Birthday Release Party Recap



The Paper Rocket & Friends Birthday Release party was a hit! I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday. The room was filled with friends enjoying cheap beer and cake pops (as of late, my favorite things). I gave a little presentation on the production process involved in Character (because, why not, I think it’s interesting) and Jeffrey Lewis showed us some illustrated music videos he’s been working on. Jess did a painting demo, using Desert Island owner Gabe Fowler as her subject.

Good times. I feel good about being 36.
















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!


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.

Pre-order Characters via Kickstarter!

The Characters Kickstarter is live. Check it out!


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.

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
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!


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!


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!


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.


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.




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!

Jonathan Allen



Andrea Tsurumi


T. Edward Bak


and me!