July 10th, 2011
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to work with, and their passion for finally completing and self-publishing their collaborative project — which remained unpublished for some time before Summer 2010 — was contagious.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.
August 23rd, 2009
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.
December 26th, 2008
Obsolete and Restcure Revival are the latest zines to be added to the glorious ranks of the Parcell Press Special Collection. Not only have these zines been remarkably popular in the last few months, but they’ve impressed me in more than a few ways.
Katie Haegele has been writing zines since at least 2003 when I first met her at the Philly Zine Fest. I meet a lot of people at zine fests and often, unfortunately, I either forget a name-face combination or just never really hear again from someone who seems to emit a limitless amount of enthusiasm for writing, self-publishing, creating, and reading zines. Katie was showing off her zine Word Math, which surprised me as one of very few poetry zines that was both engaging and unique. This was the early zine work of a writer already very well practiced and very passionate. Katie has since produced such classics as Hallowing of a House, The La-La Theory, White Blackbirds, and many more. A truly talented storyteller who adores and perfects her craft, Katie is a particularly passionate and accessible poet. Her self-published book of poems, Obsolete, was released in March of 2008 and has turned quite a few heads since. Not only is it very well-conceived — a collection of 26 separate poems each inspired by an antiquated English word — but it is beautifully designed and masterfully printed (if I may say so myself). Leave it to Katie Haegele to push the envelope on self-publishing and to successfully package her very unique voice into something both rugged, professional, and independent.
I have to come clean: Travis Robertson and Max Hubenthal are my tight Virginia homies; they’re exceptionally talented printmakers with whom I continue to share a print studio in North Richmond, and so you can call me biased, but there’s no question that they’re really two of the most exciting illustrators and artists that I know. When we’re all fortunate enough that these two dudes are living in the same town, Travis and Max collaborate on illustrations, printing methods, and the construction of their books. Restcure Revival, a product of this collaboration, is a fun and complicated zine (or piece of book art, even) that combines printing methods and styles in such a way that three mini comic zines become a single book, and that one oversized poster screen print becomes its cover. As many print art enthusiasts have already, when you approach Restcure Revival, you’ll find something like a Russian doll that becomes bigger as it gets smaller, and the result of print artisans’ obsession.
October 24th, 2008
Last Known Address by Niku Arbabi and Adrift by JP Coovert are Parcell Press’s two most popular titles of the last two months. In fact, Last Known Address is at least a couple years old by now but has continued to be popular as Niku Arbabi (Austin, TX) has built quite a following for herself. A detailed, prolific, effusive, and enthusiastic zinester, mail artist, and crafter, Niku’s other titles include Postal Curiosities & Delights, the Ms. Films DIY Guide to Film & Video, Polaroid-Celluloid, Scrappy, and more. Niku is one of the most determined and ambitious zinesters I’ve met, and Last Known Address is a great example of her capabilities. Remaining a favorite of mine since its publication, LKA is a collection of stories surrounding the different spaces and places that Niku has called home. From the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Durham, NC, abroad, and Texas, Niku paints great portraits of each place and muses on the advantages and disadvantages of each. It’s sure to be captivating to anyone who’s ever moved or wants to move, which is probably why it seems to have such universal appeal.
JP Coovert (Minneapolis) attended the Center for Cartoon Studies and is the co-founder of One Percent Press, a mini-comic publisher and record label. Like Niku, he’s got a long list of published work from mini comics to compilations and larger books as well. Adrift is almost a year old but has been more popular at Parcell Press in the last month than ever. JP has a very clean and pleasant style to his energetic illustrations, and in particular, Adrift is a virtually text-free narrative examining adventure, loneliness, and friendship. And dang, is it one handsome little book. JP also does the Clutch-inspired journal comic Simple Routines, and has a new full-size comic called Press Start and Fight available which came off the press in March.
I’m proud to add these two as the first additions to the Special Collection. They’ve been very popular and they’re a couple of my favorites. Look for another couple of inductees within the next few weeks.
October 22nd, 2008
Through Parcell Press, I have a long history of offering a vast number of fascinating zines, comics, art pieces, and books to an equally vast and fascinating audience of readers and collectors with awesome taste in print art. Every one of these little constructions is special and exciting in one way and/or another. Over the years, though, a select bunch of titles have really hit a collective sweet spot with purveyors of fine zines. These are the ones that seem to be included in everyone’s order, the zines I can barely keep enough copies of in stock to match the demand. These are the ones I recommend to everyone who asks, the ones I place at the front of my zine fest table and point to first when someone casually asks, “What’s good?”
Longtime customers may remember a fantastic zine by the name of One Fine Mess, written by Erin & Dan, or Christoph Meyer’s timeless classic mini comic The Heart Star. Titles like these deserve the attention they receive. There are more, many more. And many more to come.
It is thus that I introduce you to the Parcell Press Special Collection. Henceforth, my discerning readers, I’ll be adding even more shine to the shimmer of these best-selling, much-loved, and wonderfully special titles. Do not confuse these titles with just any in my catalog, which is full of 100% quality. Neither should you confuse these with the Staff Picks, which are my way of suggesting to you which pieces in my catalog I personally find to be particularly charming. The Special Collection titles are a caliber unto themselves: pieces of print art that are remarkably popular among you and your kind, and deservedly so.
Tomorrow I add the first two titles to the Parcell Press Special Collection.