.

March 28-29: RIPE in Providence, RI
Micro-Press and distro panel at 1pm on the 29th

April 5: KGB Comix Night in New York, NY

April 11-12: MoCCA Fest in New York, NY

April 20-21: CCS class visit in White River Jct, VT
Lectures with students about micro-publishing and editing

April 26: Brooklyn Zine Fest in Brooklyn, NY

May 9-10: TCAF in Toronto, Ontario

Hope to see you there! Please bring me words of encouragement and snacks. It’s going to be an intense month and a half.

TCAF Opens Permanent Store in Toronto Public Library 

page_and_panel_interior_0I’ve never heard of this happening before, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say that TCAF is the first independent comics convention to open it’s own permanent retail shop (correct me if I’m wrong). What started in December as a pop-up shop in the Toronto Public  Library has now been rebranded as the permanent fixture Page and Panel. All the stores profits will be reinvested into TCAF.

For Toronto as a cartoonist’s town, I’d say another strong comic shop like this is a real asset. I do wonder if Page and Panel will be competing against TCAF’s own exhibitors come festival time, albeit in a small way that’s not really worth grumbling about.

Uncivilized Books Announces Fall 2015 Subscription

new_construction_tempUncivilized Books has announced a fall list of three booksNew Construction by Sam Alden, Houses of the Holy by Caitlin Skaalrud, and The Deaths of Henry King by Brian Evenson, Jesse Ball and Lilli Carré. A subscription of all three can be had for $55, shipping included. You can also pre-order each book at a discount.

I’m looking forward to New Construction, which includes the short story Backyard. I think it’s my favorite of Sam Alden’s so far.


The Tiny Report Turns One

I’ve been doing The Tiny Report for a year. Pretty cool! I think I’ll keep it up.


New Show: Zine Machine in Durham, NC

Poster design by Christoph Mueller.

A new festival debuts today: Zine Machine in Durham, North Carolina. A zine festival on a weekday? I’m not used to seeing that. Cool name, though. Cool poster design, too.

I haven’t found a lot of info on this show, but publishers of interest in attendance are AdHouse Books and Everett Rand of Mineshaft Magazine. I can’t find an admission fee (it’s a safe bet that it’s free). If you’re near Durham, check it out.

PS: The poster design and the subtitle (Durham Printed Matter Festival) may lead you to believe that it has something to do with the organization Printed Matter. But I don’t believe that is the case.


Minicomic Awards: A Round-Up



(While I’m on the topic, I’d like to mention that Rob Clough just released his list of top 30 mini and pamphlet comics of 2014. Micro-presses on the list are Oily, Retrofit, Revival House, Dog City, Breakdown Press, Sparkplug, Colour Code, 2D Cloud, Yeti Press, and Alternative.)

I got the good news a few days ago that Penina Gal and Scout Wolfcave’s comic Limp Wrist won first place in the SPACE Prize Minicomic / Short Story category. (It was a tie with  Joseph Remnant’s Blindspot #3, published by Kilgore Books.) My micropress, Paper Rocket, republished a full color version of Limp Wrist.

Before Penina brought this to my attention, I had never heard of the SPACE Prize. Which got me wondering, what awards exist out there specifically for minicomics? Meaning, ones that use the word “minicomic” in their title, or specifically target those types of publications. There aren’t many, but here’s the ones I could find, both past and present.


SPACE PrizePrize_5Ryan Claytor wins the the SPACE minicomic prize in 2013. Image via Eventized.

The SPACE Prize is awarded annually for comics that are present at the previous year’s Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo in Columbus, Ohio. There are two rotating judges for the category, with the third judge being the collective votes of the festival’s exhibitors.


The Cupcake AwardcupcakeannouncementThe Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (which somehow is abbreviated as CAKE) debuted the Cupcake Award last year. The $250 cash prize is awarded annually to an early career cartoonist, to cover the printing cost of a new minicomic to debut at CAKE. The award also comes with a free half table at CAKE and mentoring from Annie Koyama. You can submit by sending an artist statement, CV, and work samples.


