Don’t be fooled by the time elapsed since my last inductions to the Parcell Press Special Collection. A great many hard-hitting, impressive, popular, and unique titles have come through the ranks in the last year or so. And, as always, each and every piece carried by Parcell Press has my personal stamp of approval. But to be honest, as the catalog grows and improves, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish the especially noteworthy from the rest of the selection. Imagine it as hunting for the shiniest piece of gold among a field of gold. Not a bad situation in which to find yourself, but a tricky thing to accomplish nonetheless.
Well, after careful observation over the last year, today’s two inductees — Lucia Gunzel’s Cranky Pants and Corinne Mucha’s My Every Single Thought — have proven themselves as glimmery and shiny beyond their peers.
I am proud to have been in charge of the production for Lucia Gunzel’s Cranky Pants. Lucia and her talented illustrator, Louis Forgione were both a pleasure to work with, and their passion for finally completing and self-publishing their collaborative project — which remained unpublished for some time before Summer 2010 — was contagious. I did my best to pour into the production of the book the same level of detail, fun, and enthusiasm as they injected into its creation. The finished product is a book that has broken established Parcell Press sales records and garnered much attention within the field of childrens literature. Is it a great book for any kid in your life? Yes. They’ll love the story and the pictures. Is it suited for a grown person? Of course. But the popularity alone has fashioned this to the Parcell Press Special Collection. There are rumors of a sequel. Let’s hope they’re true.
Corinne Mucha is a Chicago-based illustrator whose work can be seen in many forms, including her Xeric-funded book My Alaskan Summer, The Shortpants Observer #1, and more. I even happened to see a full-page piece by Corinne on the front cover of the Style section of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Uncanny! Her artwork is witty, charming, and her stories are funny and familiar, making for comics that are easy to recommend and fun to read. My Every Single Thought has continued to be wildly popular for all of these reasons. This book, Corinne writes in the introduction, “chronicles the author’s attempt to get over an old relationship, and come to terms with a saucy new label — single.” A common experience, Corinne presents her illustrated anecdotes as unique and lighthearted and yet they can be related to easily. As the comic has consistently done well in the Parcell Press catalog for so long and continues to attract attention from new and returning Parcell Press customers, it is a natural addition to the Special Collection. One glimpse at its pages will win you over.
Running a printing press is my favorite thing. The smells aren’t always so hot, but the sights and sounds can’t be beat. The cacophony of moving machine parts, belts, and springs seems unnaturally able to result in such precision and beauty. There’s something poetic and reckless about each print job. Every one of them at one point feels impossible; the intimidation of the challenge never truly acknowledged until the prints are dry and the press is cleaned. I’ve done it hundreds of times and still I’m thrilled and surprised when the job is not only done, but also looks great.
It’s a weird, ugly-sounding orchestra, and I’m the conductor. I like it so much.
Cranky Pants (L. Gunzel & L. Forgione) coming off the press. July 10-11. CVaMMS, Richmond, VA.
This year’s zine and comic fest season is coming to a close, so I’m hunkering down a bit in my little studio office to sift through the piles of catalog addition submissions so I can continue to add even more great new items through the winter. I’ve gotten a ton of awesome new stuff in stock over the last month or so, and this year I’ll spare you my stump speech on how zines and comics make the best holiday gifts ever. I will say, though, that for all you newsletter subscribers, I am offering a shot of holiday savings this year.
FREE SHIPPING: All US orders are eligible for free Media Mail shipping with the coupon code freeshippingplease.
Oh, and hey, guess what: if you had registered with Parcell Press and signed up for the Newsletters, you’d have a whole grip of additional coupon codes to use this holiday season. But, since you’re just reading the blog, you only get the one.
Based on feedback from our resellers as well as our regular customers, here’s a list of the top five titles most often purchased as a gift:
1. Obsolete by Katie Haegele
2. Adrift by JP Coovert
3. Stolen Sharpie Revolution 2 by Alex Wrekk
4. Making Stuff & Doing Things by Kyle Bravo
5. Coffeeshop Crushes
But, who are you to need a list to guide you toward the best zine, comic, and indie book gift ideas? We’ve added loads of new titles in time for the holidays, so you’ve got plenty more to choose from. And, don’t forget the standby: a Parcell Press Gift Certificate, available in various amounts.
Hope everyone is well. Stay warm and drop me a line to say hi!
Rules are made to be broken, right? Well, good then, because I long ago promised myself I wouldn’t divulge all of the major monthly Parcell Press Newsletter secrets and treasures to just everyone. I promised myself, “Self, that kind of news is for people kin’ a’nuff to subscribe.” But from time to time, I can’t help but want to share all of the secrets and treasures with the whole world.
Also, about a year ago I invented “Two-New Tuesday,” a clever plan by which I’d add just two new titles to the Parcell Press catalog per week, so as not to overextend myself or my customers, and to get folks in the habit of checking in weekly. I mean, who can forget a phrase like “Two-New Tuesday”? Well, the more new things I pick up for the shop and the more excited I am to share them, I have slowly but surely broken that rule as well.
