Paper Rocket & Friends Birthday Release Party

The Characters Kickstarter made its goal (in the first 24 hours, even!). I’m ever so grateful to all the folks who have supported it.

I’ll be having a release party for Characters. A birthday release party!

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Paper Rocket and Friends Birthday Release Party
with Robyn Chapman, Jess Ruliffson, and Jeffrey Lewis
Desert Island, 540 Metropolitan Ave in Williamsburg
Thursday, March 6, 7-9pm

March 6 is the birthday of Robyn Chapman, and it’s the 1-year anniversary of her micro-press, Paper Rocket Minicomics. It’s also the release date of her latest publication, Characters by Jess Ruliffson. Jeffrey Lewis is also celebrating a release, a triple release in fact! Jeff is debuting Fuff #9 (his latest comic), Jeffrey Lewis & The Jrams (his latest cd), and Sonnet Youth: Daydream Nation (his latest zine).
Jess will do a live portrait painting and Jeff will do a slideshow reading. There will be cupcakes.

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Pre-order Characters via Kickstarter!

The Characters Kickstarter is live. Check it out!

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My goal is modest, I’m only trying to raise $600. But this is a short Kickstarter: only two weeks long! It’s not a given that I’ll make it. Your pledge could make the difference!

Why set a goal so low? Because I’m trying to use Kickstarter as a distribution mechanism, not as a fund-raising mechanism.  For a pledge of $9, you get a copy of Characters. The retail price of Characters with shipping is just about $9. And Characters will ship IMMEDIATELY after this Kickstarter ends and funds have cleared. You don’t have to wait for me to actually publish Characters. (Here’s a secret: I’ve already published it.)

I use Kickstarter often, with every book in fact. I hope my modest goals will assuage Kickstarter fatigue and Kickstarter skepticism.

The thing is, I need to get my books to people. There are few distribution options available to me, so if I find one that works I stick by it. The other thing is, I need to make my publishing sustainable. My books (eventually) need to pay for themselves. I don’t have enough working capital to operate any other way. The last thing is, I pay my authors. Not a lot, but I pay as much as I’m able to while keeping my publishing sustainable. All this means that even if I am a little skeptical about Kickstarter (and I am) I can’t afford to ignore a way to sell my books that actually works. I can’t afford to be too proud to use Kickstarter.

And, anyway, if Fantagraphics is using Kickstarter, isn’t it officially ok? What am I apologizing for? Get off my back!

Honestly, if there was another app that offered a pre-order system that was as popular and efficient as Kickstarter, I’d use that instead. But until then, I’ve got Kickstarter. And I’m thankful for it.

For more thoughts on how I use Kickstarter, check out the Risks and Challenges section of the Characters Kickstarter.

Paper Rocket at Paper Jam

So far, February has been jam-packed. On Saturday I was at the first-ever Paper Jam Small Press Festival at the Silent Barn.

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This was a special show for me. It’s just three subway stops away from home, and it’s run by my good buddy Robin Enrico. (Or, as he is sometimes called in my circles, Boy-Robin. I’m Girl-Robyn.) It’s a curated show, and, should you be honored with an invite, the tables are FREE. Admission is also free, though it was $7 to see the bands afterwards.

The Silent Barn is such a crazy place. It’s a concert venue/hair salon/bar/photo booth/lots of other stuff probably. This was my first time at their new location, and it seems that they’ve a built a strong community there. The show had a great turnout, despite the bitter weather.

I only snapped a couple of quick pictures, but here they are.

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See Characters Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the big day! The ONLY day you can see the pop-up exhibition Characters: Portraits of Contemporary Cartoonists!

Characters: Portraits of Contemporary Cartoonists
LaunchPad
721 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn NY
2/3/4/5/C to Franklin Ave
6pm; $5 suggested donation

ONE NIGHT ONLY: Come see ONE HUNDRED portraits of your favorite contemporary cartoonists as rendered by local comics artist Jess Ruliffson. If you’re a cartoonist or comics related folk or enthusiast, the evening promises to be a great networking event outside of the confines of the usual post-convention stupor.

The book, Characters, arrived from the printer on Tuesday. I really am happy with the print quality. Jess’ colorful portraits print so beautifully!

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The book is full-bleed, printed 2-up, and thick enough to require a face trim. So, each book requires three cuts on my heavy-duty guillotine paper-cutter. Cutting and binding is slow going, but worth it!

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The cover stock is very thick (120 lb.) and semi-gloss (it’s called Coated Silk). It’s so thick it can’t fold crisply without being scored first. It looks great!

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Paper Rocket’s quality control officer, Lulu Hussein Pacheco-Chapman (Lulu for short) has given Characters the thumbs up. You can buy an advance copy at the show tomorrow, or at Paper Jam next week. After that, you can pre-order the book via Kickstarter.

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Paper Rocket to Publish Characters by Jess Ruliffson

Announcements, announcements, announcements!

I’m happy to introduce the newest addition to the Paper Rocket family. In February I will publish Characters: Fifty Portraits of Contemporary Cartoonists by Jess Ruliffson.

