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05 November 2007

Welcome and/or Why Review Mini-Comics?

Hello! If you have stumbled over to this web page I assume you came to read reviews of mini-comics. Before I start officially posting any reviews I thought I would take a second to address the art form itself.

What is a mini-comic?

Beats me. I've seen a lot of mini-comics made a lot of different ways in a lot of different sizes. The main commonalities I can think of are that they are self-published and self-made... usually. Could they be mass produced by a major publisher? Maybe. It's frustrating to try and pin it down. Comics, and by Comics I'm referring to the medium itself, has a long history of things not being named what they are or not being what they are named. Is a floppy spinner rack Archie comic a book? Is an issue of Sin City expected to be as comical as Donald Duck? The terms Comics and Comic Books have been wrong from the start and don't even get me started on the term Graphic Novel. All I know is that when it comes to naming things, Comics always gets it wrong so why should mini-comics be any different?

If you've come to this site you probably are already familiar with mini-comics and have your own idea of what they are. As far as what my idea of them may be, I will now defer to the much smarter Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter.

"It used to be that mini-comics referred to a specific size of small-press comic book. Now, the word mini-comics is most frequently used to describe handmade comic books and those comic books that resemble them. This usually means comics printed on a Xerox machine or using a similar hand-operated printing process, but it can also include those rare comics that are published in more formal fashion that adopt the superficial properties of handmade comic books. They are booklets of varying size and shape that exist largely outside the established markets for comic book, graphic novels and newspaper strips. "

Recommended reading from The Comics Reporter:

"Reading Mini- Comics"

"Making Mini-Comics"

I suggest any Comics fan bookmark The Comics Reporter and read it every day. There are four things I read almost every day: American Elf, Journalista, The Comics Reporter and The Bible. A day without any of the four is unfulfilled.

Now the next question:

Why review mini-comics?

The half truth half joke answer to that question is so that people will send me free mini-comics. I love mini-comics. I love to hold them, smell them, read them, make them and share them. In the past seven years I have moved from metropolitan life to suburban life to rural life and I now have very limited access to mini-comics so, yes, I really want people to send me mini-comics. I also want my favorite medium/art form to receive at least a fraction of the attention I think it deserves. I want there to be great websites and review columns dedicated to the form. Unfortunately, there are not many of them around. I had been thinking of making an attempt to fill that void myself for years but I always had an excuse. Not enough time. Who would care? What makes me qualified? Etc.

One of my main concerns was that I just don't want to be a critic. I want to be a creator. I have written reviews for other sites and I ran my own comics review forum years ago but around the time I started making mini-comics I decided that I should not be both a creator and a critic. I'm still not a critic. I'm not a journalist. I'm not a columnist. I'm not even much of a blogger. What I am is a fan. Before I was a creator or non-critic, I was a fan. I'm a fan of the medium/art-form and as a fan I like to talk about the medium/art-form. So, that's all this is and all it should be, one fan talking about mini-comics. Now, just to clarify, this does not mean I will only review books I like. My intention is to review every book that is sent to me. Every single one. Just because I love mini-comics does not mean I love all mini-comics. My intention is to consider every book on it's own merits and to talk about what I thought worked or didn't and what I liked or didn't. Pretty simple. My intention is to review at least one mini-comic every week.

Why should you care?

Why should you want to read mini-comics reviews from a guy who's answer to the question "What is a mini-comic" is "Beats me"? Beats me. What are my qualifications? Does that really matter? I have a degree in something, I've written for this and that, I've read this and that, I've made some things, I've bought some things, I've been here and there. Whatever. You the reader, you the person-who-ended-up-at-a-mini-comic-review-website-for-some-reason-or-another, will decide if the reviews are worth reading. It is my hope and belief that the mini-comics themselves will drive this site, not me. I don't at all want this to be about me. I've got three or four other websites devoted to my own awesomeness already. I can't stand the thought of another. This will be about the mini-comics.

How do I get reviewed?

Simple. Send me your mini-comic. Email me at and I will reply with the mailing address. I will only need one copy of each comic. If you want to send a second copy, I will forward it on to some other mini-comic fan or possibly another review site but I can't promise it will get you an extra review. If you want to save me some time, you are welcome to email me scans of the covers or a sample so that I don't have to do it myself. It is my intention to at least post the cover of each comic but we will see how that goes depending on how much time I have. I'm a full time student, jobbie job worker, husband and daddy so if I have to chose between scanning your mini and eating or sleeping, your mini may not get scanned. When sending scans, please make sure they are jpg and sized for bloggy blogs. I will not return anything you mail me ever. As a general rule, I don't participate in things that cost me money. My promise is to review every mini-comic that is sent to me at a rate of at least one a week. If you are lucky, your book might be reviewed the day I get it. If not, later.

Will I review other things?

Maybe. Webcomics? Yeah, if you ask nice and link me up. Zines? Probably. As long as it is in the self-made spirit of mini-comics and is, well, reviewable, I'll take it into consideration. Would I love you to send me a free t-shirt? Yes! Can I review it? Probably not. As much as I'd like to say, yes send me everything, I guess I want to avoid the things that have already been reviewed everywhere else. As much as I would love for indie publishers to send me their latest books, I figure the established sites already have that covered. Email me if you have something you want reviewed and ask if you are not sure.

What's in it for me/you/us?

Beats me. Personally, I hope to get some mini-comics and share info about them with others. For the reader, I hope you learn about something new and seek it out, buy it and enjoy it. For the mini-comic-submitting-person this will be at least one more link or blurb you can use to promote your book and at most you might get some constructive criticism to help make your next book better. Maybe. Either way, what's one mini-comic between pals?

Your best pal ever,

Shannon Smith

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