So, I’m here to just get this rule-breaking over with once and for all. First, I am just itching to share this Coupon Code with each and every one of you. Typing sweaterweather09 into the coupon code field when you checkout will take 15% off your order total! Fuh real. But be quick, because this coupon code won’t work after 10.30.09.
Second, I’ve added about a bagillion new titles to the catalog lately. They’re all great and I’m really excited to show them to you. Here’s a little breakdown:
- 17 Strangers by Katie Haegele
- Cometbus #52
- Cramhole #3
- DIY or Don’t We #1
- Gullible #29
- Ker-bloom #79
- King-Cat #70
- My Time Annihilator
- Papercutter #11
- Please Be Brave
- Quotidian & Friends
- Runx Tales #2
- Things I’ve Lost / Things I’ve Found
- Truck Face #13
- You Idiot Book
Can you believe it? That’s a lot of new stuff. Feels good to get all this out of my system. Now maybe I won’t be hyping out so much when I’m packing up your orders.
If you happen to be near Los Angeles (I’m not), you should stop by Skylight Books at 1814 N. Vermont Avenue and take a gander at their nice selection of mini comics and comic zines, many of which are supplied direct from Parcell Press. It’s a great way to touch and feel some of the greatest little illustrated books available before buying, and you can feel good knowing you’re supporting independent artists, Parcell Press, and your neighborhood bookstore. Be sure to say thanks to Skylight for bringing the best in creative self publishing under their roof.
If you run an independent bookstore interested in stocking anything in the Parcell Press catalog, please visit our Wholesale Information page and get in touch to enjoy our personal support for wholesale accounts and handsome bulk discounts.
To be honest, it feels a little bit unfair to name the Parcell Press Grab Bag as the fifth addition to the Parcell Press Special Collection. After all, there are no two grab bags alike, and each one may consist of 10 or 20 zines, comics, and pieces of print ephemera with drastically different styles and made by various creators. But, I can’t really help it: in the last two months the Grab Bag has successfully met all criteria for inclusion in the Parcell Press Special Collection. Not only is it wildly popular, but the feedback is great, and based alone on how many Grab Bags I’ve shipped since April, this item is indeed in a category unto itself. Would I recommend the Grab Bag to seasoned zine readers? To be honest, I would not. The Grab Bag is the best way for enthusiastic newcomers to the zine world to find their favorite dish by trying a sampler of mixed appetizers first.
Alex Wrekk’s original Stolen Sharpie Revolution was a little, red, quarter-sized zine all about how to make a zine. At the time, Alex had been writing her zine Brainscan, among many other one-shots, for years, and was working at Microcosm Publishing. So, when the zine sold out it was reprinted as a paperback. When that sold out, it was reprinted again. Simply, SSR has smashed any normal small-press publishing record in terms of popularity, lasting relevance, and distribution. After being out of print for two years, Alex has self-published the latest edition of Stolen Sharpie Revolution, and has compiled many voices on vast and varied topics in zine creation, creating such a drastically updated version of the original zine that she titled the reprint Stolen Sharpie Revolution 2. And, guess what? It’s a knockout.
Arguably the most popular DIY guide for zine creation, Stolen Sharpie Revolution is practical, sincere, and highly validating to the zine community as a form of creative expression, without being limited by excessive navel-gazing. Impossible not to include in the Parcell Press Special Collection.
Philadelphia’s own Katie Haegele — who I’m happy to say is one of my great zine friends and one of the most talented writers I know — was recently invited to write a piece for the Philadelphia Inquirer about her experience crafting and publishing her book Obsolete, which, you may have heard, is a member of the Parcell Press Special Collection.
Of course I’d like you to go read the article because I’m proud and flattered that Katie gave Parcell Press a little shout out. But mostly, I think Katie’s depiction of the art of self-publishing does us all justice without giving too much away. And what’s more, she smartly addresses the somewhat exhausted question that every mega-media audience loves to ask: “Aren’t zines being murdered by the Internet?” or, basically, why the hell are you doing this when you can just write a blog.
How a local poet publishes, from zines to the Internet (Philadelphia Inquirer, 19 April 2009)
Just a few of last week’s outgoing orders. I’d love to send one to you, too.
Like a circadian rhythm, Artnoose publishes Ker-bloom bi-monthly, writing, creating, and distributing issues with the habit of a periodic call down home, or an occasional but regular letter to a friend. Each short issue is carefully written — a single essay consisting of observations and personal analysis — and carefully and skillfully letter press printed by Artnoose herself. Each issue follows a similar physical format: twelve small pages of nice paper with type bites, a multi-color cover in nice cover stock, and the carefully pencilled print number and edition total. It’s a format that reflects three things found in each issue’s writing as well: style, taste, and practicality. As she’s written before, Artnoose relies on the regular publication of Ker-bloom for her own sense of balance and well-being, but whether she knows — or will ever believe — that the consistency of her write-print-share rhythm also brings relief and pleasure to her readers remains to be seen.