Mini comics put in bottles & cast into the sea.
So I make comics the size of a pack of matches. They’re kind of my thing. I've made 63 different ones & distributed about 12,000 of them over the past ten years. Anyway, I saw the “A Saucer of Loneliness” episode of The Twilight Zone where an alien sends a message in a bottle recently & I remembered as a kid writing messages in bottles & sending them into the ocean & how thrilling & exciting it was to think about one day being contacted from them & I realized I wanted to do it with my comics. The idea of a sailor catching a bottle of comics in his net in a hundred years fascinates me. Or someone finding them on the beach & leaving it on their mantle as a conversation piece. Or someone breaking a bottle open & reading the stories & finding out comics aren’t just for kids for the first time. But the idea of the immortality of it is what really fascinates me & I know that in order for one of these bottles to be found 1000 years from now I probably need to send out a lot of them & so if you help me I’ll put your name in a bottle to be linked with this project forever or you can remain anonymous if you prefer.
I wrote some specific comics for this project that are out with the artists right now. There’s mermaid story with a Lovecraftian edge being drawn by Kimberlee Traub (Worms). There’s a story about an alcoholic seeking salvation being drawn by Joe Badon (Built). There’s a story about a sailor trapped in the purgatory of a ship in a bottle drawn by Jason Young (Veggie Dog Saturn). I’m really excited about the project & that the Kickstarter Campaign can help me get some money together to pay these artists for their work.
Thanks for your time & consideration, below is some info on my past work.
If you are in the market for something a lot different, something imminently
portable, and something that you can read in class or a meeting without getting
caught then these mini-comics are worth a look.
~ Tonya Crawford, Broken Frontier
The more I read of Mitchell’s minicomics, the more impressed I am. He has excellent command of the format - he understands what he can and can’t do, and he plays to its strengths. The stories are lean and mean, no filler, and even though the issues don’t take long to read, I find myself going back to particular issues for multiple reads.
~ Brian LeTendre, Secret Identity Podcast
It’s hard to go wrong with any of Mitchell’s minis. They’re action-packed and filled with unexpected twists. Just choose your favorite genre and dive in. $1 each from Silber Media Comics.
~ Midnight Fiction
My thoughts about Silber Media Comics, if the Mayan Prophesy of 2012 is correct and the world is coming to an end, I wouldn’t mind having some of these comics in my back pack, for my last reading enjoyment!
~ Paul Dale Roberts, Jazma Online!
For comics that are only as big as a Goliath’s thumb, I’m giving these two thumbs up!
~ Katie Riley, Comic Related
All in all, I’d say Silber Media, Brian John Mitchell & friends are putting out fair to high quality comics that are easily worth their humble cover price, especially considering the challenge of conveying emotion and hooking the reader with such a limited medium. I’d say these treats from our neighbours to the south are worth every penny!
~ Where Monsters Dwell
Small things are great, mini things are even better.
~ Maximum Rock & Roll
Brian John Mitchell specialises in mini comics so small that they’re probably best described as micro-comics. I’ve seen many small press creators supplement their traditional DIY output with a few super-tiny publishing experiments over the last few years, but Mitchell really takes this practice to the next level by exclusively focusing on these matchbox-sized books. Working as writer only, he enlists the help of a wide variety of artistic collaborators to illustrate his work, from unknowns to even Dave Sim of Cerebus fame. Featuring avenging cowboys, giant worms, gory gang land killings, post-apocalyptic wastelands and demon fighting, it seems like all weird and wonderful things come in small packages.
Ironically, considering their diminutive size, the content of these comics is almost always epic in scope. As you might be able to guess from the list of features above, there’s an extensive focus on loud-and-proud genre work, with pop-culture staples like Sci Fi, Fantasy and even Western, prominently used in his work. The advantage of this is that the stories have an efficient, boiled-down quality to them; providing the reader has some understanding the genres they are channeling. Some work, some don’t, but all have a certain charm to them; tiny creative perspectives that gradually form a larger picture of Mitchell’s overall style.
