Friday, June 20, 2014

Pondering Small Comic Books

I've been working on a new comic book idea and have been leaning towards using a smaller, digest format instead of the traditional American "floppy" format of 6.625 inches (16.83 cm) × 10.25 inches (26.0 cm). Through the years I have acquired a small collection of comics from several countries and various decades. I've scanned them to show my creative partners and thought it might be interesting to post them here.

My main reason for exploring this size is to be able to vend them from spiral-vend snack machines more easily than floppies. But I've also heard that they are preferred in other countries, specifically Mexico, where the smaller size is easier to read with one hand and is easier to stuff into a pocket or bag. They are simply more mobile than the larger, thinner format. Plus it's just an enjoyable experiment into a new format that changes the pacing of the storytelling.

I'd appreciate your thoughts on this. If you read comics which format appeals to you and why? Does your country have a history of these smaller comics? Please let me know in the comments.

Thanks to Wes Street and Chris FitzPatrick for their kind additions to my collection of mini-comics.

Captain America mini-comic from 1987. This is just a reduced size of a standard format comic which makes for very small images and type.

Commando from 1983. One of my favorite comics.

Gunsmoke, Mexico 2008. This series is known for its stunning cover artwork by Rafael Gallur.

A 1977 JLA paperback that appears to be reprinted versions of earlier comics. However the artwork seems to have been "broken apart" to fit the paperback format.

The Detective Novel, Mexico 2007

That should be 125mm x 140mm. Spinal Tap level mistake.
Private-Eye Picture Stories, Republic of Ireland 1963. I love the title of this series.

Starblazer, UK 1980

Trucker Stories, Mexico 2004. Always good to see stories about people who don't wear capes and masks.


  1. Interestingly enough I have about twenty to thirty mini comics that my mother in-law gave me from Puerto Rico. They're pretty cool and I agree they're definitely easier to read. Personally I'm not apposed to modern comics having different sizes. I think the biggest push back comes from creators not wanting their art to be too small, but then also retailers. I had the rare chance of seeing a shop owner buy a customers indie book (He sold it for super cheap just to get it into the store) and he told him, "This won't sell." The book was shaped almost exactly the same size as Archaia's Mouse Guard's single issues. The guy looked heartbroken as clearly the owner was just doing it because he spent money in the store. He said that the size makes it difficult to stock and keep because it doesn't fit anywhere and customers feel the same way. Sadly they didn't sell and he ended up giving them away just to get rid of them and gave me one... it wasn't a good comic either. The point of all this is that you could face difficulties there. Granted a digest size is easier to stock and bag and such, but customers may still ignore it. At the end of the day if that's not where you want to sell the comic then it doesn't matter, but I wanted to pass that along. Me, I love the idea and have a collection of awkward sized comics, be it a small one and not just the ones from Puerto Rico.

  2. I have that JLA book. It was one of my earliest comics. I also have the Star Hawks pb too (being a newspaper strip it almost doesn't for this discussion). I like the size, but agree with Dustin's assessment that American customers always seem resistant to change (this applies to lots of stuff like cars). I can't really say that I've read much other stuff in smaller formats.
    It will be interesting to see what reaction you get from artists on weather they like the challenge of a new format. I assume they would get a smaller page rate (less art and all) and therefore you could get more pages in the book for the same cover price. Always a good thing from a customer point of view.