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The Revenge of Print

2011 February 16

Well, I held out for about ten days. Or a bit longer, perhaps, depending on where we start.

Last month author and part-time Batman Warren Ellis posted a photo of some sort of stamp things promoting “The Revenge of Print 2011.” I like print; the name sounded absurd but intriguing also, and the strange graphic was eye-catching.

So, perhaps over the span of a few days, I found my way to a post at the Atomic Books Blog explaining that “This is a challenge to everyone who has ever made a zine/mini-comic/comix… to do at least 1 more issue in 2011.” And then eventually I arrived at what seems to be the “official” origin of all this, posted at the Xerography Debt blog.

Ten days ago I included this concept in a quick links post, and by then I was certainly thinking about the seemingly obvious implication for me, i.e. publishing “one more issue of a certain creative journal I worked on a dozen years ago.”

I wrestled with the idea. Would this siphon off time and energy from other projects which should have priority? Would I just be indulging a susceptibility to wallowing in nostalgia? Was the whole concept just too silly? I mean, “Revenge of Print,” isn’t that a little over the top?

Of course, I kept coming back to that strange but irresistible logo, and the unavoidable conclusion that the Revenge of Print identity is meant to be silly, and fun, which does not change the appeal of the idea.

Basically it almost began to feel like fate, or as close to the concept of fate as I believe exists in real life. The Revenge of Print issues a challenge to produce one more issue of zines or other DIY publications; not only did I work on such a thing, once upon a time, but I’ve been giving thought to it in recent months already.

And then I also couldn’t help but be reminded of DC Comics’ 2010 “Back from the Dead” promotion, an idea I found wonderfully novel and fun. Though I had no interest whatsoever in the uninspired-sounding “Blackest Night” event which prompted it, the “Back from the Dead” concept seemed like a great idea. Essentially, as part of promoting a “zombie” storyline, DC brought several canceled series “back from the dead” for one more issue each. I loved the idea and even bought the Starman issue, so I was already primed, in a sense, to think favorably about the idea of reviving a periodical for one more issue.

Everything seemed to point to producing an encore issue of Quantum Whatever, and the more I thought about it the more excited I felt about the possibility. It really seemed like it fit so naturally with what I’ve been doing with my life recently, anyway. I write things. I design things. Sometimes I get paid for the results while often I do not, but it seems to provide some purpose and fulfillment to my life if nothing else; in my timid way, meanwhile, I try to share what I create. It was all right there, saying “what are you waiting for.”

So on Monday I got off the fence and committed myself to doing this. And then I made another important decision about this project: I would invite others to join in.

Until this week I had been thinking of a QW encore issue as essentially a one-man show. Coming up with enough text and graphic content to fill an issue of Quantum Whatever by myself hardly seems a daunting prospect, these days, plus I figured I could bring in some reprinted content or something to “round things out.”

But it struck me that if I’m actually going back to revive Quantum Whatever, to produce one more issue as part of the existing series, which was/is my intent after all… the original publication was not a one-man show. It was always a collaborative effort, an anthology; even if three quarters of the content was usually contributed by staff members, it was still a shared project.

And, again, I thought about it and decided that I was making sense, of some sort at any rate, and talked myself into making a wacky idea even wackier. What the Hell. “We’re getting the band back together.”

Or trying, at any rate. Over the course of the three issues I designed, about a dozen other students were “staff” of Quantum Whatever; I still had contact information for about half and was able to find some trace of most of the others. Yesterday I sent out an invitation to everyone I could find; I could only imagine what anyone might think of this stunt but, again, what the Hell. “We’re over things being over. Let’s make things happen!”

Whatever anyone else does, I’m going to do this, regardless. Not right now, but it will happen this year; I expect to publish the new issue early this fall. That‘s actually the good news, I guess, but the better news is that one whole person has already responded with a loud and clear “Love it! I’m in!”

That’s the spirit. Let’s make things happen.