Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Rain Mini pt. 2
Here's a statement that the internet's own Comics Reporter, Tom Spurgeon, provided for the show, explaining minicomics to the uninitiated:
These Things Called Mini-Comics
At its heart, a "mini-comic" is a handmade comic. A name that originally referred to a specific size of a small press comic book now describes a world of comics of all shapes and sizes joined by one idea: that unlike your standard copy of The Amazing Spider-Man or Betty and Veronica, these comics were not only drawn and written by cartoonists, but constructed by them as well. We call them "mini-comics" or "minis" because the easiest to understand and most common type of handmade comic is smaller than the average comic. Take a piece of typing paper, lay it on its side, fold it over, and treat the result as a four-page, smaller-than-average book with the crease acting as a spine. That's a mini-comic. What goes on those blank pages depends on the inclination, skill and resources of the creator. The most important rule of mini-comics is that creatively there are no rules.
Handmade comic books have been an important part of comics since the beginning of the art form; fans have always made comics at home and tried to sell them to other fans. In the 1960s and 1970s, mimeograph and Xerox technology allowed burgeoning comics creators to produce more copies of their work. Fan clubs gave these publications an audience in the 1960s and 1970s; comic book stores in the 1980s gave these books a sales and consignment outlet. Today they're found in shops, traded between practitioners at show, sold on-line and at signings. They a viable secondary market for those comics fans seeking new voices and a personal touch. You should read mini-comics the same reason you read any other comic: because many of them are quite good. It's also a good way to scope out the next generation of big-time comic book artists and graphic novelists, to see hand-crafted production techniques printing presses can't match, to watch your favorite cartoonist try new things, or access voices and points of view outside of more corporate efforts. More than most American art forms, comics has fought a long, debilitating battle against the bottom line. Mini-comics are a way that many cartoonists fight back.