Well, I have been poking around in a few places for how to accomplish a Tabloid sized book. I am delighted to see many sustainable forest initiatives involved in the paper lately, although it’s disturbing to see little reassurance that clean (non dioxin-producing) bleaching methods are being used. There are a couple reasons I would want a volume this large (11 inches wide by 17 inches tall, or approximately 28 cm x 43 cm), besides the fact that I’ve been designing it for large album format since I started in 2012.
One of them is that the work really is detailed in Chapter 1. Each strip could take 5 hours of work over several sessions, and this doesn’t include the writing and layouts. So each page could be considered to have about 15-20 hours in it. As friend King Mini said, “Comics take the time comics take.” Seeing more of the “digital paint” communicates another level of the work and allows for more feedback. I figure the time was meant to be exposed: why not showcase all the flaws and successes, whatever readers may judge them to be?
Another reason is that the writing is a bit dense. Strange Companions throws us into the world of Kaian in a way that is deliberately meant to be messy, searching and overwhelming. But it’s been released in long draws. There aren’t many pauses to breathe in a codex where every strip follows one after the other in succession. There are new languages and words, a carousel of characters and many sudden turns. There are even different directions this chapter can be read. But if you want to slow down in such a book, it would be helpful to have the space to poke around and not squint too hard.
My first preference is Print On Demand, the methods that simulate Web Press closely without the waste or need for many thousands of copies to make it cost effective. This could be done in Canada or USA. The quality is often questionable, but POD is also good for simply getting an idea of what a better print could be and offers something to scan with the eye for needed edits. It’s also affordably only going to run us $50-100 to see and hold and smell something in person. I can’t find a single POD printer that will print Tabloid. Some will print the horizontal version (known as Ledger) or close to it, but reformatting the book for horizontal reading would take too much re-drawing at this point, and I’m busy on Chapter 2.
Strange Companions on the Shelf
I don’t know if it’s ideal for all the books to fit together on one shelf, but I think it will be. Although a family of different books and media has its own wonderful appeal, as I’ve been exploring in the comics-animation hybrid going on here at loravvu.com. Perhaps Volume One will be tabloid, Volume Two will be half the size and horizontal, Volume Three a square and so on. What is that appeal we have for things to be uniform and standardized? Is it healthy to always have everything so neat? Maybe fitting on a shelf serves an illusion that the creation is fit for cultural absorption. It’s a polite way for a book to be, rather than disjointed.
A single printed book containing all the volumes sounds unlikely and cumbersome — even all the books in a single act, which could approach a thousand pages alone — and even if it worked, could it be as large as the art demanded?
As for a proper Tabloid size (or actually 11″ x 16″) I am finding offers on the Chinese company AliBaba for short runs, and I am looking for printers on the local continent as well. For these places, a minimum can still be in the hundreds of copies, they can easily accommodate the book’s 200+ pages, and although the per book cost is reduced (to maybe $10-20) I don’t have thousands of dollars to drop on a self-published work right now. Readership is sparse as far as I can tell and I would even consider a smaller book a vanity print until I am sure more people would want a print edition.
Special additions I would like to have to a printed volume include a not overly-detailed but good map, a faerie word glossary and a comic version of Lor’Avvu Prelude, complete with the rhyme used for the accessible version. It won’t be the same as the interactive site, but hopefully special in its own way. I love comics, and I love that the first volume comes across as a highly weird and experimental example, with plenty of eye candy to intrigue the mind (in lieu of the animated music coming right out of the book, which would be my dream edition). For the sake of seeing what can be done in terms of layout and colors, I may try printing a Letter-sized volume for now. Details on that soon.