 

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I first learned about Jess’ portrait project earlier this month, when gorgeous paintings of familiar cartoonists were popping up all over Facebook. I contacted her and learned that she would be exhibiting the paintings at a one-day show in just a month, on February first (and no, she had yet to be approached a publisher). We worked out a publishing deal, and then the clock was ticking! I had just a few weeks to publish the book in time for Jess’ show. We’ve both been hesitant to release any news on the book, in case we couldn’t make the deadline. But the book is complete and I’m confident it will be printed by February first.

Characters collects fifty of the 100 portraits that will be featured in Characters: Portraits of Contemporary Cartoonists, a pop-up show at LaunchPad in Brooklyn. Check it out on Facebook (or here, if Facebook isn’t your thing).

Because of the quick turn around on this book, we will have a limited initial release for Jess’ exhibition and the Brooklyn’s Paper Jam festival. We will follow that with Kickstarter pre-order campaign. The book will be fully available in mid-to-late February.

Till then, tide yourself over with this preview!

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Jonathan Allen

 

 

AndreaTsurumi
Andrea Tsurumi

 

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T. Edward Bak

 

RobynChapman
and me!

Interviews with Robyn and Jesse

I have a brief interview coming up on Creative Mojo. We’ll be talking about my book, Drawing Comics Lab.

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I have to be honest, I’m pretty nervous about the interview! (I understand that Creative Mojo has a large audience.) I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to hear her voice recorded. I much prefer to edit my words on the written page. But, Mark Lipinski was gracious enough to invite me on his show, so how could I say no?

 

In other new, Jesse Relkaw had a lengthy interview on the Comics Reporter!

It made my day that Tom Spurgeon called Lovf a “significant book” and linked to the Paper Rocket store. Thanks, Tom!

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Take the Micro-Press Survey!

Thanks, gang! With your helpful suggestions, I now have a list of 46 micro-presses! I think it’s as complete a list as currently exists.

Here’s the next step: I want to hear from all you micro-publishers. Who are you? Where are you? What did you publish in 2013?

I have created a fun and easy survey to fill out.

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If you are a micro-publisher, please fill out this survey by January 15th. If you know a micro-publisher, please send them the link. I’ll personally contact all the micro-publishers I can find.

Paper Rocket Needs Your Help

I’m working on a new project, something big. I want to list, profile, and eventually write a book about all the active micro-presses in the US. I could use your help!

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First, let me define the micro-press. My definition may not jive with your definition, but it’s the best I’ve got.

A micro-press is a small (usually one-person) publishing house that puts out a diverse line of comics by different authors. They often publish in pamphlet form. They generally self-distribute or use small, independent distributors.

So, for this project, I’m not interested in:

  • Self-publishers who only publish themselves
  • Publishers who only publish anthologies
  • Collectives and distros who do not micro-publish as described above (actually, I’m very interested in those but that’s another list)
  • Publishers who have never published a comic (or an illustrated book that is very similar to a comic)
  • Publishers who are not currently active

Here’s where you come in: look at the list below, and if you know of a micro-press that’s not present, email me!

And a note to the biggest of the small publisher on the list (Koyama, Adhouse, Uncivilized, etc)…please don’t be insulted that you’re on this list. You’re probably too big for this list, and it’s a little dismissive to call what you do micro-publishing. Some of you have professional distribution and can get your books (if not your pamphlets) into most bookstores in America. I’m not sure you belong on this list…but then again, I’m pretty sure you fit my definition above.

Much thanks to Chuck Forsman’s Muster-List, where I got much of this information.

My Micro-press List (a work in progress)

2D Cloud

Adhouse Books

Alternative Comics

Bergen Street Comics

Birdcage Bottom Books

Czap Books

Desert Island

Dog City Press

Domino Books

Drippy Bone Books

Floating World Comics

Gaze Books

Good Pals

Grimalkin Press

Hic and Hoc

Hidden Fortress Press

Issue Press

Kilgore

Koyama Press

La Mano

Northwest Press

Milk Money Books

One Percent Press

Oily Comics

Paper Rocket Minicomics

Pigeon Press

Pegacorn Press

Ray Ray Books

Rebus Books

Retrofit Comics

Revival House Press

Sacred Prism

Secret Headquarters

Sonatina

Sparkplug Comic Books

Secret Acres

Snake Bomb

Space Face

Spithouse Publications

Study Group Comic Books

Tinto Press

Tugboat Press

Uncivilized Books

Yam Books

Yeah Dude

Youth in Decline

KGB Comix Recap

Whatta night! We had a full house at the Post-Thanksgiving Comix Reading, thanks to our regulars and a mention on the Skint. I was too preoccupied this year to take photos, as I was hosting AND reading. But here are some images from the slideshow.

The big news of the night was that Nick Sumida brought down the house with his reading of New Voicemails. Chandler Moses recorded the audio, and later Nick added video and uploaded it to Youtube. Then Buzzfeed posted it! They didn’t mention the KGB Comix Night by name (darn it!) but it was the biggest press the show ever got.



Jesse Reklaw read from his memoir Couch Tag, which was just released last week. This panel in particular got some laughs.
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Aaron Cockle did his first comic reading ever. He chose Exit Interview, my favorite of his short stories.
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Emily Flake read some of her rejected New Yorker cartoons, and a longer piece on motherhood.

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I read my comic Bad Girls, and a excerpt from my work-in-progress, Twin Bed. More on that later.

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