~ Martin Steenton, Avoid the Future
The drier the humor and blander the situation, the more interesting Mitchell’s comics tend to be... one can get a quick sense of what Mitchell does best, along with an understanding of Mitchell’s unusual voice as a writer.
~ Rob Clough, The Comics Journal
I can’t help but want to watch more as Mitchell examines his own uncomfortable thoughts and feelings with brutal honesty.
~ Nick Marino, Nasty Musings
When comic writer Brian John Mitchell describes his series of comics as minis the size of a matchbook, he’s not kidding. Individually wrapped in little plastic baggies and bound by two teeny staples in their spines, they’re two inches in height and width. And you don’t need a magnifying glass to read them, which makes them instantly awesome.
~ Amy Greenwood, Broken Pencil
These minuscule mini-comics are adorably sized. The cute factor ends there, however. Inside it’s sci-fi dread and hard-core issues of hate, guilt, and anger. I love that each mini is barely larger than a postage stamp. And it’s also nice that they come in snug, clear plastic sleeves. Brian gets an A for packaging.
~ Shawn Hoke, Size Matters
Not to mention that I got a third place for a SPACE prize last year & a couple years ago I got a grant for my comics from the United Arts Council.
Here’s a little slide-show version of the first issue of the comic book Star I did with Kurt Dinse:
Thought some of you might be interested in the process, so here you are:
& check this out, here's Joe Badon inking a page of the bottle comic Salvation:
& here's a video of Jason Young working on the comic Sailor:
Yes, within reason. I have no problem signing the outside of the bottle coming to you with a sharpie marker or something like that. Or if you want to do something where you get the Skype conversation reward, but you already own all the comics I can set up a custom award amount for you. Or if you want me to fly to another continent to meet you to release the bottles, we can figure out a price for that which would work as well.
Each reward lists the additional costs associated with shipping.
There are a lot of answers & what I give varies from time to time. The format evolved from a poetry zine I did from 1997-1999 called Random Kisses where each page was a single poem & nearly all the poems were super caustic & had swearing (it was a response to all the poetry zines that were around at the time; which I found sentimental, amateur, & generally unreadable & uninteresting) & was the size of a business card. This format continued with Zombie Kisses (short stories about the zombie apocalypse) from 1999-2003 (to be continued one day). The San Jose Museum of Art was doing an exhibit on zines & they asked me about doing something for it & I'd not done anything as a physical object in a while because the internet really seemed like the best way to communicate with a lot of people at the time & so I knew if I was going to do a physical object it had to somehow really be about the physicality of that object & something that felt personal & unique. So I went with something super small as a way to attract attention & create a feeling of an intimate secret. It got mentioned in most of the reviews so I figured I did something right & have generally stuck with the format.
Well, first off I'll end up spending a lot of time hunched over the paper cutter & saddle stapler. But if this passes $1500 I would probably get bottle openers made that would go to every contributor over $50 & if I get more than ten contributors over $75 the shirts will be printed up specifically for this project instead of using the Silber ones I currently have. Also if it gets totally ridiculous (like $10,000 or something) I suppose I'll get a better printer & a better paper cutter to meet the demand.
Also of course I get to pay the artists more for their work.
Our comics aren't really distributed much besides by us, so go to http://www.silbermedia.com/comics to check them out.
Well, I recently did some research & according to a guy who sent out 4800 bottles he got back 3100 over the course of a dozen years which is 77% (& I imagine there may be more to come & that some people didn't respond after finding the things)! So that's pretty darn impressive to me. I was kinda scared I would find out the percentage writing back would be 1%, so the 77% is great & exciting, even if it lowers the odds of one being found in 1000 years....
I have some bottles from the creek near my house where teenagers & homeless people hang out & drink. They are a bit beat up & aged & have some character to them, but they are probably not sea worthy. There are some the size of regular beer bottles (including one glass coke bottle) & two Mad Dog 20/20 bottles & a few over-sized bottles (some are 22 ounce bottles & some are 40 ounce bottles). There are some photos of them in Update #5.