Announcement, Announcement, Announcements!

Last weekend I took a trip up to Providence, Rhode Island to do some secret work on a secret Paper Rocket project.  I started writing this post from the top level of a double-decker Megabus, heading back to New York (the bus had wifi, amazingly, and a broken restroom, unfortunately). I made it home safely and I’m ready to unveil my project.

As you know, Paper Rocket is a minicomics publishing house.  In addition to publishing new material, I plan to start a Classix line which would republish comic gems long out of print.  My main focus will be on the minicomics of the early to mid 90s, a period which I consider to be the golden age of zines.  There was a strong self-publishing movement, fostered and made visible by Fact Sheet 5.  A really remarkable community of self-publisher created, sold, and traded thousands of zines.

One of my favorite minicomics from this era is Deep Girl by Ariel Bordeaux.  Ariel’s stories are unflinchingly autobiographical and packed with energy and humor.  Deep Girl‘s approach to subjects like body image, self-esteem, and sex offered a form of feminism that I found genuine and relevant. Deep Girl was deep–Ariel wrote about her life, but she also wrote about her thoughts.  “Why Do You Put Yourself Down So Much” read like an essays on how Ariel’s brain processes feelings of competitiveness and inadequacy.

When it came time to pick a debut title for the Classix line, Deep Girl was my first choice.  Luckily, Ariel has obliged.  We are planning a single volume of about 80 pages, which will collect most of the work she created from 1993-1995.  It will be a thick minicomic, not a graphic novel (Paper Rocket doesn’t do graphic novels).  The book will include an interview, photographs, ephemera, and an essay by yours truly.  It is my goal to create an archive piece that presents the work and its historical relevance.

Last weekend I spent several hours at the Atlergot/Bordeaux household, scanning Ariel’s original art.  Ariel also dug up some of here mail correspondence, which turned out to be a huge pile of handwritten letters, drawings, and postcards.  This only represented a small portion of the mail Ariel received (after 15 years, she’s only kept the good stuff).

I also got a peek at some old photos.

 

Last weekend was the first step toward publishing the Deep Girl collection.  I want to give a big thanks to Ariel, Rick Altergot, Travis Doggett, Kelli Nelson, Chuck Forsman and Melissa Mendes.  My buddies fed me and put me up while I was visiting lovely Providence.

Keep an eye on this blog for more news on the Deep Girl project!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sniffin’ Glue at Forever 21

Minicomics are pretty much my favorite thing in the world.  I’m an aspiring, though somewhat lazy, historian on the subject.  And there isn’t a lot of history written on the subject.  Luckily, there are a couple dozen books about zines (I try to read all the good ones).  Minicomics and zines have a shared heritage.  I like to think of them as cousins, related but different.

That’s why I’m familiar with the zine Sniffin’ Glue, even though I’m not a punk rocker and I wasn’t alive in 1976.   And that’s why a mannequin wearing this shirt caught my eye while I walking  though one of New York’s busiest shopping district.


Why was Forever 21 selling a Sniffin’ Glue shirt?  Are zines cool again?  So cool you’d wear them like a band t-shirt?

   

For those who aren’t familiar with Sniffin’ Glue (and I’m guessing most shoppers at Forever 21 fit this category) it was influential but short-lived punk zine (published from 1976-1977). It was launched right on the heels of Punk, another definitive publication of the era. In 1976, punk rock was brand new. These publications helped define punk and gave it a wider audience. Zines were a very relevant form of communication during these years (you couldn’t find punk rock on TV, and there was no internet).I like to say there’s no such thing as a famous zine, but Sniffin’ Glue might be an exception. It’s publisher, Mark Perry, initially put out print run of 50, but that soon grew to 15,000.

Perhaps the most important thing Sniffin’ Glue did was help instill the DIY attitude in the punk culture. For some, that is punk’s one, true defining characteristic. Mark Perry encouraged his readers to rip up his zines, and also to make their own.

I’m curious to what type of audience would buy a Sniffin’ Glue shirt. I figure there are three categories:

Old punk rockers who read zines in the 70s.
Aspiring zine historians (that’s me!)
People who just think it looks cool.

I guess the real question is, should I buy the shirt?  I think I’ll buy this instead:

I love it when lost zines are reborn as books!  I wish the cover had kept the aesthetic of the zine, the way Aaron Cometbus’ books do.  Still, I’ll have to check this book out.