We weren’t around today, but if for some reason you’ve been hanging around a computer, may we suggest a show benefiting what’s going to be a superior free all-comics newspaper that Desert Island’s putting out? Called Smoke Signal, the debut issue comes out in June with a circulation of a mere 1,000—provided you come see Uninhabitable Mansions, Boogie Boarder, Darlings, and Ambergris at Union Pool tonight at 8 PM and pay $8 instead of sneaking in or pulling some list bullshit. We talked to Desert Island proprietor about the project and got a preview of Travis Millard’s cover. (That’s it right up there--click down there for the interview.)
Vice: Which artists are involved in making this?
Gabe Fowler: We're focused on Brooklyn artists, but anyone can submit work. The indie comics scene is international, and the paper will reflect the international community.
OK, who we talking about specifically for the first issue?
Ariel Schrag, Ron Rege Jr., Travis Millard, Noah Lyon, Leah Hayes, Luke Ramsey, Johnny Ryan, Lauren Weinstein, Sam Gaskin, and tons more.
Are these comics we know and love or brand new stuff?
Both! But I definitely want to expose the work of unknown people.
Smoke Signal...hmmm.... is that because it's an antiquated form of
communication, and some people might argue that actually printing
stuff out on paper is outdated too? If I am wrong, you should correct
Yeah, you know, a smoke signal is the most ancient form of long-distance communication. It has a nice existential flavor. You send out this message and wait to see if anybody notices.
How do you plan to circulate it? Just through your store or anywhere else?
I'll drop a few stacks at select locations around Brooklyn, and individual issues will be available for mail-order from our site for the cost of postage.
Any models for the free broadsheet comics you particularly like?
Paper Rodeo is an obvious influence, as well as the Diamond Comics paper which is published by Floating World in San Francisco, and the amazing Showpaper which comes out every two weeks in NYC.
You seem pretty open to submissions--what kind of stuff would not make it in?
I want to see inventive drawings and narratives. Computerized lettering and shading in particular is a real turn-off for me.
Your guidelines say you're looking for a giant fake ad. Any real ads in there too, or is this entirely a non-commercial venture? I want to avoid advertising and commercially-driven content. Hopefully I can have a fund-raising concert every three months to pay for printing costs. We'll see if it works out!