1: So what are small press comics, anyway?
1: So what are small press comics, anyway?Man, this is one of those questions with no definitive answer. As far back as the cavemen, the definition of "small press comics" has been batted about, and no single one will satisfy everyone. Basically, when I talk about small press, I mean comics published by the creator in non- commercial formats for non-commercial purposes. Izzat gray enough for ya?
1.1: What about sutff like Cerebus?
These kind of creator-published comics are often referred to as "small press" in the trade magazines, but they're not what I'm talking about. When Bone was published by Jeff Smith instead of Image Comics, I saw it called "small press" a number of times. But once you get into color covers and regular-size comic format and thousands of dollars and primarily available from comic retailers and giving the distributors your next shipping date.... well then your comic has become a business, and no longer qualifies as small press on this Web site.
1.2: What about minicomics?
"Minicomics" has become a generic term for photocopied, low-circulation, minimal-distribution comics that are almost invariably published by the creator. So yes, minicomics are small press by my definition. I could point out, though, that minicomic refers to a particular format of small press comic [at least, in some circles it does...]. A mini is a comic whose pages are the size of a sheet of 8.5" by 11" typing paper folded into quarters. A larger book, 8.5 by 11 folded in half, is more properly called a digest. Did you care?
1.3: What about fanzines?
Fanzines are self-publications usually relating to one's fanhood about
something in particular: a certain comic or band or TV show or musical genre,
etc. They will typically feature opinion/editorials, reviews, perhaps reports
on fan activities, fan fiction and/or comics, and all that. Fun to read if
you're a fan of the same sutff, but if not then not, y'know?
1.4: What about zines?
"Zines", originally a contraction of "fanzines", has now come to refer to any small press publication... and there are zillions of 'em. Many of them have nothing to do with comics, in form or content. In this sense, small press comics are a, uh, subset of zines, I guess you could say. (In fact, you'll sometimes hear the term "comic zine" batted about...)
1.5: What are reviewzines?
Reviewzines are zines whose primary purpose is to review other
Factsheet Five is one of the biggest and best-known of
these, but lots of others come and go in the zine-iverse like... like .edu
Web sites! A good reviewzine [i.e.,
one that comes out regularly, gives informative reviews, and has reviewers
you can trust] is a godsend in small press: quite often the only way
you can find out about the lion's share of small press books out there.