This Isn’t Working on Exhibition

In my Paper Rocket manifesto, I state “While monicomics may find their way to a gallery wall, this is not their first home.”

There’s nothing wrong with exhibiting minicomics.  I was very pleased to see some Paper Rad minis in the Cartoon Polymaths show this spring.

What we need to understand is that when minicomics are in galleries, they’re usually there by some fluke–a fluke that will probably soon be corrected.  So we should lap up the attention while we can.

So I’m lapping up some attention.  This Isn’t Working is in a juried gallery show at Chicago’s Woman Made.

The show is called Seriously Funny, and it opens today.

Seriously Funny includes a wide range of comics, from commercial 1-panel gags

to (what looks to be) outsider art.

This Isn’t Working is the first comic I’ve published with an all-women cast, and it kind of happened by accident.  I didn’t set out to create a women only project.  But I did want to collect stories about a shared theme: women and their ex-boyfriends.  I’m thinking of doing two more volumes, This Isn’t Working: Comics About Ex-Girlfriends and maybe This Isn’t Working: The Queer Issue.  What do you think?

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The MeCAF Report, and More

It’s been over a month since This Isn’t Working debuted, and I’ve been pleased with the warm response. In a month I’ve sold almost 200 copies, not bad for a minicomic!

Two weeks ago I headed up to Portland for the Maine Comics Arts Festival. It’s a small, friendly convention that really caters to kids. This Isn’t Working wasn’t a smash hit with this audience, but I had a super fun time! I shared the table with fellow TIW contributor Caitlin Plovnick. Kara Bean and Jen Vaughn were also there, almost the whole gang!

I traveled with cartoonist buddy Jeffrey Lewis. I’m a fan of Jeff’s comics and his music, so it was a treat to “tour” with him. Jeff played a show in an unrented law office. The room was filled adorable, well-adjusted young hipsters. So cute!

Here’s Jeff reciting one of his “low budget movies”.

In other minicomic news, This Isn’t Working‘s sister publication, Make, was named a top mini of 2010! Read all about it on the Make blog.

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This Isn’t Working: A Closer Look

This Isn’t Working had a wonderful debut at MoCCA Fest.  On the first day I sold all the copies I had printed, so I rushed to the studio and screenprinted some more covers.  I sold out again on Sunday, so it was back to the studio (where I had 40 online orders to fill!)  This reception really surprised me (pleasantly, of course).

I thought I’d give you a closer look at This Isn’t Working (like I did with Make when it was published).  The design of This Isn’t Working isn’t as complicated as Make, but there are a few new tricks I tried out.

Unlike some of my other books, I planned for This Isn’t Working to have a simple design, so I could produce it quickly and cheaply.  Who says a handsome minicomic has to cost an arm and a leg?  This book is 28 pages, and retails for $3 (the same price as King Cat!)

This Isn’t Working has a basic letter digest with a 2-color screenprint cover.  Here’s the front cover…

And here is the cover spread.  Doesn’t that boyfriend look like a cad?

Cara Bean drew this wonderful cover, but she left the coloring to me.  You might have noticed the pink and red only register in two places: on the girl, and on the setting sun.  This makes it a pretty easy to register.

I wanted to work the image of a broken heart into the book design, and play around with using a stencil.  Here’s what I came up with.  Using a piece of thick tracing paper, I cut out the broken heart shape.  Then I took a brayer and a rolled it on a red stamp pad.  I rolled the brayer over the stencil to create the broken heart print.

It’s an imprecise form of printmaking, but it has a fun DIY look.  And, rather than printing the first page on white paper, I chose a shade of pink that matches the light pink of the cover.  A small touch, but I think it fancies up the book.

Here is the first page of comics.  Notice the Paper Rocket logo on the right, designed by Cara Bean.  Each Paper Rocket minicomic is going to have a custom logo designed by the featured artist.  I must admit I stole this idea from Dark Horse’s Maverick line.

There you have it!  Paper Rocket’s debut minicomic.  Many more to come!

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This Isn’t Working to Debut at MoCCA Festival

back-front cover spread, design by Cara Bean

Editor and publisher Robyn Chapman is pleased to announce the debut of the new anthology This Isn’t Working: Comics About Ex-Boyfriends.  Six cartoonists share their personal stories about this sensitive subject.  Chapman has created a handsome, yet economical, showcase for their work.  This Isn’t Working is the debut book from Chapman’s new minicomics publishing house, Paper Rocket.

Chapman handpicked 6 talented cartoonists to tackle this subject:

Cara Bean
Robyn Chapman
Caitlin Plovnick
Liz  Prince
Jen Vaughn

This Isn’t Working can be purchased for $3 at the MoCCA Festival. Look for this debut book at the AWP table (M6).

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