Ignatz Awardignatz-awards
Art by Sam Adlen

The Ignatz is the festival award of the Small Press Expo, and it has a mincomic category. Five anonymous jurors select the nominees, and the winner is decided by a popular vote of those present at the festival. And the award is an actual brick! You can submit your books by mailing them in by May 31 (eligible books must have been published between June 1 of the previous year and May 31).



The Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics

The Isotope, designed by Crowe

The Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics was offered from 2003 to 2011. It was a very fancy trophy awarded by a very fancy comic shop: Isotope in San Francisco. A winner was selected annually by a committee of judges, and the trophy was awarded at the Alternative Press Expo after party, held at Isotope. Anyone could submit a minicomic by mailing it in, though the winner needed to be present at the award ceremony.


Maisie Kukoc Award for Comics InspirationMaisie KukocThe 2011 Maisie Kukoc, awarded to Damien Jay. Trophy created by Claire Sanders

This award was coordinated by Jesse Reklaw, and named in honor of John Porcellino’s cat, Maisie Kukoc (1991-2007). The award had a run of about five years. If memory serves, nominees were submitted by a group within the self-publishing community, and individuals could vote via a website Jesse built. There was a small cash prize, and a really cool trophy (the design changed over the years). The prize was awarded during Portland’s Stumptown Comics Fest.

Did is miss any awards? I won’t get into grants here, though there a few I’ve been thinking of writing about (The Xeric, the Prism Queer Comics Press Grant, and the SAW Micro-Grant come to mind). But that’s another blog post.



Pre-Order Lydian by Sam Alden


Space Face is publishing a Sam Alden book. I don’t have a lot of info about it, but it’s 60 pages, full color, offset, and square bound. Pre-order today, it ships in the next month or so.

Paper Jam Recap

pj2sIf you’ve never been, the Silent Barn is a very Bushwick place–it’s a music venue/artist studio/barber shop/gallery/cafe/whatever they think of next. On Saturday they hosted Paper Jam, their twice annual small press festival. The show was started and is largely directed by Robin Enrico and Paige K. Bradley, along with a somewhat shifting cast of co-curators (Olivia Fox has also been involved since the beginning). Paper Jam is 100% curated, and with space for only 24 exhibitors it feels a bit more like a gallery exhibition than a comics convention. You cannot apply to table, you can only be selected. The lineup doesn’t repeats itself and is split pretty evenly between comics and zines, so you’re guaranteed to discover new work.

Admission is free AND, for the hand-picked exhibitors, tabling is free. It’s something rare to find, outside of festival that are subsidized by institutions or universities (and those are rare enough themselves). I think the free tables and the general party vibe bolsters a sense to goodwill–it’s a friendly and intimate show. I haven’t met anyone yet who had a bad word to say about it, but I wonder if that will change in a few years if the creators waiting for an invitation feel they’ve been snubbed (perhaps the grousing has already begun).

pj4s Holly Simple

Laura Knetzger

Jen Tong, Arlin Oritz, and Kris Mukai

Austin English of Domino Book


Retrofit 2015 Subscription

tumblr_nj93b8iEj01qibjs1o1_500With twelve new titles on their list, 2015 is shaping up to be Retrofit’s most ambitious year yet. I thought this might signal a return to their roots: they launched with a plan to publish one alt floppy a month for a year (they ended up publishing seventeen). But their 2015 list isn’t a list of floppies.  These comics are different shapes and sizes (one of them will be a 100+ page book by Steve Weissman). I’m particularly excited about Olivier Schrauwen’s Mowgli’s Mirror. Previously, I had only seen the beautiful square bound  French edition, which was a little too pricey for me.

You can get the whole list at $75 for print or $35 for digital. I really hate reading comics on a screen, and this is the first offering that’s really tempted me. I might  bite.

And here’s an innovative bonus: if you get the print subscription, they’ll send a free comic to a friend of your choice. That’s a really smart way to grow you audience.tumblr_nheobhutnK1qibjs1o1_500