While you might argue Fantagraphics is a micro itself in the larger scope of the publishing world, this is very cool news. An industry influencer giving more promotional weight to handmade craft comics, giving a louder megaphone to voices that slug it out week by week at small comic and book shows all over the country (and the world) is a Good Thing. We need more Good Things, and FU Press is a Good Thing.FU, Buddy!
Fantagraphics Books Starts A Micro Publishing Imprint -
Fantagraphics Underground (FU) PressSEPTEMBER 11, 2014 - SEATTLE, WA — Fantagraphics Books is launching Fantagraphics Underground Press (FU Press), a new micro imprint that will publish books and print projects appealing to a smaller, more rarefied readership. The Fantagraphics mission has always been to publish comics and cartoons that take risks and reflect the uncompromising vision of the artist. It's also crucial for us to put out books that will survive in an unforgiving mass market, but, what about work that doesn't quite fit into our standard business model? Work by relatively unknown cartoonists that's innovative, quirky, idiosyncratic, oddball, experimental, or downright crazy, work by established cartoonists that's simply off-kilter or too obscure to sustain a mass market release, or archival work by significant cartoonists who have been overlooked and that might otherwise be short-shrifted due to the commercial demands of the traditional marketplace.The FU Press imprint will inhabit a space between self-publishing and mass-market publishing. We'll print limited editions (between 100 and 500 copies), market them on our website, help arrange signings and convention appearances, and sell them at comic festivals and to a select few comics shops across North America and overseas. With such an ever-changing landscape, we have the opportunity to produce exciting and hand-crafted editions in short runs here in the United States utilizing a wide gamut of printing methods and formats: everything from a traditional digital-offset paperback to a hand sewn jacketed softcover to an epic accordion book; as projects demand, we can utilize silkscreen or letterpress, or any combination, and create truly artisanal books.
"Good Thing" copyright ZCB Industries
Who are these micro comics peddlers anyway? Well, here's an interview at 2dcloud.com with a couple dudes you might've heard of, if you've been paying attention. Box Brown produced this, which The Comicro heartily recommends:
The following work is on my Want List. I've always been a sucker for anthropomorphic tales, ever since I read Peter Cottontail, then Watership Down, then Cerebus, etc.
Squarriors, despite the rather awkward title looks like fun. A lot of gory, your-kids-will-hate-you-for-it fun. The creators, Ash and Ashley, are interviewed here at VixenVarsity.com
One last thing for today. One of the best and most readable bloggers, Heidi McDonald, has a very interesting article over at The Beat regarding the changing demographics at some of the bigger comic/pop culture conventions. I've never "cosplayed", and have no interest in it. I don't care if you're into it, and it doesn't diminish my experience when I go to a con. In fact, it can add a really cool vibe, as long as the creepers don't get involved (you know who they are). I also don't have an issue with movies, TV, sci-fi peanut butter co-mingling with my comic chocolate. And I don't know why people do. Times change, genres adapt and morph, and conventions are not the private domain of "comic people". I know certain subcultures can be rather insular and forbidding (looking at you, sexist gamers/RPGers/comicbookguys), but, seriously, what is the problem here? As for certain artists not able to make a living as they used to, I wish things weren't more difficult for you. But they are, and being the creative types that you are, I'm sure you'll find a way to make it work. Jim Zub's Twitter feed has a good overview too (found on Heidi's link above).