Making comics? Putting out zines? Good for you—everyone is waiting to see what you come up with. But as much as some of us might wish it was still the 1990s, I'm here to tell you that that kind of lovely, sloppy creation just doesn't cut it in these access-point-rich times!
Friday was my last day at the Schulz Library at the Center for Cartoon Studies. While there I worked on cataloging and arranging student work, as well as making a detailed collection list and finding aid for the library's 2000+ zine and non-student minicomic collection. There were a ton of surprises in the piles of stapled screeds, including a Jason Lutes mini, a Basil Wolverton greeting card, some early work from Eleanor Davis, a few issues of Al Hoff's Thriftscore and an issue of Waffle filled with post-punk hate that I remember picking up at the Borders on Walnut Street with my friend D.
Accessing a collection like CCS's is a great way to chart the progression of an artist's work. Seeing that progression can be very important for researchers and students. Librarians and archivists want to give people your stuff, so why not make it easy for us?
What I'm saying is:
& Pick the form of the name you want to use early and stick with it
& Put your name prominently on your work
& It's really wonderful that you've got an email address or a twitter handle, but this does not substitute for a last name
& Resist the apparently intoxicating urge to make your table of contents/masthead look like a wordsearch or drawing of a spider's nest. If you've got contributors/partners-in-crime, respect them with some clear characters.
& Date, issue number, and title are also important for placing work in a larger context. Consider yourself part of this context and put these details where we can find them.
Do these simple things and keep your work out of the dreaded "Unknown" bin. Don't worry, your indie cred won't suffer!
Some pictures of the zine and minicomics sorting done by librarian Caitlin McGurk, KM and me: