Wednesday, August 3, 2011

FEEDING GROUND _ Something about the Floppy

SWIFTY here: Issue 6 hits the shelf today and it's certainly bittersweet. This will be the first opportunity I will have to see the issue itself in print.  Walking into stores I've been in countless times and seeing something I helped create on the shelves has been such a joyful experience. While the Hardcover is sure to reach an even wider audience, there has been something amazing about the floppies.

From the onset, and in nearly every review, the bilingual content of the floppy has been the most salient feature of the entire series. Those who have not even read the book know that FEEDING GROUND is "the flipbook". This brilliant publishing decision by Archaia has created an object that is truly memorable.

While I have stated that FEEDING GROUND is something to be read in its Hardcover edition, the floppy itself embodies our learning curve. There are some bits of dialogue that have changed in the Hardcover, panels that have been reworked: we have remastered the story.  But there is something about the imperfections, the mistakes we made along the way that have an earnestness that cannot be reproduced.

When I was a kid collecting baseball cards, it was the error cards that were the most valuable. Former Baltimore Oriole and Hall of Famer Cal Ripken's kid brother, Billy, had a Fleer Card that was rather infamous. He stands with hands clasped, bat handle exposed on which there was written the expletive "Fuck Face". Whether or not this was just a prank by the young second baseman or an honest mistake was certainly something that was hotly contested at the time. The fact that Ripken's questionable demarcation created such a fervor signals not only how long ago this incident occurred, but how far removed we are as  culture from valuing mass produced objects.

What is amazing about comics that is different from all other forms of media right now, is that comics are still collectible. Their digital counterpart transforms something meaningful into something highly disposable. There is still a palpable sense of nostalgia anytime you walk into a comic shop. So if you can, get your hands on Issue 6, the last of the series. We are certainly proud of it. The story is definitely memorable. But the comic itself, the flipbook, is unforgettable.



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