Small Press-capades (Part 1 - get 'em if you can)
Submitted by Unityflow on January 10, 2007 - 10:01
This is the first installment of a series of articles about the lengths people will go to in order to get their comics (or 'zines - we don't discriminate) into print and distributed. The names have been changed where necessary for legal reasons, but the rest is true.
Part 1 - Get 'em if you can.
I turned up at Rob's place at about 9.00 last night. He'd phoned half-an-hour earlier, stuttering with excitement.
He wouldn't give me any details over the phone â€“ I figured it had something to do with the recent cannabis drought... perhaps he'd managed to score. I put my coat on and sprinted off to his house, stopping along the way to pick up some Rizlas and a few bars of chocolate in anticipation.
I knew as soon as I got there that my assumption had been wrong. Rob was far too energetic, literally bouncing up and down as he answered the door. There was a distinct lack of smoke too.
'You've got to see this,' he said and ran upstairs.
I followed, making my way up towards the two pitifully small bedrooms â€“ These houses were built at the beginning of the industrial revolution, when people were either midgets or preferred to huddle together for warmth.
And there it was. Sat in the middle of the tiny spare bedroom was a gargantuan photocopier.
'My own printing press,' beamed Rob. 'With this I should be able to quadruple my output. Not only that, but I'm going to undercut the local print shop for posters and make a bit of money too.'
(Readers, please note that Rob creates a monthly pamphlet containing all sorts of interesting underground dissident news. This pamphlet is then delivered to random houses in the local area. Rob's theory being that this scatter approach is better than just giving it to people that already agree with those sort of things.)
'Where did you get it?' I asked.
'Stole it from work,' said Rob.
'What, you just hid it under your coat as you walked out?' I joked.
'Pretty much,' he replied.
It turned out that he'd had his eye on the photocopier for a while. It had been replaced several months earlier and had been left in a storeroom. Rob reasoned that they would never use it again, and so would not miss it should it disappear. All he had to do was get a sizable piece of office equipment through the door without anyone asking questions.
'It would have been trickier if I had done it in one go,' he said.
Since before Christmas Rob had been making frequent trips to the storeroom with a screwdriver and had slowly dismantled the photocopier, then, over the last week or so, he had started to carry the small bits out in plastic bags.
'No-one batted an eyelid, not even when I got to the big bits, like the glass and the lid. I couldn't break them down, so I just wrapped them in a sheet and walked out with it.'
We stood there admiring the big block of grey moulded plastic. The small room made it look like an impressive piece of machinery, like an old Caxton press â€“ big and unwieldy.
'Are you going to turn it on then?' I asked.
'Not much point,' replied Rob. 'I've spent so much time getting hold of this, dismantling it and putting it back together that I haven't had time to do a 'zine this month.'