Monthly Archives: March 2010

Sometimes it is fun to destroy books





verb tr.:
1. To mutilate a book by clipping pictures out of it.
2. To illustrate a book by adding pictures cut from other books.


After James Granger (1723-1776), an English clergyman whose Biographical History of England had blank leaves for illustrations, to be filled with pictures, clippings, etc. by the reader.

Definition from Word.A.Day

Grangerized magazines and books are an extremely odd and interesting phenomenon; therefore, there should be a book about them! I would love to have a coffee table sized book full of torn up, rearranged, DIY-ed magazines that feature idiosyncratic marginalia and doodles. Who hasn’t opened a used textbook and revelled at all the notes, both academic and romantic, that surround those boring graphs and figures?

I first came across the value of grangerized magazines while reading the blog of the incredibly talented and hilarious cartoonist, Michael Kupperman. Kupperman’s blog features his “What’s his name?” collection, which is a collection of pulpy magazines that have been rearranged in odd, inexplicable, and compelling ways. The collection is somewhere between lunacy and brilliance, and is akin to the work of outsider artist Henry Darger.

There must be more collections like this, and along with the myriad of romantically marked textbooks, books of poetry, cookbooks, etc. out there I think a coffee table book of grangerized texts would be a great showpiece.

Moreover, there is a market for such curios. Found Magazine and Ubu web relish in this kind of “found” or outsider art. Grocery lists and street flyers are their stock and trade. I want old copies of Dime Detectives, Time, and Shakespeare’s Sonnets filled with critiques, insights, and carefully drawn hearts with names in them.

Weeping into the pages of his old textbooks,




I have been thinking a lot lately about the poorly named ipad and other e-readers, tablets, kindles, etc. etc. Specifically I have been thinking about how they might change two of my favourite things: magazines and comics. The former I will tackle another day, but the latter has got me excited.

A few days ago had a pricing glitch that discounted Marvel hardcover comics collections by up to 90%. Comics that were once $100 were suddenly eight. Needless to say, Twilight was knocked from its perch as comics ran the list of bestsellers. Many people, including comics blogger Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool, thought that this run on cheap funnies and super heroics proved that comics are too expensive and, given the right price, they would sell by the truckload. Perhaps this is true, but what it did was get me thinking about cost effective ways to deliver four-coloured content in an interesting manner. The answer of course is that tree of knowledge, Apple.

Marvel and Darkhorse, among others, have already jumped onto the digital subscription bandwagon. But what I would like to see is an itunes like service and price system for comics. One such program is Longbox with has already signed deals with midsized publishers Top Cow and BOOM! Studios. However, what I would like is to the digital comic become the arena of independent comics and user driven content. As a fan of anthologies, specifically of the horror variety (think Eerie, Creepy, and EC Comics), I think it would be great if there was a comics anthology in which you choose the content. In this system, a user would choose from several short comics of four to six pages, which they can buy individually or in bundles. They would then arrange the comics as they saw fit producing their own anthology. They would be given the option to name it, and the more artistic and creative of the bunch, could draw the cover or perhaps their own comic to add to the collection. It would be like producing a mix tape or, for those of you not so enamoured with analog, a play list.

The world needs more of this

Once a user has produced a comics anthology, they could repost their choices and how they ordered them on a dedicated website or apps store.  For example, let’s say DC comics decides to revive their collection The Witching Hour in this digital manner they would have an instant community of interested followers, which in turn, would produce others. Moreover, this does not have to apply exclusively to horror comics. Alternative or lesser known artists and writers could get their starts in this digital anthology format. It would be cheaper and therefore less of a risk for the larger companies. If they take advantage of the medium with interactive panels, sound, video, and flashy advertising, they could become very profitable as well.

And maybe, just maybe they will also release a glorious print version if it becomes popular, because although I love technology, I do love those book machines.