Mapping Velocity

“Velocity, depth, breadth. These are the dimensions we can add to books, that are the gifts of a digital age, not gimmicks, glossy presentation and media-catching stunts” – James Bridle

About this time two years ago I wrote about the reasons Solipsistic Pop existed in print and my thoughts on the digital age of publishing. A lot has happened in those two years… The iPad has successfully been launched, Amazon have announced the Kindle Fire, Comixology and Graphicly are fast becoming the go-to applications for comics on smart-phones and e-readers, and most of the big comic companies are subscribing to day-and-date digital/print releases. Opinions on whether the comic industry (be they creators, publishers or retailers) are meeting the challenges and opportunities of this digital age with the correct speed and attitude are mixed – but one thing is clear, things are changing.

Digital comics aren’t going away. But neither are printed comics. As I mentioned in my post two years ago, it just means we – as creators and publishers – have to be clear about why something needs to exist in print and rise to the challenge that digital comics can present. Because digital comics are a good thing. The more ways people can read comics and the easier they are to get hold of – the more people there are reading them.

There needs to be a reason for comics to exist in print. Which, in a roundabout way, brings me to maps…

Maps share a lot of qualities with comics. They are words and pictures. Working side by side to tell a story and convey information in a succinct and accessible way. They deal with time and space while being two dimensional and static. And their scope can be as grand or as small as you wish.

This was the idea behind Solipsistic Pop 4. To create a book that enthusiastically embraced the idea of cartography and infuse the anthology with depth, breadth and scope large enough that the idea of reading it on a computer screen would be unimaginable. These comics have been created to be re-read, the piece before last adding context to the next. Reading this comic panel by panel or zooming into sections of the screen would not do these comics justice – these comics must be absorbed. The bigger picture observed.

The additional material for this volume was also crucial to this idea. Keeping with the theme of maps, there are three postcard sized comics which encourage the reader to travel. One postcard is printed with glow-in-the-dark ink – giving the comic a new, unexpected context when you find a dark place to read it in. One postcard is printed on seeded paper, encouraging the reader to find an ideal place to plant it once it has been read. The final postcard is a bingo checklist of specific things to find in your area – again, encouraging an interaction with your environment that feels appropriate to the theme of the comic and the tactile nature of print.

The entire package comes in a folder with a blueprint, diagram-based design and accompanying key – that add extra depth and understanding to an interior piece in the book. It’s also intent on giving the volume a quality that reminds me of geography lessons at school. Folders are extremely satisfying and useful objects.

Katie Green has designed a Solipsistic Pop 4 stamp that will accompany every copy of the book when it is sent out. Every effort being taken to ensure that the journey of this anthology is carefully considered.

Additionally, Katie Green has also provided a dustjacket to the book that folds out into a large poster. One final element that once more encourages the reader to appreciate and view the comic in a different context. This comic can be used as decoration. It would look and read best adorned on a wall. It can be personalised. When digital delivery systems head towards universal, standardised designs – this comic actively embraces a bit of chaos and randomness in the way in which it is consumed.

It wants you to dog-ear a corner, make notes in the margin and tear a page out.

It wants you to make it yours.

Click here to pre-order Solipsistic Pop 4.

Details for the launch party are here.

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